Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

Photoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) online

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vaudeville expression, anyway. I was more
surprised than anybody when my characteriza-
tion attracted attention.

T I-OVED that picture. I followed it around,
-'• like Mary's lamb, from theater to theater.
One night in a little neighborhood house some-
one behind me started giving Tom Bro-d<n the
razzberries. The fellow said, "Look at that big
ox, crying. .\in't he funny looking?" I turned
around, gave him plenty of time to recognize
the pan, and said, "You're no Helen of Troy
yourself."

I got the swelled head, an awful case. I was
good and, boy! no one knew that better than
William Haines. Right after "Brown of Har-
vard" I had to go back to Columbia to com-
plete my agreement. This time I thought I
was too good for them. What, a big shot work-
ing over on Poverty Row?

I was upstage and nobody could tell me a
thing. When they wanted me to work at night
I said that I had to go to choir practice with
Ramon Novarro — that we sang in a Catholic
church on Sundays. They gave me a funny
look, but I got away with it. It must have been
a great day for them when I returned to my
own studio.

And then M.-G.-M. did a wise thing with me.
They put me in a little picture called " Lovely
Mary," with Bessie Love as the star. I played
a sort of musical comedy milkman. I still put
my fingers to my nose when I think of myself
in that one. It took the wind out of my sails
completely.

I couldn't be conceited as long as that pic-
ture was in circulation.

The rest of my picture career is pretty well
known. I played "Brown of Harvard" seven




BuU



A very young and earnest looking

Bill Haines, taken early in his

Metro - Goldwyn - Mayer film

career




127



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times. Doolilile in successive pictures was a
horse, a niblick, a baseball bat and William
Bakewell in "West Point." I cried over some-
thing in all of them.

I didn't mind the niblick so much, for at
least it was harmless, but it was pretty tough
getting sentimental over the polo pony in
"The Smart Set."

People invariably expect me to be athletic on
account of the roles I have played. I am not.
I loathe golf and riding. I do like to swim and
play tennis.

TpHE woman who meant the most to me
•*■ during my years in Hollywood was Barbara
La Marr. I met her when I was discouraged
and most unhappy. She encouraged me and
made me beheve in myself. She was a wonder-
ful woman. Of all the screen sirens I think
she was the greatest — she was always so much
the real woman.

Our friendship ended in a quarrel, and three
days later she married. I never saw her after
that. Perhaps it is strange that we did not
meet. But then it is strange, too, that I have
worked for several years on the same lot with
Greta Garbo, and have never met her.

I was attracted to Pola Negri. I met her
first in the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador.
Pola wfas a great scout. I call myself an
alumnus of the Pola Negri Finishing School for
Young Actors. Another very interesting
woman was Peggy Hopkins Joyce. What a
technique! No wonder she has a million
dollars in diamonds. Once we came West on
the same train. I can understand how she
fascinates so many men. She makes a life
work of keeping them interested. I remember
she bought all the fan magazines to read up on
the things that would interest me.

The woman who played so great a part in my
life in New York also came West to see me at
one time. It was a most unhappy association.
We got on one another's nerves. She took a
house on Alvarado Street in Los .'\ngeles.
Although she didn't know it,thiswasthe house
in which William Desmond Taylor was mur-
dered. She was terribly superstitious and when
she found out about it she packed and left town
the same day. I've never seen her since, but
I know that she has married and is living in
Europe.

Romances are interesting, but friendships
are better. They seem to last longer. Of my
friends, Polly Moran is one of the best. I hke
her because she says what she thinks, makes no
pretenses and has a sparkling Irish wit. If
people who come to my house don't like Polly
they needn't come back. We've had some
grand laughs together. Eleanor Boardman has
been another of the best of friends ever since
our first meeting in New York.

Parties don't interest me. I do like to give
them, and how I mi.x crowds! I remember one
party at which I entertained some very down-
at-the-nose society people. Polly was there
and she had a swell time horrifying the proper
dames. I had an ex-pugilist valet, probably
the world's worst valet, but he was funny. He



called me Bill. Well, I had the valet serving
the hors d'oeuvres. Polly always called him
Meadows. "Meadows," she said in a broad
English accent, " will you be so kind as to pass
me some of those little sandwiches? Why,
Meadows, I cawn't take that one. It looks as
if someone had nibbled on it and put it back."
And she glared suspiciously at everyone.

