by Hedda Hopper
The Chicago Tribune
April 2, 1950
George Murphy not only believes something in Hollywood. He does something about it.
Few men in motion pictures have done more for the industry than George. And his job is just beginning.
“I’d like to make a movie pretty soon, so I could get a rest,” he says. Asked whether he still practices his dancing, George replies, “How can you practice dancing in an airplane? There’s a law against it.”
George usually is either embarking from or arriving at Hollywood. In the last year he has traveled thousands of mile, from Seattle to Dublin, Ireland, in behalf of the town and the industry he loves. His renumeration? Nothing. He does it from the heart.
George will talk to anyone, anywhere about Hollywood if he thinks it’ll do some good. One night he’s addressing juvenile deliquents in a southern Californian town. The next finds him talking to a group of clubwomen in Seattle. Thousands of exhibitors, civic leaders, industrial heads, and plain movie fans have heard him explain the problems confronting our industry and extol its virtues.
“Newspaper headlines thru-out [sic] the nation scream what’s wrong with Hollywood,” he says. “Someone has to tell the people what’s right with it. That certainly is’t my job alone, but I’ve taken it on because there’s such a great need for giving people an honest, accurate picture of Hollywood.”
Earnest, handsome, quiet, and sincere, George Murphy is a man of his convictions. His strongest conviction is that the men and women who make up our community and the motion picture business are decent and deserving of your support.
“The time will come,” he says, “when motion picture studios will school their actors in public relations and send them out every year to talk before service clubs, schools, churches, and women’s groups. For me, that day can’t come too soon, because the interest in Hollywood is unbelievable. I feel so strongly on the power for good Hollywood has that I believe its influence is not only national but international.
“Not long ago I was in Paris and visted the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer office there. On one wall I saw a map of the world, with pins indicateing the location of Metro offices thruout [sic] the world. It stunned me. Never before had I realized the size and scope of the organization for which I work. If we and other studios sent goodwill emmissaries to the cities and countries represented by such a map, the results would be unbelievable.
“If people don’t know each other, they distrust on another. Okay. Lets get to know each other. Let’s sit down and chat and iron out our gripes. Many people ridicule and disparage Hollywood because a few irresponsible representatives have given it a black eye.
“All right. You know some bankers who are slick with a slice of secret sin. You’ve seen some bakers and candlestick makers who are no credit to their profession. Yet you don’t damn banking and baking, and candlestick making because of them. Sure we have our backsliders. But for every backslider we have hundreds of fine, clean, decent, law abiding citizens in Hollywood. These are the ones who interest me. The others don’t exist. I’m not interested in their antics. They’re bums.”
George Murphy is no Pollyanna. He’s a realist. When he’s asked to talk to young people who are a problem in their community, he talks to them in their own language. If he ever had to fight his way out of a hall, which he hasn’t, he can handle his dukes, too.
Not long ago he was asked by a public spirited citizen to talk to a particularly incorrigible group of teen-agers–boys and girls who had given their town, unnamed her, a miserable migrane. When he arrived at the recreation hall, the kids were out of control. There were cat-calls and quips of “Get the movie star,” and other derisive remarks.
George walked on stage at 9 o’clock. He’d figured to talk half an hour. By midnight he had the whole kit and kaboodle sining community songs! The wouldn’t let him go. And they ended up by inviting him back the next night. Before he got thru with them, they realized it wasn’t so smart to be tough. The kids listened (and he’s the first to tell you) because he’s from Hollywood, which still is magic in most parts of the country.