JackFavell wrote:God it sounds wonderful, if exhausting! I'd love to have had a chance to learn all that!
Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Me, too! What a comprehensive program. Amazing how dedicated he was.
charliechaplinfan wrote:Wow, he deserved to make it doing all that hard work.
What is really amazing is that during most of this dramatic training Andrews was a single father to a small boy, David, who was born in 1933. Dana's first wife, Janet, died of pneumonia in 1935. Tragically, she was pregnant at the time, and had given birth to a baby during her illness, though the infant soon died. The struggling young man was plagued with guilt over this incomprehensible tragedy--in part because their marriage had been under a strain and her family was quite well off, unlike his own (Dana helped out his parents and siblings financially and with moral support whenever he could during this sketchy stage of his longed-for career).
Despite all the pressures on him, Andrews still had the determination to pursue what many might have seen as an ephemeral goal in the midst of the Depression. He was helped with the care of David by members of his wife's extended family, who were also quite fond of him.
In his journals of the 1930s, the actor cautioned himself constantly not to become too isolated from everyday life while learning his craft. He also expressed his own self-doubt about his ability. In the Rollyson book, Andrews' journal is quoted: "
I must not become too selfish, self-centered--and egotistical," Dana wrote in his journal of June 8. Indeed, the very next day he wrote that that remarkable passage about how much he had changed since leaving Texas. No longer a Southerner, he wondered how much he had lost as well as gained by becoming a new man. Acting presented him with an infinitely elastic sense of self. It was a source of strength but also of insecurity. If he could become someone else, someone not from Texas, then who--at his core--was he? This question bedevils many actors, who turn to performing to find themselves in defining roles. Perhaps for those growing up during the Depression, the very idea of starting over again had a particular poignancy. It meant so much to succeed in the 1930s. Charles [Dana's brother] had just secured a good job in Texas, Dana noted, "at a salary of $135.00 month--pretty good for him--or anybody in these times."
Recognizing that he was changing, achieving a new "richness in my voice" and reminding himself that "Life is simply a matter of concentration; the the things we read today are the things we become tomorrow."
Searching for a way to continue towards his goals, he goaded himself in his journal with the statement "I must realize my ambition or die a miserable man. Mediocrity is not my lot."
charliechaplinfan wrote:I loved that clip Moira.
You can see The North Star
in its entirety below. Many talented hands went into the movie which features a screenplay by Lillian Hellman with a cast that is led by Walter Huston, Ann Harding, and includes Erich von Stroheim, Ruth Nelson and Walter Brennan among others. The film, which is in the public domain, hasn't aged too well, but it is not as silly or glossy as the highly entertaining paean to our then-allies in Song of Russia
(1944)--though both films got some of the filmmakers connected with it in hot water during the HUAC hearings (Dana Andrews appears to have avoided problems, despite his lifelong liberalism in private and public). I apologize for the quality of the print. I haven't seen too many better looking ones, though perhaps it will be restored some day.