April 3, 1932 - June 26, 1932
THE SMART SWEDESWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers. Did you ever see a war so completely washed off the front page as that Japanese-Chinese one was by the Lindbergh case?1 Gosh, people are human after all, ain’t they? Sometimes we think we are not, but I don’t know, when the real showdown comes why the toughest of us will bob up with some human trait. Did you ever read as many rumors to the square inch?
Had a couple of famous suicides the last few weeks. Mr. George Eastman was quite a surprise, as it was thought he had retired from active business and was taking things easy and not worrying.2 But it seems that it was his health. You know after all I bet that old constant thought of feeling that you wouldent get well would just be too much for you. Well he had had a great career, and had done some wonderful charitable things.
He built a beautiful theater and concert hall of some kind there. Well, I was playing there four or five years ago on my concert tour. I was in an old hall. The manager said to me, “We would have done better tonight if it wasent in this place. People have got in the habit of going to Mr. Eastman’s new theater. You know it’s too bad he dedicated that to art or you could have gotten in. He had a jazz band there last week, and Earl Carroll’s vanities the week before, but he just happened to dedicate it to art.3 And so a Monologist can’t get in.”
Well I went on and did the best I could in the old place to the bunch that dident mind missing art for one night. We just had some laughs and wouldent have known art if we had met it face to face.
Then that Swedish match fellow, Kruger, that was quite a blow to the financial world.4 You know those Swedes sure worked their loans the right way. When some nation wants to borrow from us why we just go ahead and loan it to ’em, in fact from what I heard in Europe they dident have to express a wish to borrow. Our folks were over there practically forcing it on ’em.
Well those Swedish match people made more loans around the world than anybody. But they didn’t just dole it out like us. No sir! They made the loan with the distinct understanding that every time a fellow lit his stove, or his pipe, that it was to be done with their matches. Instead of taking a note that wasent any good, they just made a agreement that there was to be nothing “struck” there but their breed of matches. Just think what a collosal business was built up just by such a little thing as matches. It was one of the biggest businesses in the world. All founded on the theory that no cigar or cigarrette lighter will work.
But just look at the monopolies that we could have tied up. My goodness Henry Ford could have made a few million loan to each nation and they couldent have even put out a wheelbarrow without it was a Ford. Why some of these nations over there that had borrowed from this Kruger’s firm, it was punishable by death if they caught a person using another match than this Swedish. Just think if Ford had made ’em a loan. You could have shot a man in England for using a Rolls Royce instead of a Ford.
Look at the countrys Listerine could have tied up? Why you couldent have gargled a thing in the world but it in Bulgaria, if their Board of Directors had been wise. Let the individual business concerns make the loans and make monopoly in return. A small loan would have made every Spaniard use our hair oil, a couple of millions loaned to the Russians and a safety razor would have been in every home. A half million out at 6 per cent would have put a blue jay corn plaster on every Checho-Slovakian with not a chance of any other plaster sneaking in under it.
Just think of the booze we made and sell. Why if Capone had dished out a few millions in long term loans to Europe why look at the pleasure they could have gotten out of our home brew and mountain dew, we could have been even with ’ at last.
We got loans scattered all over Europe, and they never even spent a cent back with us. They took the money to pay off the interest on what they owed to us. Look what the U.S. Steel, the oil companies could have tied up. You know there is just an awful lot of people all over the world smarter in lots of ways, and this Kruger was one of ’em. Talk about mass production. When you can make that many matches why you have done some mass producing. But it’s no use telling ’em that now, the poor fellows are in such bad shape they got nothing to loan now.
But I think we just about been cured on foreign loans. The big boys have come in for such a rawhiding from all over the United States that it’s made them realize they better “Give the lads here at home some Jack.” I guess there is no race of people that it is so universally agreed that they pulled a boner as the International Bankers. We really ought to differentiate. (There is a pretty good word by the way for me.) As I just said, we really ought to differentiate (it’s still a good word) between the International Bankers and the local product.
Our home bankers, both large and small, are in bad just through the bad times and an over expansion in good times, but the International one is in bad through malice aforethought. His devilment was premeditated. He knew he was loaning on no security in Europe, cause there is no security over there. He got his commissions for peddling it out so what does he care? But I guess they are about as good as the rest of us. We was all cuckoo and hog wild, but brother they are taming us. Did you ever see the cockiness taken out of a nation so quick? We will sure go in and bring sticks out of the water now for anybody. We are humble galore.
1For the Lindbergh kidnapping see WA 482:N 5.
2George Eastman, American inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist who conceived and developed the Kodak camera in 1888; treasurer and general manager of Eastman Kodak Company, Eastman died at Rochester, New York, on March, 14, 1932.
3Earl Carroll, American theater owner and theatrical and motion picture producer. His Earl Carroll’s Vanities appeared on Broadway from 1923 to 1925. 230 Weekly Articles 1932
4Ivar Kreugar, Swedish industrialist, financier, and swindler. Kreuger organized a holding firm, Swedish Match Company, in 1917 and through it developed an international match monopoly. Financial stress beginning in 1929 forced the collapse of his enterprises. He committed suicide in Paris on March 12, 1932.
DIAMOND DUSTWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or who I happen to run into here and there. A couple of weeks ago out here in old L.A. I went to a little dinner party. I generally do my little dinnering at home, the eats are better, and my wife can make a better speech daily than all the other afterdinner speakers can on special occasions. Then we always got the children to argue with over old timers vs. moderns, but I did go to this one and enjoyed every minute of it.
It was John J. McGraw, Manager of the famous New York Giants.1 I have known him many years. He has some of the finest human qualities of any man in any line of sports. John McGraw has helped more oldtime baseball players than all the club owners who have made money out of them combined.
You know it’s a kind of an odd thing. There has never been a rich club owner either living or in his will who has done one thing toward the aid of the men who gave from ten to fifteen years of the best parts of their lives to our great national sport and pastime.
There has been some rich men owned teams, lots of ’em because they loved the game, but lots of ’em for the prestige and publicity that it brought them. But their love for it never seemed to extend to the man who had passed the age where he could field a bunt or paste a two bagger. I don’t think it’s non appreciation, it’s just that there has never been anything formed in such a way that it would be a working organization that would really take care of them. Lots of them would liked to have left something if there had been a way to do it where it would do good. There is bound to have been some very liberal and big hearted men connected with the ownership of clubs that would have helped if there had been a way. There ought to be so many days in each city given over where a part or all the receipts went to a big relief fund.
We have had some fine characters in baseball, got fine ones now, just figure it out yourself. There is not much a ball player can do after his career as a player is finished. They can’t one twentieth of ’em be managers, coaches, scouts, and trainers. I had a long chat that night with an old ball player, Chief Meyers, catcher for the New York Giants for ten years, a good Indian and not dead either.2 I would ask him about old ball players.
In the old vaudeville days I used to be around baseball and ball players, and knew a big part of them personally. Well, just name after name I would ask him about, names that us middle agers, and old timers were almost raised on. Names like Hans Wagner.3 Just think of what that man for twenty years contributed of enjoyment and thrills of American life. Chief Bender, the greatest strategist pitcher of all time.4 Mordeci Brown, Johnny Evers, and dear Tris Speaker, perhaps the greatest outfielders of all time.5
Oh, I could just sit here and mention ’em by the hour. I don’t mean the ones that were great and then since have managers jobs, like lovable Walter Johnson, but the ones who did their bit for the best years of their lives to make America a better place to live in from three to five o’clock in the afternoon, and all over our land, either minor league or majors.6 They were highly specialized men, trained from boys in a highly specialized field, eat, slept, and dreamed their trade. Of course you will say, “Well they were well paid, why dident they save?” Did you ever try working six months, then laying off six, and seeing how much you could save? If they were thrifty they naturally bought them a home. Well they commence passing over the hill of oblivion at the decrepit old age of perhaps 35. Why what was in store for him?
My goodness you can be specialized in any line of work in America and you can’t get a job, so what is a ball player going to do? You don’t ever read a paper where any of ’em took up our popular mode of living, crime and racketeering. Every one of ’em are highly respected citizens in their communities. Dozens of ’em, hundred of ’em havent any of the world goods, but they got their neighbor’s respect.
