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***ASK MONGO***


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Beginning today I will welcome questions that members may have pertaining to films and movie stars from the 1930s thru to the 1960s and perhaps beyond.

With some of my knowledge as a movie bug and my mass collection of books, memorabilia, magazines etc. I will do my best to answer your inquiries in a satisfactory manner.

Of course I encourage members to participate in aiding me since there is a great deal of knowledge amongst us which should also make for some fun discussions.

 

Thank you

 

Mongo

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Dear Mongo,

 

For some unaccountable reason I've always wanted to know more about Warners contract player Allen Jenkins. He usually played a likable dumb guy, but I have the feeling (partly from his manner in Stage Door Canteen, in which he was appearing out of character) that he was actually a pretty bright guy.

 

Can you tell me anything about his life?

 

Thanks,

ayresorchids

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mongo, so happy to see you start this thread! I see you already have a couple of questions, but I'll add one more to the list. I have always wanted to know more about Ross Alexander ever since I saw him in China Clipper with Bogie. But I thought I read somewhere that he committed suicide when he was still a young man. Can you help? Thanks in advance......

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What a cool idea, Mongo.

 

My question (well, one of them): what is the highest salary ever paid to a leading actor in a film made before 1950?

 

I'm interested in seeing just how little the actors received in my designated golden period of film, compared to the non-actors of today who get $26 million a film.

 

Thanks!:)

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Dear Ayresorchids (in reference to Allen Jenkins):

 

Whenever the role called for a small time numbskull gangster, a cab driver, a stool pigeon, or any other blue-collar type (usually reasonably friendly) with a New Yorkish accent Allen Jenkins was the man.

 

Born Alfred McGonegal on April 9th 1900 in New York (of course) his parents were musical-comedy performers.

He entered the theater as a stage mechanic following work in the Brooklyn shipyards after WWI.

After some theater work he got a schlarship and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

He frequently appeared on Broadway inclunding a stint as a hoofer in the chorus line along with buddy James Cagney.

He went to Hollywood at the beginning of the sound era and signed a contract with Warner Brothers making numerous movies. His most active year was in 1933 making 11 films.

A gent at heart he was well admired by his co-stars. He was married twice producing 3 children.

In the mid 1940s parts got smaller and he found work at poverty row studios. Once off the screen he performed on stage again and appeared on various TV shows. He was also the voice of Officer Dibble on the "Top Cat" cartoon series.

His final role was in the remake "The Front Page" in 1974,

the year he died, insolvent and in relative obscurity, from complications following surgury.

I can just hear that fabulous Brooklyn accent now from one of our most beloved character actors.

 

Mongo

 

 

 

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For Ken regarding John Wayne:

 

Contrary to belief it was Tom Mix who got Wayne into the movie business getting him a job arranging props on the sets of movies. This led to his first film "Mother Machree" directed by John Ford in 1928 Fox.

He went on to make films at Fox and Columbia.

 

His first film for Warner Brothers was "Haunted Gold" in 1932 where Wayne battles an outlaw gang for a gold mine.

Then came:

"Ride Him Cowboy" (1932) Wayne must save Duke the horse for murdering a man.

"The Big Stampede" (1932) In the Pioneer days with a rustling baron (Noah Beery).

"The Telegraph Trail" (1933) The train must get through to aid the construction of the first telegraph line.

"Somewhere in Sonora" (1933) Wayne befriends a man whose som has been shanghaied into a bandit gang.

"Life of Jimmy Dolan" (1933) A bit part as a prizefighter.

"Baby Face" (1933) in a suit with Stanwyck.

 

He then made films for Monogram, Republic, and Universal.

 

Mongo

 

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Just a footnote to Mongo's fine profile of Allen Jenkins:

 

In a way, it was fitting that Allan Jenkins's last role was in the 1974 version of THE FRONT PAGE, because he had played the part of Endicott in the original Broadway production of the play in 1928. And the understudy for the role of Hildy Johnson (played by Lee Tracy) was the guy that Jenkins would support in so many Warner Brothers pictures -- James Cagney.

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For Liz regarding Ross Alexander:

 

Tall and handsome Ross Alexander was born in Brooklyn in 1907. He appeared on Broadway in "Let Us Be Gay" and was signed by Paramount and brought to Hollywood in 1932.

Most of the rest of his career was spent at Warner Brothers.

His major films were "Flirtation Walk", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as Demetrius, and "Captain Blood" with Errol Flynn.

Actress Alita Freel, his first wife, had little success with her career and killed herself with a rifle in 1935.

He then married actress Anne Nagel, who had appeared with him in several films.

