GLENDA FARRELL

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » August 19th, 2012, 7:25 pm

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After finding out about an archived collection of vintage movie magazines in another thread (), I looked through some scanned issues of Photoplay magazine from Archive.org, and found quite a few interesting things. Among them was this interview.

In 1935, Howard Sharpe interviewed four stars (Gene Raymond, Dolores Del Rio, Pat O'Brian, and Glenda Farrell) for the November issue of Photoplay, asking each one what he or she considered most important in life. Here is his introduction:


Last week, while I watched fascinated, four Hollywood stars in four successive interviews sat opposite me and for a time examined themselves brutally, searchingly, so that I might have an answer to my question. I wanted to know: what matters most in life? What is the first important thing in your scale of values? And I got four different answers.

Here is Glenda Farrell's interview:

Glenda Farrell, in white slacks, romped through the doorway, and with her came a sort of breathless excitement. I flung my question at her and she laughed her answer: "Love!" Lounging opposite each other, we started a rapid fire dialogue with only an occasional pause for breath.

Glenda: It's the most important thing in the world. Take it away from me for just one day and I die a little, inside. Everything I do, all my philosophy, my living, is centered in it.

I: Who is he?

Glenda: Oh, I don't mean just the popular song type of thing. (Humming) "A world without love is a world without"—that's only a small percentage. I mean the deep affection I have for my family, for my friends, even for the menagerie I keep. And they must love me in return. You can define Glenda Farrell in four words—"Love and be loved". . . .

I: You think there are two kinds of love, then? One connected with a single definite person, I suppose, and spelled in capitals: L-O-V-E. And then the every-day pleasant affection for the cat and the two kid cousins and your friends at the studio.

Glenda: I suppose that's it. Maybe I just have a warm-hearted nature. But I can't hate anyone—and I can't bear it if somebody doesn't like me. Of course I fight like the dickens with my family, but we always make up six minutes later. I can't think of a person I dislike—there's always something lovable in everyone, you know. I say if you radiate love, others are bound to love you; overlook things in other people, be willing to give—of yourself and of your time and of your thoughts. If you don't enjoy doing that there's no happiness for you.

I: It takes a pretty big person to live like that. Petty people wouldn't stand a show.

Glenda: (Succinctly) Then be big.

I: Isn't success, money, important too? Glenda: (Disposing of success with a movement of her hand) Not so important. Of course I want it, but mostly so I can give my family things. It all gets back to the basic foundation of love—I adore them, so I must have success and money to make them happy.

I: But Glenda, love! Love in capitals. Where does that come in?

Glenda: (Frowning, biting her lip) I'm almost afraid to talk about that. It's a paradox, a bugaboo.

I: Why?

Glenda: Because I'm searching for something all-enclosing that I can't quite find. (Sitting up straight) If I could love someone the way I loved that truck-driver in my neighborhood when I was fifteen—if I could recapture a worship, so complete and unselfish, as that—then the world would be mine. (Lying back with closed eyes) It was a Mack truck he drove.... I never met him.

I: First love is always incomparable.

Glenda: That's why a woman shouldn't marry until she's older. The man she loves at seventeen is not the man she loves at twenty-five. She changes mentally and every other way—grows up, let's say-—between those ages. (Smiling suddenly) My son Tommy's in love now with his first girl. And what he goes through! He lies on his stomach on the floor and dreams into the distance. He says: "Well, I guess I'll make a phone call—" and then broods darkly for a while. Finally he says: "Mama, would it be good technique to call her today?—after all I said I would," and I tell him: "Make them wait, Tommy, make them wait." But he gets so miserable I tell him to go ahead. . . .And of course it's agony. I know. I suffer right along with him. But he lives on it— and so do I.
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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » August 20th, 2012, 3:49 pm

That's a sweet article! I love those old Photoplay and fan magazines...

Here are some photos I found of Glenda at the New York Public Library website. Unfortunately, these photos are unmarked. The first is, I think, Glenda as a girl, but of course I can't be sure. The other two are of Glenda with Tommy, I am pretty sure.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » August 20th, 2012, 7:47 pm

Wow, those are a great find! They look very rare. The first one does look like her, the second is definitely her and Tommy, and I think the third one is her and Tommy as well.

