Star-dust in Hollywood (1930)

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Hollywood — First TDays on the Movie Lot quarry of the New York lion-hunter. He had fought his first novel on to paper when wearied after hours spent in earning his family's food and lodging; half a page a night perhaps during periods wrenched by sheer will-power from the insidious preoccupations of a job. Yet struggle had not embittered him, nor had success inflated his self-esteem. As an American he had naturally some respect for money as an abstract thing. A bank balance is the sincerest form of art criticism. In the circumstances, that would have been almost impossible to avoid. Money represented things that he had never had before, comforts unknown, ease for his plucky wife, experimental schooling for his children. Nevertheless the mere magic of high salaries never seemed to overawe him. . . . 11 It's all very well for you half-baked artists and writers to sneer at the fellows who are earning the big money," we once heard Von Sternberg fling at him. " You do that because you never had any. But I tell you that the man who is earning his two thousand dollars a week is proving all the time that he is worth it." Ornitz had a fellow-feeling for us. He willingly escorted us out to the stage, in spite of the formal prohibition printed on the pink ticket. 1 There's a story about Clara Bow," he said, as we went down the corridor past those ranked names of cubicled literature. " She was arguing here with her director about a situation, and he raised his voice. * For heaven's sake, don't speak so loud !' she cried. ' You'll wake all the authors.' " " Next week," he went on, as we left his office, " Von Sternberg will be working on the big set that they've built for him by the steamship. Have you seen it? " He guided us to the more distant corner of the big movie lot where the half of the steamship towered over the bungalow roofs, a Hollywood landmark. Behind it on a tall lattice [91]