One of the best laughs Polly and I ever had
came about through an interview. A woman
interviewer asked me for a hot news item for
her story — something that hadn't been printed.
I thought for a moment, and told her that I was
going to marry Polly Moran. The interviewer
took it big. She was new to Hollywood and
knew very little about picture people. I said
that Polly belonged to a fine old Virginia family
of fox-hunters. The Morans of Virginia.
They're famous. The wedding was to be quite
an event, with Polly wearing a duclicssc lace
veil that every Moran bride had worn for gen-
erations. It was a terrible blow to both of us
when the studio publicity department ex-
plained to the interviewer that she had been
taken in.

Before I die I would like to do a picture with
Polly in which she is the leader of a woman's
orchestra. You know the sort of thing. A
thin-lipped piccolo player, a stout lady who
holds the bass viol in that funny position, and
with Polly playing the sHde trombone. I'd sit
in the front row and eat a lemon, and the trom-
bone would get filled up.

I never go to premieres any more. I avoid
them like the measles. One night I was behind
all the mobs of people at the Chinese Theater.
I heard some of the cracks made about the
stars. That cured me of wanting to go.
Neither do I believe in personal appearances.
It destroys an illusion. The public may find
out that you have liver spots and halitosis.
Not that I have either, as far as I know, but
they say that your best friend won't tell you.

T HA\''E never married. Perhaps I never shall.
•*■ The marrying age for a man is from twenty to
twenty-five. After that he becomes a little
more "picky," less inclined to compromise
between sheets and blankets and take sheets.
From twenty to twenty-five the heart rules the
head and a man spouts Walt Whitman and gets
thrills in the moonlight. After that age the
head rules the heart, if he has a head. Youth is
ahvays intolerant. If I marry I could be happier
with a woman of my own age, one who has
known the world. But I do not believe that a
star should marry.

Stardom was what I set out to win. It
makes me happy to know that I have achieved
it. The money that I have earned enables me
to live in the manner I Uke. I can buy antiques.
Stardom is a shield, too. Gossip doesn't sting
as it did a few years ago, and there is bound to
be a certain amount of gossip in HoUjwood.
You have to talk about something, so why not
about each other?

What will I do when the time comes for me
to leave the screen? I don't know. I will be
too old to learn anything else.



Empty Hearted



I CONTINUED FROM P.-\CE 29 1



that. They yell at me to be dignified. But
what are the dignified people like? The people
who are held up as examples to me? They're
snobs. Frightful snobs. They didn't pay any
attention to me when I was just a kid around
the lot, but now I'm Clara Bow — now they
think I am somebody — they invite me to their
homes just out of curiosity.

"I'm a curiosity in Hollywood. I'm a big
freak because I'm myself!

" God — I hate a pose. When I first moved
into Pola Negri's dressing room on the lot, a
newspaper man came to talk to me. He evi-
dently thought that because I was using Pola's



bungalow that I'd act like her, so he was very
grand. He called me 'Miss Bow' and said he
w^as paying tribute or something to a great
artist. I just turned and looked at him and
said, 'Aw, be yourself!'

"Nobody is ever himself. I don't know
why. I don't really know about anything.
But I know that this isn't Hving.

"Listen — I've worked like a dog all my life.
I go from one picture to another. Soon as I
finish acting in one opera there's another one
for me. And they're all alike, yet I get en-
thused over each new one.

"I've never been any\vhere. Last year New



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Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929



York for six weeks. First time I'd been there
since I was a kid living in Brooklyn, A couple
of weeks ago a trip to Agua Caliente. I had
fun gambling. Won a lot of money, too, until
people recognized me and I had to be on
parade and couldn't be myself.

"Well that's all. Those are the only places
I've been. Get up in the morning — go to
work. Work, work, work. Go home at night.
Can't sleep. Think too much. Think about
everything. Mind goes on and on and on.
Think about my Hfe, about the new picture,
about my lines.

"Is that living? To h with it! What's

life? THIS isn't it!"

