Cinema: Lowell v. Block Booking

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Bing Crosby is probably the world's best paid male singer ($275,000 a year). For Going Hollywood he got $75,000. He was born in Tacoma, Wash, in 1904. studied law at Gonzaga University, failed to take his bar examination, became a "hot" singer with Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys. When William Paley of Columbia Broad casting System heard a Crosby phono graph record, Bing was hired to sing on the radio for Cremo cigars, imitating Rudy Vallee's low register quavers. Now almost as popular as Vallee in the U. S. and Eng land, Crosby is much more popular else where, partly because his singing has ceased to be affected, partly because he is the only U. S. crooner sufficiently present able and mentally alert to be a successful cinemactor. He plays golf in the 703, wants to write short stories, is incorporated under his real name, Harry Lillis Crosby. His acting shoes contain one and a half-inch "lifts." His great-great-grandfather was one of John Jacob Astors sea captains. His wife, onetime Cinemactress Dixie Lee, calls him the Crooner. Says Crosby : "I'd like to be able to sing like the crooners. The reason is a crooner gets his quota of sentimentality with half his natural voice. That's a great saving. I don't like to work." Convention City (First National) is a glib, disorganized batch of footnotes on a familiar aspect of U. S. business. It deals with the Atlantic City convention of the Honeywell Rubber Co. President J. B. Honeywell (Grant Mitchell) is to choose a new general salesmanager. Slick Adolphe Menjou wants the job. So does paunchy Guy Kibbee. But both of them get into trouble. Salesman Kibbee paws at a wench (Joan Blondell) who maneuvers him into the first stage of the badger game. Salesman Menjou is discredited when a jealous saleswoman (Mary Astor) interferes with his attentions to President Honeywell's daughter. The salesmanager-ship finally goes as a bribe to a maudlin inebriate who has caught President Honeywell about to visit "Daisy La Rue, Exterminator."

Convention City is adumbrated with many a drinking scene, a company song ("Oh. Honeywell" to the tune of "My Maryland"), and some quips which may cause some cinemagoers to wonder what Will Hays is doing. Typical sequence: a drunk loudly advocating that "Our merchandise be placed in slot machines on every corner, in case of emergency" only to discover that he is in the wrong convention. Flying Down to Rio (RKO). In the current cycle of musicomedies there are three major types: 1) elaborate revues, with plots based on backstage activities or neo-Freudian dreams, like Roman Scandals; 2) naive comedies based on the real careers of the actors involved, like Going Hollywood (see col. 1); 3) semi-sophisticated romances like Flying Down to Rio. For Flying Down to Rio, Vincent Youmans was hired to write the music for four songs: "Flying Down to Rio." "Music Makes Me," "Orchids in the Moonlight," "Carioca." Fred Astaire was hired to dance as frequently as possible. A fleet of airplanes was engaged for a finale with showgirls in gauze uniforms capering on their wings. To play the lead in Flying Down to Rio, RKO wisely persuaded handsome Dolores Del Rio to come out of a year's retirement.

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