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And tips of fifties, tens and fives from producers, directors and writers fell like manna upon the white collar class. Pat Hobby, for example, who knew the game from twenty years' experience, had had the idea of getting rid of his secretary the day before. The script was progressing at a snail's pace but their friendship had considerably ripened. It's all forgotten long ago.' 'Not in the memory of decent men,' said Pat. And at the little tables where the young writers sat they seemed to take work so seriously. I want to ask you some medical questions." The nurse hesitated. It's my first day out here." "It's all right," he assured her, "studios are democratic; everybody is just 'Joe' or 'Mary'--from the big shots right down to the prop boys." He proved it magnificently on their way to lunch by greeting a male star and getting his own name back in return. Something in Pat's mind snapped off when he thought of the story. " "I know." And she added after a moment, "That's the reason that I went in training." "And we've got to have it right because a hundred million people would check on it. He alone had played the man, while those stuffed shirts let themselves be insulted and abused. Pat saw him say something to the manageress and her shrill voice sent the waitresses scattering like leaves toward the kitchen. But even though he now knew at first hand what came next, he did not think that he could go on from there. "We think we can borrow Zorina, so we want to hurry things up--do a shooting script instead of just a treatment. Wilcox." He fumbled for her name but she supplied it. I was your secretary when I worked here three years ago." Pat knew she had once worked with him, but for the moment could not remember whether there had been a deeper relation. " "I thought so--but he hasn't given me any work yet." "I think he's nuts," Pat said gloomily. Except for the hat, that was the identical position in which he found René next day at eleven. 'Some day those children'll get hurt.' 'Yes, Mr Marcus,' agreed Pat heartily, 'Mr Marcus--' 'They ought to have a policeman there.' 'Yes. Pat's eyes narrowed but he managed to utter a polite, borrower's laugh. Scarcely an executive but is being gnawed at by some insoluble problem and in a democratic way he will let you in on it, with no charge. 'First I buy this opening from another writer, see. Then when we get the end in sight, his agent horns in and says he won't let Woll talk any more unless I give him a contract--eight weeks at ,000! His inflamed and burnt over talent had failed to produce a second growth. And now the playwright, with the insolence of an Eastern snob, was holding him up for twenty-four grand. He says we will go to our chambers in the Ambassador Hotel and meditate and pray and let you know what we decide.' When they were released, and the two moguls were escorted apologetically to their car by a studio yes-man, it seemed to Pat that it had been pretty well decided already. For the sake of getting his son a peek at Miss Granville, he had quite possibly lost his job--though he didn't really think so.
They were sending over a new one any minute--but she would scarcely expect a present the first day. Her secret, he considered, was a very valuable asset, and he wondered how many careers had turned on just such an asset. 'Usually.' He seemed about to add more when a call boy entered with an envelope and handed it to Helen Kagle--whereupon Harry turned and hurried out. ' burst forth Miss Kagle, after opening the envelope. 'You the head of a script department, me an associate producer. 'And as for a written confession--I've got it.' 'I doubt you. You've been taken in.' 'I've seen it,' said Pat with growing confidence. As for just sitting down anywhere, even with secretaries or extras--Pat would rather catch a sandwich at the corner. And in the commissary, where they were placed hard by the Big Table, his producer, Max Leam, looked up, did a little "takem" and winked. I didn't know Ronald Colman looked like that." Pat pointed suddenly to the floor. " She jumped and Pat laughed at his joke--but Helen Earle was already staring starry-eyed at the costume extras who filled the hall with the colors of the First Empire. "Well, Max Leam--that man facing us--Max Leam and I have a script about a Doc. So this doctor in the script he tells them to boil some water. And now he would have to take the rap--because Walter Herrick was powerful and popular, a three thousand a week man who wrote hit shows in New York. "I took a chance in sending for you," said Jack Berners. Wilcox is inexperienced and that's where you come in. It did not seem to him that it had been love--but looking at her now, that appeared rather too bad. And it was that way for three straight days--one was asleep or else the other--and sometimes both. "I have two brothers in the Guards." "You're lucky to be here in Hollywood." "That's as it may be." "Well, what's your idea of the start of the picture? It gives me an almost physical nausea." "So then, we got to have something in its place. 'Just speak to his secretary.' After a minute the man turned from the phone. The problem, be it one of health or of production, is faced courageously and with groans at from one to five thousand a week. 'But this one has got me down,' said Mr Banizon, '--because how did the artillery shell get in the trunk of Claudette Colbert or Betty Field or whoever we decide to use? 'The worse part of it is that Woll told me the ending,' continued the producer. Or rather he was pretty sure that when his week was up he would have lost it anyhow.