Football is great. It’s a great thrill, it’s a fine recreation, but it’s for a pastime and physical conditioner while our fine young men are in college. But baseball is a profession, it’s an art that you don’t learn in any four years just from September to December. We will never get things really righted in our country till every line of sport, industry, profession or trade have some system of everyone contributing while working to the welfare of an old and unemployed in his own line. I don’t mean to put all ball players in an old ball players home, I mean a system of help where it’s done and they retain their respect and courage and self esteem. Outsiders don’t have to know they are being aided at all.
All the sporting writers from the east that are covering the Giants and Detroit teams training were there, along with our local boys. All a fine bunch of fellows. Tillie Shaffer, the old Giant who the world has of course been good to, Fred Snodgrass, Bucky Harris, a very smart manager and high class, capable young fellow.7 Bozeman Bulger, the fine old sports writer, was the Toastmaster.8 Eddie Mayer, our local fine fellow.9
There was a host of ’em. Among the new was Bill Terry, king of first basemen today, Freddie Lindstrom, all around player.10 A mixture of the old and new, all giving or had given their lives to entertainment of the public, paying respects to McGraw who after all these years is still at the top of the heap, and fairy godfather to more old time ball players than any man living. All these have contributed to what made our country proud of its sports.
Good luck to ’em. Long may they live, and the Umpire Good Fortune give ’em an even break.
1John Joseph McGraw, manager of the New York Giants baseball team from 1902 to 1932. McGraw led the Giants to ten league and three would championships.
2John Tortes “Chief” Meyers, professional baseball catcher who played for the New York Giants from 1908 to 1915 and later played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves. A native of California, he was a full-blooded Indian.
3John P. “Honus” Wagner, professional baseball star who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 to 1913. Many experts rate Wagner as the greatest shortstop in baseball history and one of the finest players of the game. He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
4Charles Albert “Chief” Bender, professional baseball pitcher who played in the major leagues for sixteen years, most notably with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1903 to 1914. He was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.
5Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” Brown, professional baseball player for the Chicago Cubs from 1902 to 1913. A shortstop and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Evers was the keystone in the famous “Tinker to Evers to Chance” double-play combination. For Tris Speaker see WA 457:N 4.
6For Walter P. Johnson see WA 457:N 4
7Arthur Joseph “Tillie” Shafer, infielder for the New York Giants from 1909 to 1913. Fred Carlisle Snodgrass, professional baseball player for the New York Giants from 1908 to 1915 and the Boston Braves from 1915 to 1916. Stanley Raymond “Bucky” Harris, baseball player with the Washington Senators from 1919 to 1928; manager of the Senators from 1924 to 1928, 1935 to 1942, and 1950 to 1954. Harris was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
8Bozeman Bulger, American sportswriter and columnist who worked for the New York Evening World from 1905 to 1931 and contributed to the Saturday Evening Post from 1920 to 1932.
9Eddie Mayer, an unidentified Los Angeles sports writer.
10William Harold “Bill” Terry, star infielder for the New York Giants from 1923 to 1936 and manager of the Giants from 1932 to 1941. Terry became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954. Fred Charles Lindstrom, professional baseball player who starred for a number of club, most notably the New York Giants from 1924 to 1932. Lindstrom was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.
CONFUSION IN CONGRESSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I see but sure haven’t seen much lately. You would think anybody living out here this near to Hollywood would see quite a bit. Lots of folks come from far and wide to look us over, but I think they go back kinder disappointed. Hollywood for real up and doing is mighty delicatessen.
Depression has hit the devilment just like it has hit everything else. The persuit of life and liberty has been checked by this slow return to “Normalcy.” So as I say I haven’t seen much lately.
Keeping mighty close to home, riding the old Ponies out in the hills and seeing how it was making out during this long spell of Republicanism. It just looks like everything is doing fine but humans.
Animals are having a great year, grass was never higher, flowers were never more in bloom, trees are throwing out an abundance of shade for us to loaf under. Everything the Lord has a hand in is going great, but the minute you notice anything that is in any way under the supervision of man, why it’s “cockeyed.”
And the more men that have anything to do with trying to right a thing why the worse off it is. If every man was left absolutely to his own method of righting his own affairs why a big majority would get it done. But he can’t do that.
The Government has not only hundreds but literally thousands in Washington to see that no man can personally tend to his own business. They go there to do it for him, and a mob always gets panicky quicker than an individual. They hear so much of how bad things are, and that something should be done, and they immediately feel that it’s up to them to do it, so they just get up in the morning determined to pass some bills that day that will attempt to do something. They don’t know if they will or not, but they were sent there to pass bills, so they get to passing them.
That was one of the great things about Coolidge. Coolidge never thought half the things that are wrong needed fixing. You knew that over half the things just needed leaving alone. It’s like writing a letter to everybody you hear from. He knew that if you leave nine tenths of ’em alone it dident need answering. Now here a couple of weeks ago Congress broke out and they just gloried in their devilment.
If some one could point out anyone that looked like a rich man going down the street, why they just passed a search and seizure bill, and went out and not only plucked him, but added a little tar and feathers when they turned him loose. Well they got everybody sore at ’em and the big ones said, “Well if they are going to confiscate what I may earn, I just won’t earn anything. Why should I take a chance investing in something when I will only be able to keep one fourth of it when I win?”
Well after Jack Garner got his strangle hold back on the boys again, and after they had sobered up, why he showed ’em that the Government was after all a sort of a co-operative affair, and that it wouldent be a bad idea to sort of distribute the Cost around in proportion. Course everybody knows that one of our great ills today is the unequal distribution of wealth. You are either at a banquet in this country, or you are at a hot dog stand. There was no doubt that the ones with the money were about the only ones that could pay anything, but after all these durn rich ones are the ones the rest of us got to live off of. If the Government takes all their money in taxes it don’t leave any for the folks that work for ’em.
Then to add to the confusion of everything Congress turned down the Sales Tax, then turned right around and had the same tax come up under a different name and passed it. That’s just like we do more things. The League of Nations everybody agreed that we had no business in it, but the first thing you know we were “advising” with ’em. The World Court, we wouldent put on a cap and gown, but we would sit on the bench with ’em.
We are always doing something through the Kitchen door. We like the glory, but not the responsibilities. But we are kicking along in spite of our handicaps. The East and the North have got to get like the South has been for years, poor and used to it. Us folks down there have had to catch a cat fish, or kill a possum before we eat for years. So the other part of the country have got to learn to look to nature and not to Wall Street for what goes in the pot.
They got to find some other way making a living besides looking at a list of names in the paper every day. Stocks and bonds have got so now they don’t go up and down only when there is a reason, not like they used to, go up and down when there was a wish on somebody’s part. But the whole Country is taking it in good grace at that.
If so many of ’em are not looking at our pictures as used to, we are mighty grateful to those that are. If they are not looking at us it’s because they are wise to us, and that’s about the way it is with everything else.
WILL LOOKS AT
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I hear as I listen in on a radio that the kids put in my room here. I never was much of a radio hound. I get my Amos and Andy and then wash the other programme up, but as this one is right here I got it going.1 Hollywood is having one of it’s “Openings,” that’s one of those things where there is a new movie opening at some Theatre.
MOVIES AND A HORSE
Well for sameness I don’t suppose two airdale pups are any more alike than all “Openings.” They have a microphone out in the lobby of the Theatre and an announcer and he tells you who is coming in. He says “Here comes Mr Who’s or Mr Jasbo, we will have ’em step over to the micraphone and says a few words to you over the micraphone.” And that’s the last you ever hear of it, they never come over and say, “Hello everybody, wish you were here,” but it’s the studio bootblack, or some one that worked for the company that is putting on the picture. It’s got so that every studio almost sandbags it’s own people to make ’em go and make up the crowd. If it’s a Warner Picture everyone there is working for Warner. If it’s Fox’s it’s a typical Fox audience. Most of ’em have seen it at the studio, or the studio preview, but they don’t attract the crowds like they used too. And most of the companys have done away with ’em. It cost a lot of dough to put one on, and after all a picture does nowadays just what it deserves.
