FICTION

VOICE OFF SCENE

If started in Hollywood but it ended in the desert with sand effects both on stage and off

Herbert Dalmas,Maurice Geraghty April 1 1938
FICTION

VOICE OFF SCENE

If started in Hollywood but it ended in the desert with sand effects both on stage and off

Herbert Dalmas,Maurice Geraghty April 1 1938

VOICE OFF SCENE

If started in Hollywood but it ended in the desert with sand effects both on stage and off

Herbert Dalmas

Maurice Geraghty

YES, Mr. Applestone, I feel sure that I am just the

man the Applestone Buggy Spring and Axle Cor-

poration needs. I can bring you that fresh, unspoiled approach. You can always use it.

No. Absolutely not. In fact, Mr. Applestone, it twenty-five years since I have seen a buggy, and even then I am not sure whether it was in the flesh or just a picture in the third reader. I was brought up in New York.

Great heavens, no ! I wouldn’t come here from New York,

From Hollywood.

Well, I noticed you didn’t have any picture theatres in this town. And the Applestone Buggy Spring and Axle Corporation looked as if it might be one business that would not have any customers in Hollywood.

I have to forget. It was either buggy springs or the Foreign Legion, and I can’t stand sand in my ears. It reminds me of beach parties at Malibu.

Two years, Mr. Applestone—at one century each. If you don’t mind, I’d rather not talk about—

Oh sure, I ’ve seen Joan Crawford. Sure, Carole Lombard

too.

Why just as close as I am to you.

Certainly. I can start today if you want me to.

My last employer? I was afraid you’d ask me that, Mr. Applestone. I was fired, but I can explain it.

Fellow named Sonderheim. Manny Sonderheim. He is a producer with Monarch Pictures.

It’s a little difficult to explain. They just sit around—

and produce, you know.

I was his assistant. I kept him from talking to himself.

He fired me on account of John Munro. Did you happen

to see John in “Step This Way?”

We didn’t think of it as merely marvellous. A milestone

in the annals of Modern Minstrelsy was the way we looked

at it.

You’re wrong there. John Munro can’t sing a note. You

probably never heard a young sea lion whose voice was just changing? That’s about the way John sounds.

Well, if I’m going to explain that, Mr. Applestone, might as well tell you the whole story. I don’t know—

maybe if I get it off my chest

all at once, I can stop dream-

ing about it.

rT'HERE WERE two sort of interlocking triangles, composed of John Munro, Linda Bonnay, Pat Hollister,

and Alice Blair.

John Munro is an unobtru-

sive gent, just tall enough to miss being short. He has pale eyes and hair, looking as if they had had to dilute him

quite a bit above the shoulders to have enough to go around.

By the time the make-up men get through giving John

that tawny, sea-wanderer look

you saw in “Step This Way,”

they are ready to listen to

agitation for more wages.

I couldn’t tell you how he got into pictures, Mr. Apple-

stone. Maybe he knew somebody.

To look at John, you would

say he was just smart enough

to jump when stuck. But he

is a fooler that way. He

wasn't on the Monarch lot a

month before he showed

enough sense to get into a

bridge game with Manny one

night and end up three

hundred points down at one dollar the point.

It seems that Manny Sonderheim, like other world

figures, lias a dual jx-rsonality. He is composed of Sonderheim, The Bridge Player, and Sonderheim, The Producer.

Sonderheim, The Bridge Player, wanted the three hundred, but he knew John would not be likely to pay off at the salary he was then getting. Of course Sonderheim, The Producer, could have fixed this up in a moment, but Sonderheim, The Producer, could not see raising the pay on an actor as lousy as John Munro.

You might think this would lxan impasse. Especially when Producer Sonderheim came to his office one day and found out that Bridge Player Sonderheim had weakened and given John a new contract with more salary behind his back.

Manny fixed everything by giving John a bigger and more important part in the next picture. Only a really big man can see those simple solutions.

And naturally John Munro kept owing Bridge Player Sonderheim more and more money.

Listen, Mr. Applestone. 1 loll y wood is sprinkled with guys holding jobs because they are in debt to their employers, and the employers know they will never collect if the pay stops.

