Showing posts with label Broadway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Broadway. Show all posts

Friday, January 12, 2024

Article Series - No.2 : He's Grand - and He's Grant by John Paddy Carstairs

He's Grand - and He's Grant  
by John Paddy Carstairs

John Paddy Carstairs Introduces You to Another Englishman in Hollywood who is going to be One of To-morrow's Stars

He's bright, he's breezy, and very happy-go-lucky! One gets the impression that it is immaterial to him whether he is in pictures or merely sweeping crossings. He'd be joking or laughing at the passers-by just as he does at the Paramount studios, where they hold him on a very nice contract.His name is Cary Grant, and he is English. If I say he is like Gable, he will be very annoyed. So will Gable. So will the Gable fans, not to the mention the Grant fans and everyone else! Nevertheless, he is of the same type as Clark Gable - just another likeable rough guy of the screen.
As a matter of fact, Cary takes this inevitable comparison with a great deal of indifference. I asked him about it, and he replied that he thought it probably annoyed Gable just as much as it did him. They were two separate players with different kinds of characters and types. I admit he is right, although I am wondering if he would have got his chance if the Gable type was not all the rage, as it is now.

He's very tall - about six feet two - with bright brown eyes that glint and sparkle while you talk to him. He has jet black hair and a dark skin.

When I first met him, the studio officials wanted me to interview him in the special Interview Room. We waited till they had introduced us, then both grinned.

When they had gone out I suggested that we should walk around the studio, and talk as we strolled. I have never seen so much relief on a man's face before: the suggestion set Cary at ease. We started off and wandered around the enormous Paramount studio, in and out of sound stages. We watched a new production being filmed; chatted to Randolph Scott, had coffee in the studio canteen, lazed on the lawn and, for quite a while, examined odd junk that had accumulated in the studio property room. Meantime Cary bubbled on, chatting, wisecracking and having a very good time. This Grant fellow is a lot of fun. As a matter of fact his life sounds like a film scenario.

Cary was born in Bristol, and his grandfather, Percival Leach was a very well-known stage actor, which probably accounts for the great liking for dramatics that developed in Cary at an early age. It was also probably responsible for the interest Cary took in the Princess Theatre, Bristol, where he invented a new and very successful lighting system.

This contact with stage folk made Cary restless. At the age of twelve he ran away from Fairfield Academy and joined the Bob Pender Acrobatic Troupe, a bunch of entertainers who did all sorts of tricks, from dancing, acrobatics and clown routines to comedy scenes and stilt dancing. At Norwich, Cary spent two months learning all the tricks of the troupe. But meantime his father had managed to find the truant and carried him back to school. Three years later Cary ran away again and managed to stay with the Pender troupe. They became very well liked in England, and then decided to make a trip to New York. Cary spent two years with the troupe traveling round America, and then returned to England, where he toured in indifferent stage shows. Meanwhile he started to develop a very elegant baritone voice.

Cary Grant & Queenie Smith in the Shubert Organization's musical comedy play The Street Singer

"Gosh! What a thrill for me! Soon he was back in New York and was playing in Golden Dawn, a musical show. Next he had the juvenile lead in Polly, the attractive sequel to the Beggar's Opera. Following this came Boom Boom was opposite Jeanette MacDonald," said Cary. 
"We played the show in New York and then Chicago. Jeanette came out here to Hollywood to make The Love Parade picture, and I dashed off to Europe for a grand holiday. When I came back I had quite a run of stage successes, both in New York and on tour. Then I made a fresh contract with film people when I played alongside Fay Wray and Kent Douglas in Nikki. After this I thought a visit to Hollywood would be quite an idea, and I made the trip by car all the way from New York. I was over at Paramount having lunch with a friend one day when some studio executive or other asked me if I would play opposite a girl of whom they wanted to make a test."

Cast of "Golden Dawn" - Archie Leach is Anzac


Nikki - Archie Leach is Cary Lockwood

Cary grinned. "It was all right with me," he said, "and they liked the test of us both. Two weeks later they gave me a contract and here I am!"

I asked this young man how he liked Hollywood.

"It's fine - so is America - but I must lose my English accent if I want a lot of different parts," he told me. "I've been trying, but so far I have only a curious mixture of English and American dialects!"

At that moment a flash of yellow caught my eye. "Hey!" I asked, "what's the idea of these vivid braces?"
Cary had the brightest Canary-colored braces I have ever seen. They peeped out from under his coat and almost smacked on in the eye!