You can open one down a dark alley and not let anyone know it and if it’s any good in a few days you can’t get near the thing. It’s like a good restaurant, you can’t hide it. This old boy announcing tonight is having trouble getting anyone to announce that anyone ever heard of. He is laying it onto the traffic. He says traffic is holding all the big ones back. He is tire less though. He keeps making you think someone is coming pretty soon. He says he has to hurry that they have to go back to the studio and put on a programme for the Chervolett, they want to sell some cars, they don’t want to know who is at the openings.
This is a commercial age, we haven’t got much time for frivilous things. That is a thankless job that announcer has. Poor fellow can’t dig up a soul. He will be glad when that Chervolett times comes. Oh yes here is Chick Sales, you all know Chick?2 He is a bear on canvas or boards, then he had a mighty popular novel one time. Chick ought to fit right into an opening. Chick you was a lifesaver for this poor announcer.
Yep here comes the Chervolett announcement, “We are back in the studios, have you compared Chervolett quality and prices with other cars, if you haven’t get up in the morning and do it.” They are playing a kinder pretty tune now called In the Valley where the Lillies grow. It’s gota mighty catchy swing.
Now we are at a Culver City Nighty Club. I worked at the old Goldwyn Studio for three years back in 19 and 20, 21, and I never thought Culver City would ever have a night club, so you can never tell what a town will turn out to be.
Speaking of music my wife and Mrs. Flo Zeigfeld, (Billie Burke) have gone to hear Padawriski.3 Say try to spell that guy’s name. Everybody can say it but no one can spell it. I wanted to go hear the old gentleman tonight. I never in my life heard him. That’s almost a crime, for he must be the greatest ever and a very fine old character. I wouldent have known any more what he was doing than a prairie dog, but I bet I would have enjoyed a lot of it at that. I have stayed at his hotel in Warsaw, in fact occupied his suit there, and by the way Floyd Gibbons was there at the hotel with me at the time. That’s where I first met him. He has had a great time over in China. Sure wish I had not had to rush back.
But still I am not so hot for that actual war stuff. I don’t want to see it, no matter what tribes of people are fighting. Ain’t it funny how that was dropped right out of sight. The Lindberg Baby ruined that war for publicity sake.4
And next in comparison to that was a horse, that Australain horse.5 Did you ever see as many people interested in an animal? I am sitting here now in my den looking at a wonderful picture of him, given to me by the sports writer that come over with him.6 He told me that he cabled back to Australia from fifteen hundred to two thousand words about Pharlap every day. That was all during the time that he was being prepared for the race, and after he won it. Just think of the cost of that. And the interest that must have been in him. Now imagine how they must feel.
I was in Australia many many years ago, and I have always maintained that they had the best horses, I mean horse for horse all over the country, that they had the best horses in the world. Racing! That’s not only a sport with them, it’s a mania. When the big race, the Melbourne Cup, is run every man woman and child in the land has some kind of a bet on it. This horse holds the record for it. He won it I think a couple of times and would have kept on winning it, but the handicappers put the grandstand on him. He was a very big powerful horse, his real distance was two and a half miles. We haven’t got a thing that could have finished in the stretch with him over that distance. Imagine that little group, trainer, vetenarinan, jockey, grooms, and my friend Wolfe, the sporting writer going back all that long trip alone, a horse after all I guess is just about next to a human. Him and the old Dog.
1”Amos ‘n Andy,” popular radio serial which began in 1928 and was aired five times weekly until 1943. The creators and stars were Freeman Fisher Gosden and Charles J. Correll, blackface comedians, who played every male part and wrote every script. The escapades of two Harlem taxi drivers and their friends captivated an enormous and faithful audience.
2For Chic Sale see WA 434:N 8.
3For Billie Burke see WA 460:N 2. Ignace Jan Paderewski, Polish pianist, composer, and statesmen. He made the first of many concert tours of the United States in 1891.
4For the Lindbergh kidnapping see WA 482:N 5.
5Phar Lap, an Australian thoroughbred, set a new track record in the Agua Caliente Handicap on March 20, 1932. It was the first appearance on a North American track for the six year-old chestnut gelding, and the victory placed him second among money-winning horses in the world. He died suddenly a few days later at a California ranch.
6Herbert Austin Wolfe, racing editor of the Sdney Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Sun from 1931 to 1933. Wolfe accompanied Phar Lap to the United States as a representative of the Australian press.
LIFE IN HOLLYWOODWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and you see quite a few things as you nose around here and there.
Floyd Gibbons, the demon war correspondent, was out to my little ranch to visit me a week or so ago. I sure was glad to see him. We sure did ramble over old times. You know I was the luckiest fellow in the world to fall in with him at Vancouver on my way over to China, for he is a great traveling companion. He has been everywhere in the world, and he really knows how to get around.
I have prowled around a bit in my time, but I never seem to get any wiser, or onto things, but Floyd he gets you where you want to go and where something is doing. He has a wonder ful lecture on China and the Far East. I went down to the theater to hear it.
I was the local annoyer who was to introduce him. My wife was so afraid that I in my long winded way would monopolise the whole evening. She said, “Now remember tonight, you are just a pawl bearer, you are not the corpse, and it’s the corpse they are interested in.”
Well, I really dident have time to do him justice. I could have stood there all night and told jokes and nice things about him, and I really felt that I left in pretty good time, that is for me, for I am notoriously long winded. I think that’s where people get the idea that I ought to be in politics. But when I get started I do like to blather away, especially if I got a good subject to work on.
Floyd’s main talk is that we haven’t got any more business in these Far East wars than we had in the last European one. He thinks seven thousand miles is a long way to go shoot somebody, especially if you are not right sure they need shooting, and you are not sure whether you are shooting the right side or not.
Those monkeys out there are going to be fighting from now on. China will be kinder cocky because she made her best showing of her whole war career at Shanghai, and Japan will want a chance to redeem her “face,” for she lost “face” in that scrap.
He said it was a great war for the convenience of war correspondents, for they could go out and see one army fight, then come back through the international city and go out and then be with the opposite army. Or you could get on a high building and watch the whole thing. In fact it it was the only war ever fought where they had a grand stand.
He says that the Japanese had the old German method, but the German methods of 1914. But that the Chinese had the German methods of 1918. It was a division from down South at Canton that did the fighting. He bore out another thing that I had predicted in my articles, and that was that you wouldent hear of many prisoners being taken on either side in that war.
Well, he said there wasent, for the Chinese have the reputation, even among their friends, for being the most cruel nation in the world, even to their own people. If one is only going to get his head chopped off he is tickled to death, that is a beautiful death with him. That he is not unmercifully tortured before death is his fear, and the Japanese are not far behind ’em, so nobody on either side is going to be captured while he had a way to disposing of themselves. But, it was as he says, “Their war and they had a right to fight it as they saw fit, without any advice from us.”
He says that it’s only a matter of time till Japan will have to fight Russia over Manchuria, but that Russia is not ready yet, getting enough to eat for the next five years is going to keep them pretty busy, but that when they do so against Japan that they will sure be loaded for ’em.
It won’t be like they were before, you see Russia has spread out since 1905. Then Siberia and Manchuria was thousands of miles away, but now they are populating and arming, and fortifying that country, and they are double tracking the long trans-Siberian R.R. And then too they have a great Air Force, and big part of its force is away out there, so it won’t be just one of those Port Arthur things, and nothing in between. He says China has no more government than a billy goat. They are just running around arguing and fighting with each other as usual.
Another fellow was out to spend the day with me, a friend of Floyd’s, that come over on the boat with him, and is about the biggest financial man in China, also in India, Sir Victor Sasoon, of the House of Sasoon, which is about the Rothschilds of England.1 He has tremendous holdings in Shanghai.
I bet this war threw a scare into him for awhile. He owns the wonderful Cathay Hotel in Shanghai, where we all lived. He still has great faith in the Far East and thinks that it will come out O.K. He also knows more about India than anyone, as he was there for years. He thinks that it was clever scheme in England getting Gandhi to go to the Conference in London, for that really showed him up as just being human, and not some God or superman. He says that Gandhi has no solution for anything, and that when he got there he had nothing to offer why it simply showed that he was no great ruler, or miracle man. And he thinks that Gandhi lost “Face” by going. He says that the boycott in India is still working, and that the same is true in China against Japan.
