I’m loving this — no writing to do, just intros. I’ll be back at the weekend and have some good stuff saved up, I like to think. Meanwhile, here’s Phoebe Green on an unlikely economy drive at Warner Bros —
A GLASS OF WATER ILLUMINATES THE WORLD
Dorothy Parker, legend has it, explained a late submission to the New Yorker with “Someone else was using the pencil.” A similarly rigorous economy seems to have reigned on the set of 42nd Street, where a simple but recognizable water glass reappears throughout, to the delight of cognoscenti:
Ruby Keeler has collapsed! But is rehydrated in the arms of George Brent. The Glass makes its début.
The latter, sly dog, takes Ruby back to his bachelor pad. In the kitchen, he sniffs his boutonnière for freshness, decides it will do for another day, and puts it in the refrigerator in The Glass.
Louise Beavers, the hardest-working woman in an apron in show business, gives Bebe Daniels congratulations — and a drink from The Glass.
Now we’re in Philadelphia! Not to worry, The Glass is there at bedside for George Brent in his barebones stock-player’s hotel …
… but also, within a minute of screen time, in the luxurious ambiance of Warner Baxter’s suite. What range, The Glass!
Center screen, between Warner Baxter and Ruby Keeler, The Glass makes its last, iconic appearance.
A friend of mine, alerted to this phenomenon, dubbed it “endearingly Warner Brothers” and hypothesized that the WB props department contained only ONE of each item. A hypothesis substantiated by the penultimate scene of Blessed Event, in which Jack La Rue, under arrest, is not handcuffed, but simply gripped by the sleeve:
Someone else was using the darbies.
© Phoebe Green