Inside facts of stage and screen (June 7, 1930)

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"Legitimate Theatre "Reviews 'THE LAST MILE" MAJESTIC THEATRE LOS ANGELES (Reviewed June 2) On this opening night, the in- termission after the first act found the entire audience flocking in a body to the street panting for air for relief from the terrific dramatic tensity of that tremendous first episode. Adapted by John Wexley from the diary of the condemned Rob- ert Blake, this first stanza stands alone and complete as a work of realistic art, palpably authentic, gripping beyond belief, devastating in its emotional stress, and soul scarring. It presented a row of cells in the death house, in which con- demned men moved and paced like caged animals. The emotions and thoughts of the man due to die that night were vividly exposed by the artistry of Edward Woods. The other doomed men, more for- tunate for having more time to live, were pitifully human in their attempts to lend him courage. Priestly rites—reading of the death warrant—the ghastly parade to the death chamber—the dimming of the lights as the lethal shocks were turned on—and the curtain came down on an exhausted audience. The remaining two acts were straight melodrama, theatrical and somewhat lacking the spiritual tor- ment of the first, but powerful enough. As another man (Russell Hopton) is due to die, "Killer Mears" (Clark Gable) seizes an unwary guard through the bars, chokes him into insensibility and grasps his keys. A veritable war follows, full of drama and venge- ful death. It is heavy meat, but it is a play that every adult should be compelled to see. A gallery of judges from the Los ^ Angeles courts were in the premiere audi- ence, and their faces were a study to watch as they saw the dramatic version of what follows sentence. All of those coming within the observation of this reviewer were soberly thoughtful, to say the least. The direction of Lillian Albert- son is a monumental achievement. This first performance moved with smoothness and t e 11 i n g force. Every word and every bit of busi- ness was made significant, every cue picked up with machine ac- curacy, and lighting and staging were perfection itself. No wood- end props were those cell doors, and there was nothing drum-like about that dynamite explosion. The production lived and breathed the air of reality. The cast was uniformly strong. with Edward Woods dominating the first act and Clark Gable com- manding the revolt in the second and third acts. Russell Hopton supported nobly as a tiiird convict, and in the other cells. Earl Dwire as "Red" Kirby, John Lester Johnson as a colored killer, and Paul Fix as a young poet driven mad by the shadow of the chair, all contributed impressive per- formances. James Gordon ap- peared as' principal keeper, Kings- ley Benedict as the priest, William Wagner as a spouting evangelist, Fernando Rodriquez and George Hoffman as newspaper reporters, and V. Talbot Henderson. Adrian Morris, Mike Spooner and George La Mont as guards. "The Last Mile" is nobody's pink tea, and nothing is left un- said, but it is a show that should be paraded before the eyes and ears of every one of voting age throughout the entire country. Yeates. 'WHISPERING GALLERY' PRESIDENT THEATRE (Reviewed June 1) Bloody murder, by strangulation and by "knife, with attempted mur- ders and a suicide by way of gar- nish, touched up by whispering voices, sudden darknesses and screams, make this mystery "com- edy" a charming bedtime story for the whole family. With the aid of two able bodied authors, Percy Robinson and Ter- ence de Marney. this pleasant Brit- ish fantasy, dripping blood ^ at every pore, is designed to elicit shudders, moans and screams, with an occasional laugh, from its audi- ence. It accomplished that with fair success. A prologue, 30 years before the action of the main play, pictures a murderer gloating over the body of a wife he believed unfaithful. Dialogue between the murderer and a hunchback servant reveals the existence of a young son whom said murderer will not believe to be his own. Act one brings back the son to the ancient, desolate house after having been a world wanderer, now host to a house party. There is another murder, then' two acts of talk and mys- tery business in which the cast moves, in vain and empty circles, in