Tralfaz note: This post features more old Christmas-themed columns by Hollywood reporter Bob Thomas of the Associated Press.
STARS RECALL THEIR FAVORITE CHRISTMASES
By BOB THOMAS
AP Movie Writer
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 23—What Christmas do you remember most?
This is a sentimental question. Being sentimentalists, movie stars were quick to respond to it. Here are their answers to the AP Hollywood forum question of the day:
GLENN FORD—“It was in 1938 and I had just opened and closed on Broadway in a flop called ‘Soliloquy.’ I was broke, but too proud to write home for money. I walked down Fifth avenue on Christmas Eve, listened to the chimes and looked at the windows. I walked into an automat and treated myself to coffee and pie a la mode with the last 15 cents to my name. That was my Christmas feast.”
BRODERICK CRAWFORD—“I’ll never forget Christmas in Germany in 1944. We had nothing by K rations to eat and no Christmas cards to cheer us up. Fortunately, we found three quarts of brandy so we got happy before we started crying.”
GINGER ROGERS—“I was six years old. My grandmother tagged me and put me on the train for New York where I spent my first Christmas with my mother in several years. I remember I got a tea set and made everybody have tea with me.”
MONTGOMERY CLIFT—“I remember the year the tree burned down. My mother wanted white candles on the tree and my father wanted electric lights. Mother cited an instance when a tree had burned because of a short circuit, so she won out. The tree burned down, and all our presents with it.”
JACK CARSON—“I was eight years old and wanted an electric train. Four days before Christmas, I found it. So on Christmas day I gave perhaps the greatest performance of my career—trying to act surprised.
JANET LEIGH—“The first Christmas I saw snow with 1945. My parents invited me up to a winter lodge. I had my picture taken there, and Norma Shearer saw it and sent it to Hollywood. That was the start of my career.”
JOHN WAYNE—“The Christmas I got my bicycle. That was the year I found out about Santa Claus—but my folks didn't know about it. I wrote a letter to Santa that if I didn’t get a bicycle, I didn’t want anything. My folks had to take back all the things they bought and get me the bicycle.
DANA ANDREWS—“I was on location in Connecticut two years ago at Christmas. I took the family up to Vermont for a real northern holiday. I rented a house, got a horse and sleigh and stayed two and a half months. It was the first time I had seen it snow.”
Linda Darnell — “My favorite was last year, the first Christmas with my daughter, Lola.”
IRENE DUNNE—“I remember when I was nine and had the mumps. The whole Christmas was held around my bed and I got a doll and doll buggy. Believe it or not, I still believe in Santa Claus.”
JOSEPH COTTEN—“I guess my favorite was the year I got my wagon. My cousin had a goat and I let it be known that I wouldn’t be happy unless I got a wagon.”
Wayne Gets Top Rating For Christmas
Number Two On Box-Office List
By BOB THOMAS
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 24.—(AP)—John Wayne isn’t looking for Santa Claus tonight; he already has his Christmas gift.
“Being nominated as number two on the boxoffice list is the best Christmas present I could get,” said the rangy star.
Wayne is philosophic about his success and attributes it to the fact that his films show “honest emotion.”
“The reason some pictures are so bad,” he declared, “is that the director or writer or actor is afraid to show sentiment. They’ll twist the plot around to avoid it. And they are wrong. The world loves sentiment.
“All my successful pictures were hits because they’re frankly sentimental. The women in the audience cried, and they loved it.
“There will be sentiment in my present picture, ‘Jet Pilot,’ too. I’ll play some scenes with a baby. People will be curious to see how a big bruiser handles a baby.”
Acting, he continued, doesn’t require any formal lessons. (Wayne received his dramatic training on the USC football team.)
“Of course, an actor has to acquire poise—either through dramatic schooling or by working in quickies. But lessons don’t make an actor.
“I’ve learned that what’s being said in a scene isn’t so important. It’s the reaction to what’s being said. The more natural the reaction, the better the actor. That’s why kids are so good on the screen—their reactions are completely natural.”
Without appearing so, Wayne is one of the smallest actors in the business. He is aware of his limitations and will not undertake anything that is over his depth. He is also not afraid of work.
“I have four pictures already lined up for next year, which means I’m not going to have any time off. But,” he added hastily, “I’m not complaining.”
Reflecting on his 20-year career in films, Wayne recalled that he was the screen’s first singing cowboy.
“I played a character who always sang when he got mad,” he recalled. “Soon the had me getting mad three times in every picture. That was too much. I’m not a singer, so I bowed out.”
A lad named Gene Autry inherited the job.
JACK BENNY CHRISTMAS SHOW, Dec. 18, 1949