I can sure understand how those fellows get fascinated with that Far East. I guess it gets you like the desert. They sure are both interesting men to talk to, they have both been everywhere and seen about all there is to see, but they were both mighty anxious to see Hollywood, and me being the old “Night Hawk” here, I was the one could show ’em.
I took ’em into some of the wildest cafeterias you ever saw. I just kept ’em a-jumping from one drug store fountain to another till I bet it was a quarter of ten. We sure heard a lot of different radios. They been in Shanghai, Bagdad, Constantinople, Paris, and Harbin, but they will never forget Hollywood. You folks want to get out here this summer at these Olympics.2 You will see things at night that are fast enough to be in the Olympic program in the day time.
1Victor Sassoon, British baronet who headed a vast financial empire in the Far East during the 1920s that included large banking interests and real estate investments in China. The Rothschild family, European financiers and statesmen who controlled a large part of the European money market in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
2The Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles in 1932.
GARBO, GHANDHI, KREUGER
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. Congress just keeps us all on the jump all the time, waiting to see what they are going to do with us. One minute they are not going to have a sales Tax, but they put a Tax on about a third of the things that are sold. Then they were asked to explain why it was that they taxed a boot but dident tax a shoe, or why put a tax on caps but none on hats. That is just about as nonsensikle as the things they did do.
They tried to hang most of it onto the Auto buyers, or Gasoline buyers. Well they just as well put it on bathing suits, or chairs, or anything else that folks use, anything outside of meat and bread and a Gandi Breechclouth can be called a luxury, or a necessity which ever way you want to look at it. Autos may be a luxury, a bed may be a luxury. You can ride on a street car, or you can also sleep on the ground, neither one is an absolute necessity. Well it just looks like Congress took a list of everything made and shut their eyes and took a pencil and marks off some names, and said, “Well will tax everything the pencil marks across.” They were afraid to have the sales Tax for fear the voters back home while they dident want any tax, they did want one that was equal in most respects. People when you get right down to it are fairer than most individuals, so it looks now as I pen you these few lines that Mr Congress will get their tax bill handed back to ’em with everything changed but the title, and then Congress will have to knuckle under for just what they had refused to do in the first place.
They been investigating Wall Street, but there has been so much devilment going on there that one Committee can’t dig it all out. They wanted to publish the names of the Firms that were implicated in the “Bear Raids,” and the list was 24 thousand.
England come out with their Budget and it dident make any allowance for paying their debt to us. Well we come out with our Budget without paying our debt to ourselvs. We can’t seem to find any dough to do anything with, but England hadent any more than broke out till Senator Borah was right on their tail. He reminded ’em that there had been an oversight on somebody’s part. Then he was joined by Pat Harrison, another old crony of mine from away down in Mississippi.1 Pat told England she would pay or else she wouldent build herself any more Navy. Well England who was so tickled at balancing their Budget, they had plum forgot about us, but when they heard from the above two lads, they went back into “Conference.” You see that’s the trouble you just can’t do a nation a favor, or they will want it continued, although I will say this England will pay, and did, quicker than any the rest of ’em.
France just has guys laying awake at night to think up reasons for not paying. They give guys percentage on every new idea he gets for new reasons. France’s main reason now is that if she paid us she would have to use her gold, and if she had to use her gold, she wouldent have as much gold. But England is a different breed of cats altogeather. The old Englishman is mighty high type business man. Well we will hear a lot about it anyhow, for it will be starting to come due in a few months, and the campaign this fall will be so full of debt arguments that you will think the future of the country hinged on the outcome.
Hollywood is all excited, they hear Greta Garbo is going home, she might be at home for all we know, nobody has ever seen her out here.2 In fact she may make her pictures over there and just be sending ’em over. She is supposed to go home now and take up this match king job.3 He was the biggest man over there. And she is the biggest woman. So they figure she could put it on it’s feet. Say by the way some slick “Hombres,” why Europe can make a sucker out of us for “Fenagling” guys.
This depression has brought out a lot of crooked stuff where if things had gone on and they had been able to keep covering up they would never have been known.
Talk about running a Ford car into a Billion dollars, why just think of running a little tiny stick of wood, with some phospherous on the end of it into an establishment that controlled the finances of a dozen nations.
We all just kinder sitting around here waiting for the new Fords to be delivered, that’s about the only event in out lives. We trade in the old ones and go in debt for the differences.
We are all talking Olympic games out here. We don’t know what they do or how they do it, but we want to see it. Fifty-five nations are coming. It will either be a success or a war, one, so in either case you don’t want to miss it. There is hundreds of women competing, only in this case they have to compete against each other, and not just against the men. It’s going to be well worth seeing. Come on out, you are not doing anything anyhow. If you run a store or are in business why put your customer in the car and bring him too then you won’t lose him. Remember the date? Well I forgot when it was myself, but it’s sometime during the hot weather.
1For Pat Harrison see WA 465:N 2.
2For Greta Garbo see WA 463:N 8.
3For Ivar Kreuger see WA 484:N 4.
WILL THINKS MAYBE HE’S MADE
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I run into prowling about Hollywood. You remember one time when I was on the radio and did a little imitation of Mr. Coolidge. Well, some of ’em raised cain. Said I shouldent have done it. I even went so far as to ask Mr. Coolidge if it had offended him and he replied, “Why I dident even pay any attention to it.”
Well a couple of weeks ago I was asked to be master of ceremonies at the opening of that great big picture “Grand Hotel.”1 Syd Grauman, the manager of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, is the manager, and he is not only a great showman but a fine fellow.2 Then Mr. Louie B. Mayer asked me, and I was tickled to do it.3 I had never been around any of these “openings” in fact had always kidded about ’em, for there is plenty to kid at one. The whole thing is the biggest “hooey” out here. The studios would like to do away with ’em for they bring ’em nothing but cost.
But it’s a great “Yokel” show. This was an especially big one for it was the biggest cast picture ever made. Think of Greta Garbo, the two Barrymores, Joan Crawford, Wally Berry, Jean Hersholt, Tully Marshall, and about half the other payroll of Hollywood.4 Well it was a bear of a night, judging by people standing on soap boxes, and folks inside with old overhauled ermines.
They have an intermission and everybody goes out and looks at each other and you can’t get ’em back in again. They would rather look at each other than the show. But it was what the society reporter would call “The Elite,” what the film fan reporter call “Aristocracy of Filmdom,” and what the poor folks on the street would call “The Nuts.”
But all joking aside they was our best bunch. New York hasent got it on Hollywood for clothes. It was lovely looking out there. And some mighty fine substantial folks. There is some pretty down to earth people in our business, and lots of ’em have been into it long enough to realize that it’s a kind of business after all. This fellow Grauman had a wonderful prologue. He put on a two dollar vaudeville show, had Will Mahoney, just about the cleverest one man actor in vaudeville and musical comedies.5 He had been for years the “Ace” of Earl Carroll’s Vanities.6
Well, Will knocked old Hollywood batty. He does a dance on the xylophones with his feet that is better than I ever heard with the hands. In fact that would be a good way to get rid of this overworked xylophone racket, make everybody play ’em with your feet. I have heard folks playing ’em that it sounded like they must have been using their feet but this was the only time I ever saw it done. There was a bunch of clever acts.
My job was to introduce the cast that was in the picture. Now of course you all know about Greta Garbo? She don’t go anywhere, or she may go everywhere, for no one gets to her home to see if she has gone anywhere or not, but she really I guess don’t get round people at all. The studio that she worked for have to go see her in the picture when they want to see her. She is just like a hermit, and these writers that write stories about her they never even get to see a photograph of her. Now everybody out here knows that. They know that she is not going to be anywhere.
But that night after I had introduced all the principals of the cast except John Barrymore, who was not there, I announced that on account of the importance of the occasion, and the prominence that this particular picture had received, that Miss Garbo would break her rule and be there, and that immediately after the picture was over that she had consented to come on the stage and take a bow, and that I would be highly honored by having her there when the picture was over.
Well Mr. Grauman starts his shows. He thinks the later they are started the better they are. Syd don’t know or has perhaps forgot that all the big first nights in New York are started on time anyhow, no matter when they are finished. Well this one dident start until nine- thirty, and was over, the picture, at one-fifteen. Now that’s pretty good for a country town, and in all we are a country town. It’s a big one, but it’s country.
