Screenland (Nov 1939–Apr 1940)

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Those deadly rivals, Charlie and Mortimer, fight itout in "Charlie McCarthy, Detective," with pretty Constance Moore, the heroine, rooting first for Mort and then for Charlie, driving 'em both crazy — see our center picture. Bergen is too busy to listen to McCarthy's complaints — see top close-up — so the Terrific Termite succumbs to the blandishments of Anne Gwynne, his beautiful nurse. Ah, me! CHARLIE MCCARTHY, the Whispering Pine, rules the air waves. But now a cross-eyed hayseed named Mortimer Snerd is getting gobs of fan mail and sneaking up on Charlie's Crosley and movie box office rating. Is this three-foot hunk of papier-mache really a coming picture star ? I went to Bergen to find out. "First," said Bergen, "I think you should meet Mortimer. I really ought to warn you about him, he's not very bright." Bergen took out a key and unlocked a closet holding Charlie McCarthy's wardrobe, twenty suits ranging from a Foreign Legionnaire's get-up to a baseball outfit. McCarthy wasn't there, but Snerd was sitting on the floor with a white hood on his head. He looked happy enough, but Bergen apologized. "But you don't mind sitting on the floor, do you, Mortimer ?" "Huh?" "I say you don't mind sitting on the floor." "Who ?" "You." "Thought you meant him. Nope, floor's all right. Can't fall off the floor." This set Snerd to laughing wildly. When Mortimer laughs it sounds like the gurglings of a thirsty sink. But Bergen was stern. "Mortimer, this is Mr. Riley. ' "Yuh?" He looked me over. "What do I care?" "I want you to sav how do you do." "Who to?" "Mr. Riley here." "Never met him." "Mortimer," said Bergen exasperated, "how can yoi be so ignorant?" This is a very tough question. Mortimer can't thinl any faster than a punch-drunk turtle, but he gets there "It ain't easy," he replied. . I "This gentleman would like to ask you some questions.' "Uh-unh. Not me." "Oh, come now, Mortimer, why not?" "Can't. Don't know nothin' either." 32