On January 2, 1937, the 29 year old actor, who was deeply in debt, entered the barn on his ranch and shot himself in the head.

It was reported that Warner's later signed Ronald Reagan as a replacement for the late Mr. Ross.

 

Mongo

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Thanks mongo for the info on Ross Alexander. What a short and tragic life he had. With that voice I'm sure he could have done more.

 

Mongo, you are the man! Thanks for the quick turn around and the great bio. Now I'll let someone else have a turn.

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To Stoneyburke regarding salary:

 

One of the highest salaries paid to a star prior to 1950 was $400,000

and that was to Mae West for "Belle of the Nineties" (1934).

Compare this to Barbara Stanwyck who was the highest paid woman in the U.S. earning $400,000 for the year 1944 for an accumulation of films.

Clark Gable received $120,000 for "Gone With The Wind" (1939).

James Cagney received $150,000 for "Angels with Dirty Faces" (1938).

Claudette Colbert received $265,000 for "Since You Went Away" (1944).

John Wayne received $180,000 for "The Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949) plus 10% of the gross.

Bette Davis received $150,000 for "All About Eve" (1950).

 

It seems that some stars bartered better than others however it was a great deal of money considering the times and the value of the dollar.

There may be other stars who made higher salaries prior to 1950 and if I come across them I will post it.

 

Mongo

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:)...path, I had something to that effect in my post but took it out. Seems I'm always complaining about today's so-called stars, but I guess I am.

 

Even in 2004 dollars, all of the noted salaries (if my math is correct) don't add up to the $26 million Jim Carey was paid for ONE film whose name I don't even remember anymore. I find that deplorable.

 

Well, the least I can do for the true actors of my golden period is cherish their films.

 

 

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Great Contribution to the Boards Mongo!! Looking forward to more interesting posts here!

 

P.S. I wonder, how much was (is) the net amount (really) received by the stars of those grandiose salaries, after paying federal and state's taxes?

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For Path regarding Irene Hervey:

 

The former leading lady, slender and elegantly beautiful,

had worked at Valley Oaks Travel Agency in Sherman Oaks after leaving the screen.

She was highly active on TV in the '50s and '60s winning an Emmy nomination for a guest role in "My Three Sons" and was a regular in the "Honey West" series.

She last appeared on screen in 1971 in "Play Misty for Me" with Clint Eastwood which was filmed at Universal where she and former husband Allan Jones made many movies in the '40s.

Married 21 years to Jones, they were divorced -his idea, she has said-in 1957. Their only child is popular singer Jack Jones.

Her daughter by a former marriage was legally adopted by Allan Jones and like her son Jack has made the actress a grandmother.

She didn't remarry and lived in North Hollywood and flew regularly, one advantage to being with a travel agency, to attend son Jack's more glamorous night-club openings all over the world.

On screen since 1930 one of her most popular films was "Destry Rides Again" with James Stewart.

Miss Hervey passed away at age 89 in 1998.

 

Mongo

 

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To Iposkitt regarding hard-to-find films:

 

The movie "The First Deadly Sin" with Sinatra is available on both VHS and DVD through Amazon.com or you could locate some local video stores in the yellow pages and have it ordered for you.

 

The movie "Hurry Sundown" has not been released on VHS or DVD yet.

Since it is a Paramount picture your chances of seeing it on TCM are slim since they don't have the access of many of the studios films...yet.

 

Mongo

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Hi Mongo, I have been searching for this information forever. I'd appreciate if you could help me. Thanks:

 

I am sure there is an american or english movie, filmed in the 1930's, most probably released between 1935-1938, which tells the story of Genevieve of Brabant (not to be confused with Saint Genevieve).

 

Genevieve of Brabant, was a noblewoman or queen, who was unjustly expelled from her castle by her husband, because of a "supposed" infidelity. Afterwards, she had to live in a cave or in the woods, were she gives birth to a baby.

 

Probably the film was released by another title (in english) than "Genevieve of Brabant", although in South America's spanish speaking countries it was released as "Genoveva de Brabante".

 

I'm not sure, but it seems it was released by Monogram or another minor/poverty row Studio. I remember seeing one of the movie posters/ads on the pages of an old 1930's magazine, and it featured a long-haired blonde actress riding on a horse, sideways (Lady Godiva-like).

 

I know too, that in 1947 a movie of the same title (Genoveffa di Brabante) was released in Italy. Afterwards in the 1960's (not sure) the same story was put on film in Spain. I'm sure the movie I'm looking for is neither of these two, 'cos it's definitely a movie from the 1930's.

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