Movieland. (1950)

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AMERICAN STUDIOS, Dept. 384, LaCrosse, Wis AMAZING CREAM REMOVES UNSIGHTLY HAIR QUICKLY , SAFELY Acts Below “Razor Line” Without Cutting or Scraping Legs The modern way to remove ugly hair from your legs is with Neel® Cream Depilatory. It works deeper than a razor, be¬ low the surface of the skin. Safer too from razor cuts and scratches. Neet leaves tender skin soft and smooth, free from razor stubble. Just apply Neet like any cream, then rinse off and hair disappears like magic. HOW GREG GOT THAT WAY I Continued from page 45 1 over his right eye, and he tossed his head in impatience to bob it aside. I followed him to the building in which I was to conduct a series of tryouts, and was pleased to see him enter the club room of The Thespians, a drama-appre¬ ciation club. When I reached my particular group of students, I described the chap whom I had just seen and asked who he might be. “You are probably referring to Greg¬ ory Peck,” I was told. “He’s a junior engineering student. He’s interested in theatricals, but mostly on an observation basis.” “Ask him to see me as soon as possible,” I said. “I want him to read for me.” Gregory put in an appearance the fol¬ lowing afternoon. He grinned when I asked if he’d like to do the lead in “Rain From Heaven,” and said he didn’t want to ruin the play for me. But he agreed to read a few scenes. His voice proved to be resonant, nicely placed, and flexible. He had two rare qualities for one so young: quiet dignity and sincere simplicity. These were a part of his native makeup, but they “came through” beautifully, in a dramatic sense, in his reading of lines. He was not — and this fact is of vital importance to all youngsters who aspire to act — what is called a “born” actor. I told him as much, but added that he would be perfect for the part I had in mind, if he would work. Work! Never before and seldom since have I seen such concentration. He fol¬ lowed direction intelligently and with imagination. Quickly, he picked up all the little tricks a novice must learn. He had one funny mannerism. When he was read¬ ing lines, during the first few days of rehearsal, I complained that he was not giving certain words or phrases their proper color. I coached him in what I considered to be a better manner of delivery. “Phrase the lines differently,” I instructed. “Break up that long sentence at this point . . . and again here.” I made pencil checks on the script. Gregory went at the task with a will. My head turned to one side so that I wouldn’t be distracted by watching him, I listened to Gregory’s reading of the pas¬ sages. He had caught my exact inten¬ tion. From that point we went on to other scenes which we rehearsed the same way. “Now,” I said, “we will start over from the beginning.” Gregory had spoken about half a dozen lines when I realized that, in learning to phrase correctly, he had acquired the habit of clenching each hand — at the end of a phrase — into a fist. It was as if his dialogue were encased in a tube, like paint, and he squeezed out a bit at a time to color his word pictures. I decided to say nothing then in hopes that once his lines, timing, inflection and phrasing were set in memory, he might drop the habit without ever having be¬ come conscious of it. It didn’t work that way. The deeper we went into the play, the more persistently our leading man flexed his fists. I gave him bits of business to do that would occupy his hands, but the moment he had to stand still for a few seconds, he re¬ sumed his milking of the air. Finally I had to call it to his attention. Thereafter we had a rugged few days, because Gregory was so busy trying to remember not to close his fists that he couldn’t remember his lines. . In spite of Gregory’s glum predictions, the play finally opened. He was an instant success. The day after the rave notices were printed in the school paper, Gregory came to my office and said laconically, “I guess I’ve been bitten by that old bug. I never really knew what I wanted to do until now. I didn’t care a lot for engineer¬ ing, but it seemed the most sensible course after I had dropped my pre-med work. Now I’m going to give up being sensible. I’m going into the theatre.” “For you,” I told him, meaning every word of it, “it is sensible.” I left the University at the end of that semester and returned to the job of run¬ ning my own theatre, but I didn’t lose touch with Gregory. The next fall I re¬ ceived a comic postal card on which was pictured a man with huge hands. “I’m still going it,” Gregory had scrawled. He didn’t sign it; he knew I’d know. Eighteen months passed and I received another card, this time postmarked New York. Gregory had written, “Serving as guide at Radio City; know my lines well. No fist clenching.” Somewhat later I received a picture postal card from the Barter Theatre in Virginia. As you probably know, the audience pays its admission to Barter performances by bringing foodstuffs to the box office. Gregory had written, “Must be showing progress. Last night I earned an extra-large Virginia ham.” From New York friends I next learned that Gregory had joined the cast of Katharine Cornell’s road company of “The Doctor’s Dilemma.” It wasn’t much of a part: he had four lines in the show, earned fifty dollars per week, and was also serving as assistant-stage manager. Having only this information, I think I am to be pardoned for my bewilderment when I received a picture of a fullpanoplied Indian Chief postmarked some small midwestern town. Gregory had written merely, “Now I’m an Indian.” Several weeks later I was trying on overcoats in a San Francisco haber¬ dashery when I heard a familiar voice arising from the opposite side of the double-backed mirror. “Don’t you have something,” Gregory was asking the salesman, “that will make me look twenty pounds heavier and two inches shorter?” “With pockets twenty inches deep to hide your fist-clenching?” I said over the mirror. Gregory stuck his head over and, grin¬ ning from ear to ear when he recog¬ nized me, bounded around to shake hands. He sa?d he’d been trying to get in touch with me because he had tickets for my wife and me to see “The Doctor’s Dilemma.” “It’s a great show. Miss Cornell is mar¬ velous, of course. If you don’t blink, you will have a chance to catch my four-line performance.” “How are things anyhow?” I demanded. Solemnly, with only the comers of his mouth flicking a little, he said, “Fine. New Honor has come to me. Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from the Call-Bulletin. Local boy makes good.” I asked what he meant by the Indian gag. “Oh, that,” he said, shaking his forelock out of his eyes. “I told a girl in our tour¬ ing company that I was a full-blooded Indian, Blackbottom tribe. Had to do something to gain some attention. She’s awfully popular.” “Any reservations yet?” I wanted to '"now.