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The Ronald Reagan-Jane Wyman Crack-Up (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

A printable article from a 1948 Hollywood fan magazine that illustrated quite clearly how much easier Ronald Reagan had it with the Soviet Union, when compared to his failings with his first bride, Jane Wyman (1917 – 2007). The PHOTOPLAY journalist, Gladys Hall, outlined nicely how busy the couple had been up to that time yet remarked that they had had a difficult time since the war ended, breaking-up and reconciling as many as three times. In 1948 Wyman, who had been married twice before, filed for divorce on charges of "mental cruelty"; the divorce was finalized in '49 and the future president went on to meet Nancy Davis in 1951 (marrying in '52); click here if you wish to read a 1951 article about that courtship.

Historically, Ronald Reagan was the first divorced man to ascend the office of the presidency. Shortly after his death in 2004, Wyman remarked:

"America has lost a great president and a great, kind, and gentle man."

Click here read an article about Hollywood's war on monogamy.

 

Mother of the Year: Joan Crawford (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

This article, I'm an Adopted Mother, by Hollywood movie actress Joan Crawford (1905 – 1977) rambles on column after column about her four adopted children and the tremendous fulfillment they brought to her life. It was all a bunch of hooey, and we might have ended up believing it all, if it weren't for her daughter Christine, who, in 1978, published a bestselling memoir testifying to the beatings that the movie star could be depended upon to deliver regularly; a first edition of the book is available at Amazon - it was titled Mommy Dearest

 

Anti-Plagerism Legislation Introduced (Photoplay Magazine, 1916)

Attached is a small column that credited U.S. Representative Charles Hiram Randall (1865 – 1951) of Los Angeles for having proposed legislation before Congress that sought copyright protection for the benefit of scenario writers in Hollywood:

"Congressional Randall [Prohibition Party] of California has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives for the protection of scenario authors, by providing for the issuance of a copyright on the scenario upon reciept of two typewritten copies to the proper department in Washington."

 

Emily Post on Manners in the Movies (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

A 1939 magazine interview with America's Mullah of manners, Emily Post (1872 – 1960) who was asked to give some criticism on the way etiquette is displayed on screen. She did not hold back; letting Hollywood have both barrels, La Post articulately opined about the poor choice of words the actors are required to spout, how humorously enormous so many of the living room sets always appear to be and how thoroughly inappropriate too many of the costumes are:

"According to Miss Post, the worst offense committed against good manners is that of pretentiousness. She says, 'Good manners are the outward expression of an inward grace. You can't get them any other way. Probably that is why Shirley Temple, in that very first feature picture of hers, had charm that few can equal.'"

"Sometimes the mistakes Hollywood makes are not too serious, but usually they are ludicrous, and far too often they set bad examples for millions of ardent movie-goers."

 

'It's a Wonderful Life' - the Synopsis (Photoplay Magazine, 1947)

A thumbnail review of "It's a Wonderful Life" written in the form of a favorable plot synopsis. Oddly, the film was released in March of 1947 - long after Christmas.

The War on Christmas

 

Greta Garbo in the Dream Factory (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

A juicy nine page article about the meteoric rise of Greta Garbo (B. Greta Lovisa Gustafsson: 1905 – 1990) in European films, her arrival in California, the contracts signed, and an account of her earliest Hollywood films.

 

Charlie Chaplin: the Man (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Attached is a three page article about Charlie Chaplin that first appeared in 1930 and contains far more information about the man than you might possibly care to know:

"He is a splendid boxer and a keen boxing fan...He plays bridge well...He loves traveling and dislikes flying...He likes to be alone...He likes to talk...He swears now and then...He did not go to school..."

 

Lew Ayres at Twenty (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Here is a profile of the actor Lew Ayres (1908 - 1996) that was published, quite coincidentally, shortly before the release of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Universal):

"Naturally a great deal depends on the outcome of this picture. Lew is not the type that will go on for years as a moderate success. He will either be a tremendous hit or or a failure."

Click here to read about Lew Ayres and his status as a conscientious objector during the second World War.

 

Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

"The appeal of James Stewart, the shy, inarticulate movie actor, is that he reminds every girl in the audience of the date before the last. He's not a glamorized Gable, a remote Robert Taylor. He's 'Jim', the lackadaisical, easy-going boy from just around the corner."