'Not like the old days,' he mourned, 'Then there was a bottle on every desk.' 'There're a few around.' 'Not many.' Pat sighed. 'Gooddorf has me working over the holiday,' he complained bitterly. But then, you see, I thought I was in love with him.' She brooded for a moment. When she put a fresh sheet in the typewriter Pat feared he had lost. 'This was a letter he typed himself on February 3rd, 1921. Listen I'll meet you in "the Muncherie" at Fifth and La Brea--in one hour.' As he walked to Gooddorf's office he decided to mention no facts or names within the walls of the studio. I was making a piece called Knuckleduster--on location.' 'You weren't always on location. 'This is a hell of a Christmas,' he said, 'with my family expecting me home an hour ago. You say you've got something in my writing.' Pat took the paper from his pocket and read the date aloud. At lunch, that is, they don't want ladies." "Oh," said Helen Earle, polite but unimpressed. It's so very interesting." "It has its points," he said . "--and some other guy I'm going to cut out," he finished. "Hm." Pat's interest had wandered to an odd little scene at the Big Table while he inquired absently, "You married? All along the Big Table faces stared suddenly at him. "This is a--" "I got to eat," said the Cossack doggedly. "Find yourself an office and get together with René Wilcox." As Pat started out he called him back and put a bill in his hand. You used to be quite a boy around the secretaries in the old days. " Over in the Writers' Building Pat glanced at the directory in the hall and knocked at the door of 216. "I'm your partner." Wilcox's regard questioned even his existence, but Pat continued heartily, "I hear we're going to lick some stuff into shape. " "I have never written for the cinema before." While this increased Pat's chance for a screen credit he badly needed, it meant that he might have to do some work. "This is different from playwriting," he suggested, with suitable gravity. Why, that's when the camera's on a crane." Pat leaned over the desk and picked up a blue-jacketed "Treatment." On the cover he read: BALLET SHOES A Treatment by Consuela Martin An Original from an idea by Consuela Martin Pat glanced at the beginning and then at the end. The door opened again, a pretty girl's face, rather frightened, showed itself momentarily, said "Oh," and disappeared. I'd go to Jack Berners and tell him--but I think we'd both be out on our ears." For two days more he camped in René's office, trying to rouse him to action, but with no avail. He was proud of it--there was a ring of factual sincerity in it too often missing from his work. Wilcox: I am sorry to tell you your two brothers were killed in action today by a long range Tommy-gun. John Smythe The British Consulate, New York" But Pat realized that this was no time for self-applause. To his vast surprise it was technically proficient--the dissolves, fades, cuts, pans and trucking shots were correctly detailed. Turning back to the first page he wrote at the top: BALLET SHOES First Revise From Pat Hobby and René Wilcox--presently changing this to read: From René Wilcox and Pat Hobby. ", he put "Behind the eight-ball" instead of "in trouble," and replaced "you'll be sorry" with the apt coinage "Or else! Berners would like to have it mimeographed by half-past three." This would give him an hour's start on his unconscious collaborator. " "I'll say." "We'll have to split it up between several girls." Pat continued to improve the script till the call boy arrived. Ike always passes me.' 'That's why he's gone,' said the guardian blandly. Such a quantity of baggage he had seldom seen, even in the train of Gloria Swanson or Joan Crawford. 'Say, when you get back there, tell them that one American could lick--' 'I have left a note for you,' said Prince John, turning from his Uncle's side. Then he turned away--feeling like--like Stella Dallas. He awoke late next afternoon with a happy hangover--the cause of which he could not determine until young John's voice seemed to spring into his ears, repeating: 'Fifty sovereigns a month, with just one condition--that it be withdrawn in case of war, when all revenues of our state will revert to the British Empire.' With a cry Pat sprang to the door.
