by Irene Zarat
If you should pass a house near Encino, from which sounds of uninhibited hilarity ensue, it’s probably Don Ameche’s house. If you should sneak across the lawn and peer through the window, you might be greeted by some such spectacle as this.
WHEN you hear that Don Ameche attended four universities, you immediately think, “Whew! What an educated gent!” And just before you visualize pictures of him completely surrounded by cap and gown, sheepskin, et al, he’ll up and tell you that he didn’t graduate from one of them. Don had the desire for book larnin’, but he jest nat’urally weren’t a scholar.
Seriously, this handsome lad’s eyes were on the stage from the first time he attended a play and was old enough to realize what it was all about. When he actually got his chance in 1928, he came through with flying colors. It seems that the leading man of the local stock company was featured in a motor smashup. Who to get at the last moment, for—you know the good old theatrical slogan—the show must go on! Someone thought of Ameche and with only four hours to learn a lengthy, difficult role, Don scored.
by Hedda Hopper
Chicago Sunday Tribune
September 14, 1952
When he isn’t making a picture he’s out meeting the public and winning friends for Hollywood and himselfBy Hedda HopperAmerican movie goers have found John Payne. With the exception of Gene Autry, I doubt whether any other star has topped him in visiting cities, meeting more people, and selling himself and his pictures. Long before Movietime U. S. A. came into being, John, usually with a troupe of entertainers, was on the road creating goodwill and understanding between Hollywood and it’s public. He’s played as many as 23 cities in 17 days, making from five to ten appearances in each town, besides giving innumerable interviews to press and radio. His shows are usually tied in with some local organization such as the chamber of commerce for a children’s hospital. On one tour of our southern states, John helped raise 670,000 for the Community Chest.
by Ida Zeitlin
John Payne’s mother has just spent a month with him in Hollywood—her first visit. It’s hard to uproot her from her Virginia home. But when John phoned and said, “Mom, I’ve got this beach house now, so why don’t
you come out and stay a while?” she packed bag, baggage and a dozen napkins embroidered by Rosie, and went.
Though he rents his place furnished, linens and all. Rosie insisted on sending the napkins. A relative by marriage, seventy-five, perky, the world’s best needlewoman, she lives with Mrs. Payne, and her favorite character is John.
THEY were saying goodbye to him, and the words weren’t phony. The lump in the throat was really there. Hollywood knew Uncle Sam was getting a man. Not that we’d win the war just because Payne was in it; not that the services weren’t full of as good and better guys—he’d be the first to say that. read more…
by Jack Haley
Fox Publicity Department
Do I hear a dissenting voice, my friends?
Do you folks mean to tell me that you don’t believe a gent (pardon the expression, but the old Haley dander is up) can really go about his ways and lead a sweet, normal average man’s existence in glamorous Hollywood, city of make-believe, the cardboard cut-up of the country, the state of the cine-coma which you have been misled to believe is the place where people make up even to go to sleep?
Well, kiddies, you’re badly mistaken. So stop rattling your toys while Pop Haley tells you a bedtime story about the true Hollywood and once and or all banish those nightmares.
by Maggie Savoy
Los Angeles Times
August 16, 1970
Jack Haley Sr. the Tin Woodman who skipped along with Judy Garland to find his heart and the Wizard of Oz, is now 70, rich, famous, happy, and loving.
And wise: He knows the worth of a penny.
He sits at the Brown Derby, caressing a cup of coffee (lunch is a no-no), caressing his memories (he writes a chapter every now and then) and signing autographs for kids whose parents were kids when he and Judy and the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow skipped “off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
He’s on heart business today: As first vice president of AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists), he’s working to raise funds for down-and-out entertainers–skaters, shipboard entertainers, circus performers, vaudeville shufflers.
“You can’t be happy here if you don’t see any hope for people who are suffering, impoverished and in pain,” he says. “Who am I to be so fortunate? My being so lucky. I want to give some back.”
Ed Sullivan’s “Entertainer of the Year” TV special on Sept. 20 is one of Haley’s projects to raise money for AGVA’s Sick and Relief Fund.
As for a penny, when Jack Haley was a kid in Boston it was four Scotch Balls, a roll and 10 pennies made his Irish widowed mother smile “very, very wide.”
It was 12 clean-on-the-outside strawberry boxes (collected from garbage pails in the rich end of town); a Shabuoth errand (turn on the lights, light the fire and maybe get a toshen to boot): five minutes in the hack (in case the horse decided to mosey on).
And fun, fun, fun, to bring them home to mother, who worked so hard and loved so hard an dmanaged new shows and a new suit every Easter doing other people’s housework. And who never remarried lest a “stepfather be mean to you and Billy.”
Jack Haley Sr. never felt poor. There were dozens of kids on the stressts in the summertime, and outside of a full stomach, “What else does a kid need?” Instant play, pretty girls to tease, packs of games.”
When he hitched a ride on the sleigh runners and sassed the driver an dfootman and saw the rich kid in the heated cab all covered by furs, he was the one who laughed.
“I never once,” he says now, “had to ask my mother what-can-I-do-today?”
He laughs out loud: “I’ve never been on a psychiatrist’s couch.”
by Katharine Hartley
SEE THAT man over there?” said Dick, nodding across the room. “He has a new baby, too. At the hospital he had the room across from ours.”
The room across from ours! Well, in a way, that foolish-sounding statement was true, for when one Joan Blondell Powell gave birth to one Ellen Powell, weighing eight pounds six ounces, on June 30th, Papa Powell just about moved into the hospital, too.
by Keith Monroe
Up, up, up goes Dick Powell’s stock, followed closely by Dick Powell’s plane—followed by loud wails from Junie Allyson
Harry Cohn, the all-powerful boss of Columbia pictures, turned maroon. “What?” he roared. “You mean you’re flying planes on Sundays?”
Dick Powell’s face hardened into the blank, tough-guy expression his movie audiences know so well. “Right,” he said in a flat voice. “I am flying on Sundays.”
by Johnny Green
A famous orchestra leader turns author and sheds a new light on an old friend— Fred Astaire—gagster, ribber, screwball
TO a comparative few of us has been given the fun of knowing well the Astaire who makes the Astaire you know tick. Not a smart international citizen, a cosmopolite in top hat, white tie and tails, equally at home in London as in New York, in Hollywood as on the Continent, but a great big kid with a simple, boyish and totally delightful sense of humor —that’s the Fred I know!