Radio stars (June 1933)

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RADIO STARS tainer, how to entertain. He says he decided to throw up the whole show. Well, let him have his story. A grown man doesn't break down and tell the world that he wants to go home to his wife. It sounds too school-boyish. Al's crowd is smart and sophisticated; to a lot of them, marriage is an old- fashioned custom, and a successful mar- riage is a miracle. They don't under- stand Al and Ruby or what they mean to each other. But the rest of us do, I think. As for me, I'm proud to know a guy who can turn his back on a $5,000-a-week job and refuse the offer of a $10,000 one because he holds other things more precious to him than money. Call it interference, if you wish. Call it mike-fright. Or inability to work without an audience. Or illness. Let him come back to the kilocycles tomor- row with a new program of the sort he wants to do—and he'll be back some of these days, you can bet. Still, none of these things change the fact that, for Al, three thousand miles was too great a distance to be separated from his wife. We know—you and I—that Al Jol- son quit the air to go home. Voodoo On the Air (Continued from page 33) That is the John Henry who is on the air. That is the mighty roisterer brought to you by the Columbia Broad- casting System and played by a man named Juano Hernandez, whose ances- tors also came from the heart of the African jungle. Three qualities, says Hernandez, make a negro a hero among the Southern labor gangs. First, he must be power- ful in his strength; second, he must be bad; and third, he must be a success with the ladies. John Henry, the legend says, was a powerful, bad ladies' man. Into the shoes of such an incredible character has stepped Hernandez. With him is a cast of actors and actresses who pour themselves into the drama until they have backaches and headaches. Rose McClendon, noted Negro actress, confessed this recently after acting the part of the "conjure woman." I wish you could watch these folk at work. Juano, for instance, leading* the chants and looking like a witch doctor drawing the "debbil" out of his subjects. And Geraldine Garrick, who adapts the script from Bradford's book, ever alert and ready with directions. Juano Hernandez understands the part he plays better, I think, than any- one else in the world. His whole life seems to have been a search for this very production. As a youngster, he hungered after knowledge. That hunger took him from Paris to North Africa, in time. And then to America. CIX years he spent in the South—first doing a "strong man" act on a negro vaudeville circuit, then touring a host of plantation supply houses, shacks, and small town halls in an exhibit of his own. Intermittently, he worked with negroes in road construction and lum- ber camp gangs. He got to know this type of negro—big, imaginative, and poetic. He saw deaths, whippings, and the power of superstition. He heard them sing their chants—"Ain't He a Mighty Man"—and, in mournful repetition, "Dry Bones in de Valley." Down on the levees, along a sun-baked road. These spirituals and chants could be carried only in the memory, imprinted there indelibly along with the despair and happiness of the toiling man, though the rhythm itself was in Juano's blood. To Africa, Juano finally went him- self. In Africa, despite his collar and tie, and his hard-won education, he watched the natives with infinite re- spect and curiosity. He noted that those in sea-port towns were disturbed and spoiled by civilization. They were con- scious of tourists curiosity—as aware as Greenwich Villagers attempting to look "arty" for visitors. QNE day he went so far as to peer cannily through a hole in the fence surrounding an Ubangi village. He chose a time when no white people were hanging around to see the sights. What he saw when the Ubangis were unaware of an audience, tickled his sense of humor. They were being themselves, relapsing into nudity and happy African gossip. Another time, though, he saw some- thing different. This night, red flames gleamed under an ebony sky and showed in a hundred gleaming highlights on weaving, stamping thighs. Here, too, the moon was copper colored and the sky was black. A time for deviltry and bewitchings. Juano will never forget it. All these things—all the fruit of his years of experience among the people he knows and understands—go into his interpretation of John Henry. On the air, in the midst of blood- curdling adventure or laugh-provoking hilarity, he never pulls his punches. It isn't John Henry's nature—or Juano Hernandez'. Like the character, he says, "I b'lieve I'll be gittin' around. I got a eetch on my heel and a run-around on my weary mind. I got to scratch my feet on strange ground and rest my weary mind on a strange pillow." That's a clue to this mighty man of Negro mythology. A clue, too, to the sort of programs you'll hear when the sun has set these summer evenings and a copper moon spreads its warning that there is voodoo on the air. SEE WALTER WINCHELL'S CLEVER WAY OF MAKING HIMSELF FAMOUS. IN OUR NEXT ISSUE Married a Man —on the Rebound!" ONE moment I was one of hundreds of girls busily at work in his fac- tory. The next, I was in his private office, witness to an amazing drama. He had been having a furious scene with his faithless wife. "Any girl," he said scornfully, "any girl out there in my shop would make me a better wife than you've been. And I'll prove it!" That was where I came in! "Miss Burke," he said to me, as if he were transacting a business deal, "I shall be divorced in a fAw months. When I am free, will you be my wife?" Why did Laura Burke ever accept such an astounding proposition ? "Mad Marriage," a book-length true story, appearing complete in this month's MOD- ERN ROMANCES, (rives you the answer. The stirring, real-life experience of a real girl, it will strike home to you with a force never equalled by fiction. And you'll get real thrills from the many other true stories in this remarkable magazine. Get acquainted with MODERN ROMANCES and the absorbing true experiences which it brings each month—at the unusually low price of 10c. n Modern Romances A magazine of true stories for only lOe Astrology What do the Star* Predict for 1933? Will it I. r a rear of success? Would you like to know? Our special lo-pagc Astrologies! Read- ing icives prediction*, month by month - with exact days, dal»-» and nappenirifc-rt fur 1^33 based on your sbzn of the Zodiac. Consult it before ■ makin* any chance in home or business affairs. |V1 mtrnina papers, love, marriage, seeking employ - IV menl raises in salary, speculation, travel, I ■ friends, enemies, health, accidents, lucky days. ■ ■ etc. Send exact birthday with SI.00 for readmit. Franklin Pub. Co., 800 N. Clark St.. Dept. 2347, Chicago 49