Well I had framed up a gag with Wally Berry who I knew would be a big hit in the picture that they had just seen, and he got some “dame” clothes. And he was my Greta Garbo. Sounds kinder funny don’t it? Well it wasent to them.
Wally did it fine. He even looked like her, but not enough to satisfy that crowd. Now they should have known that Garbo wasent going to be there any more than Coolidge, but they go and believe it and then get sore at themselves for believing it. I dident mean any harm. Gosh us comedians must get laughs. But these first nighters don’t want us to get ’em at their expense. They want to be the ones that do all the laughing. I think they got their waitings worth by seeing Wally Berry in skirts. What did they want?
Now about the only way I got making good is to produce Garbo sometime. Course I can’t do it, but it’s a good idea. I got to do something to get back into the good graces of my Hollywood. Maybe I can show ’em Al Capone some time. They all want to see him, but I will never fool the old home town again.
1Grand Hotel, all-star motion picture of 1932, adapted from the novel by Vivki Baum. Immensely popular, it won an Academy Award in 1933.
2Sid Grauman, American showman and motion picture theater owner who built the famous Egyptian and Chinese theaters on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
3Louis Burt Mayer, Russian-born American film producer who was a cofounder and the first vice president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation.
4Garbo (see WA 469:N 6) starred in Grand Hotel. Joan Crawford, American leading lady of motion pictures. She made her film debut in Pretty Ladies in 1925 and had a major in Grand Hotel. Jean Hersholt, Danish-born American character actor who first appeared in Hollywood films during the 1920s. Tully Marshall, American character actor who appeared in motion pictures from 1914 until his death in 1943.
5Will Mahoney, American vaudeville entertainer. His “falling-down” dance and his novelty dancing on a xylophone constituted one of the most famous solo acts in the business.
6For Earl Carroll see WA 484:N 3.
MAYBE MELLON WILL
Well all I know is just what I read in the writing papers. Can’t we beat the world getting all worked up over something as though the world coming to an end depended on it and then find it’s settled in some little easy way, and a week later we don’t know we have ever been excited about it. That affair in Honolulu when we heard they were convicted, why we all of us like to tore up the place.1 Then all there is to it is the Governor over there pardons them, and it’s all over.
CANCEL BRITISH DEBT
Course every country has got it’s laws, and everyone of ’em have a right to act them out according to the dictates of their own views, but we dident think they got a square deal in the case, and we raised a howl. Now here is the catch in it. If this husband had come up on those men at the time and had killed not only one but all of them, why he would have come clear with medals on him, but because he waited awhile to shoot him, why that makes him a murderer. In other words I must shoot you quick if I am going to. Well it was terrible mess and it’s good it’s ended. There was several bad angles to it on both sides.
That old Darrow is a great old fellow.2 I have known and been friends with him for many years. I go to see him in Chicago. He is one of the most pleasant and entertaining men in America. You know for a real down right humanatarian I doubt if he has his equal in our Country. Color, creed, man or beast, Darrow has a sympathetic interest in him.
Lord, in this time with every kind of Shyster Lawyer that we have, he is notable exception. Poor old Honolulu, I hope they get this lived down, for it really was not their fault. Course I am for ’em getting their independence and run the thing like they want too. Darn this thing of being somebody else’s country and taking it over. No good ever comes of it. We claim it’s for protection sake that we hold it. That’s a lot of hooey. It’s two thousand miles away. If any nation can come two thousand miles across an ocean and then lick us, well we are good enough sports to say “More power to you.”
Those little Japs would be so seasick by the time they got here they couldent sight a gun anyhow. Turn ’em loose them and the Philippines and give Nicaragua back to the Nicks, then come home and take the country away from the Republicans and give it back to the Democrats where it belongs.
Say, this political thing is getting more cockeyed every day. Here in California, it looks like Roosevelt was a cinch, then Garner comes in and beats him, and Al Smith who had had no press agent, or advance work done, why he runs right up there almost with both of ’em, and he was like the girl at the tacky party when they voted on the ugliest person and she won, and said, “Why I wasent even running.”
You are going to find this Guy Smith has a very loyal following. They will always be voting for him. I met young Roosevelt’s son out here the other day.3 He and his charming wife. He made some speeches for his Dad, and I wasent fortunate enough to hear any, but they tell me they were great. He has a lot of sincerity, plain wholesomess, and good common sense. His little wife was very nice. They have a six weeks old baby. They talked more of the baby than they did of their mission out here. This Roosevelt is a very fine human man, sometimes I think he is too nice a fellow to be mixed up in all this politics.
We don’t know yet as I pen these immovable words, what is the things we will pay taxes on. Congress guesses at one thing, and the Senate reaches in the hat and drags out some other objects to be taxes. Mr. Hoover throws the dice and they bring up some more different numbers. Ogden Mills the Treasury’s Secretary weegee board calls out some more names.4 Everybody is trying to get it over on the other fellow. They all want to put it on objects but they don’t want to call it a sales tax. They only want it on what is sold.
The English sure have taken to Mr. Mellon.5 He is the lion of the hour in London. They figure that he will cancel the debt. The “Pilgrims” society give him a dinner. That’s a society that found the social going not so “hot” in America and migrated from ham and eggs and coffee, to tea and marmalade. Well they dined him, and the Statue of Liberty that was made in ice melted during the festivities and run into everybody’s lap. Well if he cancels the debt he better do it with his own money.
France is still dragging gold out of our country by the millions and asking us to cancel the debts. And then they tell you a Frenchman has no humor.
We are getting all excited out here over the Olympics, and hoping you will come out and see us. We got 55 nations coming, war or no war. Of course depression will still be on us, but we will be used to it by then. It will be your only chance during your lifetime seeing one on in this country. Course you could go to Europe but you couldent tell what language they was running in.
1Thomas H. Massie, United States naval lieutenant stationed in Hawaii, was one of four white persons convicted of the murder of a native Hawaiian, Joseph Kahahawai, the alleged assailant of Massie’s wife. The prison sentence of the white men were commuted on May 4, after the men had served only one hour in jail.
2Clarence Seward Darrow, prominent American defense attorney and civil libertarian whose court cases were almost invariably headline material. Darrow defended Massie and the others accused of the murder of Kahahawai.
3James Roosevelt, eldest son of Franklin D. Roosevelt; insurance company executive and political figure. He was married to the former Betsey Cushing.
4Ogden Livingston Mills, United States secretary of the treasury from 1932 to 1933.
5For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 440:N 9.
SAILOR WAS COOL HEADEDWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. Wasent that terrible out here in Cal, about the Akron landing?1 They had had all this tough time crossing the country, storms and bad weather, then when the sailors at San Diego tryed to help ’em land there was enacted about the greatest bit of drama that we have read of in our time.
That bit of the sailor being drawn up there for over an hour and a half, now if there is a man living that had had an hour and a half of any more suspense then that, that was actual suspense, he must have been a cool headed customer to have thought of tying himself on like that. They figured they would have to go out to sea and drop him the ocean. There was a nice little thing to look forward too.
“We will drop you in the ocean.” Being a sailor it would just be his luck he couldent swim. But that’s what I call real drama. You know it’s hard to tell about those big old suckers, as to whether they are a success or not. Course they do go places. Look at that one that went around the world. And this one had come all the way across our continent without gas, food, water, hot dogs, or a morning paper. Course it had been two or three days doing it, but at that it beat a train. But I will trust all that to our army and navy men to figure out. They know whether it’s practical or not. Remember there is 84 men on that thing. That’s a lot of men to carry across the continent in one load.
I tell you any experiment that is being made in the air is not a waste of time or money. Our defense, offense and all have got to come from the air. So these big dachunds are going to find some place in our national defense. You know that is a terrible job being in charge of that floating bladder. This guy Rosendahl has done a fine job of it.2 Course when you want to land you can’t always find two hundred sailors in all parts of the country.
Some parts of the country you have to fly around for several hours before you can see two hundred sailors. Lots of people living in this country for all their lives never saw two hundred sailors. I don’t much care to cruise the air if it’s going to take two hundred men to pull me down.
In an aeroplane it don’t take anybody to pull you down. In fact most of the time you wish you had two hundred men to hold up. I have seen times in a plane when I have wished there had been men underneath with a net. But let’s get on to pleasanter subjects.