order to provide the required thrills. Irving Mitchell plays both the murderer father and the grown-up son and does a very fair job. Vic- tor ' Rodman plays the hunchback servant role. Comedy is provided by a silly ass Englishman charac- ter contributed by Evan Thomas, who created the part in the orig- 1 London production. He showed pressing with his sincerity. Thomas HELEN BURKE Featured in Fanchon and Marco's "GOODFELLOWS IDEA'' Thanks to Fanchon and Marco and Gae Foster Good Luck and Best Wishes to Rodney and Lloyd Pantages My Sincere Appreciation to Fanchon and Maurco HELEN FETCH Buster Shaver and his Tiny Town Revue Week June 12, RKO Los Angeles ina. _ . his famiharity with the role in his smooth handling of it. Lulu Mae Hubbard and Paul McGrath were assigned a brother- sister partnership, whose only rea- son for being in the plot was to act suspiciously, which they did capably enough. James Durkin and Helen Keers were cast as Sir Hugh and Lady Elliott, the latter a foil for the comedian and the former, mentioned in the pro- logue as the probable lover, brought in also for the audience to suspect of the second murder. Flora Bramlev contributed her blonde loveliness as the young bride of the comedian, and also added her voice to the screamfest. James Burtis acted as the inevit- able scary colored servant, and Joseph De Stefani was'a detective, who made himself unpleasant to all concerned but did do a little towards solving the mystery. Even a liberal mind might have a little difficulty classing this as wholesome entertainment. The thrills are manufactured. As a vehicle, the play does not impress as being very important. The de- tails of staging and presentation however, are up to the usual Henry Henry Duffy standard. Yeates, 'WINGS OVER EUROPE' COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE PASADENA He who would benefit humanity must submit to crucifixion. Many have discovered this for themselves, and it is rediscovered by Robert Nichols and Maurice Browne in their piece of collaboration misti- tled "Wings Over Europe." A young English physicist, Fran- cis Lightfoot, calls upon the British cabinet and announces he has dis- covered how to control the atom, which gives him the po\yer not only to create any material sub- stance at will, but also to cause the disintegration of any object. It is his plan to give his discovery to the world and thus bestow on all men the power to supply every hu- man need, bringing about "The Golden Mean" and freeing man- kind from slavery. The members of the cabinet find it difficult to comprehend the sig- nificance of this discovery, ^ and when they do, want to use it to further empirical domination. The secretaries of army, navy and air see it as a terrific weapon, but young Lightfoot will have none of that. He wants the whole world blessed, but they assure him the world is not ready for it. He gives them an awe-inspiring demonstra- tion, following which they decide he must destroy his secret or be imprisoned for life. He circum- vents this by threatening the de- struction of any many who lays a hand on him. After many hours of agonizing debate the cabinet summons the young man back to tell him they capitulate, but he surprises them by declaring that he himself will ca- pitulate; that Nature permitted him to discover the secret because the time for the discovery had come and that someone else would soon rediscover it, and that humanity not being ready for it, he would destroy the world and all in it. He gave them fifteen minutes to make peace with whatever gods they had, and left them, promising to return and take the journey with them. That fifteen-minute period proved a tremendously dramatic episode, revealing the various personalities reduced to their elements in the face of death. The thirteen men of the cabinet all believed themselves powerless, save one. The secretary of war decided to do something about it, and did, resultiujEr in the dramatic realism being with a Sunday school Henry carried off the role of Prime Minister with remarkable poise, considering his slender years, and Joseph Sauers, as secretary of war, was conspicuously powerful. Gil- mor Brown, director of the produc- tion, accepted the part of Evelyn Arthur, secretary of state for for- eign affairs, and missed being im- pressive as one of the chief spokes- men and