Variety (Jan 1943)

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Thtrty-$fi.wnih ^Rligfr Annitertary January 6, ^H^ Real Unsung Heroes of This War: The At-the-Front Correspondents Collier's Great Reporter Gives Some CloseupsontheMeu WlioGettheReul War News and Do It the Hani Way By QUENTIN REYNOLDS »t> Mttttlft»ttttttttttttttttftttttttlHt 44. Gracie Allen's Alphabet (of Hottywood Fauna) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦»***♦♦♦♦♦»♦♦♦♦»»<>>«♦»««><>«<>>»» Qnentlji Rcyneldi A lew weeks ago I was in Chicago. I tat around ■Kilh a few important and presumably well in/ormed Chicago business m«n. One of them asked mc some questions about Elsenhower's opcialions in North Africa, which I couldn't answer. , 'But you in Chicago are better informed than 1 am.' I said, 'After all. you've ii<n Bill Stone- man to read cvesy day and noth- ing goes on in Europe that Bill I doesn't know about.' They looked at me puzzled j'Who', asked one of them, 'is Bill I Stoneman''' It was quite jhock to a for- I eign correspondent who has long I considered Stoneman of the Chi- cago Daily News to be one of the two or three best correspondents In the world. My view is shared by every war cor- re.spondent In the world. My view is shared by every war correspondent I know. But I was in for another chock. 'Juat read a good book called 'Freely to Past", one of the Chicagoau Mid. 'Written by a chap named Ed Beattic. Did you ever hear of him?' Had I ever heard of Ed Beattie? I knew him in Ber- lin in 1934 when he was merely a brilliant young cor- respondent; I knew him In France when he had ma- tured and when he ranked with the best and I've known him these past three years in London where he is head of the United Press Bureau. I know him as all foreign correspondents know him as a great reporter who ranks with Stoneman and Ray Daniel, of the New York Thnes, as the very best. It is a strange commentary on public opinion that the war correspondents for the most part live in com- plete anonymity. They have their by-lines on their daily stories but apparently no one looks at by-lines. War correspondents for the news services and the dally papers today are doing the greatest Job any group of newspaper men ever did. The fabled 'old timers* who drank their way through past wars couldn't keep up with men like these I've mentioned, or Drew Mid- dleton, of the N. Y. Times; Ned Russell, of the U. P.; George Lalt, of the INS, or 40 others. In fact, honest 'old timers' admit it. Yet these men are virtually unknown by the public and many of them are quite unappreciated by the outfits for which they work. The average pay of a war correspondent Is $100 a week. To date 14 of them have been killed in action, more than 30 have been wounded, others are missing and some are in Japa- nese and German prison camps. The highly paid radio commentators, writers of books and 'military experts' get the cash and the glory. I 'LIUIe Men Who Were N o r'Ther e' Club | Long ago in London we formed a club, 'This was during the London blitz. Occasionally we would get shortwave broadcasts from America and the broad- casts we heard about was going on in London gave us plenty of laughs. Then we would get the news- papers back and read the 'expert' opinion, the 'think pieces' written by the typewriter strategists. The conditions under which we lived and the military prob- lems involved were so at variance with wliat the stay-at-home writers and broadcasters were saying that we could only laugh at the absurdity o( their material. Then we'd get letters from home rhapso- dizing about the very broadcasts or articles which we laughed at. It was then that we formed the club. It was called The Little Men Who Wore Not There. It was easy to say that there was nothing but pique and bitterness and jealousy behind .such a gesture, but this was not true. Actually the correspondents in Lon- don were pretty proud of their profes.sion. proud, too, of their collegues, and quite contemptuous of the syn- thetic armchair experts at home. There was no jealousy—none of them would have changed places with any of the affluent experts at home.' Vincent Sheean, Bill Shircr. Cecil Brown and several others (Including my.iclf) have been riding the gravy train in this war. (They would be the first to admit It; they're honest guy.i.) None of us Is a day- by-dny reporter. None of us has to work eight hours a day, month after month with a short trip home every two or three years as is the case with the real war reporters. We take quick trips nbrond, sometimes get near enough the front to smell gunpowder and then, ex hausted, dash home to take bows and to write another book. We are no more real war correspondents than Alfred Lunt is a real vaudevillian. He knows a few tricks of the trade and he incorporates them in his performance of "The Pirate.' We too remember a few tricks we learned when we were honest-to-God re porters and we too incoriwrate those tricks in our books and our magazine articles. We make plenty of dough (and live