Here are a few more things I found in Photoplay:


And that's some youngster Glenda Farrell has. Always up to something. Course Glenda adores him, but occasionally, being all boy, he exasperates pretty mama. I got a taste of it over the phone the other day. We were talking about this-and-that, mostly about her interior decorating, when suddenly she started to shriek offside, "Tommeeeee! You little devil, take your dirty feet off my white satin chaise longue!" Then she exploded into the phone, "Heavens! I give that imp a swell room for himself. I put linoleum on the floor with a zebra rug. I give him a big armchair all upholstered in a leopard skin, and I hang dandy animal pictures on the wall. If he wallows in the mud he still can't spoil anything in there, but he has to come into my room, with all my white silks and satins and plunk his muddy shoes right on my . .."
Suddenly Tommy tee-heed: "Sing, mother, sing!"
______________

When you have a young, son, it seems, you dress to please him, not yourself. Lately Glenda Farrell has had a weakness for tailored suits. Every new outfit she has brought home has yielded little to frilly femininity. The last one had not one redeeming gadget and this worried her young son. Tommy. "Mother," he reproved, you'll be a man before I am!"
______________

Saturday night is the big night for dates around town—just the way it is where you live. Everybody starts early and continues indefinitely. All but Glenda Farrell. Glenda has no Saturday night dates until her son Tommy goes to bed—and she gets in early because Tommy has to go to Sunday School in the morning! You know, that gay girl Glenda, the life of the party, the best gold digger on the screen? Same girl.
______________

Glenda Farrell, with her boy desperately ill in Palm Springs all last year and Glenda working in two pictures at once in Hollywood. Glenda, snatching every moment away from the work—work which made possible the expensive care Tommy needed—to rush down and see him—often to stay for only an hour.
______________

One of the strangest friendships in Hollywood is that of Glenda Farrell, who portrays those shady dames so beautifully, and Mary Brian, who is always sweetness and light. "We make a great team," Glenda laughs. "You see, Mary asks all the questions and I know all the answers."

Here are a few more photos:

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A photo taken right after the wedding. The caption on the back says that they circulated a rumor that the wedding was going to occur in Highland Falls, New York, but got married in Passaic, New Jersey instead, so that they could have some privacy. It was a quiet wedding with a small reception afterwards.


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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2012, 9:16 am

Some of those quotes are hilarious, hbenthow! I love the first two.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby moira finnie » August 22nd, 2012, 9:41 am

Hardwicke, I am so glad that you are enjoying Photoplay too! It is so addictive, though I am not sure that the stories are real (much less the "unique advertising" aimed at women readers). In any case they are fun, and the pictures and art work in the magazine are wonderful time capsules.

JF, I love the picture of the casual Glenda Farrell and her son Tommy on the back step. It looks as though it might have been taken last week, not more than half a century ago.
Avatar: Frank McHugh (1898-1981)



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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2012, 10:00 am

I know! That's what I was thinking too. She looks like some of my midwestern relatives, just sitting on the back porch amongst the flower pots.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » August 22nd, 2012, 6:47 pm


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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » November 7th, 2012, 3:06 pm

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I recently acquired a transcript of an obscure Glenda Farrell interview from 1959. It contains not only a lot of information about Glenda Farrell herself, but also much about Hollywood in general and various classic stars, directors, and other show-business people, and her opinions and observations about them. I thought that some of you here at the SSO might find some of it interesting, so I decided to share a few of the most interesting parts here.

First of all, it turns out that the story about the sprained ankle and a stagehand asking if there was a doctor in the house may not be true. That piece of information came from an interview with Tommy Farrell. He was away in college at the time, so he may have heard an incorrect second-hand version of how his mother met her future husband. Here is Glenda Farrell's own recollection of how she met Henry Ross:


Then I came back. I still was stage struck. I was offered a play called "Seperate Rooms". I came back and we did it on the road first, played Chicago, opened in New York—and it ran two years.

After a two year run, you get pretty tired, and I got a sore throat. The doctor came to see me, but I didn't get any better. I guess I was just terribly tired. Then somebody said, "I know a wonderful man, the catch of New York, a great doctor—why don't you just see him?"

The last thing I wanted was a catch in New York. I was tired. I just wanted to get well. This doctor came over to see me—and p.s., I married him.

