Variety (Dec 1941)

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MISCELLANY . ]1fednesdaj, Decemfier 3, 1941 Leisens 1111 Party' in National Mag Gives H wood Bad Case of Jitters Hollywood, Dec. 2. Coinciding with a church and cen- •orial blasf at the new Greta Garbo picture, and Its echoes in other quar- ters where a new state of alert has been called as to sex implications in the substance and the making of films, the pictorial exploitation.of a 'bedtime party,' sponsored by Mitch- ell Leisen, film director, and his dancing protege, Billy Daniel, in a pic mag, has given the industry an- other surge of high blood pressure. The occasion, according to the mag which ran four pages of pictures with explanatory text, was a celebration of Mary Parlter's birthday. Mary Parker and Billy Daniel were danc- ing partners, at the time in Leisen's revue at the Cocoanut Grove, and they're currently in 'Face the Music' on Broadway. The "bedtime party" was held in a studio set,- with a big bed covered with gifts for Miss Par- ker, and smaller individual beds, ac- mccording to the mag captions, for each of the other guests. The party was chaperoned by a Mrs. Lindsay, who communicated with the families of the femme guests, assuring them that the celebrants would not be home that night and reassuring them that everything was okay. Each in- dividual cot had a name tag, a tooth- brush, towels and a nightgown. There were song and dance and pillo\y fi^ts, the captions recite, and the elaborate and intimate photographs show the various fdshlons in nighties end the antics of Leisen and his guests. In due time there was break- fast in the patio of the set' Reaction in the industry was ter- rific when the mag hit the stands and was delivered in the studios. Many important persons in the business, from top executives down, professed alarm that there would be serious kickback against the motion picture industry, even though Leisen's nighty-clad and elaborately photo- graphed guests are not strictly film folk. Investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Leisen party, insofar as Paramoimt studio might have any definite concern in the affair, since Leisen is a Paramount director cur- rently piloting 'Take a Letter, Dar- ling,' is being made by Y. Frank Freeman, executive head of the stu- dio. Planted by LeiMn'i P.A.*« Pictures used were planted, it is understood, for Mitchell Leisen by the director's press agents. Cliff liOwts and Harlan Hobbes. One mag- azine, first approached, Js said to have turned down the batch.of photos on the pretext that' it had not so long ago used another similar layout Commentators made no suggestion that behavior at the "bedtime party' was in any way reprehensible. The alarm was that the pictures in the inag and the elucidating captions of an innocent diversion might set up critical Inferences amongst legions of picture fans, whose ouUook Is not as liberal as some publicists of the in- formal seem to believe. Studio publicity directors commit- tee, at meeting tomorrow (Wednes- day), is expected to crack down on freelance press agents to prevent a recurrence of such plants, as the first move by the industry to purge itself of imdesirable publicity. Producers' Assn. will act on recom- mendations by studio press heads at a special meeting of the board. Sev- eral studio chiefs declared they would take protective measures against harmful plants by inserting a clause in contracts forcing pro ducers, directors, players and writ ers to use only studio means of pub- licity and not to employ outside flacks. Such provisions in the con- tracts of higher salaried stars may b'e spread to include all contractees. In a letter to Darryl F. Zanuck, chairman of Research Council of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Major General Dawson, Chief Signal Officer of the Army, says in part: 'I wish you would assure all of those who are cooperating with you . throughout the industry that the co- operation of the Motion Picture In- dustry Is most vital at this time to our defense needs.' Canada May Give Air Time To CavaU From Army Post Jean Cavall, recently closed at Club Versailles, N. Y., to join the Canadian forces, may be the first soldier to have regular air-time from an army ^camp. French-Canadian singer had been getting an NBC buildup until enlist- ing, but the Canadian War Dept thinks it niay be good morale stuff if the vocalist continues on the air part of the time. CABOL ]3BnC£'S VAOEB Carol Bruce winds up her per- sonal appearance tour with 'Keep "Em Flying' 12 -in St. Louis, and goes ihto Cleveland for a vaude booking before -leaving. for HoUyi- .-wood Dec. 19. ' .'