The above line was pulled from the attached article which was one of the first widely read profiles of Jimmy Stewart (James Maitland Stewart 1908 – 1997). Written four years after his arrival in the California dream factory and printed during the same year as his first encounter with the director Frank Capra in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", this article reveals that Stewart had a small town upbringing and was essentially the same character he played in "It's A Wonderful Life".

"Booth Tarkington might have created Jim Stewart. He's 'Little Orvie and Billie Baxter' grown up 'Penrod' with a Princeton diploma."

From Amazon: It's a Wonderful Life: Favorite Scenes from the Classic Film

• A W.W. II Christmas Film Clip •

 

Greta Garbo's First Impressions of Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Greta Garbo (1905 – 1990) was well known for keeping to herself and preferring to act on movie sets free of executives, pals and all sorts of other hangers-on and she was very famous for refusing to grant members of the press corps interviews. With that in mind, it is a wonder that Katherine Albert of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE was able to piece enough together for this 1930 article:

"She has no place in the life of Hollywood. She has never adapted herself to it.

Garbo will continue to remain an enigma..."

Click here to read about early cosmetic surgery in Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Star Condemns the Draft (Photoplay Magazine, 1917)

The silent film actor J. Warren Kerrigan (1882 - 1947; played in such films as "Captain Blood", "Samson and Delilah" and "The Covered Wagon") was singled out for ridicule following a poorly conceived remark that all artists should be exempted from military service. The editors of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE counter-attacked with a short list of the creative souls who have served regardless of their talents to entertain or provoke thought.

Apparently getting skewered in the press had no effect on him; he still wouldn't register for the draft for another thirteen months.

 

The Advantages of Silent Movies Over Theater (Photoplay Magazine, 1920)

Strong arguments were put to verse by the popular song writer Howard Dietz (1896 - 1983) as to why the up-town theater crowd had it all wrong.

"The picture theater is always dark
So things you throw won't hit the mark.

The actor in the movie play
Can't hear the things you often say.

The spoken drama's always longer;
The movie hero's always stronger."

Click here to read more comparisons between film and stage.

 

Her Favorite Movies (Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

The cinematic tastes of ER II are, like the sovereign herself, deep and complicated. A vast number of geeks employed by this website were sent forth far across the deep green sea in order to find out what her favorite movies are, and we were not at all surprised to learn that she favors the James Bond films. Contrast those movies with the earliest of her film choices and you will be able to trace her development through the years - another article on this page makes clear that she enjoyed the Shirley Temple series - but hold the phone: the attached article from THAT SAME YEAR indicates that she enjoyed A DIFFERENT MOVIE AS WELL!

•Listen to Princess Elizabeth's W.W. II Radio Broadcast Addressed to the Children of the World•

 

1930s Golf Attire (Photoplay Magazine, 1934)

The attached 1933 and 1934 photos will give some indication as to what golf clothes looked like during the early Thirties. Depicted in the first image are four actors of the Hollywood tribe: Adolphe Menjou (clad in plus-fours), a slovenly Johnny Weismuller, Bruce Cabot and Richard Arlen.

Full-cut trousers were the rule of the day, as can clearly be seen in the second photo that was indifferently ripped from the browning pages of "Delineator Magazine", which also shows a smashing linen shirtwaist dress that was worn on the Bermuda links.

 

''I Remember William Powell'' (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

A magazine article by Leonora Ross in which she recalled her high school days with one of Kansas City's most famous sons. (1892 – 1984). At the time this article appeared, Powell had some forty-two films to his credit (37 of them silent) with his best work yet to come.

If you would like to read more articles from PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE, click here.

CLICK HERE to read about Powell's most famous film: The Thin Man...

 

Who in Hollywood Received Draft Deferments (Photoplay Magazine, 1942)

This article first appeared at the end of America's first full year of war and it is composed of the names and pictures of Hollywood's leading men who were absolved from fulfilling their military obligations during the war.

"The personalities of the fabulous films are on the spot in the matter of serving their country. It is useless to deny that the motion picture stars have been getting the best of it. Some have been given special draft deferments and choice assignments and often have been allowed extra months to finish their pictures before having to report for duty."

Read why Frank Sinatra didn't get drafted...

 

Lucy and Desi Marry in 1941 (Photoplay Magazine, 1941)

Here you will find a small illustrated notice from the shameless gossips at PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE reporting on the surprise 1941 wedding that took place between Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz.

PHOTOPLAY acknowledged the nay-saying "Hollywood romance prophets" who predicted doom for the union of these two "Rhumba Stars" - but in the end, they were right: Lucy and Desi divorced in May of 1961.

