by Alice Faye
Fox Publicity Department
July 13, 1939
Ever since I started in the theatre back in New York as a dancer in the chorus, I had heard of glamour.
“Without glamor [sic], my dear,” I was told, “you will never get very far in the theatrical world.”
It didn’t bother me much then as my chances in the theatre seemed slimmer every day. I had just talked to Buddy DeSylva about dancing in the chorus of his show, but he gave me a fatherly talk and advised me to go home and learn to operate a typewriter so I could become a secretary.
“The theatre,” he said, “is no place for you.”
Since I came to Hollywood, however, DeSylva has been a very good friend and adviser. Not long ago I made a picture for him.
“You should have glamor [sic],” DeSylva told me when I first came to Hollywood.
It was easy enough for people to tell me to get glamor [sic], but no one could tell me exactly what this strange and desirable quality was until I met Director Irving Cummings on the “Hollywood Cavalcade” set.
“You have glamour [sic],” Director Cummings said simply. I was flattered, but I still didn’t know what the word meant.
“What,” I asked, “does glamour [sic] mean?”
“That,” he explained very directly, “is a state of mind, not in you but in theatre audiences throughout the world.”
I suspected all this and well I might, as I later learned.
“Few have glamor [sic] in this glamorous of all cities,” Director Cummings said, warming up to the subject, “but you have that quality that makes men and woman throughout the world shell out their coin at the box office to see you act on the screen.”
“I’m telling you all this so you can see what led me into doing what I must do in this Technicolor role on the screen in “Hollywood Cavalcade”.
There never has been a woman who doesn’t like flattery, and I can’t pose as the exception. Naturally what Director Cummings said convinced me right off that he is the most charming, wonderful, intelligent, and grandest person in all of Hollywood.
“Now”, Director Cummings continued, a little too glibly, I recall now, “glamor [sic] depends upon the surroundings in which a player is cast, not necessarily upon the action in front of the camera.”
“It all sounded a trifle high flown, but I nodded assent.
“In this picture,” he expalined [sic] “there is a comedy sequence in which Buster Keaton picks up a custard pie and throws it at George Givot. It depicts the old Keystone Comedy days, only one phase of this historical drama which highlights all the years in Hollywood from 1913 to 1927. That’s what I mean by ‘glamour’ [sic]. If you’re in a glamorous setting of a glamorous day, you, too, take on that glamor [sic].”
You couldn’t beat that kind of logic and, of course, I nodded assent again. Who wouldn’t want to be in a glamorous setting?
“As Keaton tosses the pie,” Director Cummings suavely continued, “Givot bends over suddenly to tie his shoe instead of the custard hitting him it sails right by and hits the beautiful star of the picture right in the face”
“That” I said, “should be very funny indeed. I wonder how the actress will like that.”
“That’s something I’m not sure about,” Director Cummings slyly said, “but those were glamorous days and you certainly are a lucky one to be in that role.”
“Me?” I fairly screamed. “Get smacked with a pie?”
But who can out-talk Director Cummings? Before he finished I thought of the prospects of getting smashed in the face with a custard pie and with not exactly relish, but at least with fewer misgivings.
When the day came for the pie-tossing episode, I had been given such a buildup by Director Cummings and others in the company that I really looked forward to the scene. But just before the sequence I discovered that the studio chef had cooked 16 pies. I had thought of only one.
But Buster Keaton’s aim was good and one take finished the scene and the day for me. My face was smeared with the colored whipped cream from chin to brow. All my Technicolor make[-up] had to come off.
It wasn’t bad. I couldn’t in truth say it was wonderful. But it was glamorous. I have Director Cummings word for it.