Her recollections on the initial difficulty of getting roles and on being cast in Little Caesar:

In the meantime, I'd done "Little Caesar", but that was just accidental. Lila Lee was supposed to play "Little Caesar", and she got ill. I was doing some show, and someone approached me about it, and I went out and did the play, then came back to N. Y.

You see, I tried - every agent tried to get me into pictures, but I never was a very pretty girl. I always had deep circles under my eyes, and lines down beside my mouth. I'd test, and they'd say, "You don't photograph". So I'd come back to N.Y., to the stage. So at the time they called me for "Little Caesar", I thought: "Oh—what'll I use for a face?"

They didn't want me, in the beginning. So I did it. In "Little Caesar", the photography wasn't so hot, because it was one of the first of the talkies. I'd never done a silent picture - this was my first—and there were about three cameras, and all of the overhead lights, and oh, that's hard on a baby! That will put lines there that you haven't arranged for yourself yet.

On actors meddling:

Well, I think actors tend to meddle, and I don't think they should. That's probably my training—I had a severe training, for that I'm very grateful. I think actors should act and leave the technical end of it to the men who know that end of it, and not interfere or worry about the sequence. That's not their job. No matter how much they worry about it, there's the film cutter. My brother's a film cutter and I know, the greatest scenes in the world he can take and whirl around and say, "We have to cut that, because it destroys part of the story." So why should the actor worry? That's not his job. Let him do his role to the best of his ability, and leave the technical end of it to the technicians, because they know what they're doing.

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On parties and the truth about her many publicized romances:

I've never been to those "glittering fabulous parties". I've been to a few, and as a matter of fact, do you know what those parties were? This was in the thirties. We'd have to get dressed up—they'd give us an order—we'd have to go to the Trocadero or the Colony or whatever the big cafe was at the moment—usually they cooked up a romance with somebody on the lot, for publicity, someone you didn't care about at all, but it made news, made the papers, it was publicizing both of you. You'd come home so tired because you'd been up working at 5 or 5:30 in the morning. You'd have to come home and change and get into the evening clothes and go down there. and you couldn't wait to get home. As soon as they took all the pictures, you'd be laughing gaily at the table—but you couldn't wait to get home.

That's really what it amounts to. People think the actors are having such a time. They never think of you as working. So many young girls think movies are so glamorous, and when they find out you have to get up at 5:30 every morning, and that when you go out it's for publicity, more or less, they have a little different attitude about it.

Q: Do you remember who your studio romances were?

Farrell: I don't remember them all. I never got around to scrapbooks—I've got thousands of pages stuck in envelopes that I never had the time to get into a scrapbook. My son once started one. Lots of them were people I didn't remember existed. Somebody would come along, start a career—they would sign people up—if they didn't make it, that just went the way of all jobs. I don't remember their names. This was all part of the job. Several in one year? Oh, yes. It meant nothing on either side. We worked too hard. We didn't have much time for romance. You can't get up so early, go study your lines, and still...you know, you just fall into bed at night.

Q: What about the people who were giving the huge parties.

Farrell: The people who were giving the huge parties were Dorothy di Frasso, and millionaires who had nothing to do but come to Hollywood and enjoy what they felt were the glamour people. They'd give parties, and you'd go on a Saturday night to a party. No, that wasn't a studio order, this was all a social thing. It was good to get away from the grind, go to a party, but that's all.

On whether she chafed at being typecasted in comedic roles:

I think actors chafe under everything. I think this is something they shouldn't but they do, all of them, and I think it's part of the breed and nothing can be done about it. It's a dissatisfaction with themselves, always wanting to better themselves, always wanting to better everything they do. That is an actor's curse, yet possibly the thing that keeps them going and helps them to make progress.

Q: For instance, did you want to do drama at the time?

Farrell: I wanted to do everything they wouldn't let me do. I wanted to do drama, and they were making money at what I was doing, so that was what I had to do. Well, I was very happy in my work—but every actor is frustrated, every actor wants to do something else. This is a natural thing. You want to do something more important and something better. So I don't think this is chafing or saying we were mistreated. We weren't. It's something every actor does, and God help him if he doesn't—he stops growing.