She perched her feet on a desk. She kept
running her hands — hot, restless hands —
through that amazing tumble of hair, somehow
like herself, flaming, turbulent and mad.

"V\ TELL, where am I going to find life?

*» Listen — do you suppose it might be in
Europe? Somewhere away from Hollywood
and all the familiar scenes and well known
faces? Do you suppose life is in Europe, in
some quiet little house in the south of France
with some man who could give me something?

"I'm getting maudlin. It's because I've
worked too hard. My nerves are all shot —
honestly. Really, I'm at the breaking point.
My contract has two more years to go. Maybe
— after that. Maybe, I might resign. Maybe
I might have enough money to go away and
stay away. "

And now there's Harry Richman. But I'm
afraid he isn't what Clara Bow is seeking.
He's just another playboy. I'm afraid he's
only an antidote for Clara's suffering.

Clara really suffers and who is to say that
it's any the less acute because she hasn't the
fundamental background necessary for com-
plete and thorough introspection? If ever
there was a Prometheus spirit, Clara Bow has
it.

She hates her flapper roles — all cut to the
same pattern. She has the power to do great
dramatic work. Paul Bern, whose critical
judgment I revere more than that of almost
any man in Hollywood, says Clara has possi-
bilities of being the greatest dramatic actress
on the screen today. He says that she could
do Zaza or Catherine the Great, or any other
highly emotional part.

And Clara knows she could. She doesn't
know how she knows it, but she does.

Harry Richman? I'm afraid he doesn't
mean the final answer to the riddle of the
universe for Clara.

They met in New York when Clara went
back last year. He was nice to her. He could
sing. She loves music — both gay and grave.
He took her around a bit, like the other boys
she met there and when she returned to
Hollywood they corresponded.

""PHEY met again a few weeks ago at Joseph
•*• Schenck's home. Harry, you know, is doing
a picture for United Artists, of which Mr.
Schenck is president. And Clara, ever search-
ing, ever restless, ever miserable, liked him as
well in Hollywood as she had in New York.

An engagement was announced. Clara has
been engaged many limes. This time the name
is Harry Richman. The colony is rather skep-
tical and inclined to say " Richman needs the
publicity." But Hollywood is hke that.

But Clara needs more than gayety and jazz
music. Clara needs rest — if she can rest — and
a different background. New scenes. New
faces. New hopes and ambitions.

She has worn herself out with giving. Her
money, her time, her energy, her love — each is
a blank check on which she scrawls her name.
You can make out your own ticket if Clara
likes you.

She doesn't go about much. She leads her
own life away from the studio. The gossips
have hurt her deeply. She has been goaded by
circumstance.

One of the most famous women in pictures
is a pitiful, tired child who has called to hfe
and heard only her own echo.



129



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Phonoplay Wins
But Talkie Stays On

[ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50 ]



also explain how I came to be called the First
of the Wad Parsonses. Here we go! Hold
tight to your seats!

3000 people didn't read the contest rules.

200 people suggested 'oUapIionc and other
established trade names.

10 employees of Warner Bros, suggested
rilaphoiic, on purpose.

7 people suggested speakeasy — 6 out of sheer
sentimentality and 1 by mistake.

3 people with hangovers suggested sayshow
(shay it over to yourself and shee).

2 had read Walter Winchell and suggested
hoomoom and smolion picliire.

3 had read Elinor Glyn and sent in alhirc-
tone, loitelure and toncappeal.

1 spoke baby talk and sent in andipliolie.
(Helen Kane?)

1 sneezed, liked the sound and sent in oeofo.

I saw "Rain" and "White Cargo" and sent
in soiiopingo. (Me Sonopingo — me like white
man.)

QUITE a few had been to school and sent
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vocatone.

Quite a few hadn't but knew a man who
had a dictionary. They sent in sonocineograph,
pliololoqiiiplay and ecopictograph.

Then there were the linguists — ah, the lin-
guists! — parlandorine, siniliypdiiarl, and others
including the Milt Grosscse.

1 man had met an Indian and sent in Ukoni-
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Several suggested Pickfordlonc, Valenliiw-
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Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 91 of 145)