friend of young Light- foot through being too much like the minister of "Candida." The production as a whole was quite impressive. The direction was good, the subject matter unusual, and the single set very well done. Support roles were well filled by Richard Yates as Lord Privy Seal; Onslow Stevenson as Lord High Chancellor; Robert Morkill as Chancellor of the Exchequer; Fin- lay McDermid as secretary for Home Affairs; Guy R. McComb as secretary for Dominions; Freeman Ambrose as secretary for Air; Eu- gart Yerian as First Lord of Ad- miralty; Harvey Eagleson as Pres- ident of Board of Education; Ar- thur Fitzrichard as Attorney Gen- eral, and Ray Glass as First Com- missioner of Works. Bits were contributed by Ashton Wells, Lad- die Knudson, Al Willard, Murray Yeats and Paul Huston. Yeates. 'AMONG THE MARRIED' GEARY SAN FRANCISCO Despite the fact that Vincent Lawrence wrote it and the Geary's ads in the dailies quote George Jean Nathan as saying, "Greatest show of the year," the theme of "Among the Married" irritated us. However, what the show may have lacked in coinciding with our own views was more than made up for by the excellent direction given it by Charles King, who also pro- duced. The story revolves around the efforts of a golf star to win every woman he meets, particu- larly the married ones. He's okay with one but drops her in favor of another who is m love with her husband. But when she discovers the husband is unfaithful to her she phones the golf star, they have an affair and then she confesses to her husband. They agree to con- tinue as man and wife provided each is free to do as he or she pleases. Robert Frazer does the part of the faithless husband, presenting a nice appearance and carrying his part well. As the dumb husband of the first faithless wife Howard Russell portrays an excellent char- acter in addition to getting the all too few laughs of the show. Dudley Ayres is the home wreck- ing golfster and is okay in the part. Barbara Brown handles her part of the first faithless wife in an easy, pleasing style. Miami Alvarez is the true wife. Although she has but a small part, that of the maid, Virginia Thornton makes it stand out. The cast is small and there is but one set, making a low nut on the show. An entre act entertainment John Wharry Lewis conducted the house orchestra through a group of popular and semi-classic tunes. Bock. SIGN RANCH BOYS Poplarity of the KHM Ranch Hour has resulted in a demand for the appearance of the artists in talking pictures and on phono- graph records. "Foreman" Frank Gage and his original Ranch Boys have been signed to make Erpi Multicolor Newsreels and Victor Recordings for release next month. CASE SET OVER The case against U. M. Dailey and V. M. Barnett, Hollywood film school heads charged with grand theft in connection with the opera- tion of their classes in acting, was set over to June 5 to permit the district attorney's office to sub- poena various stars whose names were allegedly used to draw pupils. Among those to be called are Col- leen Moore, Betty Bronson and John Gilbert, it is said. The Community Sing King MEL HERTZ A Riot of Song and Fun Daily at Fox El Capitan and at the San Francisco Fox Theatre Midnight Show SHOW PRINT E. 4th St., Los Angeles- MA. 1682 tale of adorned moral. In the role of younf? Lightfoot, Maurice Wells contributed an en- thusiastic performance, entering thoroughly into the part and im- Artistic Scenic Advertising Curtains By Far tli« Best in America CURTAIN PRIVILEGES BOUGHT FOR CASH OR SCENERY ChaSe F. Thompson Scenic Co. 1215 Bates Avenue Phone OLympia 2914 Hollywood. CaUf. GEORGE and FLORENCE BALLET MASTER AND MISTRESS Formerly 68 Successful Weeks Producing Weekly Changes in Australia's Largest Theatre THE STATE, SYDNEY Producers Desiring Originality WRITE or WIRE Permanent Address: INSIDE FACTS, Los Angeles EARLE WALLACE Always Busy Developing Dancing Stars but Never Too Busy to Create and Produce Onginal DANCE ROUTINES and REVUES That SeU Belmont Theatre Bldg^ First and Vermont Phone Exposition 1196 Los Angeles^ Calif. SU5 MURRAY SCMOOLy»°-5TA&E (Associates) Gladys Murray Lafe Page 3636 BEVEBLT BLVD. — Los Angeles — Tel. DU. 6721 PRACTICAL STAGE TRAINING STAGE TAP DANCING (In All Its Branches J BALLET— By SIGNOR G, V. ROSI HARVEY KARELS VALLIE SCHOOL OF DANCING 7377 Beverly Blvd. OR. 2688