On the uniqueness of comedians, a sense of comedy, and the difference between comedians and comics:

All comedians are unique performers. It's possibly something they're not aware of themselves, until they get the part that brings it out and displays it to them, so they become aware of the fact that they play comedy and that they got laughs. Then they begin to develop this certain quality, develop it till they get bigger and bigger laughs. This is something the comedian himself can do. A writer can write divine lines, beautiful lines, and they can cut around, and the director can direct the actor, all so that she may be a great comedienne in this particular part, but they may never reach that again. Because if they don't have the lines, they can't do it. However, this may be the start of the development of a technique and flair for comedy—because I think most actors start out not knowing they're comics, and suddenly find that a unique way of reading a line gets a laugh. A simple line can be read by five different people, and only one person get a laugh, and that one person can get a big laugh on it. It's his own individual way of interpreting the line. This is the thing a comedian does, and he cannot do it unless he's experienced, unless he learns the way to get the laugh and knows what's in back of it.

It's pretty hard to explain this. Comedians analyze their ability. You look at yourself very objectively, and at your comedy objectively. You never quite associate it with yourself. It's your job to look at it that way, the way you would look at your machine there. You develop it, you see it grow, you see something more you can do with it and you develop it along those lines. It's something that you don't really share with a lot of people. You work on this yourself, and you bring it about yourself.

Q: You don't personalize your comic part to the same extent as a dramatic part?

Farrell: No. Never. As a matter of fact, your greatest comics are offstage your quietest people. The outside world might even call them dull people. Because they don't have to prove themselves, they don't have to say, "I'm funny". They know they are. They get paid for it.

Q: What was the particular comic gift of Joan Blondell?

Farrell: Well, Joan has great humor. Comediennes must have an understanding of comedy. It's a comic sense, that's what it is. A sense of comedy is completely different from a sense of humor. It isn't the same thing at all. You have to be able to keep the two in abeyance—your sense of humor and your sense of comedy.

A sense of comedy must project. A sense of comedy, you do not connect with yourself. A sense of humor is you. A sense of comedy is being able to project. I have some friends who are the funniest people I know, but they'd never know how to be funny on the stage. They wouldn't know how to project. This comedy would fall flat. Yet the greatest comedians I know are the dullest men in the world, or the dullest women, in a drawing-room, according to the layman.

I've had people come in to me and say: "Say something funny!" You want to run away. This is your job, your business—but you don't go about being funny all the time. As a matter of fact, I know a few comedians who make it a point to be funny offstage, and they bore me so I just can't stand it. This, I think, is insecurity, where a comic's concerned.

Again, there's the difference between a comic and a comedian. A comic and a comedian are two seperate types of performer. George Brent, Donald Cooke—they're comedians. It's light, wonderful humor. This is comedy. They can take a simple line and get a laugh out of it and it's very funny, it's the humor, the comedy, the light touch with which they handle the lines.

A comic bounces his lines off of somebody. A comic is almost always cruel. His comedy is almost within himself. I don't know quite how to explain it...

Q: Would you identify someone you consider a comic?

Farrell: Well, after what I'm saying about it, I don't think I should. It's a cruel type of humor. It's always at someone else's expense. Watch them on TV. The comics come out and say, "My mother-in-law did such and such." Their comedy is at the expense of someone else—it's like tripping the old lady to get a laugh. A comedian's comedy is never like that at all. His comedy is never cruel, never bounced off of anyone. It may be sharp or acid at times, but it isn't associated with himself personally. The comic is usually a comic in the drawing-room also. He's always trying out his routines. Where the comedian—it's a technical studied art. It's the implication of a line that gets the laugh, or it's more humor at themselves. Light comedy is almost barbed at oneself, if it ever gets personal, as against the comedy that bounces off of someone else. I think comics can become great comedians—we've got plenty of them that graduated from burlesque and have become great, delicate comedians.