'And afterwards we'd run a picture--made up out of cutting-room scraps.' 'I've heard. 'I wouldn't do it.' 'I wouldn't either except my four weeks are up next Friday, and if I bucked him he wouldn't extend me.' As he turned away Hopper knew that Pat was not being extended anyhow. He sealed it and gave it to me to mail--but there was a blonde he was interested in, and I wondered why he should be so secret about a letter.' Helen had been typing as she talked, and now she handed Pat a note. Back in the brief period when he had headed a scenario department Pat had conceived a plan to put a dictaphone in every writer's office. Then he looked up hastily: 'This is just a copy, so don't try and snatch it.' He knew the technique of such scenes as this. " "No." "Neither am I." Beside the Big Table stood an extra. He stood resting his hand on the back of an empty chair between Director Paterson and Producer Leam. Until after the first look the supposition was that he must be some well-known actor. It was as if someone had crayoned Donald Duck into the Last Supper. "I been standing around six hours while they shoot this stinking mess and now I got to eat." The silence had extended--from Pat's angle all within range seemed to be poised in mid-air. "I dunno who cooked it up--" he said--and Max Leam sat forward in his chair--"but it's the lousiest tripe I ever seen shot in Hollywood." --At his table Pat was thinking why didn't they do something? If they were yellow themselves they could call the studio police. " Helen Earle was following his eyes innocently, "Somebody I ought to know? "You'll see." Max appealed to the table at large, "Where's Cushman--where's the Personnel man? No answer, but he went in to discover a blond, willowy youth of twenty-five staring moodily out the window. "Yes--I read a book about it." Pat wanted to laugh. " "I've not done anything," said Wilcox deliberately. "I'd like it better if we could get the war in somewhere," he said frowning. Desperate on the following day--when the playwright did not even come to the studio--Pat took a benzedrine tablet and attacked the story alone. At first I was held back by personal worries, but once I got started it was very simple. "Find me a plain envelope and a used stamp and some paste." Pat sealed the letter himself and then gave directions: "Listen outside Wilcox's office. If he's out get a call boy to deliver it to him, wherever he is. Then, working frantically, he made several dozen small changes. He wanted to put in his war idea but time was short--still, he finally told the call boy to sit down, while he wrote laboriously in pencil on the last page. (He puts his arms around her in a wild embrace as the music soars way up and we FADE OUT) Limp and exhausted by his effort he needed a drink, so he left the lot and slipped cautiously into the bar across from the studio where he ordered gin and water. He had done almost what he had been hired to do--though his hand had accidentally fallen upon the dialogue rather than the structure. Then he started as he saw two or three men in turbans moving around among the baggage. Sir Singrim Dak Raj and his nephew Prince John, both pulling on gloves as if at a command, appeared at the door, as Pat stepped forward out of the darkness. 'I say, you were nice this afternoon and it really was too bad.' 'Yes, it was,' agreed Pat. 'After our prayers we decided that you will receive fifty sovereigns a month--two hundred and fifty dollars--for the rest of your natural life.' 'What will I have to do for it? 'It will only be withdrawn in case--' John leaned and whispered in Pat's ear, and relief crept into Pat's eyes. No Los Angeles Times lay against it, no Examiner--only Toddy's Daily Form Sheet. Below the form sheets, the past performances, the endless oracles for endless racetracks, his eye was caught by a one-inch item: Beneath a great striped umbrella at the side of a boulevard in a Hollywood heat wave, sat a man.
