Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, October 30, 1915, Final, Amusement Section, Image 11

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UEs&fej- -Amusement Section, Saturday, October 30, 1915
George Sidney, Translated
The Legitimate, Talks on
Early Art Struggles
Millions in Money and Energy
Spent to Bring All the
World to Your Feet
Today the name of George Sidney means
Just one thins to Philadelphlans "Busy
Izzy." It means burlesque Tuesday
morning, when the
town has seen his
work in "The Show
Shop," It will mean
something very dif
ferent. At any rate
that was the ex
perience of New
York when Mr. Sid
ney suddenly blos
somed into Broad
way fame as the
perfect portrayer of
the typical thca
trical manager last
"When Mr. Sidney
made his hit he
told some curious
... ,w auiacij) si ni
ne or what he thinks made burlesque a
great school for him and for others. Here
is what he said:
-fn',UCfn ,augh if J"00 want to, but I
IrSund u' somelh!ne whl,e Plains
v . burlesque companies that
proved to me that the big ciUes are going
,P.dUt? the Ereatest the world
rations! W,U,ln the nXt few eel"
.Tt1'11 teU u why," he continued
Its because these cities aren't melting
pots and never were and never will be
theyYe open markets for the world.
They're the one common meeting ground
or all races and all nationalities, and
they come there and keep up to concert
pitch partly for commercial reasons and
partly lor sentimental ones, and end by
producing the very best that all races are
capable of.
"If you ask me what all this has got
to do with burlesque. I'll tell you that
you Can lenrn nratt. vto-i.. .,.!
ma little burlesque company, staying to-
,, "' ana year out, made up of
all sorts of people, and being acted on
by pretty nearly all sorts of outside con
ditions. A burlesque company is the
world In a nutshell.
"You see I'm a Jew, and I began by
playing a caricature of a Jew Busy Izzy.
I was young and pretty frisky, and I
stood in danger or overplaying Izzy-mak-lng
him a noisy .burlesque of himself. Two
thingshcld me back. The first was that
I didn't want to offend my own people,
I was afraid they would stay away from
the theatre and I'd be a failure. And
the second reason is a little more credit
able to me. though it's Just as true I
had a reeling that I didn't wanl to mis
represent my people to all the others that
might be in my audience. It was a sort
or race pride.
"Mind you, in those flibbertigibbc young
days 1 didn't say all these things out
I just felt 'em. But I felt 'em so strong
ly that I kept lzzy within bounds and,
better still, I got into the habit of re
straining myself.
"Well, after my second year Vith my
own company. I noticed that I was get-
ting the best steady work' in my comrany
from a young Irish boy that wore green
whiskers. He had to have the green
whiskers, he said, because they expected
them of him; but he was Just the quietest
little comedian you ever saw One day
we were both sitting out in the property
room, and I asked him how he felt about
the whole business of acting those cari
cature things we did, and he said
" T don't think much of it, if you must
know; but I do all I can to make my
seir as Inoffensive as I can and still get
"It kind of made me Jump. 'What do
you mean by that?' I asked him.
" T mean that it's no picnic to get out
there and make an Irishman what they
call funny. I'm an Irishman myseir, and
3 don't like it And there are a lot of
other Irishmen out there In those audi
ences, and I'll bet a hat they don't like
It, either. It seems like a low-lived trick
So I Just keep toning down and toning
down and trying not to slander my coun
try every time I open i head.' '
"Well, we sat there an hour. I reckon.
In the property room, chinning over our
troubles. We Anally concluded that for
the sake of our own people we'd put on
the soft pedal and Just let come what
might That was when wc were both
still young nough to think that we
were sacrificing our 'art. Yes, sir, there
-we oat, solemnly renouncing the really
great careers we thought we might have
had, out of loyalty and sentiment, and
all that, when what we were actually
doing was making the one resolve that
gave us any hope at all as actors. I've
heard people eay that no art is great
except the kind that has great limita
tions. That probably means a good deal
more than that Irishman and I meant,
but we meant to accept those curbs our
selves, anyway.
"We stuck to them, too, through thick
and thin. We wouldn't make zanies out
of our own people. We were not willing
to belittle ourselves, and we were not
willing tohow ourselves up to each
"What was the result? That after 12
years I could come out or burlesque and
go Into legitimate comedy without alter
ing a fraction of my comedy method. I
may never be a great actor, but at least
I wls good enough for that
"That principle works all through the
EaBlEiXHir TC Ti' ii "RWh s ix, zA
X5Wb. ,.A &mmsm
"Carmen" has acquired a new ending at least, the "Carmen" of
Theda Bara. It sends Don Jose to suicide over the highest cliff that
a movie star has ever leapt -without the aid of a dummy. Horse and
rider took this 83-foot plunge at Au Sable Chasm, Fort Kent, in the
Adirondacks, turning two loops. The horse escaped uninjured. The
man broke his leg on the rocks in the bottom of the pool.
big cities all through America. We as
semble here from the four corners of the
globe, and we are not willing to bur
lesque ourselves and libel ourselves be
cause of all the strangers that are looking
on. We put the kibosh on our exaggera
tions In sheer self-defense. And that's
all that saves us, most of us, anyhow.