On Hollywood marriages:

I know people think actors are quite loose and they marry around a lot. Well, possibly they do marry around a bit in Hollywood, because they never get a chance to meet anybody else. You never get a chance to meet anybody except the people on the lot that you're working with. Joan Blondell married Dick Powell because she was working with him all the time, and they were madly in love—I'm not saying this wasn't a love affair, because it was. But also, it can seperate you, because you work so hard. You work all day with somebody, and then you come home, and you're tired—it just doesn't lend itself to a happy married life. You're married to the theatre. It's very difficult to have a happy personal life in show business if you are devoted to your business—if you're married to someone in the industry. Actors have a greater chance when an actor marries a non-professional. Those people have a great chance for happiness, because the woman makes her husband's career her career. His life is her life, she sees that he's happy when he comes home. But men are not willing to take that position. When an actress marries a man, he doesn't want to see that she is catered to every minute. As a male (and as it should be), he wants the attention. But an actress can't give it to him. An actor's (non-professional) wife understands that. He's the god in the house. But men will not make the woman the god. He's got to be the lord and master. That, I think, is why marriages do not last in Hollywood. I don't think it's because they're thrown in contact with each other—no more than with a doctor or a nurse, or anybody else in business contact—I think it's the fact that their lives are just built that way, and they don't have a chance.

People who marry outside of the industry have a great chance of happiness. Now, I have. I'm the lucky one. I've been married twenty years to the most wonderful man in the world. He's the head of the house, but he still treats me like an actress, and I can be temperamental and he doesn't pay any attention to it. It doesn't matter to him. But I'm sure if he were an actor, and if my career suddenly took a spurt and his didn't at the moment—and this happens, up and down, all through your career—he would resent it. The man resents that. It's his male ego, and you can't blame him for that. So I think an actress has a very slim chance of being happily married unless she's married to someone outside the business. Or, she could marry a producer, someone else in the business, but not an actor, because it's rivalry—and a man cannot stand rivalry. It's the competition that isn't good.

All the men I know—like Hughie Herbert, Guy Kibbee, Alan Jenkins, Frank McHugh—their wives were our best friends. Their wives were outside of show business. They made the actor's lives beautifully happy at home, and the homes were well-run, and so they were happy men. The women didn't have as great a chance, because where are you going to meet a man who is going to give you the attention a wife gives?
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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » December 14th, 2012, 5:04 pm

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Rudy Valee, Sterling Holloway, Humphrey Bogart, and Glenda Farrell - circa 1940.


A few more parts of Glenda Farrell's 1959 Columbia Center for Oral History interview.

More on comedy.

Q: Did you do lots of comedy?

Farrell: Yes. More comedy than drama. That's why today I enjoy doing these mother parts, that are the weeping dramatic poor old mothers, and I'm doing them ahead of my time, I'm sure, but I love them so. When I say ahead of my time, I mean that I could do them later, but I love doing them now, because I've played the comedy parts so long that this is a great relief. You know, comedy and tragedy are very close. You always want to go just a little bit farther with your comedy role and get a tear.

Drama's very easy to play—the easiest thing in the world to play. Comedy is the most difficult, because a comedian is a specialized, unique personality, each and every one of them. There are no two alike. It is that definite quality that the public buys. I don't think an actor starts out saying, "I'm a comedian, I'm going to play comedy." It's accidental. That person has a unique quality the audience grabs. That's right, they're personalities—but personalities that they develop, and they develop their own comedy techniques.

Miss Blondell and I did a series, and we got along very well. She's still my oldest friend, you know. We got along fabulously, we never ever had a moment of saying, "Huh, she's got a better line that I have!" She was the first one to come to me and say, "I think you can get a laugh if you do such and such here." This is playing comedy—you work in unison: It takes two people to get a laugh, unless the writer writes them for you.

Q: But how can you tell, without an audience?

Farrell: Just as a doctor can tell something about symptoms listening to you over the phone, though he doesn't know the whole thing till he examines you. By reading a script, you can tell where the comedy should lie.

Q: You didn't feel that the timing of your jokes depended on your having an audience there that you could sense?

Farrell: Oh, no. No, if the comedy's there, and it's written—and it wasn't always written. This group of comedians that we worked with were great, and a lot of them could write their own material and rewrite it to fit themselves. Finally Warners hired writers just to write for this group of comedians that they had. So you had writers writing your particular type of comedy. For instance, my type of script—and I didn't know this, this is the thing you find out as a performer, I find I get a laugh in a certain way because I talk rapidly, and I found that flipping out lines became laughs—so that became my metier, you see? So they began writing flip lines for me. Joan Blondell reads flip lines in a way completely different from the way I read them—and gets bigger laughs. But she is a great comedienne. It's a diferent technique, a different way of reading the same line, and still getting laughs.