 

Should Movie Stars Be Expected to Fight , As Well? (Photoplay Magazine, 1942)

We were very surprised to read in the attached editorial that the whole idea of draft deferments for actors and other assorted Hollywood flunkies was not a scheme cooked-up by their respective agents and yes-men, but a plan that sprung forth from the fertile mind of the executive officer in charge of the Selective Service System: Brigadier General Lewis Blaine Hershey (1893 - 1977) in Washington.

Always one to ask the difficult questions, Ernest V. Heyn (1905 - 1995) executive editor of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE posed the query "Should Stars Fight?" and in this column he began to weigh the pros-and-cons of the need for propaganda and an uninterrupted flow of movies for the home front, and the appearance of creating a new entitled class of pretty boys.

Twenty years earlier a Hollywood actor would get in some hot water for also suggesting that talented men be excused from the W.W. I draft...

 

Cosmetic Surgery in Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Published in a 1930 Hollywood fan magazine, this is the story of the earliest plastic surgeons and the rise of cosmetic surgery in Hollywood:

"Telling the actual names of all the stars who have been to the plastic surgeons is an impossible task. They won't admit it, except in a few isolated instances...It is only lately that a few of them are beginning, not only to to admit that they've had their faces bettered, but to even go so far as to publicly announce it."

 

Rumors of Hitler's Favorite American Comedy Team? (Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

The amiable Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. penned the attached article and it was written at a time in his life when the man simply had to know what movie was the preferred darling above all others for the hideous Adolf Hitler - so after some hard-charging investigative journalism, he discovered that Hitler would scurry-away with Herman Goering in order to yuck it up in the dark while watching his fave non-Aryan comedy team. Who do you think it was?

Hitler might have liked American movies, but there was one thing American he didn't like: German-Americans drove him crazy.

Click here to learn about Stalin's favorite movie.

 

In Praise of Slapstick Comedy (Photoplay Magazine, 1914)

A reporter from PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE let all her eager readers in on the excitement from the glamorous set of the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company (Illinois) where the comedy, "Actor Finney's Finnish" (1914) was being shot.
The silent short was directed and performed by those who would be participating steadily during Hollywood's next thirty year spree: E. Mason Hopper (1885 - 1967), Director; Wallace Beery (1885 - 1949), leading man; Eddie Redway (1869 - 1919), co-star; Leo White (1882 - 1948), co-star; Bobbie Bolder (1859-1937) co-star, Ruth Hennesy (no dates), actress.

 

Hollywood's Case Against Monogamy (Photoplay Magazine, 1938)

Technologies change, power changes, tastes change, but if anything has remained a constant in the West coast film colony it has been the fickle romantic tastes of all the various performers, directors and producers who toil in the vineyards of Hollywood. An old salt once remarked that if a Hollywood marriage lasts longer than milk it can be judged a success; with this old saw in mind, a wise anthropologist sat down, put pen to paper and seriously attempted to understand mating habits of Hollywood, California.

Click here to read a 1938 memoir by a Los Angeles prostitute.

 

Celebrity Wedding: Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz
(Photoplay Magazine, 1941)

Attached you will find a small illustrated notice from the shameless gossips at PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE reporting on the surprise 1941 wedding that took place between Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz.

PHOTOPLAY acknowledged the nay-saying "Hollywood romance prophets" who predicted doom for the union of these two "Rhumba Stars" - but in the end, they were right: Lucy and Desi divorced in May of 1961.

 

They Were Their Own Favorite Stars...(Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

An interesting little excerpt from a much longer article revealed that the Windsors preferred gazing at their own newsreel footage for thirty minutes each night rather than gawk at the current movie offerings of the day:

"From their 16mm films of themselves, extra prints were made and rushed to England, where the Duke and Duchess of Kent and other friends and admirers of the exiled ex-king devoured them from time to time."

If you would like to read the longer article, click here.

 

Gloria Swanson: Hollywood Diva (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

A segment from a slightly longer 1930 profile covering the high-life and Hollywood career of "La Belle Swanson". Written by actor and theater producer Harry Lang (1894 - 1953), the article concentrates on her triumphs during her lean years, her assorted marriages and her healthy fashion obsessions.

Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York nightclubs of 1937.