All right. I didn't say it wasn’t screwy. I’m just telling you.

Anyway, by the time John got to owing Manny eight or nine hundred bucks, he was playing parts so important Manny saw he would have to get somebody to help him

carry the pictures. That was the beginning of the famous Linda Bonnay-John Munro team.

I beg your pardon, Mr. Applestone. You wouldn’t like to know Linda. You might think you would from here, but you wouldn’t.

Linda is sixty per cent mascara and perfume, and forty jx.-r cent wolf. Put Linda in the same ring with any four stunt men in Hollywood, and I will give you five to three on Linda. But she’s got a nice voice. And John Munro seemed to like her fine.

'TTIAT’S THE way things were when I went to work for -*■ Manny. "Step This Way” had been in production eight weeks, but something was wrong. Even Manny knew it was lousy. You could tell that from the way he said it was sensational. Sort of listless, you know.

One afternoon I was sitting in Manny’s office, listening to him give a read-back.

Well, you would not know what a read-back is unless you worked for Manny.

Whenever he has a conference, his secretary, Alice Blair, sits in and takes it in shorthand. I guess you would not call Alice a beautiful dame, Mr. Applestone; but she has something about her. Maybe it’s her eyes and hair. She makes you think of sunshine and the warm breeze off the ocean. Sort of golden and alive—

No, I am not in love with Alice Blair. I guess she just got me in a town where most of the dames try to look as if they had just come from a three-hour servicing job by a studio make-up man.

But about this read-back. Alice always gave Manny a typed transcript after a conference, and Manny would do a read-back out loud to me, looking quite surprised and pleased. He loved it. This was because Alice was one secretary in a million and translated Manny freely into English.

”1 say here,” Manny was saying, spelling out the words quite rapidly, “quote the function of a producer is to weld the efforts of director, actors and writers in a harmonious whole end quote. That’s good, you know,” he said to me. “It’s got umph. So—?” He looked at me.

I did not answer because I was still new on the job, and besides I could not remember anything in the conference that had sounded like that.

Manny frowned.

“It says here,” he said, “you reply quote yes, Mr. Sonderheim end quote. You changed your mind?”

“Oh. no,” I said. “Definitely not. You’re right.”

“Fine!” Manny said, beaming. “You may be a good man yet. Dolan.”

He was almost finished with the read-back when Linda Bonnay suddenly appeared, like a shell from a long-range gun, without being announced. You could tell she was

burning, and even a star like Linda does not get past Manny’s defenses in the reception room without a light, so we knew right away that things were worse than usual.

"K ÆANNY does not get up from his desk at such a time. •TV-*since he gives more the effect of height when seated. He frowned at me not to leave, desiring a witness.

"Hello, Linda honey,” he said.

“Never mind that,” she said. “What I want to know is how much longer I am going to have to carry this Munro ham in every picture. Unless I get a script of my own and unless I’m starred alone, I walk out.”

“What’s the matter, dear?” Manny said, eager to help. “You ain’t satisfied with something?”

“Not something,” she said. “Munro.”

“John’s a good boy,” Manny said. “In the gossip columns they used to talk about you two holding hands.” “That was before he started letting me carry every scene we’re in together,” Linda said. “It’s worse than stealing a scene. He just goes dead. It’s like playing with a stuffed fish.”

“Love,” said Manny instantly. “It’s love, sweetheart. He looks at how beautiful you are and he can’t act.”

Linda snarled. She has vivid teeth, and Manny looked as if he could feel them sinking into his throat.

“I know what’s the matter with him,” she said. “He’s sulking because I went to the Hula Hut with somebody else last week. But I’m not going to have my career ruined. This is my last picture for you unless I get a spot alone.” She bored into Manny with those black diamond eyes of hers—she is one of those electric brunettes—and then left like a haughty stream of lava. You had a feeling that nothing would ever grow in that office again.

Manny looked thoughtful.

“She could be right,” he said. “ ‘Step This Way’ ain’t going so hot. Munro’s weak. We better have a conference. ” He called Alice in to take notes. Then he said to me, “Suggest something.”

