To THE "YES MANNER” BORN
FIRST, there was David Bailey, a gentleman to the "yes manner" born. Then there was Marlene Mabie, who admitted that David had only one fault and nearly broke into profanity when she said it.
Marlene had pansy-brown eyes, a skin like country cream and a soft feminine decisiveness. The hardest and most durable thing in the world isa soft feminine decisiveness.
There were others, Kppy Sorglum. beetlebrowed producer of Stujxmdous Pictures the longest, leanest and loudest executive in Hollywtxxi. And RolxTt Wolfe the great Robert Wolfe who owned Stupondoifc and visited the studio about twice a year. And Ephraim Mangle humble, gentle, a dry-farmer from Six Sleep,
Wyoming, as desiccated as his own harsh fields.
And then there was Kenet Reynolds. Kenet loved Marlene too, in his fashion.
' I 4 IE Dl TIES of Miss Mabie at the Stujxmdous lot were -*• not onerous. She was listed as a reader in the scenario department, and she did sometimes read. But it was not required of her. In fact, it was frowned ujxm.
In reality, Miss Mabie was the chief bouncer of unsolicited manuscripts. All day long she slit o[x*n envelopes, prepared new ones and slipped in the contributions, with polite rejection sli|>s regretting the material was "unavailable.” It was tile jxiliey of Stupendous to consider no stories sent in by the public at large. 'This was partly due to fear that plagiarism might have been committed, and partly to Kppy Sorglum’s confidence that he knew more about what the public wanted as entertainment than the public did.
Not knowing this, or not believing it. the public continued, however, to deluge Stupendous w ith unwanted epics. Something had to be done about it, so Marlene was engaged to do it.
It was not an inspiring task, and most of the stories were terrible. But Miss Mabie had seen many Stupendous pictures, so bad stories did not daunt her. She had a sneaking feeling in the back of her pretty head that there must be, under the law of averages alone, some wheat in the chaff that passed daily across her desk. If she could find just one good story !
Miss Mabie was a serious person. She was interested in, and studied, the cinema, life and letters. Add to this the fact that she wanted desperately to be of real use. and you get the reason for her critical, if uncalled for. reading. You also get. if you are very astute, the reason for her approaching David Bailey in the first place.
lí very body on the Stujxmdous lot knew that David couldn't say No. He was good-looking and charming. He had ability and affability. He was kind to tax collectors and nosey neighbors. He took home stray dogs, and stray drunks after ¡xirties.
But he couldn’t say No. Neither could he lie in a leather chair in a line frenzy of horizontal eloquence and defend his
ideas against the assaults of executives, supervisors, stars, or even writers.
David was a director, inconspicuously, of Stupendous Pictures. There was nothing disputatious about him. He saw t(x) easily the other side of every canvas. He wanted to agree with even-bod y almost everybody, that is. And he simply did not have the lung power to win an argument from Eppy Sorglum anyway.
Everybody who knew Marlene Mabie knew that No was the most serviceable word in her vocabulary. But, like many such people, she could not take No for an answer.
Consequently when the scenario editor had refused repeatedly to consider the one story she insisted was a "Grab-bag Masterpiece,” Marlene thought of Mr. Bailey.
“Oh, Mr. Bailey.” she hailed him one morning, leaning from her ground-floor window as he passed. "Would you read a story for me? It would make a ¿xv/a-ti-ful picture!”
Dave Bailey halted and looked into the pansy-brown eyes pansy brown with strange, disturbing flecks of gold in them. She lay on a slim stomach over the sill, her soft,
curlv hair fluffing in the breeze, and the picture she made would have caused a far more contentious person than Da\ id Bailey to agree. . .. “Yes ” asserted Mr. Bailey, not. for once in Ins life, from force of habit. “Certainly. A pleasure.”
He didn’t read it. of course. A busy director doesn t even read traffic tags, let alone stories for pictures. But he returned it next day with the assurance that he thought it would make a swell show, and how about luncheon.
“No,” said Miss Mabie promptly.
But afterward, simply because she was interested in her work, and not in the least because the man did have charm, she capitulated.
Luncheon was a tactical error, because she found him out. Dave evaded when her questions about the store became too searching. He kidded. He clowned. But you cannot long evade a girl with soft feminine decisiveness.
“All right,” he admitted finally with a grin. “I didn't
read it. So what? ’
“So you will—right away.”
T) HIS surprise Mr. Bailey did read it that night. Next morning he confronted Miss Mabie.