 

Seussue Hayakawa (Photoplay Magazine, 1916)

The attached article is about Sessue Hayakawa (1889 – 1973), the first Asian actor to achieve star status in Hollywood:

"No, Sessue Hayakawa, the world's most noted Japanese photoplay actor, does not dwell in a papier-mache house amid tea-cup scenery. He is working in pictures in Los Angeles, and he lives in a 'regular' bungalow, furnished in mission oak, and dresses very modishly according to American standards."

 

Flight Officer Lawrence Olivier (Photoplay Magazine, 1942)

When the actor Lawrence Olivier (1907 – 1989) first heard that a state of war existed between Britain and Germany, he was enjoying the breezes off the shore of Southern California in a sailboat skippered by Hollywood's heir expectant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and it was to Fairbanks that the attached letter was addressed. When this letter was written, Olivier was posted to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm where he gained the understanding that aeronautics was an acquired taste, and one that he simply could not cultivate. In his book International Stars at War, author James Wise noted that Flight Officer Olivier would soon be judged incompetent by the Royal Navy and released for other duties more in line with his abilities (like writing this highly self-conscious letter to his Hollywood friend).

Fairbanks, on the other hand, played an important roll in the U.S. Navy and by the war's end was sporting a chest-full of ribbons.

 

Is Hollywood Red? (Photoplay Magazine, 1947)

Despite the catchy title, Novelist James M. Cain, did not even attempt to answer the question as to how lousy Hollywood was with dirty Reds, however he did spell out that there were enough of them in the industry to bring production to a halt, if they ever cared to do so. Cain's article encourages both the executive class and the pinko-wordsmiths to walk the middle path and keep the cameras rolling.

Click here to read a review of James M. Cain's novel, "The Butterfly".

 

Afternoon at Terry-Toon Studios (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

PHOTOPLAY's Frances Kish spent some time with the animators at Terry-Toon studios and filed this report detailing all the efforts that go into the production of just one Terry-Toon film:

"The major animator begins begins the work. The thin white paper he uses for his drawings has holes punched at the top, like pages for a loose-leaf note book...The figures are about three inches high..."

 

Ronald Reagan in his Own Words (Photoplay Magazine, 1942)

In the attached PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE article, Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911 – 2004), the Hollywood actor who would one day become the fortieth president of the United States (1981–1989), gives a tidy account as to who he was in 1942, and what was dear to him:

"My favorite menu is steaks smothered with onions and strawberry short cake. I play bridge adequately and collect guns, always carry a penny as a good luck charm...I'm interested in politics and governmental problems. My favorite books are Turnabout, by Thorne Smith, Babbitt, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the works of Pearl Buck, H.G. Wells, Damon Runyon and Erich Remarque."

A good read and a revealing article by a complicated man.

Click here to read about a Cold War prophet who was much admired by President Reagan...

 

''I'm No Communist'' (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

Months after his appearance as a spectator at the House Committee on Un-American Activities, actor Humphrey Bogart wrote this article for the editors of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE addressing the topic of communist infiltration in the Hollywood film industry:

"In the final analysis, this House Committee probe has had one salutary effect. It has cleared the air by indicating what a minute number of Commies there really are in the film industry. Though headlines may have screamed of the Red menace in the movies, all the wind and the fury actually proved that there's been no Communism injected on American movie screens."

 

Rube Goldberg on Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Hired to write dialogue for the king makers at Twentieth Century Fox, cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1890 - 1970) jotted down his impressions of 1930s Hollywood.

"The chief mogul did all the ordering and I must say that he knew food. The lavish way in which he ordered bore out some of the glittering tales I had read about the grandeur of the movies. I think I ate six helpings of caviar and four tenderloin steaks. I wanted to make them believe I was no slouch myself."

If you would like to read a Rube Goldberg interview from 1914, click here.

 

During the Depression Unskilled Labor Went Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1934)

Illustrated with the images of shanties and tents that once surrounded Universal Studios, this article tells the sad story of Hollywood movie extras and the challenging lives they led during the Great Depression:

"Tossed out of other work by the recent depression, attracted by the false stories of Hollywood's squanderings and extravagances, excited by the thrill of living and working in the same town and the same industry with world famous personalities, they drifted to Hollywood and attached themselves to the motion picture industry. They registered with the Central Casting Bureau, and joined the great army of extras."
"These people saw no glitter, no romance, no bright mirage of stardom. To them, it was hard work and serious work..."

For further reading:
Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins

Read about the wages paid to extras during Hollywood's silent film days.