"Well.” 1 said, leading quickly with my chin, “it mav just be that Munro isn’t an actor. Maybe the thing to do is to let him go.”

“Don’t take that down,” Manny said to Alice, frowning. “I don’t know, Dolan,” lie said. “We spent three hundred thousand on ‘Step This Wav’ already, and you tell me Munro ain’t an actor. Sometimes it seems like you don’t pick this business up very fast.”

He thought for a moment and then signalled Alice to take what he was going to say. “What you got to do,” he said, “is fix ‘Step This Way’ so it won’t flop. If Bonnay is in a smash, she won’t quit. We got to find where the picture is weak, see what I mean?”

I said yes, I did.

“Then what is your opinion?” he said.

“I think you’re right,” I told him.

'""THE NEXT morning I was in Manny’s office waiting for him to finish the racing form so we could have a conference, and the buzzer rang from Alice. Manny switched her on, and she said Mr. Hollister was waiting to see him. Manny did not know who Mr. Hollister was, but he always figured anything Alice did was all right so he said to send him in.

Pretty soon Alice came in, practically pushing this big guv. He was the Gary Cooper type, only even more bashful, and kind of sore at the moment.

“This is the singer you wanted to see, Mr. Sonderheim,” Alice said.

Manny said he didn’t remember wanting to see any singers, and this Mr. Hollister started out.

“Alice,” he said impatiently, “I’ve told you a thousand times—”

He stopped because she was looking at him pleadingly.

Have you ever seen a field of very ripe wheat curving over a hill against a blue sky, Mr. Applestone? That’s what Alice made you think ci sometimes. But I guess I’ve covered that. Her eyes were blue.

Anyway, they stopped Mr. Hollister. Her eyes did.

“Oh. all right,” he said.

“You were saying in conference yesterday,” Alice told Manny, “that we might strengthen Munro in the picture by dubbing a voice for him in a few songs with Bonnay.”

“Did I say that?” Manny said, as surprised as I was.

Alice nodded.

“It sounds like a good idea,” Manny said. “I remember now.” He turned to Hollister. “Let’s hear you sing,” he said.

The big guy set his jaw.

“Perhaps we’d better be sure there’s no misunderstanding, he said in a well-controlled voice. "1 am not trving to sell you my voice, as I believe the saying is. The onlyreason I am in Hollywood is that my singing teacher is here—heaven knows why and he is the Ix-st in the business. Miss Blair suggested that 1 might earn money for mv lessons by singing for you, but I’ve changed my mind.” He looked around Manny’s modernistic office. “My ambitions are too modest,” he said. “I merely want to get into grand opera.”

Manny was absorbed in the racing form, there being a hay-burner in the fifth at Santa Anita that aftenxxm he was figuring to speculate on.

“Fine,” he said. "You just go ahead and sing something.”

Mr. Hollister clenched his lists and his jaw. I expected him to erase Manny right there.

Before he could do anything, Alice said in a low voice, “Please. Pat. You promised.”

So he gave up. He raked Manny with a last look, took a deep breath, and started to sing.

What a voice, Mr. Applestone! I’m telling you the windows shook. And it was all like gold only in sound. But you heard John Munro in “Step This Way,” The voice was Pat Hollister.

Of course I’m sure.

I can’t help your illusions. I used to go over to the stage every day when they were making the pre-recordings and listen to Pat and Linda sing together, I know.

It didn’t sound like much of a tune what Pat was singing then—andafteracoupleof minutes Manny stopped him.

“What’s the name of the number?” he said.

“It’s the expository recitative from the first act of ‘Parsifal,’ ” Pat said in grim tones. Alice bit her lip.

“How long will it take?” Manny enquired.

“About forty minutes,” Pat told him, and picked it up right where he had stopped.

Pretty soon Manny started to get that hunted look, and Alice stopped her boy friend.

Sure, he was journey’s end for her. You can always tell about a dame. It’s in her eyes.

She s]X)ke fast and told me maybe I’d belter take Pat over to the set and introduce him to Linda. So I did that.