Marlene Dietrick our movie heroine, has come to terms and won’t go back to Germany.3 Never had any idea going but neither has Greta, but it’s a good racket if it works and it has.4 They are still on my neck for not producing Greta at that Grand Hotel opening. As they say in the Far East, “I lost face.” If I can dig Greta up some of these days it may get me back my lost prestige, but she is a tough baby to get ahold of.
Doug Fairbanks got back a couple of weeks ago from the Fiji Islands, or some outlandish place that he had been.5 He took pictures of it. He said that down there you could live on 90 cents a week. That is about ten cents more than here, or what some have to live on here. However you keep reading about things getting better, but most of the articles are written by folks that are doing well themselves. With the elections coming on you are going to be fed up with a lot of hooey about a lot of things. Naturally the Republicans are to put their best “side” forward. They are just trying now to figure out which side is their best.
Roosevelt is pretty well sweeping the country for the Democrats but perhaps won’t have enough to nominate on the first ballot. Smith combined with a few of the native sons would be able to block him. Then it would be just a wild guess as to who would be nominated. Mr. Hoover just goes right on wanting to stay in there. I had kept thinking that he would finally give up and say, “Well boys here she is. Take it whoever wants it. I have had enough.”
But once a man is President he is just as hard to pry out of there as a Senator, or a town constable, or any political office. He had done some pretty courageous things lately in a political way. If he will get up and cuss the Senate and Congress out a couple of more times, he is liable to wake up a hero for never was “Cussing Congress” as popular as it is now. And the rascals I guess are not to blame for it either. Of course they are not doing the best they can but they are doing the best they know how.
Conventions will be on us now. They are like the locusts. They come every few years. Will meet you all there, at one or the other of ’em. It will be good conventions this year for both sides will be in doubt. And the people don’t care.
1Three ground crewman attempting to moor the United States naval dirigible Akron at Camp Kearny, California, on May 11, 1932, were dragged aloft when a trailing line broke. Two of the sailors lost their grip on the rope and plunged to their deaths. The third managed to cling to the line until rescued two hours later.
2Charles E. Rosendahl, lieutenant commander in the United States Navy; commander of the dirigible Akron.
3Marlene Dietrich, German-American film actress and singer. She scored her first success in 1930 as Lola in the German film The Blue Angel. She then came to the United States to star in such motion pictures as Shanghai Express and Blonde Venus in 1932.
4For Greta garbo see WA 463:N 8.
5For Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., see WA 434:N 6.
GRAB THY HORSEWell all I know is just what I read in the Congressional Record. They have had some awful funny articles in there lately. As our government deteriorates, our humor increases. They been arguing over the taxes, and that give ’em a chance to get some original views on where they was going to get this two billion bucks that they were overdrawn. They have just appropriated and appropriated till they was so far in the red, that it don’t look they will hardly get out by Xmas.
They got to get the whole thing all straightened out pretty quick, for the conventions are here right now. They have to be there and tell the deligates what they have done for the country. Well I will be seeing a lot of you all at the shows (both of ’em). I don’t want to miss anything.
Well I had a fine time here about ten days ago. I went with our Governor, Jimmy Rolph, and we, “We” accepted in behalf of the State of California, one of the most magnificent ranches you ever saw.1 It comprises about seven hundred acres.
Course that don’t sound so big, but that’s land that is all piped and watered, and irrigated, and improved. It is the largest Arabian Horse Ranch in America. It has 87 head of pure breed Arabian horses, the most wonderful up to date stables and equipment you ever saw. It’s a marvelous place, about 40 miles out of Los Angeles, near Pomona. It was given to the State University Department Animal Husbandry, and will be maintained by them. It was the gift of W. K. Kellogg of Battle Creek.2 He has been coming out here for the winters for several years and built up this beautiful place. We had a big ceremony.
Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg turned over the deeds to the Governor. They are mighty fine, plain, wholesome folks, the Kelloggs. Now here is the catch in it that makes the gift so marvelous. He also give $600,000 as a fund, that the income from it would be used to keep this place up. That’s where I got fooled, I went out there to the ceremony just thinking that it was an event where a man was giving away a ranch. Well I have one in California, and one in Oklahoma, both mighty little ones, but still big enough to be noticed by the tax men.
Well neither one of ’em have ever made their taxes, so if either state wants another Animal Husbandry joint, why I will be more than glad to turn each state over some of the best tax infested land in both states, and I will give ’em some horses with ’em too. They may not be Arabians, and again they may be, for you can’t look at ’em and tell what kind they are.
They told us out there at this ceremony that the Arabian horses had one less vertabra in his back, and one less in his tail, and the bone from his knee down is shorter. Well if this Arabian is short of vertabra, and that is giving it a nice name, I don’t know about our shin bone being shorter. If it is it’s because we have worn it out kicking at everything so much.
We have worn out about an inch of it just kicking poor Hoover alone. Maby he did need a few, but perhaps not as many as we aimed at him. Now I think we ought to commence wearing out, not the shin bone but the heel bone, by kicking ourselves a few times each day. Our kicks have always been aimed at somebody else for our own troubles. And a few good ones directed at the proper source would find us getting ’em right where they are deserved.
So these horses are really American and not Arabian. They also have another American characteristic, they are long winded. There is a Senator among every colt born.
An Arabian’s nostrils are always distended. He seems to smell everything pretty good. Well we don’t. There is things about our affairs that you sometimes think we have no sense of smell at all, or we would certainly smell some of the things that are being put over on us every day.
If we had had even an ordinary “Nostril” we should have detected an oder when our International Bankers were giving everything in the world to Europe. We couldent even detect the limburger on the bonds they sold us. So we have all the characteristics of the Arab horse but the distended nostrils and it’s beauty. The mare of the human race has retained it’s beauty, but the male has been a throw back. He has retained none of the springy movement and the grace and beauty of form and skin. Our only salvation is to raise just females.
1For James Rolph, Jr., see WA 442:N 3.
2Will Keith Kellogg, American breakfast cereal manufacturer and founder in 1906 of the Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg donated his Arabian horse ranch at Pomona, California, and an endowment of $600,000 to California State Polytechnic College as a stimulus for teaching and research in animal husbandry, Kellogg was married to Dr. Carrie Staines.
HORSES, HIGH ONESWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I run onto out here in the hills of Santa Monica. Been having quite a few interesting callers lately, starting couple of weeks back. One morning some of the members of the Japanese Olympic Horsemen rode over to our place, which is only one mile from the Riviera Club, where all the horsemanship things will be held. Course a Japanese on a horse was always a kind of funny sight, for they are not a horseman nation, and they will all ways get the biggest horses they can find in Manchuria, they won’t ride the little manchurian ponies, they want big old tall horses. They think it makes ’em look bigger, when as a matter of fact they look littler, but this bunch is liable to fool all these other nations.
They got 11 head of mighty fine looking horses. And they are mighty thorough learning anything, so they may have got all these stunts worked out that these horses are to do and have ’em down pat.
Spain is coming with some horses, Poland, Holland, and a bunch of other countries. I don’t see why Mexico don’t come. They got some mighty fine horsemen and some good horses. Course sending horses to one of these things runs into dough. It’s not like sending a footracer who can run over and then if he don’t win anything, walk back.
Well, the little Japanese gentlemen were very nice and cordial, and outside of having a hard time getting up on top of those big horses they were O.K. You know I believe that the horse end of the Olympics will outdraw anything else. Our American team was up here to our polo field not long ago and they brought their horses, and put on an exhibition. We got some great horses, and great riders.