 

Realistic Training for ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Photoplay Magazine, 1931)

Prior to reading this PHOTOPLAY article we were convinced that Oliver Stone's Vietnam war film, PLATOON (1986) was the first production of it's kind to actually take the effort to school all cast and extras as to the horrors of war; however it seems that this unique distinction goes to All Quiet on the Western Front.

In this interview the seven leading cast members discuss how the making of that movie disturbed each of them in profound ways:

"We went into that picture a group of average wise-cracking fellows. We didn't come out that way..."

A small notice has been added that announced that the movie had been banned in Austria.
A 1929 review of the book can be read here

 

Jimmy Stewart: Four Years in Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

Hollywood scribe Wilbur Morse, Jr. wrote this 1939 magazine profile of Jimmy Stewart (1908 – 1997). At the time of this printing, Stewart had dozens of stage credits and had been working in films for only four years; one year later he would be awarded an Oscar for his performance in PHILADELPHIA STORY:

"Booth Tarkington might have created Jim Stewart. He's 'Little Orvie and Billie Baxter' grown up 'Penrod' with a Princeton diploma."

"The appeal of James Stewart, the shy, inarticulate movie actor, is that he reminds every girl in the audience of the date before the last. He's not a glamorized Gable, a remote Robert Taylor. He's 'Jim', the lackadaisical, easy-going boy from just around the corner."

 

Gone with Wind Begins Shooting (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

Jack Wade, one of the many Hollywood reporters for PHOTOPLAY, must have let loose a big girlish squeal when he got word from the "Selznick-International man" that he would not get bounced off the set of Gone with the Wind if he were to swing by to take a look.

"First of all, a report on Vivien Leigh...Hollywood already agreed that she's the happiest choice any one could have made. Even swamp angels from deepest Dixie put their okay on her accent...Clark Gable looks like the real Big-Man-From-the-South. In a black frock coat, starched bosom and ruffles, he makes a menacing, impressive Rhett, and he's a little pleased about it, too."

 

Howard Hughs and HELL'S ANGELS (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

"The Thrilling, romantic story of how Howard Hughes, the millionaire kid, who tossed fortunes into the making of HELL'S ANGELS"

The editors of Photoplay, like many in the Hollywood community between the years 1927 through 1930, were extremely curious about wunderkind Howard Hughes (1905 – 1976) and the wildly expensive film he was directing that never seemed able to reach a state of completion, "Hell's Angels". This article, by Bogart Rogers, makes clear that by the time the film was released, production costs had soared beyond the four million dollar range (although some contemporary sources believe it was a few hundred thousand south of that number)- and most infamously, four aviators had been killed during the filming. This article sums-up the Hollywood career of Howard Hughes up to 1930 and seeks to separate some of the falsehoods that circulated about the boy-director.

 

Laurel and Hardy (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

An interview with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy:

"They are the comedy sensations of the season. And all because they have learned, by a lucky stroke, that the public likes to see itself caricatured on the screen; that the public can laugh at the maunderings of a fat man who shakes a warning pudgy forefinger at a sensitive simpleton who is prone to weep"

 

Lindbergh's Movie Contract (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

This article originally appeared in a well-known Hollywood fan magazine and was written by Lindbergh's pal and business partner, Major Thomas G. Lanphier (1890 - 1972). It concerns "the story of how one of the most ambitious movies of all times, starring America's hero, Charles Lindbergh, was not made". The story goes that in 1927, "the Lone Eagle" signed a $1,000,000.00 Hollywood contract to make a movie about the history of aviation and would not be persuaded to do otherwise by any of his flying-peers, who all tended to believe that no good could come out of it. "Slim" finally saw the light and was released from his contractual obligations by non other than William Randolph Hearst (1863 – 1951):

"Mr. Hearst asked no questions... He brought out the contract and tore it up in Lindbergh's presence."
"You are as much a hero to me, as to anyone else in the world..."

Click here to read more articles from Photoplay Magazine.

 

When W.W. II Came to Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

The attached article is but a small segment addressing the history of Hollywood during the war W.W. II years; clipped from a longer PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE piece that recounted the illustrious past of Hollywood some thirty-five years earlier.

"After Pearl Harbor, the men really began leaving town. David Niven was gone now. So too, was Flight Officer Laurence Olivier. And more and more from the Hollywood ranks kept leaving. Gable, Fonda, Reagan, the well-knowns and the lesser-knowns. Power, Taylor, Payne, Skelton and many others...More Hollywood regulars went away, so other, newer newcomers had to be found to replace them because the box office was booming."