F DON’T know how the boy-girl angle works into the -*■ buggy spring and axle setup, Mr. Applestone, but it couldn’t be worse than on a movie lot. With a billion-dollar industry grinding it out twenty-four hours a day, it would naturally lxin the air.

As soon as Linda saw Pat Hollister. I knew things were going to be difficult. It wasn’t his face lie was sort of homely in a pleasant way it was that build. Linda gave him Expression Three-A and went all dewy soul and feminine mysteryright before our eyes.

1 am not going to dwell on this as[ct of the affair, because it is painful tome, and the details are not necessary. All I will say is that Manny’s writers spotted four songs for John and Linda, which meant that Linda and Pat spent many hours together recording them.

By the time “Step This Way” was finished, the Linda Bonnay brand was on Pat Hollister so plain you could see it from the Brown I >crby to the nearest gossip columnist any clear night.

I don’t know why men like Pat Hollister are pushovers for the Linda Bonnay tyjxî. She was small maybe she appealed to his protective instincts, although personally I would just as sx)n think of offering protection to a division of marines.

I wondered how Alice was going to take this. Some girls would have put on the tragic, heart-breaking-insilence act; others would have gone to the guy involved and dealt him

in on a round of homely truths.

But not Alice. She had too much sense. She told Pat she

was proud of him for the unselfish way he gave his anonymous voice to the cause of Linda’s fame. Naturally Pat felt a little guilty about changing girls, but Alice kept out of his way and never made him think fast for explanations.

I his aspect annoyed Mort Anson, who was Manny-’s director at the time. Mort is a right guy, who decided some time ago that he was the gent to keep a fatherly eye on Alice.

“Why in the devil," he says to me one day, “doesn’t Alice go up and shred that dame? Have you seen her? Linda, I mean. She’s got Pat on the set every day. and plays all her scenes to him like he was a cheering audience of thirtythousand. And Alice just letting her get away with

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it. Tom,” he said, “if Linda Bonnay could make a hundred and forty-seven ringside, I’d swing on her myself.”

Alice’s attitude mystified me, too, because there was something about the lift of her chin that made me think she was a fighter. I couldn’t see her taking it with no comeback.

I did not have time to think about it much then, because “Step This Way” opened, and in one day everybody who could read a review was talking about John Munro’s voice.

In the next couple of weeks his fan mail started coming in so fast that four fan magazines ran interviews with him at once. That voice was the biggest thing to come out of Hollywood that week.

V\ 7ELL, one day I was leaving my office W to go to Manny’s when I heard voices in the reception room. Linda and Alice. It wasn’t eavesdropping, because I had the door open by the time I heard them, and I couldn’t go either way without disturbing them.

“Of course, darling,” Linda was saying, “we’ll want you for one of the bridesmaids. It doesn’t make so much difference to me, but I’m sure Pat would wish it. You and he were such good friends, weren’t you?” “Indeed we were,” Alice replied, with a lovely smile. “In fact. Pat and I are going to be married. Hadn’t you heard?” “Perhaps Pat hasn’t,” Linda said. “He spent two hours last night trying to persuade me to marry him right away.”

“He always does,” Alice sighed. “Poor Pat! Women frighten him. He seems to feel that a proposal of marriage is the only safe ground for conversation.”

“I don’t want to give in too quickly,” Linda said. “That may have been your trouble. Men have to be kept interested, you know.”

“I think,” said Alice, “that John Munro would marry you. You could save yourself a lot of trouble by taking him now.” Linda’s eyebrows went up in happy surI prise.

“Oh!” she cried. “How charming! Advice to the lovelorn! You must cultivate it, darling. It will give you something to do. A career.”

She made her exit into Manny’s office on that line. I followed her in.

Í could see right away that Manny was on his guard. Linda was being gentle and dramatic. In the next ten minutes she sketched a vivid and pathetic picture of Pat Hollister bravely singing his heart out in the anonymity of the recording stage, while another man reaped the fame and money for it. Was it fair? Linda asked Manny.

Manny had tears in his eyes. But he showed Linda the weekly Variety with the grosses on “Step This Way” in seven key cities.

“It ain’t only fair, Linda,” Manny said. “It’s sensational.”

