Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS Ralph Rainger, who has com- posed a whole lot of song hits, and Baby Rose Marie, eight- year-old ether star. You'll see her in "Interna- tional House," Paramount^ movie featuring radio favorites. She Defied the World DUT now, she was in the chorus, an u understudy for a featured singer, and blissfully happy. This day, as the show is about to start, the featured singer faints in the wings. Fanny is thrust on in her place. Still in her teens, weighing about eighty pounds, she was required to do the same num- ber a voluptuous adult woman with all the curves allowed by law had done. Hut she couldn't. With the spotlight's hard, white eye on her, she began to sing and to dance. With a Yiddish accent. With awkward, scared spon- taneous motions. The audience roared. Ffere was a comedienne. At the end, she was called before the curtain seven times. After that, the number was Fannie's. The lovely lady of the curves took Fannie's place in the chorus. So, by easy stages, she learned her business and attracted attention. When she was seventeen, Florenz Ziegfeld saw her at a benefit and hired her. Within a year, he had glorified her in the first of a dozen Follies in which she starred. And so we're back to Nicky Arn- stein again—Nicky, the Nemesis that dogged Fannie's life through those har- rowing years. She loved him blindly, boldly, without reservation. Fven when he proved himself unworthy of that love, she loved him. When everyone else was against him, she took his word against the world and believed him. At first, I think Fannie and Nicky were as happy as newlyweds could l>e. W hen a baby girl was born to them, (Continued from page 31) their delight in it and in each other was the talk of Broadway. Her friends began to wonder if they had been wrong about Nicky. If those rumors had been groundless. Could he be in- nocent after all ? Till the day the headlines of the newspapers screamed of a $5,000,000 bond robbery, a crime as sensational in its day as the Lindbergh kidnapping of last year. It shook the country. Police threw out dragnets, and found no one —and no bonds. Both robbers and loot had disappeared. Presently the chase steadied to a methodical, painstaking combing of all America for the crim- inals. The headlines turned to newer sensations. At home, one afternoon in the sump- tuous Arnstein-Brice apartment, Nicky got a phone call. Without packing, he put on his hat and coat, told Fannie good-by in these words. "I'm in a little trouble. I've got to go away for a while. It's best you don't know where." "Have you done anything that you shouldn't ?" "I've done a lot of things that I shouldn't," said Nicky, "but this time I want you to know I'm innocent. Please believe me and stick it out." And he left. Fannie got the stories from the eve- ning papers. Nicky was accused of having acted as a "fence" for the bond robbers. He was accused of having bought the stolen bonds and sold them to other buyers. The police claimed to have definite proof of his complicity. THAT was the beginning of Fannie's nightmare. Of course, she doubted the police proof. Hadn't Nicky, whom she loved, told her that he was inno- cent? Wasn't that enough for any wife? Certainly it was enough for Fannie. She was so loyal. It was no easy job. The police thought she knew where Nicky was. They thought she knew where the bonds were hidden. They tapped her telephone. They opened her mail. Followed her wherever she went. Searched her apartment and turned it topsy-turvy. Browbeat her with savage questions. But that wasn't the hardest part. Each night, she was on the stage of the Follies, a target for all eyes, and jibes. Each night, she sang and cut her cap- ers and did her high didoes while audi- ences told each other that that was Nicky Arnstein's woman. Some nights, there were hisses. She would go home and lie awake until nine or ten the. next morning. Of course, the strain began to tell. She longed for an answer to give those critics who blamed her for stand- ing by her husband. If he is innocent, tell him to come back and prove it, they said. She couldn't tell him because she had no idea where he was. Not even after a year had passed. Florenz Ziegfeld gave her the answer to the mob, quite by accident. One night he handed her a song and said, "Go out there and make them cry." That song was "My Man." She faced the audience, a new Fannie Brice. Singing, her vision was lost in 48