The new stars in town were Alan Ladd, Van Johnson, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Joseph Cotton and Betty Hutton. Hollywood classics from the Forties often air on TCM, which can be found regularly in some Comcast packages and deals.

Click here to read a 1940 article about Lucile Ball.

 

Fourth Place in the People's Choice Awards (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

When the most popular movies of 1947 were tallied up in Photoplay Magazine's "People's Choice Award", It's a Wonderful Life clocked in at number four, having been trounced by The Jolson Story, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Welcome Stranger

 

Cosmetic Surgery in 1930s Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Published in a 1930 fan magazine, this article tells the story of the earliest days of cosmetic surgery in Hollywood:

"Telling the actual names of all the stars who have been to the plastic surgeon is an impossible task. They won't admit it, except in a few isolated instances...It is only lately that a few of them are beginning, not only to to admit that they've had their faces bettered, but to even go so far as to publicly announce it."

Click here to read more articles from PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE.

Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York nightclubs of 1937.

 

Vivien Leigh to Play Scarlet (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

A short notice from a Hollywood fan magazine announcing that Vivien Leigh (born Vivian Mary Hartley: 1913 – 1967), an actress largely unknown to U.S. audiences, had been cast to play the roll of 'Scarlet'. Accompanied by two breathtakingly beautiful color images of the actress, this short announcement outlines her genetic makeup, her previous marriage to Leigh Holman, and her thoughts concerning the upcoming roll.

Click here to read magazine articles about D.W. Griffith.

 

Various Remarks About the First Talkies (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Assorted quotes addressing some aspects of the 1930 Hollywood and the entertainment industry seated there. Some are prophets who rant-on about the impending failure of talking pictures, others go on about the obscene sums of money generated in the film colony; a few of the wits are well-known to us, like Thomas Edison, George M. Cohan and Walter Winchell but most are unknown - one anonymous sage, remarking about the invention of sound movies, prophesied:

"In ten years, most of the good music of the world will be written for sound motion pictures."

 

Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman Divorce (Photoplay Magazine, 1948)

Attached is an article from a 1948 PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE that illustrated quite clearly how much easier Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, had it with the Soviet Union, when compared to his failings with his first bride, Jane Wyman (1917 – 2007). The journalist, Gladys Hall, outlined nicely how busy the couple had been up to that time yet remarked that they had had a difficult time since the war ended, breaking-up and reconciling as many as three times. In 1948 Wyman, who had been married twice before, filed for divorce on charges of "mental cruelty"; the divorce was finalized in '49 and the future president went on to meet Nancy Davis in 1951 (marrying in '52); click here if you wish to read a 1951 article about that courtship.

Historically, Ronald Reagan was the first divorced man to ascend the office of the presidency. Shortly after his death, Wyman remarked:

"America has lost a great president and a great, kind, and gentle man."

Click here to read about the Cold War prophet who believed that Kennan's containment policy was not tough enough on the Soviets...

Click here read an article about Hollywood's war on monogamy.

 

Actor Ronald Colman (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

A PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE interview featuring British actor Ronald Colman (1891 – 1958) in which the journalist attempted to dispel all preconceived notions that the actor was some sort of "male Garbo" and was, in fact, a regular guy.

 

Gahndi and American Movies (Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

Roving "PHOTOPLAY" correspondent Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. traveled far afield to Yerovila Jail in Poona in order to ask the incarcerated Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) a question of an entirely trivial nature:

"What is your favorite American movie?"

 

''Television: The Hollywood Enigma'' (Photoplay Magazine, 1938)

Although this article was written at a time when the television screen was a mere eight by eleven inches square, culture critic Gilbert Seldes addressed the question as to whether or not movies and radio will be voted off the island in favor of the television broadcasting industry:

"Whenever people ask me whether television will take the place of the movies, I blush, pant rapidly, stammer, and finally manage to ask them if whether they think the automobile will ever take the place of the horse. To which they reply (if they reply at all) that the motor car has already taken the place of the horse, which is exactly what I want them to say...the car has replaced the horse; but even that was a long and tedious process."

 

Jean Harlow Interview (Photoplay Magazine, 1931)

When this interview appeared on the newsstands, Jean Harlow (1911 – 1937) had fifteen credits under her belt (most of them short films) and only six years left until she would assume room temperature as a result of kidney failure. Written by the PHOTOPLAY reporter Leonard Hall (who would like us to believe that he was a Hollywood studio psychiatrist), this is a light and breezy two page interview conducted at the New Yorker Hotel at a time when that establishment appealed to Hollywood Royalty.