abroad on fat expense accounts) but not one of us is capable of carrying the typewriter of a Beattie. a Stoneman, a Daniel or a Henry Cassidy. Henry Csasldy Who is Henry Cassidy? There you are. Ask any real newspaperman in the fleld of foreign reporting and he'll tell you who Henry Cassidy is. Henry to date has scored the two biggest beats of the war. Every one of us who has been to Mascow during the past two years tried hard to get an on-the-record interview with Stalin. Ralph Ingersoll. Erskine Caldwell and other ex-reporters did their best. We had Influence. Sure, we called ambassadors by their flrst name and con- sorted with diplomats and generals and we bore letters from great men in Washington. None of us got to first base. But little Henry Cassidy, the A.P. correspondent In Moscow whom you never heard of, didn't bother with letters of introduction. Real re- porters don't have to lean on great names. Henry just wrote a letter and dropped it into the mail box out- side the Metropole Hotel in Moscow. The letter was addressed to Stalin and it asked him to answer a few questions. Stalin answered the letter and the ques- tions and Henry scooped the world. A few months later Henry did it again. No, you knew the names of Kaltenborn, of Steel, of Thomas, of Eliot, of Heatter; you've read articles and know the names of a dozen typewriter strategists but you never heard of Cassidy or of Magldoff or of Arch Steele of the Chicago Daily News or of Drew Middle- ton of the Times or of Joe Evans of the Herald Tribune or Virgil Pinkney of "the U.P. . One night in Toots Shor's restaurant, some genial 51st street conversation maker said, *I wonder what ever happened to George Lalt. Haven't seen him around lately.' Like Father, Like Son At the moment George Lait of INS was in a hospital In Cairo recovering from wounds suffered when he was with a British detachment ahead of General Mont- gomery's main attacking forces. Jack Lait of the Mirror was always known as a grea* reporter. I hope he won't mind if I say that today he couldn't keep up with his son George for two days. Very few men could. I once saw George and Red Mueller, then of INS, now of Newsweek, reel into the Savoy in Lon- don, bleeding from a dozen cuts. They'd been extri- cating wounded from bombed houses while the worst blitz in history (London, May 10. 1941) was in prog- ress. If I were ever in a bad spot at the front there is no one in the world I'd rather have close to me with a knife or a gun than George Lait. Too bad George never wrote a book like the rent of us did. Everyone would have known where he was then. But young Lait who works 10 hours a day is a reporter, not a .synthetic part-time war correspondent like myself... and the others who write magazine pieces and books, and play God over the radio. Now and then of course the name of a real war correspondent does emerge from the anonymous mass. A lot of people have heard of Jack Singer of INS He got known all right. But he had to do it the hard way. Jack Singer was killed when the Wasp went down. In the Pacific. Soon I daresay some of the others will be killed because, unlike the rest of us who take only occasional trips to the front, they stay at the front all the time. And when they're killed they'll get known and The Little Men Who Were Not There will have nice things lo say about them on the air and in columns (if they can spare the time from running the war for our statesmen and our generals). They won't mention the fact, however, that the average wage for which they slaved was $100 a week. 'A' stands for Actor, And also his Agent; A traditional. Mutually confusing arrangement 'B' stands for Banker, Of money he's lender; When a Picture-is Bad, His stomach gets tender. 'C is tor Comics, A local obsession: You can spot one a° mile. By his downcast expression. 'D' is for, From heaven he's sent; He's very arti.stic. And behind in the rent. 'E' is for Ermine, At previews they're features; Though sometimes they're rabbits, And other non-solvent creatures. 'F' is the Face, On the cutting room floor; He's going back to minding, His grandfather's store. 'G' Is for Glamour Girls, Frilly and lacy; (Among whom I hope. You will recognize Gracie). 'H' is for Ham. Of which there's a shortage; The army's got both. Types under mortg.-tgc. r is for lnge:iue. Who eats peaches Flambeau; A native daughter of Southern Mocambo. J' is for Juvenile, With never a care; He's seen 40 winters. Without turning a hair. 'K' Is for Kiddle SUr, Let's try to be gallant; You've got to admit. They're crawling with talent. 'L' Is for that absolutely essential Picture ingredient, the lover; What with the draft they are Now coming 10 under and 70 over. 'M' .stands for Mother, Who's kept bebind .scenes; On occasion she's hauled out. For the fan majjazine.s. 'N' stands for Nellie, The Beautiful Cloak Model; They've used that same plot. Since my father could toddle. •O' is for Oscar, A lad of some charm; For him a star would cut Off her grandmother's arm. •P' is for Producer, Who made money in bales; Now he's running around. Salvaging old nails. 