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NORMA TALMADGE IN HER FIRST TALKING FILM Personality and Feature Stories "NEW YORK NIGHTS” Noted Scribe Declares Norma Talmadge Only Screen Star in Class with Great Actresses Few actresses on the screen pos¬ sess the fine points of dramatic gen¬ ius, the even temperament and the charm and beauty, in such generour proportions as does Norma Tal¬ madge, star of the musical, all-dia¬ logue screen drama, “New York Nights." In a recent voluntary tribute printed in a national magazine of tremendous circulation, Adele Rog¬ ers St. John has this to say: * The screen today has produced among its great stars only one great actress. Understand that when I say actress, I mean just that. 1 do not mean fascinating personalities nor ravishing beauties. I mean such ac¬ tresses as Duse, Ellen Terry, Maude Adams, Calve, Rejane, Ada Rehan, Emily Stevens, Katherine Cornell and Pauline Lord. Norma Talmadge alone can join this illustrious com¬ pany. She is the screen’s one and only great actress.” Fascinated by the alluring stories of motion pictures, Miss Talmadge, while in her early high school years, played hookey" one sultry day and visited a Flatbush studio in Brook lyn not far from her home. By chance she was given an extra part to do in a one-reel comedy called “The Camera Fiend.” She was the fiend who rushed into scene after scene with her head hidden by a focussing cloth. Not once did hei face show. She was disappointed. The picture was later called “The Pest.” She must have done this rather well, for three weeks later she was cast opposite Maurice Costello The First Violin,” a sentimental two-reeler that did much= to make Costello the idol he became. Later she appeared in Vitagraph’s “Tale of Two Cities,” under the di¬ rection of J. Stuart Blackton, and her ride to the guillotine with Cos¬ tello is 8till believed to be one of the classic bits of acting on the screen. Her salary at the time was $25 weekly, half of which went into the purchasing of cosmetics and pic¬ ture make-up. Miss Talmadge was born in 1897 at Niagara Falls, where she finished grammar school. Her family moved to Brooklyn and placed her in Eras¬ mus Hall from which place she might have graduated but for that chance job at the Vitagraph studio. Her quick rise in motion pictures was inevitable. She had great po¬ tential ability and a rare photograph¬ ic beauty and the driving force of ambition behind her. For years she played opposite Carlyle Blackwell and other early stars and then began the migration to California that was to spell the satisfaction and position of stardom for her. Her first picture in Holly¬ wood was “Captivating Mary Car- stairs” directed by Bruce Mitchell. It was in the state of perpetual sunshine that the star made her first picture with Eugene O’Brien, "Pop- Py- Then followed in order “The Moth, By Right of Purchase,” Ghosts of Yesterday" and “The Safety Curtain.” Perhaps no actress of stellar im¬ portance ever embarked on a more energetic career than Miss Tal¬ madge. She averaged four and sometimes five pictures a year until 1922 when she entered upon a schedule of more elaborate produc¬ tions, limiting her output to but two pictures a year. She made "Smilin’ Through,” Secrets, The Lady,” “Graustark,” and Kiki,” all tremendous suc¬ cesses. Her association with Gilbert Roland, who is her leading man in 'New Ynrlr Mirrkfo ** York Nights,” began with ^Camille, and extended through to "The Dove” and “The Woman Disputed.” Miss Talmadge estimates that she has made more than 200 pictures during her career in films. New York Nights” her first talk¬ ing picture, comes to the . theatre on . Hollywood Paradise for the Song Writer NORMA TALMADGE - Star ot "NEW YORK NIGHTS" I —Two Column Star Scene Head (Mat 10c; Cut 50c) $40 MAKES ACTOR OF BULL FIGHTER Milestone Entered Films Via U. S. Army The reputation of being the best comedy director in Hollywood, is an honor young Lewis Milestone wears with a characteristic disre¬ gard. He is only thirty years of age but has spent exactly twelve of them in motion picture work as a camera¬ man, a film editor and director. Milestone is essentially an inter¬ preter of humor on the screen, al¬ though his recent works have dem¬ onstrated he is thoroughly alive to the value of the finer