Linda said, “Manny, I know that great big generous heart of yours. Sonderheim, the star-maker! The man who has pulled more actors from obscurity to fame than any other producer in Hollywood.”

Manny blew his nose emotionally, playing for time to see what Linda had in mind.

“Pat is a potential star in his own right,” she said.

“I’ll give him a bit in the next picture,” Manny said. “He don’t want to be a movie actor, you know. He told me himself he ain’t got ambitions. He wants to be in grand opera.”

TUST BEFORE we started work on the J next picture, John Munro got an offer of an opera contract—on the strength of Pat’s voice.

Yes, I guess even John had enough sense to see that he would have to turn it down. He had a nice interview out of it though.

About how the cinema was the only living art today—the art that transcends art or something like that.

Pat Hollister was so punch-drunk by that time that I don’t think he even saw the interview' or cared about John getting the offer instead of him.

But Alice did. I saw' her reading John’s interview at her desk one day. She was sort of laughing to herself. Women are funny, Mr. Applestone. They never seem to worry about the things you’d think would get them dowm most.

I think myself that Linda got to the writers on that next picture. It was sort of a scandal in a w’ay.

It w'as one of those tropical yarns with Foreign Legionnaires circulating around here and there in the action, and so we had to go to Yuma for a few' desert sequences.

Naturally John had the male lead, but Linda got the scribblers to w'rite in a scene where she leaves a party in an evening gown and goes out for a walk on the desert. She gets lost and, come the dawn, she is exhausted. Pat Hollister is doing a Legionnaire bit. He comes riding over the dunes and finds her. He lugs her up onto his horse and sits there with her in his arms. He is so overcome by her quiet, helpless beauty as she lies there unconscious that he kisses her reverently.

Nobody could figure w'hat this had to do with the story, but Linda said that did not make any difference. She said it was vital, and if it went out she w'ent with it.

Manny had to stay in towm on business at the time. You know' how it is: After a few days at Santa Anita you get to thinking some of those dromedaries can’t run without you at the fence to give them an incentive.

So I went out with the troupe in Manny’s place with Alice.

We were five days at Yuma. The Yuma desert is quite hot, even in January, but the nights are cool.

And every night Pat and Linda w'ent walking or riding together. Everybody in the troupe could see that it w'as all over except the exclusive announcements of the date by the columnists.

I finally got so nervous I asked Alice right out if she wasn’t going to do something about it.

“Tom,” she replied with a sad, sweet smile, “I love Pat. A man would not understand, but his happiness means more to me than my own. If he loves Linda, I want him to be happy with her.”

I did not regard this as satisfactory, but I let it go.

V\7E STARTED Linda’s scene with ** Pat the last day. We all got out to the set at sun-up, but Mort Anson fooled around till after nine before he got things the way he wanted them.

All this time Pat and Linda w'ere in make-up and costume.

Linda registers decisively in make-up. Even without it she always made me think of a flame in a tropical midnight—vivid, you know—and make-up just increases the impact.

Alice presented quite a contrast that day; it seemed almost as if she planned to. She w'as wearing white shorts and shirt, w'ith a big sun helmet. She was very tan —a couple of shades darker than her hair.

I happened to be standing next to her w'hen Pat rode over the dunes for the first rehearsal.

“Why,” I exclaimed in a startled voice, “Pat is on the wrong horse. This one is too—”

I stopped then, because Alice almost fractured my shin with the heel of her sandal.

I realized immediately that she did not wish me to mention that Pat was on a more spirited horse than the docile nag selected

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for him, though at the moment I could not think why.

There were the usual rehearsals. Linda got every atom out of each clinch she went into with Pat on that horse. I saw her looking at Alice every once in a while to see if she were suffering enough.

Finally they were ready to set the camera, and Mort looked at Alice. Alice called in silvery tones for Linda’s stand-in. There was no answer.

Alice called a little louder.

“Miss Bonnay’s stand-in, please! Heavens, she’ll be tired out before we start shooting the scene.”

Linda looked at her in a superior manner and smiled.