"Yes, young men, your worst fears are true! Miss Harlow (Jeanie to me) is calculated to knock you over with an eyelash at fifty paces. Both in circumference, diameter, and altitude she is eminently satisfactory..."

Click here to read articles about Marilyn Monroe.

*Watch Some Assorted Jean Harlow Clips from 'Hell's Angels

 

Behind the Scenes with Clark Gable... (Photoplay Magazine, 1940)

In this article from a 1940 fan magazine, Clark Gable puts to rest some disturbing concerns numerous fans had concerning the human affairs that existed on the set during the production of "Gone with the Wind. He additionally expressed some measure of gratitude for having landed the juiciest role in Hollywood at that time:

"'Rhett' is one of the greatest male characters ever created. I knew that. I'd read the entire book through six times, trying to get his moods. I've still got a copy in my dressing room and I still read it once in a while, because I know I'll probably never get such a terrific role again. But what was worrying me, and still is was that from the moment I was cast as 'Rhett Butler' I started out with five million critics."

 

Converted Film Haters (Photoplay Magazine, 1920)

Tin Pan Alley songster (and later Hollywood musical composer) Howard Dietz (1896-1983) penned this verse for Vanity Fair in celebration of the persuasive charm of film:

"We used to sneer at movies; they were vulgar

To our aesthetic, cultured sort of mind;

Amusement for the lowbrows or people who had no brows..."

Click here to read magazine articles about D.W. Griffith.

 

The High and the Mighty and the Movies They Loved
(Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

"Royalty and rulers of the world are movie fans. The cinema tastes of the great are disclosed for the first time in this article."

Listed in the attached 1937 Hollywood fan magazine article are the names of the favorite movies of Gandhi, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Hirohito, Roosevelt and many more.

Click here to read about happy Hollywood's discovery of plastic surgery...

 

Unskilled Labor Descended on Hollywood (Photoplay Magazine, 1934)

With the unemployment level at an all-time high, many Americans heard that there were jobs to be had in Hollywood as movie extras; jobs that require one to simply walk back and forth, pantomime at a dinner table and wear nice costumes. With few other options available to them, thousands of people headed West only to find that there was very little work, sub-standard housing and too many sharks wishing to take advantage of them. This article tells their story and explains how FDR's National Recovery Administration took it upon themselves to decide who could pursue this work and who could not.

 

Marlon Brando (Photoplay Magazine, 1955)

This is a three page PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE profile of method actor Marlon Brando (1924 – 2004) regarding the first eight years of his fame. Much of the column space is devoted to Brando's friendship with Harry Belafonte and all the boyish pranks and general carousing that the two enjoyed during their (thankfully) brief salad days.

 

''THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES'' (Photoplay Magazine, 1947)

The post-World War II film The Best Years of our lives (1947) is attached herein, reviewed by the senior editor of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE:

"Of all the films released since August 1945 it best dramatizes the problems of men returning from war and of their families to whom they return...It eloquently preaches the need for veterans to do their share in the adjustment between home and soldier and between employer and returning worker. It eloquently preaches against the ugly attempts of the few to incite in these chaotic days race and religious hatreds. And it eloquently preaches the truth that physical disability need not cripple a man's soul or his opportunities."

 

Norma Talmadge was Different (Photoplay Magazine, 1923)

As delighted as this PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE journalist was to make the acquaintance of 1920s film star Norma Talmadge (1894 – 1957), she could not help but compare her to the reigning film diva of the period, Mary Pickford:

"Mary awakens your love."
"Norma awakens your admiration."
"Mary makes you long to be of service to her."
"Norma makes you long to have her friendship."
"Mary Pickford is a sort of divine child, who always seems far away from you, glowing in a soft light..."
"Norma Talmadge is an intelligent, brilliant woman of the world, with every faculty keyed to the highest pitch..."

The interview was conducted by the versatile Adela Rogers St. Johns (1894 – 1988): a veteran journalist from Hollywood's earliest days, she also made her mark writing screenplays, novels and toiled in the precincts as one of the first woman police reporters.

 

Edith Head on Paris Frocks (Photoplay Magazine, 1938)

A telegraph from Hollywood costume designer Edith Head (1897 – 1981) to the editorial offices of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE listing various highlights of the 1938 Paris fashion scene. Not surprisingly, it reads like a telegram:

"Paris says:

• Long waistlines, short flared skirts, fitted bodices, tweeds combines with velvet, warm colors...
• Hair up in pompadours piles of curls and fringe bangs.
• Braid and embroidery galore lace and ribbon trimmings loads of jewelry mostly massive.
• Skirts here short and not too many pleats more slim skirts with slight flare."