“Say, that ‘Wyoming Dawn’ is a story, at that,” he announced. There was still surprise in his voice, even after a night’s sleep. “Where d you get it.
Miss Mabie produced a letter, written in pencil on cheap ruled paper, in the unformed characters of one to whom the plow has been more familiar than the pen. It read :
“This here yarn’s been to too studioes, but they sent it back, so I guess they don t want it. I still think it would make a good pitcher, tho I ain’t no expert. But 1 see all the pitchers that comes to Six Sleep, which is one a week and sometimes too on hollerdays. Sam Stephens who runs the movie house is a friend o’ mine and lets me in free. _ __
“I figgered for a long time it warn't right to write this yarn, but but 1 guess it can’t do no harm now.
I’m the only one would reconnize it.
I guess if Sarah she was my wife -could see how things was going she wouldn’t mind my telling it, if it would help me get away from here.
Sarah’s dead now, and my daughter’s dead too—and 1 guess it don’t mat-
ter to me or no one else where that fellow from Chicago is that married her because she told a lot of fixrl stories around boarding school about I had struck oil on my farm !
“I don’t want no charity, Misters, but if you think $100 isn't too much for the story 1 could come out to Californy and get a job. The doctor says I got to get away from here this winter or I won’t last threw, and I ain't got mithin but the farm. You can't give land away here nowdays.
“Ephraim Mangle. “P. S. I know $100 is a lot of money, so if the yarn ain't worth that much probly I could get to Californy on less.”
Mr. Bailey read the letter through. ^ hen he looked up, the gold lights in Marlene’s eyes were like tiny candles seen through mist. Mr. Bailey pulled at the neckband of his shirt, which was suddenly too tight.
“Doesn’t he break your heart?” asked Marlene after a moment.
“With that letter for a background, the story’s twice as good,” Dave stated firmly.
“That’s what 1 thought.” she said. “Now how about selling it to Eppy Sorglum?”
Mr. Bailey's enthusiasm Ix'gan an ebb which would have done credit to the tide in the Bay of Eundy.
“Well. I don't know,” he temporized. “It isn't exactly Stujx'ndous’s kind of a story. I can’t quite see Sorglum going for it.”
“What difference does it make what kind of a story it is, as long as it's good enough?” demanded Marlene with some heat. “We make all kinds mostly bad. There’s a story that has the greatness of simplicity about it, if you can only put on the screen what that old man wrote. He wrote it in bkx)d and bad English, but the blood shows through.
"You know Eppy makes it a rule never to buy stories sent in by mail, don’t you?”
"I ought to. I’m the one who returns them.”
“And I don’t stand high enough with Eppy to bring him stories anyway. All I do is make the stuff he turns over to me, the best I can. If 1 was a Big Shot director, like Tarvey or Windless or one of those boys, it might be diiterent. But how do you expect me
Miss Mabie vaulted lightly off the desk, where she had been swinging a distracting pair of silken legs faster and faster.
"I should have known better, Mr. Bailey, than to expect anything of you!” she announced. "Merely because you like the story, because you're sold on it yourself, because you know it would make a good picture, doesn't give you the backbone to go and fight for it. You've never made a great picture because you always do just what somebody tells you to. I guess what everylxxly says around the lot is right. You’re just a ‘Yes director’.”
A red glow ran up Dave Bailey's face into his blonde hair. “Is that what everybody says?” he enquired softly. Miss Mabie nodded, pansy-brown eyes averted. “Well thank you for the tip, anyway.” Mr. Bailey’s
voice was still low. “And 1 can see that an excess of courtesy will never carry you into the same error. Good-by.”
“I deservid that,” lamentet! Marlene to the bright California sunshine outside her window, "lie's gone now -probably for ever and I thought he was a Dunb, darn him ! ’
KENET REYNOLDS wasn’t very bright. He had too much money and tix> much personality, though he would have been amazed to know that one could have too much of either.
He proposed to Marlene Mabie regularly twice a week, when he saw her that often. Miss Mabie had always said No.
Young Reynolds travelled, in short sprints, with a certain clique of the film crowd, many of whom looked iqxin inherited wealth as a hallmark of social standing, since they themselves had only such bourgeois riches as they had earned. j
It was a week or more after the excoriation of David Bailey that Reynolds took Marlene golfing. 1’hey played the north course at the Los Angeles Country Club, and both of them drove short into the deep baranca on the famous “canyon hole.”
Kenet sent the caddies on ahead and went down into the gulch with Miss Mabie.