emotional expressions. Last year the Academy of Mo¬ tion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him the first annual prize for meritorious comedy direction in “Two Arabian^ Knights.” Since then he has made “The Racket,” a dy¬ namic drama of the underworld. Better proof of his versatility could not be had. His widely-heralded triumph ii The Racket” was responsible fo* his engagement by United Artists to make Norma Talmadge’s debut in talking films, “New York Nights,” a lively musical representation of New York’s Tin Pen Alley /and Roaring Forties—the home of Amer¬ ica’s popular songsters. “New York Nights” comes to the. theatre on. Actor’s Spanish Is Entree to Show Game Milestone was born in Imperial Russia. He emigrated to the United States early in 1914 when he was scarcely fifteen years old. Even then he had decided to make motion pic¬ tures his career. When the United States entered the world conflict, he became associated with th e camera division of the United States Army. It was in the army that he learned the rudiments of the film business. The armistice ended his semi¬ military career and he traveled to Hollywood, then badly in need of motion picture technicians. He op¬ erated cameras, wrote scenarios and edited film. He wanted to direct an< ^.. was £* ven his first opportunity i n The Seven Sinners,” a comedy that established him. He then chose to direct Owen Moore in “The Cave Mam another comedy. Then he did “The New Klondike” one of the best of the Thomas Meighan star¬ ring vehicles. Howard Hughes, the wealthy young oil man, was forming, the Caddo Productions at the time. He had personally enjoyed the Mile¬ stone pictures and he selected the young director to film the first pic¬ ture on his program, “Two Arab¬ ian Knights.” Roscoe Karns, the rollicking drunk of “New York Nights” Nor¬ ma Talmadge’s first talking picture which comes to the.theatre on .is one of the very few actors engaged in mo¬ tion picture work who can lay claim to being a native son of Cali¬ fornia. He was born in San Bernar¬ dino and attended school at the University of Southern California. The lure of the stage took him to San Diego at the age of seven¬ teen before he could graduate from college. He was given a part in a play called “Under the Bear Flag” because he knew how to pronounce occasional Spanish words that crop¬ ped up in the play. From this humble beginning he went into stock, up and down the Pacific Coast. He next joined Mar- jorie Rambeau as her leading man in “The Lion and the Mouse” tour. Later he appeared in sup¬ port of the star in “Eyes of Youth.” Florence Reed selected Karns dur¬ ing one of her Western invasions to play opposite her in “The Mas¬ ter of the House.” From that play Karns went into rehearsal for Oliver Morosco’s presentation of "Civilian Clothes. ’ The actor was four years with paramount doing pictures when he was not engaged in theatrical work He appeared in the Los Angeles Presentation of "The Front Page” and it was his sensational perform¬ ance in that newspaper satire that brought his vivid personality force¬ fully before the producers of motion Pictures. Since "The Front Page” he has not been idle a day. Karn’s specialty is playing drunks. LEGS LED TASHMAN TO FAME ON STAGE Gilbert Roland Speaks 4 Languages Fluently Gilbert Roland, who plays oppo- site Norma Talmadge in “New York Nights,” showing at the. theatre, speaks four languages flu¬ ently—his native Spanish, Italian, rrench and English. However, he v^ 8t i nC vf. himself to English in “New York Nights which is a lively rep¬ resentation of today’s Broadway, with a gay musical background. In addition to Miss Talmadge and Poland, John Wray, distinguished actor-playwright, Lilyan Tashman, Koscoe Karns and Mary Doran are cast Lewis Milestone, acknowl¬ edged leader of comedy directors, made the picture for United Art¬ ists. Gilbert Roland, the dark-haired, brown-eyed leading man of “New York Nights,” starring Norma Tal- W18e tadge, which comes to the. theatre on . was in¬ tended for the bull-fighting profes¬ sion in Spain. The quest of plaudits in the bull ring was undeniably his heritage—his father had been a fa¬ mous matador, and his father’s fa¬ ther and his great grandfather. The reason why he is not now hurling festive spears into his na¬ tion’s traditional