• Berle-ing With Joy Hollywood, Dec. 3.. Milton Berle becomes • double-bill happiness boy thli week, annexing a bride and an option lift at the same time. Bride is Joyce Matthews, 21, who quit her job In a Broadway musical to become Mrs, Milton Berllnger, according to a mar- riage license which dates Mil- ton as 33. Darryl Zanuck provided the option lift as a wedding gift to the groom, who is working in 'A Gentleman at Heart' NYU'S NEW FILM DEPT. Industry Execs Will Attend Tea on Friday (S)—Prof. Geasner mi Helm Industry execs have been invited to .a tea at New York University on Friday (5), Inaugurating the new motion picture department there. Chancellor Harry Woodbum Chase and Prof. Robert Gessner, who head the department passed out the in- vites. Chase will speak and, replying for the industry, will be J. Robert Rubin, v.p. and general counsel for Metro. Others who have said they will at- tend include Barney Balaban, Austin Keough, Hiller Innes, Joseph H. Hazen, Albert Margolies and Bert Bloch. . Jergens-Woodhory Renew Jergens-Woodbuiy has renewed for The Thin Man,' The Parker Family' and Walter Wlnchell on NBC The first show ii on the Red Network and the other two are on the Blue link. Other blue renewals are Clark Candy ("Service with a Smile') and Canada Dry ("Michael and Kitty'). British Star Stirs Political Wrangle FromAussieStage Sydney, Nov. 3. Ivan Menzies, British star of cur- rent Gill>ert-Sullivan revivals under WiUIamson-Tait direction, has been told by the management to lay off making curtain speeches in favor of the Oxford group. In a speech, fol- lowing premiere revival of The Gon- doliers,' Menzies urged the audience to read "Innocent Men,' published by the Oxford group. "Men," authored by Peter Howard, is a reply to at- tacks on the Oxford group by A. P. Herbert British member of Parlia- ment Herbert according to reports, said In the House of Commons that Dr. Buchman, founder of'the group, was no friend of Britain, and loved the Germans as much as the British. Harold Bowden, general manager of Williamson-Tait, stated that Men- zies' reference to the book was made without the knowledge or approval of W-T. Bowden said that Menzies probably allowed his enthusiasm to run away with. him, but. no such speeches would be permitted again. Menzies, who belongs to the O.G., when interviewed by newspapermen, said: "I think it is God's wUl that I should mention these matters from the stage, but I will do my best to see the company's point of view.' RAF Show in U.S. Dallas, Dec. X Members of the British Flying School at Kaufman County Air Field, east of here, are using their spare Ume rehearsing a typical British musical production which will be presented in Dallas Jan. 4. The entire production is in the hands of young RAF trainees, who are writing the libretto, music and skits. Schaff, Coen Set Alble Schaff and Franklin Coen, Hollywoodites snapped up by the draft and serving until recently In the Army's Training Film Produc- tion Laboratory, at Fort Monmouth, N. J., are returning to the Coast from New York today (Wednesday). Schaff is going to work as a film editor in an indie unit headed by his brother, Monroe, and John Rogers, son of Charles R. Rogers, Columbia producer. Coen is a writer. Jane Withers' Fall Hollywood, Dec. 2. Several stitches were taken in Jane Withers' scalp atter her fall on the 20th-Fox set 'Not For Children.' She also suffered a concussion and will be out for the week. ABBOTT and COSTELLO 'Abbott and Costallo are a wonderful pair of mountebanks— offering some of the best music hall clowning of our time.' Broohs Atkinson, New York TImea. , . Currently oh National Releaaa in 'KEEP 'EM FLYING' Universal Picture! Chau-& Sanborn Hour, NBC-Red ,i)rt<Vn<'«r!ieei;*«MlnMana«cnier^ of: EDWARD SHCAMAN 4:1 I THE BERLE-ING POINT | By Milton Bei'le Hollywood, Dec. 2. My bride-to-be, Joyce Matthews, came on the set while I was doing a scene with Cesar Romero. After it was through she said, "I'm so glad rm not marrying an actor.' Complained to Darryl Zanuck that the roof of my dressing rbpm was leaking—so he had. a shower curtain put around it In 'A (ientleman at Heart' I have a very important dramatic scene with Carole Landls. I hand her a handkerchief while she's crying. The wardrobe department told me I was to wear 'soup and ^sh' for one particular scene—am I glad I didn't have, the stains removed'.from my tuxedo. ^ Broadway Department Harold Conrad wires me that it was so cold in New York recently the Bngerprinta in Rogues' Gallery were wearing gloves. One of Ltndy's herrings has gone- very glamorous on the rest of her playmates—she is now wearing one fin ovet her eye like Veronica' Lake. I understand they have a new heating system at the Roxy. Every halt hour the ushers run iip and down the aisles with a picture of Hedy| Lamarr. Jack Zero has been having so many burning headaches lately he blew himself to an asbestos toupee. HoIIywoodlana The moths In Adolphe Menjou's closet are so swanky they won't eat holes In anything but his tuxedos. There's a