Radio stars (Oct 1938)

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RADIO STARS know exist; of life as I have seen it lived. The central figure in Your Family and Mine is Win. the courageous and brave young mother whose love and wisdom keep the little Wilbur family together. And Win was inspired by my own mother, who had been a great humanitarian. She had been known for her good works in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I was born. And later, in Boston, she founded twenty Sunday-schools for slum children, and taught ethics. Mother believed in the essential goodness of us humans and that you could unite all races and creeds. Something of my mother goes into everything I write. She would have wanted me to share my experiences with the world. And, curiously, Arthur Brisbane knew that, too. He had a great admiration for my mother. I suspect now that is one reason why he gave me my first writing job. I have found a strong line of demarcation between writing for newspapers and radio. Newspaper articles are based on fact, woven into an interesting article through proper handling of the English language. Radio scripts are made interesting through imagination, thought, experi- ence and an understanding of what the public wants. Dialogue writing is a task in itself. A good newspaperman rarely makes a good continuity writer. A news- paper story attempts to picture a scene for a reader. In radio, descrip- tion is unnecessary, because all the action centers about the dialogue. Too, successful radio writers are realists. They do not write a line bubbling over with elegant phrases and put it into the mouth of a 17- vear-old high school boy. The suc- cessful writer knows and understands high school boys, and realizes that slang and colloquial expressions are more in keeping with the subject at hand than more beautiful and ex- pressive words which might read bet- ter in print. When I had reached a stand-off in general reporting, when I discovered that my emotions were too strong to succumb to the steadfast rule that a reporter must always come back with a story, and when I had violated this rule by keeping from print a story I was sent out to get, I sought other fields. Brisbane suggested that I try writ- ing an appealing piece in a daily newspaper on puzzling problems that come before young people. In a short note, he said: "Your mother is one of the most remarkable women I have ever met, and her daughter ought to be able to 'Big Sister' the world." I took the job. And I took my first radio job for the same reason— because your sincere radio writer is one of the few in the world today who can talk to that world. And in Your Family and Mine, I am talking to a world I know, through experience and study. Always before me, in my memory, are the words of the late Arthur Bris- bane : "Sit down at the typewriter at nine o'clock every morning, put your fingers on the guide keys—and write. And write so your Aunt Susannah in Keokuk can understand you." WEST COAST CHATTER id from page 59) Crosby, "and I'll give her a role in my picture." Dorothy whom even Bing had to admit was pretty near tops, is still a little amazed at what's happening. Said of course she'll be in the picture, but is still betting on the life of a car-hop for her three square meals a day. SPEAKING of square meals, we heard Jack Benny bemoaning the fact the other day that a guy never gets one. It was on the set of Artists and Models and the director had .just called time-out for lunch. "Lunch!" hissed Jack. "And what do I have to face? Another lettuce leaf and a spot of lamb chop." Gags, it seems, don't keep a waistline in trim, and Jack is forced to diet assiduously for the camera's ruth- less eye. "The irony of it all," he says sadly, "is that for years as a vaudeville trouper I looked forward to the day when I could order a six-course meal with non- chalance." THE same day Jack had a visiting blonde on the set. 14 was small Joan Benny, on her best behavior jor being allowed such a treat as watching her parent work on a movie set. But after the director had re- quested that Jack do a scene for the fourth time, Joan suddenly ruined the "take" by yelling in a 'worried voice: "Don't you think you'll ever get it right, Daddy?" DIDJA KNOW : That Dorothy (Venus) Lamour has a chocolate soda for break- fast? That Amos V Andy have donated a handsome silver trophy for the NBC tennis tournaments? That Cliff (Double-Talk) Nazarro, of Jack Benny's program, has been signed by M-G-M? That Maxine Sullivan is working in St. Louis Blues at 90 Florence George, radio's blonde beauty last heard on the Pack- ard Hour, is slated for a new program this fall. Paramount? That Lanny Ross has just finished a picture, but hasn't yet lined up a radio program ? That Eddie Cantor wears a bathrobe when rehearsing? That Raymond Scott and his Quintet are leaving Hollywood for New York concert appear- ances? That Hal Raynor, Joe Penner's song-writer, is spending his vacation build- ing a church? That he's the Rev. Raynor in private life? That Cecil B. DeMille uses the same arm-chair at Lux Theatre rehearsals that he uses on the Paramount sets, because it brings him luck ? That Jeanette MacDonald keeps the girlish figger by a ten-mile horseback ride every morning before breakfast—and then skips breakfast? That Judy Garland thinks Jackie Cooper is really something special? That Irene Rich pitched for the Stars' Pacific Coast League in one game? That Ozzie Nelson could make a living any day by cartooning? That Tyrone Power's sister, Anne, has turned down two screen and one radio offer to date since coming to Hollywood because she wants to lead a quiet and unpublicized life? That the mem- bers of the Eddie Cantor and Burns and Allen radio troupes are deadly enemies at the bowling alleys? That Charlie McCarthy still hasn't forgotten Shirley Temple? GRACIE ALLEN is crazy over horses, horses. She's followed the nags out at Holly- wood Park with more zeal than any star in town. George Burns isn't so enthused about betting on the bangtails, either for himself or the little woman. "If it's a nervous breakdown you're looking for," he says philosophically, "you might just as well have it quietly at home." HERE'S a new one. A comedian who insists she isn't funny! And, friends, it's no less than Fannie Brice. "I can only be funny when I'm using a good comedy scripter's gags," she confessed the other day. "Some people can keep you in stitches with their own witticisms—but I'm not one of them." S. A. by Art Color Printing Company. Dunellen, N. 3.