Major Chamberlain is one of the best horsemen in this or any other depressed country.1 Well, the Japanese had no more than rode away till here come Tom Mix, not on Tony, but in a nice new car, with his new wife, Mabel Ward, that is a wonderful aerial circus artist, and a very very charming and pretty little lady.2 And they had Tom’s little daughter, Tomisina, about 8 or 9 years old.3 Tom and I milled over old days in the Wild West show business. He is looking fine, fully recovered from his illness.4
And then comes my old friend W. G. McAdoo.5 I hadent see W. G. in some time, and of course we had a lot of politics to mull over. W. G. is going to run for senator out here and looks like he ought to get it if everybody are as Democratic as they say they are. He had just come from Washington. He thinks the way those other fellows will kill each other off that that Garner has a fine chance to be nominated. He don’t think the Al Smith, Roosevelt thing will be patched up, so that will mean a tough fight for either of them. No one knows who Al will switch his strength too if he can’t get it himself. He says that the state of New York has only gone Democratic once in 40 years, (the year Cleveland run) and that there has been several New York men nominated in that time and they couldent carry it, so a man from any part of the country has as much chance as any one else.6
You know they always preach that a man must be able to carry New York in order to give the Democrats a chance. But Lord who knows what a voter will do, when Texas went Republican. W. G. is a mighty pleasant well informed man, a very charming fellow. He told me some interesting things about Mr. Wilson and prohibition. He said that Mr. Wilson always could see that just such a predicament as we are now in would be possible, and he wanted more laxity in the framing of any prohibition legislation. He had always been a local optionist. But you get him to write and tell you all that Mr. Wilson told him on it. It’s very interesting and showed that this man Wilson had some vision.
W.G. thinks that the Republicans will put a referendum in their platform. Then there will be some fun with the Democrats. The Republicans always get the first shot at what to do but the Democrats get the last shot at it. If they, (the Republicans) put the plank in first that will steal the Democrats’ thunder.
But it won’t be long now for here the conventions are right on us. Mr. McAdoo has his own plane and flies back and forth across the continent with his pilot all the time. As he drove out, Irene Rich and her daughters drove in.7 We had finished a picture lately, Irene and I. She is one that don’t try to always stay 18 and claiming the daughters are “adopted.” One finished Smith College a year ago, and Irene gets up and announces it to the world.
Then Miss Winona Winters, a vaudeville and musical comedy friend of Mrs. Rogers and I, from back in the good old days, B. I. (before inflation).8 Remember how pretty she was and used to do a ventriliquoal act along with her songs. She is the daughter of Banks Winter (White Wings), a fine old Southern gentleman.9 He is out here hale and hearty and lives with Winona, who is married and doing fine.
Then we had here our son Jimmy, and his New Mexico Polo team, from Roswell, N. M.10 Kids from sixteen to nineteen, and brother they did clean up out here. They beat everything they run into, they played all men teams, and big men at that. But after seeing kids play polo against big guys it only shows that the horse is the greatest equalizer in the world. No matter what you weigh, the little fellow is your equal on a horse. Tex Austin, son of the big rodeo promoter; Dick Waring from San Angelo, and Tommy Thompson from New York, had a mighty fine kid team, coached by Col Keyes, who developed at that same school the famous Arizona team, which is the best college team in America (equally mounted).11 Maby we will know by the time this reaches you if Congress is going to help anyone out. I mean anyone that really needs it, they have helped everybody else.
1Harry Dwight Chamberlain, United States Army officer and internationally known horseman. Chamberlain was a member of the American riding team at the Olympic Games of 1920 and 1928 and captain of the team at the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932.
2Thomas Edwin “Tom” Mix, American cowboy motion picture star who was one of the greatest box-office attractions in the history of the screen. His horse, Tony, one of the first of the animal stars of motion pictures, was almost as famous as his master. Mabel Hubbell Ward, aerial performer with the Sells-Floto Circus. She and Mix were married in early 1932.
3Thomasina was Mix’s nine-year-old daughter by his third wife, Victoria Forde.
4Mix was hospitalized in late 1931 for the treatment of an inflammation resulting from a ruptured appendix.
5William Gibbs McAdoo, United States secretary of the treasury from 1913 to 1918; leading contender for the Democratic presidential nominations in 1924 and 1928; United States senator from California from 1933 to 1939.
6Stephen Grover Cleveland, Democratic governor of New York from 1883 to 1885; president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897.
7Irene Rich, American motion picture actress who appeared in films from 1918 until her retirement in 1948.
8Winona Winter, American vaudeville performer and stage actress; ventriloquist, impersonator and comedian; close personal friend of Rogers’ wife, Betty.
9Banks Winter, American minstrel performer whose career as a blackface comedian lasted more than fifty years. He netted almost $500,000 from the song “White Wings,” which he wrote in 1884.
10James Blake “Jim” Rogers, second son of Will and Betty Rogers, Kim, an excellent polo player and horseman, was a student at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. He played number one on the school’s polo team.
11Stacker Lee “Little Tex” Austin, American polo player and son of John Van “Tex” Austin, American rodeo promoter who was one of the best-known organizers of large-scale shows at Madison Square Garden. Young Austin was number three on the team at NMMI. Charles Wildey “Dick” Waring, a cadet polo player from San Angelo, Texas. He played number two on the NMMI polo team. Thomas W. “Tommy” Thompson, number four cadet polo player at NMMI. Thompson was from Great Neck, New York, and Wichita Fall, Texas. E. A. Keyes, polo coach from 1929 to 1932 and professor of military science and tactics from 1926 to 1932 at New Mexico Military Institute.
BABIES IN HOLLYWOOD;
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I have been seeing as I been prowling around conventionward. Course I been writing you a lot about them so we better dig up something more pleasant.
SENATORS IN CHICAGO
Hollywood is what I am asked more about back here than all the politics. Everybody has their favorites and they want to know how they are getting on. “How’s Clara Bow?”1 “Did you see Barrymore’s new baby?”2 “Is it so that there is no such person as Greta Garbo?”3 “Why don’t you make another good picture once in awhile?” “Who do you have to look like to get in the movies?” “If we go to the Olympic Games can we get in and see ’em make pictures?” Well they just ask you so many questions I dident hardly have time to tell ’em who was going to be elected president.
Now about Clara Bow. Clara is up on her ranch in Nevada. She married Rex Bell, a boy that played with me in “They Had to See Paris.”4 He was the sweetheart of my daughter (Margaret Churchill) before she went to Paris.5 Then he also was with us in “Lightnin.”
Now you have heard of “Ranches.” Everything out here that is not an apartment is a “Ranch.” If you got twenty feet in your back yard it’s a “Ranch.” If you got an old avacado bush, (no matter if it bears or not) why it’s an “Avacado Ranch.” “Lemon Ranches” “Orange Ranches” “Peanut Ranches” “Rabbit Ranches” “Squab Ranches,” we even call mine a “Ranch,” and there is nothing on it but an old polo field, a few calves to rope at, and some old cow ponies.
But what I started to tell you was that Clara Bow’s is “a” ranch. It’s right out in about the remotest settled part of America there is, the desert country out west of Boulder Dam. I never have been there, but I have flown over it, and know the country. Neighbors? I expect their nearest neighbor is the dam, about 80 miles away. And they got cattle on it. It’s a cattle ranch. “Big Boy” Williams has one up in that country.6 Their stock ranges for over a hundred miles.
Well Clara is getting ready to do a story at Foxe’s. Sam Roark a very fine high typed man and a good producer is making it, and if he gets her a good story why it’s a cinch.7
Now about Barrymore’s new baby. I never did see the old one. Or has he got another one? I believe he has, but he’s got a pretty wife, and he’s not bad looking himself so they are liable to have a mighty pretty little baby. This baby thing has got to be quite an epidemic out here in the movies, there is more babies being born out here than in any time since I can remember. I don’t know if it’s depression or unemployment or what, but a lot of ’em that never raised any children before are doing it now. I guess there is fads in child raising just like in anything else. Paul Whiteman and his wife Margaret Livingston (I think that was her name) by the way she worked with me in a picture in the silent days, called “Water Water Everywhere.”8 It was Irene Rich’s first picture with us.9 It was a western, and I had to swim out into a river and rescue her from drowning. I was on horsebach however, and I had to take her up on my horse and carry her to town. Now a drowned woman that is all wet is mighty hard to carry with you on a running horse, and it’s hard on the lady too. And I never see Margaret that I don’t think of that ride. We took it in the Kern River out of Bakersfield. It’s as hard to find a running river in Southern California as it is a drowning woman.
Well but what’s all that got to do with babies? Well just this, I see where Paul and his wife announced their intention of having a baby. It was about the earliest announcements of that caliber I ever saw. This was along early in May, and they expect the baby along in March. That reducing is a wonderful thing. You wouldent hardly know him. He is skinnier than Chick Sales.10
And speaking of babies, I guess you all know that the old timers like Chick was right there with the baby raising. Chick had twins. He has got an awful fine bunch of children. He’s got one boy that is about to shed off to be an actor. And there don’t seem to be a thing Chick can do about it, so he told me.