“Marlene, will you marry me?” he asked abruptly.
For the first time in answer to his question Miss Mabie hesitated. Mr. Reynolds was a man of action. He leaped into the breach what little breach there was.
But as he leaped he stepped unromantically on a round rock. It may have been altogether this, and it may have been partly over-eagerness. In any case, Miss Mabie emerged in a moment from the embrace with the gold in the pansy-brown eyes glittering.
"No, 1 will not! Did you do much wrestling at college, Ken?”
“My fcxit slipped,” explained Mr. Reynolds. “You didn’t give me a fair chance. My technique
“I didn’t intend to give you any chance, really,” Marlene insisted. “No, Ken for the umptieth and last time, NO!”
A little later he remarked casually:
“I met a guy from your studio at a party the other night. Director named Bailey. He was raving alxuit you.”
Marlene stopixxi short.
“He was what?” she asked incredulously. “Raving about you.”
“I thought he said ‘against’,” murmured Marlene in an aside to her caddy. And a little later she added :
“Do you mind. Kenet, if we go home? I’ve got an awful headache. At least. 1 think it’s my head. And on second thought, perhaps you Ix tter drop me at the studio.
I left something there that 1 want.”
“All right," said Mr. Reynolds, who wasn’t very bright.
TT WAS nearly live when Miss Mabie A reached her office. She lay oil a slim stomach over the sill and nodded brightly to friends who passed out after the flay s work. Her tiny office fronted on the studio street, near the main gate, and everylxxly came out that way.
After half an hour 1 )ave Bailey came down the street, thoughtfully studying the way the sun reflected the new shine on his shoes.
“Hello," said Miss Mabie softly, tentatively.
Continued on page 61
To the “Yes Manner” Born
Continued from page 11—Starts on page 10
Mr. Bailey started and looked up. Then he smiled.
‘‘I hoped you’d do that,” she said. “Come on in for a minute. I want to apologize.” “There’s no apology necessary. You were right. But I’ll come in.”
“One can be right and still be very rude,” she insisted when he was seated in the office’s one chair. She sat on the desk, swinging distracting legs. “Only an old friendship could excuse my remarks. I’m sorry.” “I’m not. I needed a jolt like that. It burned me up for a minute, I’ll admit, but I can’t stay mad. That’s part of my being a ‘Yes director,’ I guess.”
“It’s the nicest fault in the world,” she said. “But you need to get mad once in a while—just to keep your self-respect. Get mad and show it, I mean. Don’t bottle it up inside and go on being sweet. That’s what you do when you’re provoked, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I guess that’s true. You’re quite an analyst.”
He stood up beside her.
“Oh, I didn’t mean to start lecturing again. Do excuse me.”
She put lier hands behind her on the desk top and leaned back, looking up at his tall blondness.
“You will forgive me? I’ll do better, honest.”
“Anything. I think—I think I’m going to kiss you.” He said it much as though he’d been saying, “I think I’m going to faint.” It started out to be a very reverent kiss. David Bailey v'as like that. But something happened. When Marlene broke away there w'as the imprint of her lipstick at a crazy angle across his mouth.
“My make-up’s not on you very straight.” She laughed a bit shakily, dabbing at his face with her scrap of a handkerchief. He did not smile.
Miss Mabie took out her mirror and looked at herself wonderingly. Strange. She looked just the same.
“Will you marry me?” said Mr. Bailey sternly.
“No,” said Miss Mabie.
“But you love me?”
“Am I to consider—?”
“You are to consider nothing,” said Miss Mabie with finality, “except that I’d like to see you direct that story of poor Ephraim Mangle’s. It would not only save the old chap’s life, it would put you somewhere as a director. I know it !”
“But I’ve already seen Eppy Sorglum about it twice,” protested Mr. Bailey. “He says he won’t buy it. He won’t buy anything from unknown writers. He’s afraid of plagiarism.”
“And you’re afraid of Sorglum,” she challenged. “Dave, don’t let that big bag of wind shout you down. I know what happened in his office; Jonesey, Sorglum’s first secretary, told me all about it. She
said you didn't raise your voice once while you were in there. After your first speech you just said ‘But’ and ‘Well’ and ‘Yes’! Don’t you know you can’t win an argument from Eppy unless you can talk louder and swear harder than he does?”
“But—” began Mr. Bailey.