certain actor who has so much water on his knee his girl friend just presented him with a set of faucets. .The Mocambo is such a swanky night club it has a tailor in the kitchen pressing the panties before they put them on the lamb chops. Mask) Department My new song, 'Would' It Make Any Difference to You.' is getting a terrific plug. I heard an organ grinder play it on Vine street twice in one week. ^ ' Sklnnay Ennis has already sent Santa Claus a list of things he wants for Christmas. Among them is a request for a baton that doubles for a set of muscles. Badio Department Phil "(Golden Bantam) Harris Is so excited about the forthcoming blessed event in his family, he walked into a furniture store and wanted to buy a com crib for his expected heir. Belly Laugh Barton, Jack Benny's six-year-old gag writer, has been pestering bis mother for weeks-rbut she still refuses to buy him a toupee like Jack's. There's No Troth to the Burner That LIppy Durocher was once seen observing a 10-mlnute silence.... That Ned Sparks will be starred in a picture to be called "Laughing Boy' That Errol Flynn always wears a sword with his pajamas That Claudette Colbert will have Arthur Lake as.her next leading man,... That there wHl be two Christmases this year. Hangnail DnorlpUoos JA<3K WHITE: Pale-Jtfale . . . CAFE SOCIETY: Bore-Hundred . . , TOMMY MANVILLE: Wed-ucated . . . BETTY GRABLE and BOB HOPE: filondie and <^g-wood . . . W. C. FIELDS: Bodv Brew-tiful. Observation Department The boys in Bob Crosby's band aren't speaking to me anymore. I bought them all ties for a pre-Christmas gift, and now they'll have to - wear shirts. Jack Oakie showed me his new Invention. It's a combination tooth- brush and whiskbroom so he can clean his teeth and brush his vest at th* same time. My brother (the one who tells, but never kisses) has turned writer again. He Is writing snappy patter for people to use on their respective finance companies when Uieir not^ are overdue. Whatever Became of T Abe Reynolds Smith te Strong Ruth Roye - Pat Rooney, Jr. Stutz St Bingham Kitty Doner Afterpiece When you're in "B' pictures you want to be in 'A's', when you're In "A's' you want to be in epics—dodsn't anyone want to be In the newsreels? Montgomery Gose-Moudied to N. Y. Airport Reporters on U.S; Gov't Duties By GEORGE FROST Apparently geting a terrific bang out of his naval and diplomatic du- ties, Lieutenant-Commander Robert Montgomery, late of the American volunteer ambulance corps In France and, as a civilian, of Hollywood screendom, breezed through New York's LaGuardIa Field Monday (1) on his way-to Washington, D. C, for a four-day conference with his naval superiors. Saying absolutely noth- SKELTON M-G TOPPER IN THOUSANDS CHEER' Hollywood, Dec. 2. Metro assigned Red Skelton to the comic lead in the forthcoming Irving Berlin-Moss Hart musical film, 'As Thousands Cheer.' It's from the stage property Metro bought several years ago. Judy Garland is slated for the top femme role. Recalling Heywbod Brouii Stamford, Conn., Dec. 2. Late Hey\yood Broun, w^o died two years ago this week, will be memorialized in WSRR program Sunday (7). White House has per- mitted use of transcription of Presi- dent Roosevelt's speech which quoted Broun's Christmas story. . George T. Bye, literary agent, will m.c and numerous well-known Stamford nabes of columnist will speak. fl.. Ing of importance about things in general and the war In particular, the naval reserve officer set a per- fect example of how to waltz th« gentlemen of the press. Montgomery, who sailed into Hall- fax harbor several days back aboard a British vessel out of Liverpool, came to town by train and, after a weekend of helloing friends. here, was on his way again, via American Airlines, for. Washington. The Lieutenant-Commander, who Is an assistant naval attache at the American Embassy in London, must have plenty of war-dope on his hip, but the bottle didn't spiU and he managed to turn every rcportorlal quest for a swig of the news nectar into a quip. Montgomery carried a brown- paper parcel which he swore was his wardrobe,, albeit the natty clothes aboard liis frame made him look ns though he. was ready to pose for some 'stills.' He declared that he is moved about so often he can't even keep track of his clothes, and in- ferred that he has soiled laundry' In Chinese custody from here to there. "I just about get settled,* the actor said, 'when I have to fly off some- where. S'help me, I have clothes scattered all over the world." Montgomery '(:pected to meet his wife in Washington and, at the con- clusion of his official 'Business, the couple plan to go on to the Coast to visit their children. A vacation leave, earned by many months of " continuous duty, will conclude just before the Christmas' holidays, and he'll be back 'at'the factory' in Lon- don by Xmasday, h&reportcd. .