“Don’t bother,” she said. “I think I’ll rather enjoy standing-in for myself in this scene.” Then she turned on a long, slow smile for Pat. “If you don’t mind, darling,” she said.

Pat smiled back with a half-drowned expression and said no, he didn’t. So Linda climbed up on the horse and cuddled down in his arms while the crew began to set the lights.

Pretty soon Alice said, “Mort, what would you think of a high light on Linda’s hair for this scene?”

“Marvellous.” Mort said. “See if you can get it.”

Alice went over to show one of the boys at the reflectors what she had in mind.

“Linda’s hair looks so lovely and natural in some lights,” she said, “it seems a shame not to take advantage of it.”

Linda laughed way down in her throat at this point and snuggled a little closer to Pat, although frankly ninety-one degrees does not seem like snuggling weather to me in any language.

Alice got the reflector set finally so it shone square in Linda’s eyes. Linda blinked a little, but she set her jaw and kept looking up at Pat trying to pretend that she wasn’t bothered.

But after awhile the mascara started to run and her eyes became a deep sunset red. About this time John Munro came wandering up to look things over.

“Why, Linda !” he said. “Your make-up looks frightful.”

“It must be that reflector,” Alice said quickly. “It’s shining right in her eyes.” This was changed, and Alice said to Mort in clear tones, “You don’t find trouping like that these days, Mort. Not from the present crop of kid actors anyway.”

While I was figuring whether this was as dirty a crack as I thought, Linda slid off the horse. On her way to her dressing room she looked scornfully at Alice, and Alice smiled sunnily back.

Linda’s dressing room was in a trailer. Very costly, but it had been standing in the sun all morning, and you could have baked a yam in it at that moment.

When she finally came out and got back on the horse again, Alice, went up to her anxiously.

“You poor darling,” she said. “This is awfully hard for you, isn’t it?”

TINDA endeavored to wither Alice with -L* a glance, but missed because the way she was reclining in Pat’s arms, her chin was in the way.

“It’s quite all right,” she said coldly. “You mustn’t overdo,” Alice said worriedly, going back to her chair under the umbrella. There was a large frosted glass of iced tea there which had just been brought out for her.

They shot the scene several times. Mort finally said he had grown to love it and wanted to get it from every possible angle.

Linda kept being hauled onto that horse and reverently kissed until even John Munro began to notice it.

“Is it necessary to shoot that so many times?" he said to Mort, frowning.

“Absolutely,” Mort replied firmly. “Linda insists on it.”

“Would you like to stop for awhile, darling?” Alice said to Linda, clinking the ice in her glass.

Linda did not answer. She was lying

helplessly and beautifully in Pat’s strong and slightly damp arms while they shot a close-up.

“You look perfectly worn out, dear,’’ Alice called in silvery tones, taking a sip of iced tea.

“I’m as fresh as a daisy, sweet,” Linda replied musically, although looking more like a daisy which had been picnicked on by a party of five on a warm Sunday.

After a couple more shots, Linda said they would have to stop for a minute while she got some more make-up. She said she would be right out, because she had never enjoyed doing a scene more.

She could absorb a beating that girl.

Before she could get oil her horse I noticed that Alice looked at Mort and nodded once. Then Mort looked over to the man at the wind machine and did the same.

This wind machine had been turning over what was supposed to be a faint early morning breeze, but all of a sudden there was a sound like a million wild ducks taking off in a body, and the air became filled with sand.

I do not remember exactly what the order of things was after that. The wind machine went nuts, and so did everything else. There was nothing but a roaring sound, prop palm trees going over, and the sand stinging your face.

Through it all I remember seeing Pat’s horse rise on his hind legs. How Pat stayed on, 1 will never know. But he did, and he kept a tight hold on Linda.

Then presently the three of them turned and set out briskly in the general direction of Hudson Bay.

It was over an hour before Pat and Linda appeared on the horizon. We had got everything packed and were ready to go home. Then we saw them, on foot, coming around a dune about a mile and a half away.

EVERY actress likes an entrance, but Linda did not enjoy this one. To begin with, it was a mile and a half and sand all the way. Also it was noon, and the sun didn’t have to worry about trees and things.

