Thursday 22 December 2011

Hollywood Holidays — 1948

Tralfaz note: This post features more Christmas-themed columns by Hollywood reporter Bob Thomas of the Associated Press.
The first column is a bit humorous, considering Red Skelton treated his writers like crap. And Larry Parks needed some of that “courage” when he appeared before the odious, career-destroying U.S. House (so-called) Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. Read a bit about it

Stars Tell Santa Claus What to Bring Movieland
AP Movie Writer
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 21—(AP)—What should Santa Claus bring Hollywood for Christmas ?
The question is not as dreamy as it might first seem. This is the season when the whole nation is making wishes about what gifts would be welcomed. And—if you would listen to its inhabitants—Hollywood’s needs are considerable.
So I have wheeled out the AP Hollywood Forum to ask stars what they think the movie town needs from Santa. Some of them were stumped for an answer. But most of them came up with the fast replies. Such as these—
Eddie Cantor: “A book on ‘How to Act in Public’.”
Shirley Temple: “The ability to continue to entertain people.”
Dennis O'Keefe: “That the good things Hollywood is doing—such as benefits hospital tours—would be as highly publicized as the few bad things.”
Ava Gardner: “Good Pictures.”
Anne Baxter: “A five-day week.”
Dinah Shore: “A good public relations director who could let the public know that Hollywood is a pretty sane place, despite a few notables who make headlines.”
Gail Russell: “Rain.”
Bob Hope: “Take away the smog—so we can look at the scenery again.”
June Allyson: “Lower Taxes.”
Esther Williams: “Peace and good will. And make everybody love everybody—then we’ll make better pictures.”
Red Skelton: “A little personal kindness. It will go a long way.”
John Payne: “A more sober realization of the immense influence of the picture business and the responsibilities thereby. And a little less concentration on the dollar end—because if you make good pictures, the money will come in anyway.”
Ellen Drew: “Prosperity.”
Jimmy Stewart: “A little man—maybe an elf—who will go around the country and tell, everybody that movies are swell and film people are really fine folks.”
Edward Arnold: “He could bring less toys and more good will.”
Dorothy Lamour: “Better public relations.”
George Raft: “More realism before and behind the camera.”
Larry Parks: “A great deal of honest courage.”
Judy Garland: “A white Christmas.”
• • •
And there we have a good cross-section of what movie stars are thinking about in this Christmas season of 1948. Many of them are concerned about what the rest of the nation thinks about Hollywood. Others are worried about quality of product and working conditions. And some merely wonder about the weather, as who doesn’t.

Christmas In Hollywood Starts Early
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 23—(AP)—Listen closely, children, and you’ll hear how Christmas is celebrated in this strange land.
In Brazil, the children hang up their stockings and put out their shoes as well. In Sweden, the Christmas celebration lasts until Jan. 13. Hollywood too has its unusual customs,
Hollywood’s holiday starts in July when studio starlets pose in bathing suits or less before wintry scenes concocted on film stages, with scant regard to season, the curvy cuties hang their stockings in the summer heat—so their likenesses can appear in December magazines.
Christmas begins in earnest on the night before Thanksgiving. Hollywood boulevard is transformed by magic and $50,000 worth of lighted metal trees into Santa Claus lane. Hundreds of thousands of natives and tourists converge on filmtown’s main stem to watch radio and film stars slide past on floats.
The holiday season is declared open. Cautious early shoppers hasten to stores, which they find filled with others just as cautious. Stars mingle with script clerks at the counters as loudspeakers carol “Peace on Earth.”
A Pain to Some
To many stars, Christmas is a pain in the neck. Publicized as generous glamor creatures, they must live the part. They must be bountiful with their gifts, and overlook no one.
A star’s gift list runs into many hundreds. It must include everyone with whom he works from studio chauffeur to production boss. The gifts are according to rank, with the lower-paid workers getting money clips, pocket knives, etc. For the higher-ups, something like a gold cigarette case or a television set will do. Not all stars are so lavish, but many consider it inescapable.
Yes, it’s deductible in their income tax returns, but even so, they argue, it’s just another drain.
Film making is carried on during the morning before Christmas. Most companies do no shooting in the afternoon, possible because the nearness of holiday cheer makes some actors unphotogenic.
Usual Studio Parties
The afternoon of Christmas eve has been devoted to studio parties, but these will probably be scarce or lacking this year. Hollywood has less to celebrate than in previous years.
Christmas day in Hollywood is observed much the same as in any American home. Show business folks are a sentimental lot.
Those who are able see white Christmases in the east at Sun Valley or Lake Arrowhead. But to the native, a Hollywood Christmas can hold much charm.


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