“Listen, darling,” Marlene said, leaning back again on the heels of her hands. “Kiss me just once more—and then go up and wrap Sorglum around that trick cactus plant of his. Talk to him as though the studio was going to fall apart if you didn’t do that story. Outyell him. Cuss him out. Tell him how dumb he is! Go on—for me— will you? It’s—it’s important, really.”
Mr. Bailey kissed her. But when he got to the office of Stupendous’s West Coast chief, Mr. Sorglum, who usually worked sixteen hours a day, was out golfing. Dave j could not see him before Monday; and the effects of a kiss, even such a kiss, are noticeably weakened over a week-end.
But he was trying. Marlene found that out, because Jonesey came down to inform her of the racket created in Eppy Sorglum’s palatial offices a few days later. At the end of the conference, Dave Bailey had departed red in the face and visibly trembling, while Mr. Sorglum came out of his inner sanctum, with its giant cactus growing in an elaborate fountain in the centre of the floor, and queried testily:
“Say, vot’s de metter vit dot Bailey? He musta gone crazy, huh?”
THERE followed a period when Marlene saw little of Dave, and when she did she found him abstracted and mysterious. He was shooting “Three Brave Men,” featuring a trio of Stupendous juveniles.
“Not much of a story,” Dave confided to Marlene, “but it’ll probably get by. It’s a ‘quickie.’ I’ve only got a three-week schedule to shoot it in, so I’ll be working pretty hard. But when it’s all over I’ll see enough of you to make up for it.”
On the twenty-seventh day of shooting, Eppy Sorglum suddenly discovered that David Bailey was six days over schedule with “Three Brave Men.” He roared for the cost sheets from the production department. One look at them and Sorglum sent Jonesey and her assistant secretaries scurrying.
“Get me de art director. Get me de perduction meneger. Get me Bailey. Dot guy’s gone nuts. Six days, extra sets, and tventy t’ousan’ dollars over de budget!” David Bailey stuck his head in Marlene Mabie’s door on his way to Sorglum’s office. There was a queer smile on his face.
“If you want to see a good show, come up and look in that peephole in Eppy’s | office,” he advised. “We’re going to roar a little.”
Miss Mabie followed to Jonesey’s room, outside Mr. Sorglum’s huge office. There was a small trapdoor in the wall, from which vantage point the producer of Stupendous
Pictures could peer at those of the élite who had passed the first barrier into the inner waiting room. That waiting room was now fortunately deserted. Marlene grabbed a chair and stood on it, signalling Jonesey to open the slide.
He 11 kill me if he sees you,” breathed Jonesey timorously.
lie won’t see me,” soothed Marlene. He 11 be too busy. Go on; open it.” Then she glued her eye to the aperture.
W ithin sat Eppy Sorglum, behind his ornate mahogany desk. In the far corner sat the production manager and the art director. Before the desk, leaning on one corner of it, stood David Bailey, his hand cupped to his ear. Mr. Sorglum was talking.
Louder,” bellowed Mr. Bailey as Eppy paused to take in an air supply. “I’m having trouble with my hearing lately.”
Since Mr. Sorglum’s conversation could be heard all over the main administration building, Mr. Sorglum stopped abruptly, bewildered.^ Then Director Bailey began.
“Listen!” he commanded in a terrific tone. I 11 have to howl this way, though it strains my throat, because this is the only language you understand, you big gorilla ! Now you keep your mouth shut and I’ll lower my voice; but if there is so much as a peep out of you before I get through talking, I’ll set you right on top of that pet cactus plant of yours.”
I here was a deathlike stillness in the room as the director went on.
Neither of these gentlemen is involved in this er—conference, Eppy. I am solely responsible, and I take full responsibility.
I hey did what they did to assist me, with the understanding that I would personally pay every cent of overhead if the studio was not willing and glad to pay it.”
Mr. Sorglum’s jaw began to open ominously.
“Shut up!” threatened David Bailey, taking a step toward his chief. “Remember what I said—and I meant it.”
Eppy Sorglum subsided.
“ I he budget on ‘Three Brave Men’ is not over the limit. You allowed me fifty thousand to make it, didn’t'you? Don’t speak. Just nod your head.”
Mr. Sorglum nodded.
"Its made—for fifty thousand,” continued Mr. Bailey more calmly. “You’ve seen some of the daily rushes, and okayed them. You can see a rough cut on the assembled picture tomorrow. But what you can't see is the other picture I’ve been making at the same time.”
pPPY STARED in astonishment.
