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AMONG THE LILLIPUTIANS 27 « The first attempt had failed. Rebuilding of a portion of the set took four weeks and $40,000 more. For the common good it was fortunate that DeMille had elected to remain away from the shooting. His jaw had a firm set to it as Jennings explained their new approach—adjusting the percussive force of the dynamite and increasing the number of charges. The staff expected a cyclonic outburst from DeMille, directed at Jennings. But we also expected an ultimatum from the front office, too. It was footing the bill. Jennings confided that he was approaching the second test with the feeling of a magician facing execution if he did not raise his subject from the dead. "I've got armor plate under my shirt. I'm ready for the Great White Father," Jennings grinned, employing a reference to the boss popular with some of the older studio workers. In the second attempt the temple-collapse went off perfectly, leaving Jennings in nothing short of a transport of joy. There was some comment around the lot as a result of DeMille's strange behavior, for not in the memory of the most grizzled veteran had a blunder of this magnitude escaped his wrath. The talk reached DeMille. "I hear I am getting soft," he said to the staff one day. "Old DeMille has lost his fire. Well, well." He was about seventy then; his manner and the look in his eyes told us there was absolutely nothing to the rumor. He brought a letter written by a Paramount official to the luncheon table one day, smiled mysteriously as he held it up before the staff, saying he would read it before the meal was over. Little stratagems of the sort appealed hugely to the boss's sense of drama.