Radio stars (Sept 1933)

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RADIO STARS '•\Vhy not ?" "People might talk. Even if we know there's nothing wrong with our friendship, they'd say it's a violation of the proprieties." "Damn the proprieties!" said Beatrice. People didn't talk when they met again in New York. Xo one cared that much about the young couple which haunted theatrical agencies, which found its surcease from discouragements in fifteen-cent motion picture houses, or in the cool corridors of art museums.. No. the tongues of Broadway wag only about the famous. If this were just an ordinary tale of a struggle for success. I would tell you of the hardshii)s which the singer underwent. I would tell you of the callousness and lack of vision which managers and booking agents displayed toward the earnest young singer and the pretty young girl who strived so hard to make them see his worth. But when I tell you that for three hard years, she put aside thoughts of herself and gave her unfailing energy to help him in his struggle for recognition, you will agree that perhaps it is more than a commonplace story. "Damn the proprieties," she had said, and she meant it. If the singer would protest that she was making a great mistake to stick by him when striving seemed hopeless, laying herself oj^en to the criticism of those who could not under- stand her devotion, she would say: "Let them talk. I have nothing but contempt for their conventions and their thoughts. W'e know that we are doing nothing that isn't great and fine. That's enough. When you've made your way, we won't regret this." Yet the first tinge of success, which should have brightened the (Below) In the quiet home where the Street Singer's romonce has come true. (Above) Beatrice and Arthur Tracy entering their car— one of the many little niceties of life which his success has brought. singer's life, served only to increase the gloom which he tried so hard to hide from her. Even the first signifi- cant appreciation of his voice, dis- played by officials of New York's WMCA. failed to comfort him. There was still that worry about Beatrice. All during the days of hardship and poverty, he had studied the songs of many nations, in the hope that listeners would resjx)nd to songs of the lands from which they or their forbears came. And when this ambition began to be realized, an unrecognized tenor died and the man who was to become the Street Singer was born. Of course, ten or fifteen dollars a program was hardly wealth, but to him it seemed a fortune. That part of it was all right. Beatrice was happy as a child who's put the clock together again successfully. She was certain now that their efforts had not been in vain. Despite this, she dared not think too much of her growing love for him. He must go onward and upward. That came first. Afterward—but they must wait. She wasn't free, might never be. Sometimes it was torture to .see his hands drop from the piano keys, to see the unhapjMness which lined his sensitive face, as he lost himself in despairing thought. Some people thought that when his success on WMCA earned him a six weeks' trial on the Columbia network, he should have been bubbling with joy. Every mail brought in great piles of letters from listeners. He was placed on an evening hour vacated by Bing Crosby. Of- fers from sponsors poured in. If they had listened more carefully during the first months of his glory, those people would have detected a note of sadness in the voice of this vagabond of the air who roamed the streets of the world in his song. I watched him before the microphone in days. I knew why that look of longing came into his eyes as he .sang his theme : "Marta. rambling rose of the ivUdwood. Maria, with your fragrance divine. . . ." It carried him back to those blissful days in the woods of Maine where he strolled with Beatrice, innocently dreaming of .success and the day she would be his. Now that his future was (Continued on page 41) 6