What’s the haps around the studios?
Here’s some of the gossip that was fit to print in October 1929:
*Clara Bow kicks off the inaugural “Help-the-Boy-Friend Week” by parading her new fiancé, Harry Richman, around town. Harry, a big shot in NYC but unknown in Hollywood, is on the eve of making his first picture for United Artists. Boy, he sure lucked out when he fell for one of the biggest motion picture stars on the planet. What a coincidence.
*FLASH! Lon Chaney forced to step down from his lead role in ‘The Bugle Sounds’ and will be replaced by Wallace Beery. That’s right, one of the greatest on-screen monsters is to be replaced by one of the biggest off-screen ones.
*John Gilbert and Ina Claire return from their vacation in Europe amidst rumors of domestic discord, something the relative newlyweds roundly deny.
*PHOTOPLAY refers to Raymond Hackett’s newborn son as “a small, wrinkled object”. Dicks.
*With no current film to work on Charlie Chaplin announces he is “just between scandals” at the moment.
*Here is your Alice White Bulletin for October: she has a new boyfriend. That is all.
*Newly married Stepin Fetchit (“the dark three-Cadillac boy”) is slapped with a $100,000 breach of promise suit by a former sweetheart. And to add insult to injury PHOTOPLAY calls him a “dark cloud…looking right now for a silver lining”. As I said before: Dicks.
*Wallace Beery feels his two greatest achievements in life are “Being an elephant trainer … and the husband of Gloria Swanson.” If you’re ever feeling too upbeat about life and want a way to completely destroy your faith in humanity, try Googling “Wallace Beery,” “Gloria Swanson,” “wedding night,” and “abortifacient” and that should sort you right out.
*Greta the Great has to cut back on her “Scandinavian days” if she’s to be ready to face the microphone in her first talkie, “Anna Christie”.
*FLASH! Rudolph Valentino’s nephew is told he looks like the late screen sheik by his mommy and daddy. Film at eleven.
*Marilyn Miller, the so-called “queen of the Ziegfeld girls”, was reportedly paid $1,000 per hour for her work on the new First National musical, “Sally”. I’m sure PHOTOPLAY’s readers in October 1929 were thrilled for her when they heard this…
*Douglas Fairbanks Jr. vows to clamp down on the “undignified publicity” his new bride, Joan Crawford, has received. “The superb Crawford stems will no longer twinkle from the pages of the nation’s press.” Joan’s publicity will now be limited to the far more dignified reports of her falling out with every other actress in town. Dignity. Always dignity.
*Clara Bow poses on the beach proving she’s still got “It”.
*Anita Page has a soft spot for her fans. The hotsy-totsy Metro star keeps a detailed file of all her fan letters “which is carefully tended to by her adoring and vigilant dad. A tremendous lot of it is answered personally.” Think on that the next time Z-listers like Kevin Smith pugnaciously respond to your tweets.
*Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater is held up by a gang of thugs to the tune of $14,000 (approx. $198,800 today). Guests at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel looked on believing they were watching “just another movie”.
*Clara Bow may be on the hook for another one of her father’s failed enterprises when Robert Bow’s marriage to Clara’s former secretary, Tui Lorraine, hit the skids. Considering Robert and Tui were married on the eve of her deportation back to her native New Zealand, I am flabbergasted that this marriage didn’t go the distance.
*Anita Page and Bessie Love are set to be the best dressed women at court. The tennis court, that is.
*Alice Lake, a former silent picture leading lady who was best known for her work at Keystone opposite Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, returns to the screen “with a fine microphone voice” thanks to her time in vaudeville.
*PHOTOPLAY body-shames the kids of Our Gang. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Dicks.
*PHOTOPLAY body-shames retired actress Alice Terry calling her “a little plumper, but at peace and very happy” following a short trip to France with her husband, Rex Ingram. Sigh … Diiiiiiiiiiicks.
*Clara Bow buys a gold mine outside of Alleghany, California. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of gold diggers you’ve been meeting lately, do what Clara did and buy your own mine.
*The Rule of Three plays out as Hollywood loses a trio of its most esteemed citizens: actress Gladys Brockwell, actor Dustin Farnum, and director John Griffith Wray.
*Raymond Hackett turns a handspring on the set of ‘Footlights and Fools’ when he gets a phone call telling him “It’s a boy!” I wonder what his reaction was when PHOTOPLAY referred to his wee lad as “a small, wrinkled object”. Have I called them dicks yet?
*Lon Chaney runs afoul of the law when he catches more than the legal limit of trout on a recent fishing trip and then unknowingly confesses to the game warden. “So, you say you didn’t know you’d exceeded the legal limit, eh, Lon? Tell It To The Marines, buddy. Here’s your Unholy Three-dollar fine.”
*FLASH! Douglas Fairbanks Jr. necks his bride, Joan Crawford, to the delight of the youngsters down at the Beach Club. Not as bad as it sounds.
*John Barrymore’s hopes of playing Hamlet for United Artists were dashed when, upon closer inspection of his contract, it seems Warner Brothers owns “exclusive rights” to his voice. Barrymore scoffed, “My profile may belong to United Artists, but my voice belongs to Warner Brothers.” Hot dog, that man was so cool.
*Georgie Jessel learns the hard way how guys named Epstein get treated in this town.
*Ernst Lubitsch goes off full German at a musician on the set of ‘The Love Parade’ when his off-rhythm gum chewing is picked up by the microphones. Lubitsch was heard shouting at the musician, “Sit up straight. Eyes forward. Is that gum? Is that gum? Is that gum?”
*And much, much more!