' There were sudden tears in Pat's eyes--real tears. The last door in the line belonged to a man he didn't like. It showed paintings being boxed and carted away to safety from an art gallery in Europe. I'm in with all the markets here.' 'I'm under contract.' 'Use another name.' Her phone rang. Late that afternoon he returned to Jack Berners' waiting rooms. He left the studio proudly through the front entrance, stopping at the liquor store for a half-pint to take back to his room. With a sudden rush of pleasure he went down to the phone in the lower hall, called the studio and asked for Miss Pricilla Smith's number. He was on a "polish job," about the only kind he ever got nowadays. Some twirp from Chicago fell in the wind machine.' 'What's that got to do with me? He walked, a little faster than his wont, along the studio wall to the point where it joined the back lot. 'I want only one thing.' From the long familiarity he went into the foreign locution. Now to lose one's identity is a careless thing in any case. And he sat in an overstuffed chair, his eyes not so very bloodshot taking in the morning's Reporter. Tribesman hit by bullet making nose dive over high rock. On the other side of the screen, a scene was played and recorded against this moving background. They're not using it--they got covers on the furniture.' On tip toe they started, Pat in the lead, then Sir Singrim, then John.
Sumptuous gifts from producers to stars, and from agents to producers arrived at offices and studio bungalows: on every stage one heard of the roguish gifts of casts to directors or directors to casts; champagne had gone out from publicity office to the press. 'Harry Gooddorf can worry about that.' 'Are you working for Mr Gooddorf? 'Until he throws me out.' 'I shouldn't have said--' 'Don't worry,' he assured her. Not at three-fifty a week, when I used to get two thousand . Very well he could remember the day when many dozen such handkerchiefs had been his Christmas harvest. But there were too many new faces at the Big Table now--faces that looked at him with the universal Hollywood suspicion. He saw Helen Earle working swiftly at the man's head with a pile of clean napkins. He alone in this crisis, real or imaginary, had acted. " The words fell wild and unreal on Pat's burdened soul. "You mean he's--" "I don't know and I don't care," interrupted Berners sharply. He'll probably start throwing up all over the office." "He's well now," Katherine ventured. About midway in the second sequence he fell asleep with his new hat on his chest. The old man spoke into the tube and the car halted. He spent most of his time rocking from coast to coast on fast trains, merging and launching, launching and merging, like a much divorced woman. He told the story to Pat at length and the latter waited until it was all out before broaching his request. 'Hell, you never paid me back what you borrowed last month.' 'But I got a job now,' lied Pat. I start tomorrow.' 'If they don't give the job to Orson Welles,' said Jeff humorously. Whereupon the most elderly member of the party threw up his arms in what appeared to be a defensive gesture, and plunged to the sidewalk as the car went past. With a trembling hand he took the hard-earned ten dollar bill from his pocket. 'Every muff has a drink on me.' Distress in Hollywood is endemic and always acute. Parke Woll, the playwright, and we meet a couple of times and develop it. Ten years ago he had camped beatifically in range of such a salary--now he was lucky to get a few weeks at 0. Banizon had almost outsmarted Woll and then been cheated by a tough break. He thought perhaps if you were a great writer he might invite you to come to his kingdom and write his life.' 'I never claimed to be--' 'My uncle says you are an ignominious writer--in your own land you permitted him to be touched by those dogs of the policemen.' 'Aw--bananas,' muttered Pat uncomfortably. But now she is a high and sacred lady and should never see you again.Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) e Book No.: 0400821Edition: 1 Language: English Character set encoding: HTML--Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit Date first posted: December 2004 Date most recently updated: December 2004 This e Book was produced by: Don Lainson [email protected] Gutenberg of Australia e Books are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. 'I think he's left Hollywood,' she said in answer to his question. It was a beginning, it was something to tell Jack, he thought--and, picturing Pricilla Smith, he refurbished some old business he hadn't seen used for years. Berners spoke for them all as he said firmly and gently: 'That's no idea, Pat. 