Movieland. (1950)

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Y. her daughter go on the stage but one summer when they were vacationing at Atlantic City the hotel manager saw Ellie perform and offered her a job. Then a talent agent saw her and signed her to dance at Ben Bemie’s famous sup¬ per club in New York City. Eleanor Powell managed to fill these night club engagements during her vacations and finished high school in her home town of Springfield, Mass. After that came Broadway shows and movies. Ellie says it was always fun but that it was a continuous grind of practice, performance, and practice again. Glenn’s career was similar insofar as work was concerned. He knew he al¬ ways wanted to be an actor and his parents didn’t object. They merely pointed out that to be a good actor he had to act. Therefore, all of his spare time during high school was spent in the workshop of the Santa Monica Com¬ munity Players. He recalls that he never had time for the normal amount of dat¬ ing or lolling on the beach that most California teen-agers enjoy. He was al¬ ways learning lines and helping to build stage scenery. His devotion to an art paid off; and right after graduation from Santa Monica High he landed a part in a professional road company. His appearance in the¬ atres near Los Angeles netted him a screen test. Columbia Pictures Corp. signed him to a contract on Oct. 1, 1939. Ever since that date he’s appeared in a steady stream of motion pictures except for wartime duty in the Marines. Since his discharge from the service Glenn hasn’t had a day off. At times he’s been studying the part for the next picture while he finishes the current one. I’ve seen him so tired that he almost falls asleep at the dinner table. As I collect my pay for the fun of playing with young Peter Ford, I tell myself that anybody can have a beau¬ tiful, happy home life, if only they’re willing to work for it. The Glenn Fords do. The End REUNION IN HOLLYWOOD (Continued from page 49 1 individualists, both full of plans for their careers, which would conflict with their overall program for marriage. Road block Number Two was the fact that their careers might take them apart and might, as it had with so many pro¬ fessional couples, make the marriage impossible. The friends were partially right about Point Two. The Douglas’ careers have kept them apart, much of their married life. Helen Gahagan left a brilliant position in the theatre to become an equally outstanding political figure, the Congresswoman from California. Her work, necessarily, keeps her in Wash¬ ington a major portion of the year. Husband Melvyn, back from the wars, is shoulder deep again in his Hollywood film career. More than this he finds time for some Broadway producing. At this writing he has a hit musical, “Call Me Mister,” which ran two years on Broad¬ way and which is now on the road. Professionally and geographically the careers of Melvyn and Helen have, in¬ deed, taken them apart. But the friends were wrong about Point One. In spite of these formidable obstacles, the Douglas family, father, mother and three youngsters, found it possible to remain close together during these fifteen years bound by ties of spirit when geography intervened to separate them. More than this, their marriage has been so successful in spite of the barriers that the project is the envy of more than one Hollywood couple who share the same roof twelve months of the year with no conflicting careers — and with no particu¬ lar enthusiasm. The secret of the successful marriage at-long-distance formula worked out most unconsciously by Melvyn and Helen is really simple — and, like most simple things — profound. To begin with, Helen and Melvyn agreed from the outset that making mar¬ riage work long distance, or within the confines of a home, was basically a mat¬ ter of doin’ what comes naturally — and honestly. They met when Helen was offered the lead in David Belasco’s “Tonight or Never.” Melvyn was being considered for the leading role opposite her. Helen Gahagan, being above all a completely frank and forthright person, expressed some misgivings about the ability of this young actor since he hadn’t had too much experience. It was equally natural and honest for Douglas to resent the skepticism of his future wife, then to be intrigued by her honesty of state¬ ment, so much so that he determined to win the role. He did. Along with it, he won the star. It was natural too that they should both want a honeymoon after a long period of work without vacation. But both of them realized their responsi¬ bility to the hit play and the actors in it, and decided they would hold the honeymoon off until the show closed. The play ran for two years! During that waiting period the couple made en¬ chanting plans for a wonderful European jaunt. On the liner Europe-bound certain interesting symptoms, not entirely due to seasickness, caused Mr. and Mrs. Doug¬ las some consternation. As soon as they docked, instead of remaining in Paris, they continued on to Rome where Mr. Douglas’ mother was living. She recom¬ mended an American doctor who told Mrs. Melvyn Douglas, “You are in ex¬ cellent health. In about eight months you should become the mother of a lusty infant.” The doctor said he had never heard of a prospective mother continuing a tour of the world but as long as she felt all right, he could see no reason for changing plans. So the honeymoon continued, allowing Mrs. Douglas just enough time to arrive in Los Angeles for the birth of her son. She had enjoyed herself thoroughly, and had never known an instant’s discomfort. Not so her devoted husband. He suffered intermittent physical unhappiness from the moment of the doctor’s announce¬ ment until his son arrived safely. When Helen Gahagan and Melvyn Douglas came to Hollywood, lured by motion picture studios who were then beginning to raid Broadway, they had every right to anticipate parallel careers. However, as in the case of many of the stage’s dynamic talents, Helen Gahagan was dissatisfied with her parts. On the other hand the motion picture camera discovered in Mr. Douglas not only high romantic implications, but a flair for high comedy. Both talents were employed to the full in such pictures as