Radio stars (Dec 1938)

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RADIO STARS she mentioned it, as well as the fact that it had been uncalled for. "Oh," he grinned, "next time I do that just say 'Phoney' to me." Sure enough, a few days later came an- other horrendous bellowing on the lady's phone. Recalling, she said: "Oh, phooey to you!" There was an instant's shocked silence ; then Royal laughed and said: "You win!" A great habit of his is scribbling "See me on this" across some letter or paper, then sending it to the person concerned. And while he doesn't make himself inac- cessible it's something of a trick to catch him in his office, with the result that the "see me" letters pile up. One of the boys collected a sheaf of them, all bearing the Royal "see me," clipped another paper to the top reading "Suppose you see me!" Royal did. Admittedly a driver, Royal, used to the theatre's seven-day-week, comes in almost every Sunday. Even though it may not be necessary he wants at least one of his department heads to be there also, if the net result is only sitting around chinning. So the others alternate in coming to the office Sunday, to keep the boss company. He has the knack, too, of doing the right thing at the right time; of making just the right gesture, whether it be solicitously standing in the wings with a towel for the maestro. Toscanini, or sending coffee and sandwiches to control men on a late shift. And they're more than mere gestures— he's sincere about them. And he covers a very real shyness by raging if anyone ever tries to thank him. His acquaintances and friends are legion ; he can hardly go anywhere in this country or abroad without finding a dozen or so persons he knows. And while one is ad- mittedly either a Royal "fan" or completely baffled by him. he has many more friends than enemies. Working with him is some- thing of a strain; one has to be able to "take it." for his sheer nervous energy will wear down a man who can't. But of all those associated with him daily none seems to resent him. Certainly, life around the Royal man of radio is never dull! ANYTHING FOR A LAUGH! Continued jrom pat/e 37) such day "Uncle Jim" sought out Allen in a hotel room, which he had rented to get utterly away from the world. He thought he had fooled everybody, even "Uncle Jim." So when the latter appeared. Fred looked up from his drawing board and peevishly drawled, "You know I can't be disturbed, today of all days. It cramps my style." "Uncle Jim" gave a spoofing smile and picked up a page of Allen's manuscript where he had crowded those famous tiny scrawls of his into as little space as possible, as if his life depended on an economy of space on paper. "Your style's been cramped for years, and you've done all right," he said. Fred smiled. "Okay, let's have it." My particular blues-fader is Scotty Bates. You have never heard Scotty on the air, though if you've ever attended one of our stage shows you've seen him—the goof who wanders in too late with the announcement cards and who clowns around a lot with Poley McClintock. I never know what Scotty's going to do next, on the stage or off. Once, right in the middle of a solemn glee club number, he rode across the stage on a velocipede. I take my glee club numbers very seriously. I was rather offended when I heard the audience laughing. I guess it was about 1924 when I met Scotty. I was out on the Coast with the Peiuisxlianians and we were making our first really big hit in Sid Grauman's the- atre. The band had come up pretty fast and I imagine the business of being famous had got me. At least, I liked all the head waiters to recognize me when I walked into a restaurant for dinner. One night I went to the theatre. There weren't many seats and I raised pretty much of a ruction with a kid usher for not seeming more anxious to find me a couple. He listened to me with a look of unmistakable disgust. "Who do you think you are?" he asked me. This is an old question, and not very original, but some people can put an awful lot into an old chestnut like that. I told him who I was. He didn't seem to give a hoot in you know what. He had a very funny voice and he looked very funny, just a fresh kid with a mad face, telling me off. I had to laugh. I asked him to come around to our theatre some night. Now Scotty couldn't play anything but a ukulele, and that very badly, but* when we left Los Angeles I had hired him. I gave him a job—that of building up a music library and keeping it in order. But it was Scotty's sense of humor I had actu- ally hired—that and his peculiar ability for making me feel human. High pressure can make temperaments and temperaments can make people crabby, and if they have a little power along with the crabbiness they can take it out on other people. I know I'm on the safe side as long as Scotty's around to turn it all into a laugh. I have had any number of tiffs with him. I have even fired him. But he's an audacious clown and I have to have him around. The last personal appearance tour we made', the boys in the band were feeling a little sour on me on account of my in- sistence on a freshly shaven crew, freshly pressed uniforms, etc. Scotty took a way of telling me off that the audience also en- joyed. He refused to shave and would come walking lazily onto the stage like some old stumble-bum, his clothes sloppy, scratching his head, etc. I couldn't help laughing, and besides I was beaten at the start because the audience loved his goofy pantomiming. What could I do? I don't know that there is any moral to all this. But it occurs to me that this season there may be certain innocent young things who wish to be associated with radio stars in the radio business, as assis- tants. And I would offer them this advice —take the job seriously but not the star. Never be awed or frightened by a show business personality or you will never un- derstand him, nor he understand you. -YOUU NiVfR MIH • WITH A PACK OF TEABERRK Sht Red Package! CLARK'S IEABERRY GUM 69