bovine targets is a romantic one. He journeyed to Southern California from a visit to Mexico, five years ago. He liked the place and better still, he liked Holly¬ wood. Roland was then about eighteen years of age, and he learned with some misgivings that bull-fighting was not a recognized sport in the United States. However, he was quick to learn that there was then a fair livelihood in the cinema city for good-looking, ambitious young men working as “extras.” He haunted the gates of the mo¬ tion picture studios, playing “at¬ mosphere” here and a "bit" there. There was plenty of idle time in be¬ tween; more than he had estimated. He was "broke” more often than he was “flush.” He came to a momen¬ tous decision. Hollywood had ap¬ parently discouraged his efforts; he would go to Spain and try his for tune there where men, to paraphrase a good old Americanism, are mata¬ dors and matadors are men. amount necessary for passage. He tried borrowing it, but failed. No appeal to friendship or even to the sentiment of his countrymen would influence them in lending money to a young man so that he might leave the country: Roland gritted his teeth. He’d stay in Hollywood to show them. It so happened that Norma Tal¬ madge saw him in a picture. His role was insignificant, but he did it rather well and the star, believing he would make an ideal Armand in her "Camille,” called him for an interview and test. Roland made good in both with the result that overnight he was lifted out of the “extra” ranks to one of the most coveted acting assignments possible to a young player—Miss Talmadge’s leading man. His climb was rapid, almost sensational in its character. He next played opposite the star in Miss Talmadge’s “The Dove,” then ‘The Woman Disputed” and finally ‘New York Nights.” It is in this last named picture- ncidentally it is his first “talkie”- that Roland gives promise of being more than a capable leading man. The character he portrays, that of an indolent song writer is a choice acting role that he essays with re- irkable fidelity and skill. Roland is of average height. He is an expert boxer, fencer and horse¬ back rider. Lilyan Tashman, who plays “Peg- ,” the wise-cracking, Broadway- se chorus girl in “New York Nights,” starring Norma Talmadge, thinks there is no other place like New York City. Reason: she was born there. When very, very young as girls go, she timorously presented her¬ self at a theatrical agency and de¬ manded that she be given work as an actress. The clerk looked up at her in¬ solently. "Is that so?” Yes, ^aid Miss Tashman, in¬ nocently. I m ready to go on now.” Unfortunately, there was no work for a young aspirant who had never so much as been inside a dramatic theatre before. The day was not entirely lost, however, for the late Rudolph Kirchner, the famous col¬ orist and painter, saw her leaving the agency and assuming she was an actress out of work offered her temporary employment as his model. The arrangement, however, extended over a period of years during which she was the subject for many of the artist’s greatest canvases. Kirchner announced publicly once that she possessed the prettiest legs in the world. The pronouncement sent Miss Tashman scurrying out of the art class into the broil and flurry of the theatre. She won a place in the chorus. She could act also and be¬ fore long she appeared in such sue- cessful plays as "The Garden of Weeds, and The Gold Diggers.” She could sing, and that extra tal¬ ent earned her a featured “spot” in Ziegfeld’s Follies. By the time she gravitated to Hollywood she had considerable theatrical experience behind her, But he lacked forty dollars of the ® avoir ® faire and the reputation ror being the best dressed stage act¬ ress—all of which naturally enough attracted the attention of motion picture producers. While playing op¬ posite Edmund Lowe in “Ports of Call" for Fox, a real lif e romance developed between the pair and they slipped off one afternoon and were married. Her latest picture “New York Nights which presents Nor¬ ma Talmadge as a speaking star for the first time, comes to the .theatre on. Long live the Tin Pan Alley of Hollywood I With the producers of talking pic¬ tures running to theme songs, the composers and "pluggers," who used to bang their rented pianos from morning until