"OBSERVER" suffered a temporary
blackout when he attempted to
link the motion picture with cen-
tenary week. The film is a mere stripling. However, the occasion de- manded that some link he forged between the screen past and present, and "Observer" found his lead in the Western film and Western heroes of
two screen ages - William S. Hart and Tim Holt. Now let's go.
WILLIAM S. HART was a name to conjure with a quarter of a century ago. He was the big name in Westerns, an in 1915 top- ped the money-making starts. His
name in front of a theatre in Ame- rica and beyond was enough - with
or without the title of his picture to form the queues.
today Tim Holt is probably the youngest Western hero on the screen. As yet he is not the box office draw that Hart was, and he has stiff competition from Bill Boyd. Gene Autrey is probably the biggest draw among Western players today, but his field is "horse opera" rather that the straightforward
action stuff in which Tim and Bill excel.
Tim however claims attention
because he is the youngest in the field - and because he has cut short
a promising screen future to enter Uncle Sam's Army.
The names of William S. Hart and Tim Tolt arc linked by a succession of Western stars who have made this pioneer action stuff perennially popular. There have been cycles of gangster films, of love stories, of costume plays, of musicals, of sophis- ticated comedies, but the Western has been a steady-always with us, always popular with a large section of filmgoers.
I^X)R more than 25 years ?* it has been the prac-
tice of the "Motion Picture Herald." an American trade journal, to as- certain through exhibitors the best money-making stars of every year, and, looking through this record. 1 find that a Western player has been prominently placed among the first 10 In most of those years.
In 1915 William S. Hart was the biggest money-maker in America, and he topped the poll again In 1916. in which year the name . of Douglas Fairbanks also appears. Bill Hart was still among the big names in 1917-and right through to 1921. during, which Douglas Fair- banks became thc No. 1 draw at the box office.'
Next lo shoot their way across the screen were Tom Mix and Hoot Gib- son, and they enjoyed tremendous popularity about 1926 and 1927. In- deed. Tom Mix topped the list of 10 best money-makers In 1927. and held a place among the big names
for some time
Today Gene Autry ls probably the
best bet among .Western stars, but ,his field of action ls slightly differ- ent from that of Tim Holt or Bill Boyd Like William S. Hart, the name of Gene Autry is sufficient to excite the interest, and. despite the fact that he has figured in a couple of mediocre shows, there ls no evi- dence that his popularity ls dimin- ishing.
Big Strides « rPlM was making big
nj 1 strides when the war
>" caught him up. He rides well, and
tam THE SCREEN : :
makes his gun and bare-knuckle fights convincing. His latest pic- ture. "Thundering Hoofs," ls ready for its Tasmanian season, and this RKO-Radio show ls the last of a series. I understand Tim was rushed through another- series be- fore he joined up, so lovers of West- erns will see half a dozen or so more of his adventures before" the re-issues start
Tim is a son of Jack Holt, who played Western roles in his time. "Thundering Hoofs" teams Tim with Ray Whitley and Lee Lasses White, and for romantic interest there is the personable Luana Walters. Heroines get little consideration In Westerns, but if they manage to stamp their personality on a show it is the lead Into bigger and better parts.
There ls a likelihood that Gene Au try will also join thc colours, and thc screen will lose two of its
most popular Western players If Tim and Gene take up gunning seriously. Thc screen field will then bc left largely to Bill Boyd.
' Wants To Fight
A PROPOS players joining
the services, latest ad- vices suggest Uncle Sam ls worried about so many Hollywood male stars enlisting. America places high value on film entertainment, and Its part in building service and civilian mor- ale. The Government ls anxious that there shall be a continuous
supply of film, particularly for en- tertainment of the forces, and lt is suggested that stars how in the colours will be released from time' to time, to make pictures.
The name in thc public eye at the moment
ls Clark Gable. Clark has threatened to join up, but t h e highest name in the land - Presid- ent Roosevelt has advised him to stay in pictures. Clark, however, has
made it clear he wants a fight, and stu- dios are fearful that if he gets into uniform there will be a rush of other
to follow his lead. Already the number of Holly wood players In uni- form ls high, and studios are facing some- thing of a cri- sis.
WOW will this crisis be "met? Partly by the temporary re ease of men from service-that ls, from amone those not sent overseas-but largely per- haps by a concentration of effort 21, ri1 ior «?lder P'ay«s with star and box office value. This of course, would not mean that romance was out. Studios would probably go to the other extreme for the romantic leads, and Itel young players a chance to prove themselves. v e
. £°">"«root}- tó date has faced boldly he war situation, and ad- justed Itself to emergency con- ditions with marked success. Prob ¡ems associated with distribution have caused the industry manv headaches, but the latest crisis an', pears to be the worst it has had
rjEQRGE BERNARD u ¿ SHAW'S- "Candida may be brought to the screen. The play was revived recently in New York with Katharine Cornell in the top part. For the screen version Katharine Cornell and Greer Gar eon are mentioned for the Ieadinz role, but If Miss Cornell s screen tests are approved, "Candida" will be her first Hollywood" job after a long hold-out against film work. I understand the screen adaptation has been approved by Shaw, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ls putting production In charge of Gabriel Pascal, who handled Shaw's "Pvc. jr.iIion"JandJ ,"Mai°r Barbara" both produced In England.