Linda was several steps ahead of Pat. From the looks of them we could tell that conversation was a thing of the past.

Linda was carrying her shoes. Her grease paint had melted into a mess that made her face look like a painter’s palette. Her false eyelashes had slipped their moorings. From a distance her mouth seemed very mournful, but this turned out to be merely because the lip rouge had run down at the corners. It was really quite grim.

John Munro was in the little group that watched Linda walk up that endless mile of sand. When she finally got within hearing distance, he spoke with some displeasure.

“Well, Linda,” he said, “I must say I am surprised at the lengths you will go to in your so-called romance with this—fellow.”

Pat was too tired and beaten to pay any attention. But not Linda. After John’s crack I just closed my eyes and waited for him to be wiped out.

Linda seemed glad to have it decided for her where to start.

She began with a short sketch of John Munro, The Heel, and worked back from there. She spoke emotionally of his parents and immediate family. In a few' rapid strokes she got back to Biblical times and really settled into her stride.

John took it all without a word. He gazed in a bored w'ay about the landscape. Finally lie held up his hand.

“That will be all, Linda,” he said.

She didn’t even miss a beat.

Suddenly he raised his voice, causing us all to jump.

“/ said that trill be all!” he thundered.

Linda stopped, her mouth open in the middle of a word.

“After we are married,” John said, “1 think I’ll have you stay at home where I can keep an eye on you. Acting seems to have gone to your head.”

Linda was still looking at him. All of a sudden, she collapsed on his chest and began to sob. He put his arm around her and patted her kindly.

Later that day—Alice seemed to be busyMort and I sent a wire to the opera people explaining who the guy really was they thought they were offering a contract to.

Yes, Mr. Applestone, the happy ending.

Linda likes fooling around the house, I understand. She and John have been married two months now, and are already being spoken of as one of Holly wood’s outstanding marital successes. Pat and Alice were married in the East right after he got his opera contract.

When I heard last, John owed Manny tw'o thousand dollars. He and Linda play a very smart game of bridge with the Sonderheims once a week. Manny has just given John another contract and never expects to break even.

WHEN WE got back from Yuma that time and things had quieted down, Manny came back from a huddle with the studio chiefs one day and called me in for a conference.

“Dolan,” lie said, “I don’t know what excuse you thought up, but 1 don’t care. I can’t stand double timers.”

I didn’t get it.

“No,” he said bitterly. “You would pretend. You lose me Bonnay and Hollister and the best secretary I ever had and leave me with Munro. And you pretend it ain’t your fault.”

I began to get a little sore.

“Wait, Dolan,” he said, holding up his hand. “Wait. I got the evidence right here. I don’t fire a man without I got evidence.”

He held up a sheet of paper.

“I got right here,” he said, “the report of our conference on Decemlier nineteenth. It says quote we got to have somebody to dub a voice for Munro end quote. That’s me.”

“Yes,” I said, “but—”

"Don’t interrupt,” he cried in a thunderous voice. “Snake! Look what you say. It’s right here. Quote yes Mr. Sonderheim end quote.”

He looked at me coldly and put the paper on his desk.

“I can’t have a man like that working for me,” he said. “I got to have co-operation.”

Automatic Speed Control

ANEW TRAFFIC signal that compels motorists to reduce speed before negotiating a bad curve has been installed in Baltimore. The signal normally shows the red light. About 150 feet to the north and south of the bend, sound detectors convert the nimble of an approaching car into electrical impulses to control the light. If the maximum speed of fifteen miles an hour is observed, by the time the driver reaches the curve the signal has changed to a flashing amber. Drivers who fail to slacken speed are stopped by the red signal, and must wait until the amber is flashed on. Motorists who do not keep to

the right are likewise penalized; for the sound detectors are located only in the right-hand lanes, and consequently the signal mechanism is not set in operation. These drivers must wait for another car to pass over the detector before they can proceed. As an added safeguard, lights located on the left-hand side of the highway flash the word “car” as soon as a vehicle passes over the sound detector on the opposite side of the curve. Thus motorists are warned of cars approaching around the curve from the opposite direction, even though they cannot be seen.—New York T imes.