night in Manhattan’s glamorous and noisy upper forties, have packed up their blank music sheets and moved to Hollywood. In the film city at the present time, according to Dave Dreyer, co- composer with A1 Jolson of “There’s a Rainbow Round My Shoulder," “Back in Your Old Back Yard,” "Me and My Shadow,” etc., more- than ninety-five per cent of New York’s "hit” writers are at work. The remaining five per cent, he said, are either on their way or will be within a few weeks. In Holly¬ wood popular composers earn from five to ten times their former sala¬ ries, with virtually a sure market for every song. Dreyer revealed that the song- riting industry was at its lowest ebb a year and a half ago when the first demand for specially written songs to exploit motion pictures brought the music publishing in¬ dustry back to an enviable position. "In the old days," he said, “it used to take from five to six months to popularize a number and our methods of exploiting it were ex¬ pensive and antiquated. We used song ‘pluggers’ exclusively to bring the virtues of the song to the pub¬ lic’s attention. “These men would hear of con¬ ventions and lesser gatherings and sing their songs. Sometimes the audiences numbered less than 200 persons, yet they considered the ef¬ fort well worth while. Eventually, if the song was good, it went over, and a tremendous sale of sheet music then had to be made before a slight profit was earned." Quoting an incident in his own experience, Dreyer pointed out that “A Year From Today," which he wrote in collaboration with A1 Jol¬ son for Norma Talmadge’s "New York Nights,” scheduled to open at the.theatre next . will enjoy a minimum sale of a million copies. “Because," he explained, "the combination of radio with talking pictures enables our product to be heard by millions at a time, and within a concentrated period. The driving force of constant repetition of the song by theatres advertising over the radios; the presentation of the musical number for months in the show houses of the country, and the added stimulus of records, make it impossible for anyone to miss hearing it.” Taking the Talmadge theme num¬ ber as an example, Dreyer stated that an orchestration of the song was placed with leading dance or¬ chestras, radio stations, prominent singers and the recording compan¬ ies, back in readiness for a common release date coinciding with the principal showings of the picture. Most of the New York song writers have taken quarters in rented bungalows on side streets north of Hollywood Boulevard. Al¬ ready they are congregating in an exclusive section and their practice thumpings of leased pianos is adding an alarming din to Hollywood’s peaceful night life. It is estimated that there are no less than 280 hit” composers in the film city. About fifty per cent of these ar e under yearly contracts to the major producing units. John Wray s First Appearance On Broadway as Extra Won Him Star Part in Next Engagement In the person of John Wray, actor- playwright, Broadway has loaned talking pictures one of its most dis¬ tinguished sons. Wray, who followed his stage per¬ formance with his film debut in Norma Talmadge’s starring musical and talking picture “New York Nights," adapted from that play, was born in Philadelphia. Wray learned about the theatre from act¬ ual barnstorming experience. After eleven years of arduous apprentice¬ ship, Wray thought he was ready for Broadway. He packed his be¬ longings and secured his first en- ga ? e ™ ent as a 8U P er >n Max Mar¬ gin's "Three Live Ghosts.” Although he made no appearance at all in Three Live Ghosts,” Marcin was so impressed by Wray that he en¬ gaged him to play the lead in "Sil¬ ence and the actor retaliated by turning in what is still considered the finest acting performance in twenty years. From then on, of course, Wray was set. He was engaged in leading roles in many of the sensational plays. Finally, he turned to writing and his first effort was “Nightstick ” a story of th e underworld in its relation to the police. It proved suc¬ cessful and was made into one of the greatest box office pictures of modern times, Roland West’s "Ali¬ bi. Now he is playing the same am made vivid in "Tin Pan Alley in the adaptation of that play for the screen "New York Nights," which comes to the. theatre on .