Now about getting into the studio’s. They say they are going to have some kind of an arrangement that on certain days that visitors will be allowed into the studios, I think the studios are all cooperating with the Olympic people and will do what they can to help entertain any of you folks that come out.
The athletes are drifting in here. Most of the runners are walking in. It’s kinder hard to predict just how the crowds will turn out for that. It’s a funny year. Just when you think people have no money and something won’t do any business why it’s packed.
We are living in an age of selected entertainment. They will be here if they want to see ’em, and if they don’t they won’t. Folks used to not know what they wanted, but they sho do now. We are getting everything cleaned up out here for the games. The place don’t look natural. If nobody don’t come we will just have had all this trouble for nothing. I will sho be glad when I can dirty up my place again. Committee even told us to curry our horses. Why I would as soon try to skin some of my old ponies as I would try to curry ’em.
They are even trying to get the high school students now to either change or wash those corduroy breeches. But they don’t hope to get that done.
Well it’s getting late, and I havent seen much of Chicago yet. So I think I will go find a couple of senators and see the town. I won’t let anybody know they are senators then we can get into the best places. Everybody that you ever read of that manhandles our country is here. Both sides are trying to get their clutches on it for the next four years, so no matter what happens there is little hope for us. Sometimes you wish politics were like Hollywood babies, just a passing fad.
1For Clara Bow see WA 434:N 5.
2Delores Costello Barrymore, actress-wife of John Barrymore (see WA 443:N 5), gave birth to the couple’s first child, John Barrymore, Jr., on June 4, 1932.
3For Greta Garbo see WA 463:N 8.
4Rex Bell, American motion picture cowboy star of the 1930s, husband of Clare Bow, and one-time lieutenant governor of Nevada.
5Marguerite Churchill, American leading lady of motion pictures whose first film was the “talkie” They Had to See Paris in 1929.
6Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, American character actor of films, usually in amiably tough roles. He first appeared in Hollywood in 1919 as an “extra” in motion pictures.
7Sam E. Rork, American motion picture maker who produced the film A Texas Steer in 1927 in which Rogers starred.
8Paul Whiteman, American bandleader who became famous in the 1920s for pioneering the “sweet style” as opposed to the “classical style” jazz music. Margaret Livingston, American motion picture actress who retired in 1934 after a successful fifteen-year career. She married Paul Whiteman in 1931 and remained with him until his death in 1967. Water, Water, Everywhere, silent film in 1919 that was adapted from the novel Billy Fortune by William and Louis Lighton.
9For Irene Rich see WA 494:N 7.
10For Chic Sale see WA 434:N 8
HERE COMES THE DEMOCRATS!Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I run into hither and thither. Well here we all are gathering in for the round-up of the Democrats. They are coming into Chicago by plane, train, Fords, buckboards, and on burros. The Texas Deligation arrived on burros. Headed by that fearless old statesman, Amon G. Carter, the genial dirt farmer of Shady Oaks Post Office, Texas.1
Amon is National Committeeman, deligate, alternate, steering wheel, banker, receiver, and wet nurse for the Texas deligation. They have taken over the Sherman Hotel, the best hotel in Chicago, and have generously allowed the California deligation to spread their bed rolls out in the halls, so they could stand guard over the Texas deligation. Both deligations are here to offset the effect of the Texas and California deligation which was here a couple of weeks previous. These feel that their state was naturally given a black eye by having Republicans at large roaming around with Texas and California on their badges, so these are trying to show that those were imposters, that they were not really from those states at all.
Oh say this will be a convention. Of course the old Republicans did the best they could with what little they had to work on, and as I think back to those old days we did have some fun at that. Would have had more if they hadent “bulldogged” that fellow France who wanted to nominate Coolidge.2 I was sure pulling for it, for I can’t help but admit that I am personally a Coolidge fan. And Grace!3 I am crazy about Mrs. Coolidge. I tell you all these other public men’s wives could learn a lot from her. But the qualities she has are God given, they can’t be acquired.
I, like lots of others, would like to see Calvin in there again. Course I doubt if he would take it at this time. Calvin knows when to take over a business, but anyhow this old boy France would have sure stirred up a hornet’s nest if he had been able to nominate him.
Chicago is going to do herself proud just like she did with the Republicans. The last day of the Republican show they killed 4 gangsters for the amusement of the deligates and I know that being a Democratic city at heart she will do as much for the Democrats. In fact, I bet they do better. One of those they bumped off was named “Red” somebody, he was an alternate for Capone.
Lots of the newspaper boys are still here from the last show. They were afraid that they would close up the places if they left ’em, so they just stuck in there. H. L. Mencken, the Boswell of the Potomac, has stayed steadily at his typewriter ever since Senator France was manhandled from the Republican rostrum.4 It was just about the last blow against free speech. And I expect there will be a paragaraffe in the Green Magazine denouncing the Republican method. He was the first on the spot back in the jail room where Mr. France was quickly incarcerated. They are fellow Marylanders. And Mencken said “You take him, you can take me too!” But Senotor Fess says, “I will take care of you personally.”5 So Mencken and Fess squared off with their typewrieters. And what a sucker Mencken has made out of him.
The California deligation originally started out for this convention as members of the Bonus Army.6 In that way they come across the continent this far. Jewett Shouse is here guiding the destinies of the Roosevelt forces.7 All you can hear is “Will they stop Roosevelt.” Well they dident stop him from getting six or seven hundred deligates. But maby they can get ’em to change their minds after the deligates have seen some of the other candidates. And maby some of the other deligates will switch to Roosevelt after they have seen face to face their own candidates. Anyhow it’s a good spot for a deligate to be in. Never was a deligate so much in demand. I am sure sorry that I dident decide to “Del.” I had a chance in California. They wanted to make me one, only I think they discovered I had none of the qualifications of one.
Tammany is gathering in. This is their first trip away, with the exceptions of the ones that survived the Houston massacre.8
Ritchie of Maryland and his troop are here and on their way.9 They are going to profit by the happenings of the Republican fracas and bringing their own policemen to see that they can nominate who they want. Al Smith is coming and will be the most pupular figure here as he is everywhere. Thirty years from now if he never held another office Smith would still be of great interest to everyone. For he has just got in him that something.
Mr. Roosevelt will be here when it looks profitable for him to be. Or that’s what they say. What who said? Oh nobody said it, I just made it up, but when a writer or anyone wants to say something they are not right sure of they always preface it by saying “So I’ve heard.” Well that’s just a alabi, or “out” for ’em. They havent heard anybody say it at all, but it’s an easy way to lay the lie on someone else besides yourself.
Well the noise is starting so I better jarr loose and go hear it. I don’t know if it’s a Rube Band, or just Amon Carter whispering about Jack Garner to somebody. Well, see you at the third party convention.
1For Amon G. Carter see WA 437:N 2.
2Joseph Irvin France, Republican United States senator from Maryland from 1917 to 1923. A physician and businessman, France attempted unsuccessfully to nominate former president Calvin Coolidge at the Republican National Convention in 1932.
3Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, wife of Calvin Coolidge and popular first lady who was generally considered to be more personable than the president.
4Henry Louis Mencken, American editor, author, and publisher; a social and political critic well-known for his acid pen. James Boswell, Scottish lawyer and biographer. His celebrated Life of Samuel Johnson was published in 1791.
5Simeon Davison Fee, Republican United States senator from Ohio from 1923 to 1935.
6The Bonus Army, a group of more than 15,000 mostly-unemployed veterans who marched on Washington D.C., in the spring of 1932 to demand immediate payment of their World War I bonus.
7Jouett Shouse, Democratic United States representative from Kansas from 1915 to 1919; assistant secretary of the treasury from 1919 to 1920. An attorney from Kansas City, Missouri, Shouse was active at the Democratic National Convention in 1920, 1924 and 1932.
8The Democratic National Convention was held in Houston, Texas, in 1928.
9For Albert C. Ritchie see WA 480:N 8. 497 OM; published: TDW, July 3, 1932