'Everything is war now, no matter how many credits a man has. It makes me think of a well-known painter in the discard. In the old silent days Pat would have used it as a spoken title and ended his dialogue worries for a space, but he needed some spoken words for other people in the scene. A reverent thought too--for an old-timer like Pat, what people you sat with at lunch was more important in getting along than what you dictated in your office. It's got to be right." The spirit of Pasteur shone firmly in Pat's eyes. 'Last week a visitor from Chicago fell in the wind machine--Hello. Why, he had known this lot when the first shacks were rising on it, when this was considered the edge of the desert. A similar image came into Pat's mind in the ensuing days whenever he thought of Orson Welles. Never before had the studio been barred to Pat and though Welles was on another lot it seemed as if his large body, pushing in brashly from nowhere, had edged Pat out the gate. At this studio he never felt unemployed--in recent times of stress he had eaten property food on its stages--half a cold lobster during a scene from The Divine Miss Carstairs; he had often slept on the sets and last winter made use of a Chesterfield overcoat from the costume department. Not even a stock ticker.' 'I want to retire, but different,' said Pat earnestly. I want to watch them grow and grow--' Mr Marcus groaned. 'Pat,' said Joe the barber, 'Orson was in here today and asked me to trim his beard.' 'I hope you set fire to it,' said Pat. In fact you look a bit alike.' This was the morning the kidding was so ubiquitous that, to avoid it, Pat lingered in Mario's bar across the street. I bet with that muff you could get the job.' It was weeks since Pat had heard the word job and he could not himself say how he managed to exist and eat. 'I'd like to see if Sam could tell it was a phony muff.' 'I'm a writer, not a ham.' 'Come on! And you'd draw another ten bucks.' As they left the make-up department Jeff lingered behind a minute. Parke Woll and maybe I could find what you want to know.' He and Mr Banizon went out of the office together and walked slowly across the lot. 'What he wants is in here.' An hour passed at the turbulent orgiastic table. He looked at Pat for applause--then he must have seen something in Pat's eye that he was not intended to see. 'You've talked to Banizon--he sent you here.' Pat rose and tore like a rabbit for the door. He was let out of prison next morning without bail, wanted only as a material witness. I'm going to get me a new agent and bring him to your office.' 'I tell you a better plan.' said Banizon hastily, 'I'll get you on the payroll. Just like some guys see red or black I saw white.' There was some consultation among the authorities. I came and sat down and then it began to go black.' 'You mean white.' 'Black and white.' There was a general titter. Defendant remanded for trial.' What was a little joking to endure when the stakes were so high--all that night a mountainous Amazon pursued him through his dreams and he needed a strong drink before appearing at Mr Banizon's office next morning. Now that Woll is dead it's in the Public Remains.' 'Not quite,' said the agent. 'Shall we let him find out--for a thousand dollars? Even to the faint irritation that no one had annoyed him, no one had bothered him, no one had interfered with the long empty dream which constituted his average day. He also wore a turban with beautifully cut jodhpurs and riding coat. 'Hear you want to go on some sets,' said Pat, 'You friends of Jack Berners? 'May I present you to my uncle: Sir Singrim Dak Raj.' Probably, thought Pat, the company was cooking up a Bengal Lancers, and this man would play the heavy who owned the Khyber Pass. They had not got there by the front entrance, but by a little side door for technicians that Pat knew. He had spotted an idol more glamorous than Siva not twenty feet away--her back, her profile, her voice. Three gigantic silhouettes, two with huge Indian turbans, had danced across what was intended to be a New England harbour--they had blundered into the line of the process shot.We do NOT keep any e Books in compliance with a particular paper edition. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. ' 'Plenty,' said Pat, and found himself pleased with the sound of the word. ' Pat launched into the description of a career suitable to a man of forty-nine. It expanded rapidly in beauty and power during the time it took him to drink three large whiskeys. 'They gave me his office but they forgot to put up my name.' 'You a writer? 'I work at it.' 'You ought to get 'em to give you a test.' 'No--I like writing.' 'What's that you're reading.' She showed him. 'That's not the way to get the guts out of a book.' 'Oh.' 'I've been here for years--I'm Pat Hobby--and I know. He became quite excited about it--felt quite young for a moment and walked up and down the waiting room mentally rehearsing the first sequence. Mr Bill Costello and Mr Bach are in there.' He thought quickly. In the old days he had just busted in sometimes and sold an idea, an idea good for a couple of grand because it was just the moment when they were very tired of what they were doing at present. I can't put you on salary for that.' 