The phoniness of the movie business gave Fred Allen plenty of material for his sardonic sense of humour. Many quotes survive on the internet. Some seem to have been gathered together in one place for the first time in an Associated Press column of 1940. Allen was never one to waste a good line or routine and while I don’t know how many of them found their way into his radio scripts, he repeated a few of these in a Liberty magazine article two years later.
If you’re wondering about the restaurants he’s referring to, the former is the Brown Derby and the latter is Ciro’s.
Fred Allen Has His Own Words For ‘Em
By TED GILL
HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 27—(AP)—Comedian Fred Allen wriggled irritably in a camp chair on a motion picture sound set and bemoaned the plight of the goggle-eyed tourist who comes to gawk at movie stars—and goes away disappointed.
Comedian Allen practically is a tourist himself. His current visit here, to make the aptly-titled film, “Love Thy Neighbor,” is his third in five years. In it he co-stars with Jack Benny, his favorite enemy.
“Thousands of Hollywood visitors,” proclaimed Allen, “each year quit the cinema capital disappointed. And I’ll tell you why; to the average movie magazine addict, Hollywood, from afar, must be a tinseled utopia—a ‘must’ metropolis.
Tourists who have succumbed to the columnists’ syndicated enthusiasm arrive in Hollywood expecting to find Dorothy Lamour slinking around the bus station in a sarong and the Aldrich family parked in a battered station-wagon waiting to welcome them.
“None of this happens. The tourist wanders around focusing a poached stare on the local scene and exuding the aroma of nostalgia that can be picked up by a pug nose at 20 paces.
“The tourists’ plight has bothered me—when Benny isn’t—and I have compiled a compendium of terms peculiar to this bizarre borough.”
He reached into his pocket and drew forth his own unique dictionary or glossary on terms heard about movieland. Here ‘tis:
Hollywood — Bagdad in Technicolor; Shangri-la in neon.
Hollywood Boulevard — Main street in slacks.
Hollywood Bowl — Carnegie Hall on the half-shell.
A certain popular eatery — A café where people from Iowa mistake each other for movie stars.
Another equally popular restaurant — The other place, with a white tie, where movie stars mistake each other for movie stars.
Movie star’s home — the ultimate in stucco. An edifice erected on a beautiful lawn to keep strangers from getting direct view of the star’s swimming pool from the street.
Native — A New York actor whose option wasn’t taken up in ‘26.
Picture studio — A covey of buildings surrounded by receivers.
Producer — A dynamic ulcer in charge of making pictures.
Associate producer-—The man who gets fired when the producer makes a bad picture.
Director—The man who sits in a sprung canvas chair under the camera and at two-hour intervals says “This is a take!”
Assistant — Shouts “Quiet!” before a director says “Take!”
Movie star — Any actor who is working.
Freelance — An actor, always “between pictures.”
Child star — A precocious moppet paying dues to Screen Actors’ Guild.
Cowboy star — A man who can’t act and has to sit on a horse to prove it.
Commissary — Place where people playing millionaires in pictures gulp hambergers.
Extra — A silent star who can be lured from behind the eight ball at so much per day.
Publicity man — A neurotic chap who will speak well of anything for a fee.
Love scene — Big moment in pictures when male star, who is wearing toupee, false teeth and a rented tuxedo, embraces glamour girl in wig, artificial eyelashes, false fingernails and bustle, and says “Darling, we must come to ourselves.”