Now, you get the writers, after they know you and know what you can do, and then they begin writing for you, and for your particular type of comedy and flair for comedy.

On I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

I loved playing alongside Paul Muni—again, for Mervyn Leroy. That was one of my great thrills. Muni was so wonderful, such a great actor, so wonderful to work with. We rehearsed a long time on that, because Paul was a great actor from the legitimate theatre, he worked and rehearsed, worked his part out for himself—you know, he's a great character actor. We did quite a bit of rehearsing before we did a scene. I played his wife, who was a real demon—I was a real heavy in it—the one who turned him in to the chain gang again. I saw it not long ago— it was the first time I'd ever seen it—on TV just this last year. Pretty frightening. I hadn't realized I was such a demon.

On technique, actors taking themselves seriously, and method acting.

Q: Today, there seems to be an attitude of condescension towards Hollywood, on the part of young N.Y. actors. Do you sense it?

Farrell: That attitude has existed from the beginning of time, with youth. "There's nothing so dangerous as a little knowledge." They haven't reached enough knowledge about it. You'll find that these same people, ten years from now, looking back on what they did and the way they approached things with great humor about themselves. Actors who have been in the business a long time don't bother with this any more. You can analyze a part rapidly, you don't have to sit down and take it apart and say, "Now, she does this for a reason—". It's like going to medical school all your life. You go to medical school and learn the fundamentals, then the fundamentals must adjust to you, you to them, they begin to fit you. That's what happens.

These people haven't been out of school long enough. They're still going by the school books. But after they're out a while, they'll no longer take themselves that seriously. They'll take the job seriously, but not themselves. This is amusing to people who've been in show business a long time. Adolescent kids are like that. It's a self-conscious consciousness you know. I don't find it hard to work with, because I don't let it touch me, and I don't think most actors do. If they become difficult—yes. But I like to see actors prepare themselves for a part, take their part seriously. I don't like to see a young actor come in and think he knows it all and doesn't have to prepare, because he does. Older actors prepare, but other people are not aware of it. They've learned to cover their technique.

Like Spencer Tracy, who's one of the finest actors I know. I've heard people say, "But he isn't acting." He is acting with a technique so great that nobody sees the technique, and that is acting.

Watch these young people, watch their technique. On television partiularly you can see it. It's so obvious, the technique is so much on display, you can see their character grow, see them scratch their ear and do these things. When they've gone beyond that, then they're beyond the acting-acting, and that's where the professional comes in. He has passed over the stage of letting his technique show. "The Method" is the thing that we've all used all our lives, but it never was pinpointed. We've all been through it, we've all been taught a method, an approach to acting. All the old actors have been through it too, but they weren't aware of it.

Now it's a school and it's the Method, and many of them...Well, Jimmie Dean was a great character unto himself. He had many imitators. Suddenly all the new kids out of school are imitating. They haven't learned yet to develop themselves, to be individuals. You must be an individual, because that's what the public buys. They don't buy a stamp. Nobody knows what makes an actor saleable. It's a certain thing that appeals. He may not even be a good actor. Somebody else may be a much finer technician, finer actor. But every actor has a certain individuality that's saleable, that the audience likes to see, and nobody knows why.

You can't teach this thing. Actors go to school, and a little handful come out who are successful.

On television.

We were discussing the different phases of show business. Today we have television, which has become number one in show business. It will never replace movies, but it's giving them a terrific nudge. It's really one of the most interesting and fascinating parts of show business. Again it's completely different, and the technique is different. That's the interesting part of the business, is that every phase of it is so completely unlike the other one.

Q: How is the technique different?

Farrell: I don't know how exactly to explain that. It's all in close-up... I got myself involved, didn't I? It is different, completely, and that's the thing that you adjust to. I'm speaking of live TV now. Projection, direction, script-wise—from every angle, scripts on, it's a different phase of show business. It's an advertising show business, you know. I mean, the scripts are not necessarily scripts that appeal artistically.

There are few artistic shows, as we know. They're money-makers. The shows that go on are the ones that the sponsors like, and that will appeal to the sponsors, and you play to a certain type. You may do a script and say "This is a horrible script," but the people that buy kleenex or any of these commodities are the people that enjoy this kind of script. Many times—as on Armstrong's show when I did one—I said, "I don't like this script," and they said, "You may not like it, but the people that buy linoleum like it."