'Why don't you work it out further by yourself,' suggested Bill Costello. We're looking for ideas--especially about the war.' 'A man can think better on salary,' said Pat. Costello and Bach had drunk with him, played poker with him, gone to the races with him. It's war time and he's useless--just a man in the way.' He warmed to his conception of himself, '--but all the time they're carting away his own paintings as the most valuable thing worth saving. That's what it reminds me of.' There was again silence for a moment. This was no art, as he often said--this was an industry. "It will be." He felt good walking across the lot with Max--so good that he decided to glue himself to the producer and sit down with him at the Big Table. Orson Welles had no business edging him out of this. I'm Pat Hobby, the writer--could you give me a lift down the street? 'Get in.' He might possibly have meant get up in front with the chauffeur. 'I did,' Joe winked at waiting customers over a hot towel. He was not drinking--at the bar, that is, for he was down to his last thirty cents, but he refreshed himself frequently from a half-pint in his back pocket. On a strip of cardboard he crayoned the name Orson Welles in large block letters. You'll have to soak it off.' The car paused momentarily at the door of the commissary. Then very quickly he opened the door on the other side and dashed from the car. An hour later, for an advance consideration of fifty dollars, Pat was employed to discover how a live artillery shell got into Claudette Colbert's trunk or Betty Field's trunk or whosoever's trunk it should be. Parke Woll was now cutting through the City of the Angels would have attracted no special notice in the twenties; in the fearful forties it rang out like laughter in church. Genlemen, this is Pat Hobby--best left-handed writer in Hollywood. ' Pat sat down, amid suspicious looks from a dozen predatory eyes. Pat waited--and then inevitably in the slow, limited cycle of the lush, Woll's mind returned to the subject. He would have been out into the street before Woll could overtake him had it not been for the intervention of Mr Smith, the doorman. If anything, the publicity was advantageous--for the first time in a year his name appeared in the trade journals. 'After the inquest tomorrow,' said Pat enjoying himself. Four weeks at your regular price.' 'What's my price? 'I've drawn everything from four thousand to zero.' And he added ambiguously, 'As Shakespeare says, "Every man has his price."' The attendant rodents of R. 'Well, what happened from when you came into the restaurant--up to the time you saw white? He was accompanied by one of the few Hollywood agents who had not yet taken him on and shaken him off. 'Or four weeks at two-fifty to work on another picture.' 'How bad do you want this? 'My client seems to think it's worth three thousand.' 'Of my own money? 'I think like you do that ideas are sort of in the air. He was about to accuse his secretary of staring at him when the welcome interruption came. Wearied by the long jaunt over the back lot, Pat took a pint flask from his hip and offered it to Sir Singrim who declined. 'Stunt your growth,' he said solemnly, taking a long pull. 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The war had just broken out and every producer on the lot wanted to end their current stories with the hero going to war. He gets a hundred and fifty grand a picture and I wouldn't be surprised if he was so radical that you had to have all new equipment and start all over again like you did with sound in 1928.' 'Oh my God! 'And me,' said Pat, 'all I want is a pass and no money--to leave things as they are.' Mr Marcus reached for his card case. Then the agent realized that Pat actually had drawn a psychological blank. 'For her bracelet.' For many years Mr Banizon would be somewhat gnawed by this insoluble problem. 'If it is convenient.' Pat looked at the shooting schedule on the wall. 'We can go and see.' As they started toward Stage 4, he exploded. I'm glad to see you and all that, but say, are you really the kid Delia had in 1926? 'At that time you and she were legally married.' He turned to his uncle and spoke rapidly in Hindustani, whereupon the latter bent forward, looked with cold examination upon Pat and threw up his shoulders without comment. In desperation he took his charges out to the back lot and walked them past the false fronts of ships and cities and village streets, and medieval gates--a sight in which the boy showed a certain interest but which Sir Singrim found disappointing. He says he will never enjoy an American picture again.