That’s Hollywood For You
I don’t know a movie actress who is both sexy and flat-chested. At least, not when the wardrobe department gets finished with her. Jane Russell, Lana Turner and Denise Darcel are the foremost examples that prove you can’t improve on nature . . . Van Johnson means well, but he should quit being awed by movie stars and it’s time he resigned from the Joan Crawford Fan Club . . . I think “Stromboli” is the classic proof that “the picture’s the thing,” for no picture ever received more publicity. But the public didn’t flock to it as expected because it’s a dull dish . . . Vera-Ellen, after her dances in “On the Town,” became my favorite female hoofer. She can dance for me whenever she wants to . . . The movies are a fake! Kirk Douglas can’t toot a horn well enough to get Betty Grable’s attention. Yet the movies did force Larry Parks to become a singer, although he has yet to sing on the screen. He makes records with Betty Garrett, the wife . . . Marie Wilson was telling her husband Allan Nixon about a party he had missed. “It was just wonderful,” she said. “Everybody in the room was there!
I hope I’m not busting any illusions, but Vic Damone’s name is almost as new as his nose. His real name is Farinola . . . Cary Grant, I’ll have you know, goes on movie jags. He and Betsy Drake often settle down in the living room at five in the afternoon and keep running pictures until one o’clock in the morning. Food is served to them during the session. Cary swears he never has a celluloid hangover . . . I’ll admit that Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, breath-taking, a genuine beauty and anything else superlative you have to say about her looks. But to me, Linda Darnell is sexier. If that be treason, make the most of it . . . Fred Allen gets more cynical than usual when visiting movietown. Recently, he defined an associate producer as the only guy who will associate with a producer . . . I can’t think of an actress who is more actressy off the screen, than Gloria Swanson. She plays her “Sunset Boulevard” role of Norma Desmond in restaurants, night clubs and, I’ll bet, in private . . . Poor Gregory Peck. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Peck has been nominated for an Academy Oscar more often than any other actor, but he hasn’t captured one—yet . . . Doris Day talks as if there’s a swing band behind her. When we were chatting one day, she said, I’m getting big kicks out of being a movie star. It’s a happy thing. Everything’s coming my way. Love my work like it’s a lover boy. Gotta be happy when I’m working or I’d quit.”
I miss Ernst Lubitsch. No pictures today have that touch . . . Bette Davis should stop trying to act like Bette Davis and she’d be fine . . . I’m tired of gags about liquor and Ray Milland, and so is he. I’m also tired of gags about Jack Benny’s stinginess, but he isn’t.
Esther Williams is the only fish I know who looks good out of water . . . I’m certainly glad that Judy Holliday is going to do her Billie Dawn role in the movie version of “Born Yesterday.” Anyone else would have been an impostor . . . The Dick Haymes-Nora Eddington-John Ireland-Joanne Dru quartet confuses me, especially when Errol Flynn is. tossed in for a mention. Come on, just be yourselves and stop depending on each other for billing . . . Jane Wyman can be as charming as any dame in Smogville . . . To show you how things are done in this town, Beverly Hills has a “Little Super Market” . . . Asked during an interview what she thought motion pictures needed most, Ethel Barrymore answered, “Faith in the public—not popcorn.”
I don’t know how any performer can be as relaxed as Bing Crosby, and I can’t name an actress that nonchalant and easygoing in her work . . . Dorothy McGuire, regardless of the film she is put in, seems destined to play Claudia . . . After the many semi-documentary pictures, “Adam’s Rib” was a treat because it was good to see polished performers who know their craft. I think there is definitely a place in movies for actors . . . Wonder if Howard Hughes regards Glenn McCarthy as a poor millionaire . . . If I were casting for a lady taxi-driver, I’d put Ann Sheridan in the part. Annie knows all the words, too . . . Making movies isn’t easy, and each picture presents its own problems. M-G-M, preparing “Quo Vadis,” couldn’t discover what piece of music it was that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. So they assigned Niklos Rozsa to write the fiddle music for the movie Nero . . . I’m not a guy for views, but I must admit that I still get a kick out of looking down on Los Angeles at night from Sunset Strip . . . Ida Lupino always looks as if she might explode any minute.
Montgomery Clift must have a few secret suits stashed away somewhere . . . An actress’s best friend is her cameraman. Joan Crawford, dancing at Mocambo, saw her cameraman in a party at ringside, and asked, “What are you doing here? You should be home getting some sleep. You’ve got to photograph me tomorrow morning!” . . . I sometimes get nostalgic to hear Dick Powell sing again, but never Rudy Vallee . . . If I had anything to say at Warners, I’d put Virginia Mayo in a Technicolor musical and, showing off her figure, Warners would gross a pretty figure . . . Ronald Reagan, commenting on his trip to Ireland, said, “It’s like a Hollywood set where all the parts are played by Barry Fitzgerald.”
It’s my opinion that Greta Garbo is in a league all by herself as far as movie actresses go. Yet Gee-Gee never won an Oscar . . . I sometimes wonder if, at home, Cyd Charisse dances on her toes while Tony Martin sings “Marta” Hollywood people returning from a trip to New York think they are your only means of communication with Broadway, and tell you about the shows as if they were Columbus . . . Dimitri Tiomkin, who has some Mike Curtiz in him, told me that the show he enjoyed most was “Kiss My Kate” . . . Wonder when Peter Lawford ever gets the time to work in a picture … Fred Astaire is never untidy . . . There’s nothing like an agent, except maybe another agent. Jack Klass, agent, approached Ivan Kahn, casting expert at Fox, and pitched with, “Got a great hunk of talent for you, who sings like Sinatra, dances like Kelly and looks like Bogart.” “Bring him around,” said Kahn excitedly. “It’s not a him, it’s a her!” said Klass . . . I can’t tell you why, but Danny Kaye doesn’t make me howl with laughter. It could be that I’m not British.
Dearie, do you remember when Clara Bow was “It,” William Powell played villains, Vilma Banky and Rudolph Valentino were the great lovers, Corinne Griffith was “The Orchid Lady” and William Haines played smart alecks? Well, if you don’t, just stick around. They’ll probably be back on television . . . Ronald Colman tells me that a fan club is a group of people who tell an actor that he’s not alone in the way that he feels about himself.
Of all the newcomers, the actress I go for most is Ruth Roman, but I have plenty of company . . . Howard Duff makes a great Sam Spade, but he can’t solve his own Ava Gardner caper . . . Vic Mature is a Vic Mature admirer, and on the photograph of him at the studio he scribbled, “sterling performer” . . . Whenever I see Lana Turner at a night club with husband Bob Topping, I always think it’s a scene from a Lana Turner picture in which the wealthy young man from the other side of the tracks is taking out our heroine . . . Mercedes McCambridge reminds, me of James Cagney. She has that same kind of authority with veiled menace . . . Betty Grable looks as good in a nightgown as she does in pajamas, or vice versa. Please yourself . . . Take my word for it, Orson Welles actually said, “If there’s anything I loathe, it’s an exhibitionist.” . . . I know that M-G-M has a clause in every contract prohibiting its actors from appearing on television. And when Lassie was offered a job on a television show, the trainer had to reject it. The studio insisted that Lassie is not a dog, but an actor. That’s Hollywood for you!
—BY SIDNEY SKOLSKY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JUNE 1950