The great Hollywood modiste wrote in this odd, Tarzan-english for half a page, but by the end one is able to envision the feminine Paris of the late Thirties.

Recommended Reading: Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer.

Click here to read about physical perfection during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

 

The Making of SNOW WHITE and the SEVEN DWARFS (Photoplay Magazine, 1938)

The attached article is essentially a behind the scenes look at the making of Walt Disney's 1938 triumph "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs":

• "He employed 569 people who worked all day and frequently all night to finish it."
• "The film took three and half years to make and cost $1,500,000.00".
• "He concocted 1500 different paints to give it unmatched color."
• "He spent $70,000.00 developing a brand new camera to give it depth."
• "He threw away four times the drawings he made and the film he shot."
• "He made over 2,000,000 separate drawings..."

Although Disney's wife, Lilian, was said to have remarked, "No one's ever gonna pay a dime to see a dwarf picture", the movie generated more box office receipts than any other film in 1938.

 

Elsa Schiaparelli Recommends...(Photoplay Magazine, 1936)

"Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 – 1973), Paris' leading fashion authority of the 1930s tells how to dress inexpensively and yet look smart as a star.":

"Cheap jewelery should never be worn unless it happens to be something that you positively know suits you. Pearls, including cheap ones, are always in good taste."

"Women can learn from men and improve their 'chic'. A man wouldn't think of wearing a tight shoe or one that didn't harmonize with his suit."

 

European Praise for American Silent Comedies (Photoplay Magazine, 1931)

Written at a time when it was widely recognized that the silent film era had finally run it's course and talking pictures were here to stay, the film critic for the "Sunday Express" (London) stepped up to the plate and heaped praise on the Hollywood film colony for having produced such an abundance of sorely-needed comedies which allowed Europe to get through some difficult times:

"While German films were steeped in menacing morbidity and Russian films wallowed in psychopathic horrors; while Swedish film producers turned to Calvinistic frigidities, and Britain floundered in apologetic ineptitude...Hollywood's unfailing stream of fun and high spirits has kept the lamp of optimism burning in Europe."

 

Emily Post on Society Language (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)

At the tail-end of a very long interview concerning the problems with Hollywood movies, Emily Post (1872 – 1960), America's high-priestess of good manners, was asked just one more question - this one involved the English language and here is Emily Post's 1939 list of what to say and what not to say.

• Don't say 'brainy' - say, 'clever'.
• Don't say 'wealthy', say 'rich'.
• Don't say 'Charmed or pleased to meet you', say 'how do you do'.
• etc, etc, etc.
Emily Post had so many opinions...

 

International Movie Star - Mickey Mouse (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

Although Euro Disney would not be opening until 1990, this article by Hollywood costume designer Howard Greer implied that it would have done quite well had they opened eighty-six years earlier:

"You know everyone in Hollywood?" they asked. I blushed modestly and admitted that I did.

"Don't you want to know about the stars? I went on."Shall I tell you about Garbo?"

"'A smile passed across their faces.'
'Garbo? Yes, we like her. But the star we 'd love to know everything about is - Mickey Mouse!'"

 

Errol Flynn: Defender of Hollywood Morality (Photoplay Magazine, 1937)

A sly little grin must have come to the lips of the editors of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE when they asked Hollywood's reigning scandal-monger, Errol Flynn (1909 – 1959), to write a small treatise concerning Hollywood morals - and he accepted their offer. Flynn sharpened his pencil and scribbled the following lighthearted defense of Hollywood hedonism; contradicting himself at several points, he opined that Hollywood was not much different than any other neighborhood -and actors are always good because they're too closely monitored to do bad -and if you don't believe that, then you should know that the acting trade brings out in all who heed the call a certain character trait that makes any monogamy highly unlikely.

By the time the thrice married Flynn fell off the twig, he was a verified pederast, a drunkard and an an unconvicted rapist.

Click here to read about Errol Flynn and his slimy maneuverings with under-aged girls and reliance upon date-rape drugs...
Click here to read a 1922 article that slanders the morality of Hollywood and the acting profession.

Click here to read about Erroll Flynn's 1943 statutory rape trial.

 

 
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