Movieland. (1950)

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* In the fall of 1938, I was crossing the campus at the University of California (in Berkeley) weighted down with the responsibility of casting the lead for the next University play. I was not the regular drama coach at the University; I had spent most of my life in Little Theatre work, true, but I was at the Uni¬ versity for only one year to relieve the holder of the coaching position while he completed a project of his own. The play was, for that period in history, a daring one; it dealt with much the same theme as “Gentle¬ man’s Agreement,” so I wanted the male lead to be dynamic, personable, but above all to give the im¬ pression of fearless candor. In brief, I had in mind a young, but handsome, Lincoln. I was more than ordinarily anxious to produce a series of hits, and to provide a certain . amount of theatrically challenging material. That was why I had chosen “Rain From Heaven” as the play and why I was in such a quandary about casting it. It was then that I noticed this student. He was loping along ahead of me, obviously bent on keeping an appointment. His movements were hurried, but nicely coordinated. He had the sort of lean, lanky grace one associates with a yearling colt. A heavy dark forelock fell forward ( Please turn to phge 88) Greg Peck will howl with embarrassed amusement when he reads this tribute from the man who discovered him way back when . . While wooing Greta, Greg told her he was a real Indian. “I did that to gain her attention . , . she was awfully popular.” Tiny Steve is only too happy to give up tagging after big brother Jonathan when Dad's around for a football tussle. 44