Cary laughed, and then told me he had opened a haberdashery shop on the famous and very smart Wilshire Boulevard. "Swell clothes," he told me, "come on in and buy a tie one day. All my stuff is from Bond Street and Jermyn Street. It is a very exclusive shop, believe me! We did marvelously the first two days we opened, having forced our pals to come down and buy!" He went on chattering about the shop, and the humors of it.

Eventually I called a halt. "That will be enough from you. I'll lunch you here in a few days' time!"
I wanted to see if this vivaciousness just happened now and then or was it constant. I kept a careful check on the Grant lad, and I can promise you it's constant. With Cary, life is just a bowl of whatever you make it. You will see him in many films from now on, notably Blonde Venus, with Marlene Dietrich, and Hot Saturday, with Nancy Carroll. He is one of to-morrow's stars.

Film Pictorial - December 17, 1932 - page 20  

Monday, July 27, 2020

On This Day...New York, New York! (1920)

On this day, 28th July 1920, Archie Leach first glimpsed the New York skyline. Landing at Pier 59.

Pier 59.

R.M.S Olympic at Pier 59 in the 1920's.

After staying behind in New York, Archie was to spend the best part of a decade, in New York, appearing in numerous shows.

Introducing ...Archie Leach.

Better Times: 
Hippodrome Theatre,
Sixth Ave. bet W.42nd and W.44th, New York.

Exterior of the Hippodrome.

Interior of the auditorium.

Its revolving stage stretched virtually the entire distance between the numbered thoroughfares.
The ballet corps numbered eighty, the chorus contained one hundred members and required a backstage staff of around eight hundred.
It could also present water ballets.

Cover for the souvenir book for "Better Times"

In "The Land of Mystery" episode, Archie was one of The Joyful Girls.

In the twelfth episode he was one of the Meistersingers.

Opened: 2/9/1922
Closed: 28/4/1923
Total Performances: 405
Music by Raymond Hubbell and Lyrics by R.H. Burnside.

Golden Dawn:
Hammerstein's Theatre.
1697 Broadway at W.53rd Street.

Exterior of Hammerstein's (now the Ed Sullivan).

Interior of the auditorium.

Typical booklet cover.

Archie played Anzac in "Golden Dawn"

Opened: 30/11/1927
Closed: 5/5/1928
Total Performances: 184
Music by Herbert P. Stothart, Emmerick Kalman and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach.

Boom Boom:
Casino Theatre,
1404 Broadway (W.39th)

Exterior of the Casino Theatre.

Interiors of the auditorium.

Booklet cover. Archie played "Reggie Phipps, alongside Jeanette MacDonald.

Cover for the sheet music.

Opened: 28/1/1929
Closed: 30/3/1929
Total Performances: 72
Music by Werner Janssen and Lyrics by Mann Holiner and J. Keirn Brennan.

A Wonderful Night:
Majestic Theatre,
245 W. 44th Street.

Exterior of the Majestic.

Interiors of the auditorium.

Booklet cover.

Archie appeared as "Max Grunewald"

Opened: 31/10/1929
Closed: 15/2/1930
Total Performances: 125

Longacre Theatre,
220 W.48th Street.

Exterior of Longacre Theatre.

Interior of the auditorium.

Archie played "Cary Lockwood", the character from who he took his first name.
The show also starred Fay Wray.

Opened: 29/9/1931
Closed: 31/10/1931
Total Performances: 39

More Stage Appearances:
The Municipal Opera.
At the "Muny" (fifth from the left).

Archie is listed as appearing in:
"Three Little Girls"
"The Street Singer"
"Music In May"
"The Three Musketeers"
"A Wonderful Night" (See above)
and "Rio Rita".

In "The Three Musketeers".

Also appearing in a Pre-Broadway Premiere at the Shubert Playhouse in Wilmington, Delaware.
It was a flop!! Running from 31/10/1928 - 3/11/1928.

An early stage appearance.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

"Better Times" on Broadway! (1922)

This is a rare souvenir program from the Original Broadway production of the R.H. Burnside and Raymond Hubbell Mammoth Musical Spectacle "BETTER TIMES" which played the New York Hippodrome in New York City.

The production opened on September 2nd, 1922 and ran for 405 performances.

The Eighth and Twelfth Episodes included a young man by the name of Archie Leach.

"Better Times " Program, 1922
(Centre Pages)

Eighth Episode: The Land of Mystery 
(The Joyful Girls............Archie Leach and Jack Notman)

Twelfth Episode: At the Grand Opera Ball 
(Meistersingers no.4..........Archie Leach)