And It's what makes great actors more
than anything else.
"Just give America time and not too
much time, either and we'll be the nation
of great Interpreters, great playwrights
and great actors."
The wild chase of motion-plctuie di
rectors for local color and atmospheric
detail. If trailed by the average layman,
would be the source within a few months
of a wider education than the average
Cook's tourist gleans in a year of con
stant travel. Trailing the atmospheric
detail and local color to their lair con
stitutes a formidable effort on the part
of the men who stage the big movie
dramas one sees upon entering the Bijou
Dream, Idle Hour and Nickelodeon.
Any one who saw "Trilby" must
have wondered how the night scenes ol
Paris were faked. If they solved the
problem at all, they were wrong, for the
Equitable Company sent a camera man
to I'aris with credentials from the State
Department that secured him and his
camera permission to focus the princi
pal boulevards during their busy hours.
The street and Interior scenes in this
same picture, wherein Trilbv and Sven-
j gall arc supposedly in Huamnia, were
taken on the plains of Statcn Island,
v. lth real denizens of Bleecker, Delan
cex and Mulberry streets as the princi
pal decorative elements.
In "The Fisher Girl," In which the
Equitable Corporation is offering Muriel
Ostriche, two location experts went to
Block Island, where they spent two weeks
prevailing upon the local fisher folks to
take active part In the production. They
did so at $10 per participation, which in
cluded the uie of their families, huts
and fishing paraphernalia.
Webster Culllson, one of the Equitablo's
producing geniuses, Is at Martinique, In
the French West Indies, where, on the
very edge of Mont l'elee, he will stage
many scenes in "The Labyrinth," in
which rugged coast lines, jagged rocks
and abysmal mountain pits are to blend
in with Gail Kane's romantic acting.
Charles Scay is In Washington taking
scenes in the halls of Congress, the Cap
itol. White House grounds, Federal,
Treasury and other buildings. These
scenes are backgrounds for "The Sen
ator," with Charles Ross playing the
title role, and which Triumph Films will
release early in December. It was neces
sary for Equitable to send a man, re
ferred to by the office as "fixer," to
Washington m advance to arrange de
tails and secure permits. When "The
Senator" is finally seen on the screen
residents of Boise. Idaho; Valdosta. Ga..
I and other distant towns can take a per
sonally conducted tour ol Hie nations
capital and see a modern drama for the
j one price of admission.
When Thomas A. Wise selected Tau'
Armstrong' "Blue Grass" for his ap
pearance on the screen, and half the pic
ture was complete, the quandary of se
curing prup.T nice track detail confronted
the director. The big summer meet was
on at Saiatoga Springs, and thither went
Wise and his thirty supporting players.
After due process of "setting in good," a
race was run one morning at sunrise, the
usual clocking hour, and Blue Grass, the
movie hor.se, beat out some of the fore
most thoroughbreds at the track. Result,
a perfectly good punch was gotten with
real race track atmosphere and truc-to-life
types of touts, jockes, exercising
bos and owners.
Eighteen prlnclpils and fifty -xtra
plajers, all in evening dress, wended their
way to Biysidc. L I., several weeks ago,
and on the lawn of the palatial residence
of Alfred A. Aarons, on Wright avenue, a
lawn fete was staged The entire lawn,
covering half a blOLk, was hung and fes
tooned with vari-colorcd lanterns. Gorge
ously dres-Md women flitted from table
to table serving crippled soldiers num
berless privates and olliccrs from Fort
Totten It was a big rcene in a picture
that will b- --leased soon. It required
four days oi work by 15 builders to put
the lawn In proper shape, yet the scene
is shown on the scieen hut an inttnnt.
In "Tho Fisher Girl." Charles Scay
bought, dynamited and fccuttled a, fishing
schooner that had lain in the harbor of
Block Island for two j cars. It was past
Us usefulness and was more a nuisance
than a benefit to the colon.. Yet when
Geay tried to rid the harbor of It. the
former owner suddenly discovered that ho
was going to use it again and demanded
payment In the sum of $100 before he
would permit of its destruction.
Waltfr McNamam, wlio staged "Human
Cargoes." engaged IS tough looking char
acters from the cast side for a mob scene,
and before he reached the scene where the
big fight was to lu staged, the gang had
fallen out over a game of cards and half
the ganj- had chased the other half off.
A train of nine cars and an engine was
icccntly engaged lor four hours from the
New York Central to be used In a sen
sational railroad scene. John Ince, who
directed the fcccne, m.ido the arrange
ments himself with the railroad company.
Tho total bill read:
Nine private cars at $00 I"iO.0O
45 miles at 13c per mile each C0.75
Victualing one diner 17.C0
Add to this several hundred dummies
or supernumeraries nt S3 per day. 13
principals, ranging from 10 to 50 a day,
and the star, at perhaps J15W a week, and
an Idea may be had of the expense in
volved In only one scene.
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