I realized that I was wrong. This script plays to an audience that buys Armstrong linoleum. These people like this type of show, and these are the people you play to, so you don't look on it as an artistic endeavor that you must get out of your system. It's a form of showbusiness that's an advertising form of showbusiness. If it were an art form, you would not do this.

There are a few, like "Playhouse 90," a few big shows that are artistic shows. But those shows are also within the limits of the enjoyment of the people who are buying the products of the people who sponsor the shows. I merely say Armstrong as an example. Many times your own friends, sophisticates used to the N.Y. theatre, will say, "Why do you have to do a script like that?" But you'd be amazed at the fan mail you get from the people out in the Middlewest that loved the show! They associate this show with themselves, and they love it and understand it.

I've never done a series. I've been approached for several, and they all emanate from California, and that means being away from my husband for 39 weeks a year, and this I would never do. A series here I wouldn't mind doing, but never out there.

When I say Midwest, I mean all over the U.S. That's excluding the cities, because the city people—in N.Y., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco—are a different kind of sophistication and like a different kind of show.

Q: Which one do you do?

Farrell: I do them all—but when you are approached by people who say, "Why did you do that show? It was corny"—it was not corny to the people who watch that show. They can't do a show for a few people, your friends, who look at it from an artistic standpoint. These are not the people that buy the linoleum. The people who buy the linoleum like the show, otherwise Armstrong would not be doing that type of show, believe me.

That's why I say it's a different type of show business and a thing you've got to adjust to. You can't say, "I'm not going to do it because it isn't art." It is art. It's just another kind of art, and you adjust to it. I don't think of it as "high" or "low". You can't, if you're going to make any money or please people. After all, there's no sense in being an actress if you're not going to act. If you want to be an arty actress and act once in ten years, this is no good. If you're going to be an actress, you want to act, and you want to please all kinds of people, not just a few, a little group.

Q: Has TV changed in the time you've been on it?

Farrell: Yes, I think so. I think television is becoming perfected more, constantly. In the beginning, the sets were crude, the scripts were crude, the camera work was strange. I don't know why the camera work has changed. I often objected to it—it was unflattering. Because there wasn't enough perfection. You see, all the technicians in live television were young men, just starting with it. That means they hadn't necessarily been educated in movies or any other part of show business, where glamour or presenting people pleasantly was important. After you've been in many pictures many years, you know that that's what your cameraman is for. He keeps perfecting everything he does. They want people to look pleasant.

For a while, on television, they'd come into a big close-up of somebody screaming, and the audience is looking right down the throat at the tonsils. This is not art and this is not pleasant. These were technicians who hadn't learned to get something dramatic through experience or artistry, so the only way they could get at it was through a flamboyant shock system. Therefore, I think television is moving away from this business of moving in so all the pores show on your face, or you're looking down somebody's throat. That's horrible. However, it's an interesting form. I've been doing a lot of live television for several years now and I love it. I hope it continues to stay.
Last edited by hbenthow on July 11th, 2013, 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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JackFavell
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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » December 14th, 2012, 6:32 pm

Oooh, fantastic, Hbenthow! I'm so happy to see more great insight into Glenda's life and the film industry. It may take me a day or so to read the whole thing. Can't wait!

Loved seeing Glenda in a variety of roles this week. I think I caught all of them, although I've seen a couple of them before.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » December 14th, 2012, 9:04 pm

Well, I got a chance to read the second article quicker than I thought. I loved the part about comedy and how her comedy was different from Joan Blondell's, and how each comedian, or any actor really, was an individual, the people pick up on that person's character traits if they like them.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby hbenthow » December 15th, 2012, 12:17 am


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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby JackFavell » December 15th, 2012, 9:52 am

That's a very deep observation. It's the truth that comes out of our actors and actresses, and we recognize it when we see it, but it doesn't always happen.

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby RedRiver » December 15th, 2012, 5:00 pm

I heard an actor say, "You can be taught technique. They don't teach inspiration." I heard a comedian say, "The more I try to figure out WHY something's funny, the less funny it is!"

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Re: GLENDA FARRELL

Postby CineMaven » August 29th, 2013, 9:23 am

"You build my gallows high, baby."



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