'Q' is that .smartie. The Hollywood Quippcr; A minority prefer One Jack, the Ripper. 'R' is for Relative By marriage, .some acquire Ihem; 'But a j;nod job in the films breeds 'em. Fuster than even rabbits would desire them. 'S' is for Star, Who is mournfully feeling; A bump on his head. Where ii hit the wage ceiling, "T Is for Technical, A .special adviser; He sleeps in a corner. And no one's the wiser. "U' is for imtouchables, A low .social set; Until they get as much money As you arc supposed to get 'V stands for Villain, As mean as the dickens; Whose hobby is raising, A family of chickens. •W's for Writer, A prominent factor; In kicking out options. From under an actor. 'X' is for Xenophon, A Greek who was peachy; Some day his life story. Will be played by Ameche. 'Y* stands for 'Yesmen.' Their number is legion; Their faces are bright. But their conscience is Stygian. 'Z' is for Zombies, Not particularly gay roles; In addition, they clutter Up studio payrolls. How Films Service the Army By Joseph H. Hazen <Vice-Presideiil o/ Wnrrior Bros.) IHaving been chosen to represent the vioiion picture industry, Ha::en rcct'iilly roiiipletcd a fouT-xveek orientation course in Army oroanizatioi* and procedures nt the Conminiid and GeiicrnI Stuff School. Fort Leoucn- tuorOi, Knnsn.s. attended at the same time bj/ bi<siiics.s lenders of 86 other major industries.— Ed.) The war nfTects industries as well as persons. The American motion picture industry grew out of World War 1. When the picture studios of Europe closed in 1914, the American picture industry came into its own. Thus in a .sense our industry is a creature of the last war. As a result of World War II, our industry .stands upon the threshhold Trailo Mtrk Ragli-trrcil l'-|>r.\UlCD BY SIMB »I1.VRII.MA.\ l-ulilliiliiHl Weekly hr VARIKTV Inr. Hlit Bllvarman. PronlilFni, 131 Weal 4ath StrMt. New Tnrk. N T BUBBCRIPTION Annual.......110 Foreign. • II SInBlo Copies ;r, Cciils Vol. 140 JM No. 4 INDEX Bills 222 Concert 176-185 Foreign 148-176 Legit 223-241 Music 186-203 Obits 242 Pictures 4-93 Radio 94-14.') VaudevUIe 206-221 OAILV VAKnm (PabtlHhta In RollywoM bt OaUy Varltty, Ltd.) •10 a yMT—tit ronim The By-Liners in This Issue Page Fred Allen 15 Gracie Allen ; 4 Michael Balcon 146 Milton Berle lo Jack Bertcll 207 Sherman Billingsley c Lieut. Claude Binyon 5 Hal Block M Sam Bramson 208 Irving Brecher 24 Gene Buck 223 Phillips Carlin )22 Milton L. Cashy 36 Bennett A. Cerf 45 Norman Corwin 95 Tedd Cott 189 O.scar A. Doob 43 Nut N. Dorfman 224 W. A. S. Douglas 208 Sonny Dunham ^* 202 Christopher Dunphy 31 James J. Geller. 46 Lester Gottlieb M .Tohn Golden nti n:il Halligan m (Regtilnr Stnfjerf. and CorrespondenU Omitted) Pane John Hammond. Jr ]A6 Francis S. Harmon 6 Mrs. W. Averell Harriman... 7 Moss Hart 208 Jos. H. Hazen 4 Woody Herman igs Tom Howard 9$ S. Hurok ^ . .1 179 George Jessel . 0 Edward Johnson . '. 179 Al Jolson 15 Jay Jostyn i28 Charles O'Brien Kennedy.... 42 Vick Knight 100 Arthur Kober 14 Joe Laurie, Jr 42, 224 ' Gypsy Rose Lee g Earle B. Lewis 179 William B. Lewis 97 Prince Littler 149 ' Bert Lytell 9 Eve Merriam _ Lucy . Monroe 84 Joe Moran «7 neggie Morgan 117 Pa" Arthur Murray 207 Lyn Murray 35 J. C. Nugent " 29 Charles Oppenhcim '. 126 Richard Pack 125 Jack Pearl 207 Quentln Reynolds . . 4 Edward G. Robinson 10 Hubbell Robinson, Jr 124 Sigmund Romberg 188 Herb Shrlner 209 H. Allen Smith '..[', 4 Louis Sobol ', 29 John Steinberg " 31 Albert StUlnwn 9 Frank Tilley * 149 Terry Turner \ Harry M. Warner 7 Mark Warnow \\ igg Jerome Weidman , , ' 24 Lindsay Wellington ', 99 Storm Whaley 94 Douglas Whitney .." be Francis Sill Wickware 30 Jacob Wllk 49 of new and hitherto unexplored fields. With the vast expansion of our armed forces, there is being opened for the industry the new and limit- less field of the pedigogical fllnv Since the advent of sound, films spe- cially produced by technical experts working together with .screen writers and pedagogs. are producing a new result — the instructional film de- signed for training masses of men. The Army is the laboratory in which these .scientifically prepared training films are being tested. For two years the Army has ex- perimented with and applied this new medium in its training program. It has been found that men can learn in three weeks through the proper use of Instructional fllm what would otherwise take 13 weeks to learn. It was indeed signiflcant that at the Command and General Staff School where 87 business leaders were given 146 hours of lectures and conferences, it was the opinion of these business men that the four training films which were made a part of the course, conveyed a more comprehenaive Impression of the subject matter covered by the fllm, than would hours of normal lec- tures. This has been the universal ex- perience both in the Army and in the war industries which likewise have had the problem of training large masses of men in a short pe- ■ Continued on page 65)