-L-i “Cheating sets from other productions, ’ went on David, “working nights, sneaking shots in between camera set-ups, getting actors to trust me—a whole new cast. Tossing up a couple of cheap sets, shooting, and striking them the same night, be*fore anybody got back to the studio in the morning.”
He paused and took a long breath.
“That’s where your other twenty thousand is gone—and when I finish it you'll have a picture, Eppy. For perhaps thirty grand, all told. I've still got some exteriors to take. The other thing—‘Three Brave Men’— that’s just programme stuff, but this will be a stuw!”
Mr. Sorglum’s restraint broke.
“Yot's de name?” he shouted.
Eppy Sorglum bounced from his chair as if he had actually been planted on the cactus in the well which filled the centre of the room.
“You’re fired!” he howled.
Mr. Bailey pushed him back.
“Oh, no I'm not, Eppy,” he grinned. “You and I are going to have lots of fun in the future, chatting in crescendo back and forth—if my lungs stand up under the strain. You can’t fire me.”
“Vv not?” bawled Sorglum.
“Bc'cause,” Dave told him softly, “the
story has never been purchased. And that puts you on the spot for as nice a little suit as ever took money out of Hollywood.”
Mr. Sorglum gajx?d.
“Ephraim Mangle could collect plenty from you for making that picture without buying his story,’’ David continued. “He's here in Hollywood right now at my expense. And he’ll do just what I tell him to do. If he doesn’t get a fair price for that story—a fair price, mind, you horse thief—he’ll sue.” T he head of Stupendous Pictures reached for the edge of his desk and tried to rise. Then he sank back. But only for a second. He leaped suddenly to his feet, roaring at David Bailey’s retreating back.
“He ken’t sue if I don’t release it! I’ll shelf de pitcher! I’ll shelf it!”
Mr. Bailey turned.
“Oh, no again, Eppy,” he smiled. “You won’t shelve it when you’ve seen it. I still have faith in your judgment of pictures, even if your manners are those of a drunken dock walloper.”
I von t look at it. I von’t look !” screamed Mr. Sorglum. But David Bailey was gone.
Outside, he staggered under the impact of a girl avalanche hurtling from a chair alongside the door.
“Dave, Dave! It was wonderful. It was marvellous. Oh, it was worth a lifetime! But I’ll never forgive you for not letting me know, and for having Ephraim Mangle out here without telling me. Never, never! lake me up to see him, right this second.” Mr. Sorglum did "look.”
AT A preview in one of Hollywood’s toughest preview houses, “Wyoming Dawn” left a cold, initiated audience sniffling audibly. Handkerchiefs fluttered in little patches of white all over the darkened house. \\ hen the lights came up, men blew noses with the violence of the shamefaced male caught in emotional reaction. Women cried frankly, with great satisfaction.
Mr. Robert Wolfe—the great Robert Wolfe—on from New York for his semiannual visit, also "looked.” He ordered unlimited added scenes to build up the picture into a bigger box-office bet.
That’s the best tear jerker since the silent version of ‘Over The Hill’,” Mr. Wolfe complimented David Bailey in the presence of Eppy Sorglum and Ephraim Mangle, the badly frightened author.
“Sure,” agreed Mr. Sorglum proudly.
I alius said that would make a wow of a show, Davie, ol’ boy.”
"Dress it up,” ordered Mr. Wolfe. “Spend all you want. Bailey, take your company up to these Teton Mountains and put some scenery back of it. Give it production value.
I hat s a picture! And now”—he turned to Ephraim Mangle—“what are we going to do for the author?”
Mr. Mangle, still stunned from a week in Hollywood and the sudden lavishness of his life, smiled feebly amid the wrinkles of his wind-weathered face.
“Mr. Bailey said I should get—should ask for—for three thousand dollars,” he stammered. “But that’s an awful lot—” "Sold! ’ said Mr. Wolle. “Eppy, see that he gets a cheque in the morning.”
Ephraim Mangle got more than S3,000 to put in the bank, too. He got a coveted job as gatekeeper at the Stupendous Studios, where he could sit in the sun all day long and speculate on the amazing advent of success. Eppy Sorglum has told him that he may have the job for life, adding privately to Jonesey that he never got rid of a writer he didn’t want so easily and at so little expense. Usually Eppy has to buy off their contracts and send them back to New York in a drawing-room, all expenses paid.
As for David Bailey and Marlene, when the minister started that “Wilt thou” formula, Mr. Bailey said “Yes!” and Miss Mabie said "No!”—And to the horror of that good man of the doth they both laughed uproariously.