Radio stars (Sept 1933)

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RADIO STARS B. A. Rolfe—orchestra leader supreme—is the perfect example of the man who can take mis- fortune with a smile and actually start over again without any silly false pride BOUNCES BACK! IF r believed in the super- natural. I would think tiiere was some mischievous spirit that influenced the amazingly spasmodic quirks in Rolfe's career. l*2ven as a child these ups and downs were evi- dent. When he was eleven (let's see, that was back in 1890). Benjamin .Adolphus (that clears up the B.A.) toured Europe in a Lord Fauntleroy suit as the boy won- der of the trumpet. The crowned heads and haut moiidc of the Continent w^ent to see this chubby .American prodi^'. You would have expected that when he re- turned to -America, fresh from his musical triumphs abroad, he would tour the concert stage here, or do some- thing equally impressive. But of all places for a boy prodigy to wind up. he found himself in a rowdy circus as a ])erformer. His life was uneventful for the next several years and he tried his hand at several jobs . . . playing his trum])et on street corners at times, and in theatre orchestras at other times. Then fate stepped in. When he was about 12 and blaring away in Utica's Majestic Theatre, he met Jesse L. Lasky. a fellow trumpeter who was tilled with ideas about a strange new industry, moving pic- tures. Would young Rolfe he interested? By HELEN HOVER "I'll try my luck at anything nice," said P.. .A. "Let's go to ,\ew York and see what this movie game is all alMUit." So thev shook hands and went. Things boomed beautifully for \\..\. (and incidentally for his companion). They each joined rival motion pic- ture concerns; B.A. with the old Metro Cd. ( \-ou know it now as M-G-M). He worked his way up to a high post there. .\s an executive jiroducer he was drawing what then amounted to a fabulous salary, and he had unlimited ]xjwer. He was sitting on top of the world. Among those he directed were l''thel and Lionel Barry- more, X'iola Dana and many great but now forgotten names. He was accumulating a vast fortune during those fat harvest years, bame. wealth, jiower. fTe was set for life. -SO it .Neemed. THEN—the Fates .stepped in again. His career took a crazy seesaw downward. It started with .some trivial (|uarrel with the company. B..A.. i)eeved. left Metro to branch out for him.self. With all the conceit and con- fidence of success he thought the world was his oyster. But it didn't take him long to realize that working with a large company behind him. (Continued from f>af/c 47)