Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Talking Pictures One recalls the lament of a famous casting director. After a long day spent in looking at applicants and trying to fill a certain blank in the cast list of a picture about to be made, he said in some desperation, 'Til trade you twenty Grecian profiles for one good case of St. Vitus's dance!" He was absolutely serious. He had a part in which this particular physical affliction was necessary to estab- lish a certain character point. While good looks, both masculine and feminine, were a drug on the market, what he needed for his purpose was a case of St. Vitus's dance. Many are deceived by the notion that beauty is essen- tial to success in Hollywood. It is not. Talent is the chief prerequisite, and it is, as we shall see, an elusive quality. Those who wish to enter the film industry should consider carefully two famous Hollywood "don'ts" for would-be actors or actresses. Don't come to Hollywood unless you have real abil- ity in acting. Scouts from the studios are constantly traveling in all parts of the world. If talent appears in little theatre or amateur performances, they will find it and give it an opportunity. Don't come to Hollywood unless you have enough money for a year's stay. There is little chance for those who disregard rule one, but there is less for those un- prepared for self-maintenance. We find that the studios in Hollywood are widely scattered, clinging to the fringes of residential districts, like other manufacturing enterprises. Once, when Hollywood was smaller, there were studios in its very [28]