Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesdays with The Screen Guild Magazine

Those of you who are regular followers of this blog now know why I purchased this particular book...

By Fredric March
[Reprinted from The Screen Guild's Magazine, 1934]

Beverly Hills, Friday August 17th

“Of course, I think that’s the wisest decision you could have made, Flo. You’ll simply love every minute of it.”

“Yes, I think it’ll be fun. You see, Casper finished We Dress Again three weeks ago, so he’s sure now Sam won’t have any retakes for him. Jack and Jill Gorman are going with us, you know.”

“Really? How swell!”

“Oh, yes, they’ve already looked after their passport. I’d do mine today, but I won’t have any time until Monday or Tuesday because Jill and I have got to live at the shops the next few days getting some decent clothes to take.”

Santa Monica, Sunday, August 19th

“Well, Casper, old kid, I don’t envy you that Tahiti business a damn bit. This little boat we’re on is plenty rough enough for me.”

“But, Zeppo, you don’t realize it’s supposed to be something like a mill pond all the way. In fact, I wouldn’t mind going in this little tub if it weren’t for the pitzling and torsing.”

“Be careful of that phrase, Casper, in mixed company. Incidentally, what do you hear about the women down there? Hot stuff, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, just that—too damn hot. A skin you’d love to touch, but God help you if you do! Myron said the other day that Eddie told him they’re all dynamite and to stay away.”

“Geez, I’d almost forgotten, Casper, there’s a guy on board who can tell you all about it. He lived there for months. Hey! Cuthbert! You know Casper Lerch, don’t you? He and his wife and the Gormans are going to Tahiti for a month. Give him the dope.”

“Oh, I say, old boy, what luck! You’ll love every moment of it. By all means take a little house with a Chinaman for a cook and a Tahitian maid. It’s quite the best way to live and really to know the Islands. The sunset off Moorea will intrigue you beyond words and you’ll do nothing but swim and take long walks and bike rides and live on fruit and fish. You’ll be eating raw fish before you return. It’s practically their only food you know.”

“Geez, and I hate fish!”

Beverly Hills, Thursday, August 23rd

“But wait ‘till I tell you what happened, Marian. We’re leaving next Monday—driving up to San Fransisco. Today a notice came back from the passport people in San Fransisco saying I’m not an American citizen. I was born in Brooklyn and Casper in Racine, but when I married Howland I lost my citizenship, because Howland came over from England when he was seven. When I divorced him I must have lost my British citizenship and my marrying Casper didn’t do me a bit of good. I’m still a woman without a country—neither fish, fowl, nor good red henna.”

“That’s the stupidest law I ever heard of, and must make Brooklyn feel pretty sore. Couldn’t you take it up with their Chamber of Commerce?”

“No, we’re leaving in a couple of days.”

“Oh, you’re going away?”

“Oh, surely. You see, they nay be able to get me a certificate of something-or-other to sort of introduce me to the customs men and I’m sure they’ll be nice to me. But when I come back I’ll have to do night school and learn how to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Poor Casper is tearing around today trying to get my certificate business and also to send to get his own passport. I feel so sorry for him—the poor darling had a call from Sam this morning saying he has retakes for him tomorrow and Saturday on We Dress Again. Can you beat it!—the luck of the Lerches, I mean? I’ve never known it to fail. I’d have helped him get the certificate, but I just haven’t a minute. Jill and I still have loads of shopping to fo and we’re having all those people in on Saturday, you know. But, honestly, Marian, have you ever heard of such a silly law?”

“No, I haven’t. What a shame Howland had to come over when he was seven.”

Santa Monica (and Formosa), Friday, August 24th, and Saturday, August 25th

(Retakes—God forbid!)

Beverly Hills, late Saturday afternoon, August 25th

“Tahiti or no Tahiti—I think you’re silly to leave this lovely house.”

“I know it. It seems silly. But I’ve got to get away. I wake up in the middle of the night and start making little notes about things to be done around the house. The Venetian blinds really only work properly on odd Thursdays and Casper’s toilet sings on and on till it drives him to distraction.”

Where is the old buzzard?”

“Why, I haven’t seen him since his third old-fashioned. I imagine he’s taking a touring party through the house. He’s got he heart and mind of a guide. I’ll give him five minutes more and then send out the St. Bernard and a flask. I really can’t blame him for not coming down, though. He worked till one-thirty this morning on retakes and was back at nine. Probably he’s afraid if he comes down he’ll run into Irving or Daryll and they’ll dig up retakes on Barretts or Cellini—and we’ll never get away day after tomorrow.”

“But once you do get off you’ll all have a swell rest on the boat.”

“Oh, I know we will. And there’s nothing to do there but take long walks and swim.”

“But are you sure this is the right time of year? I’ve always heard that September and October were the rainy season.”

“No, I think you’re wrong—at least I hope you are.”

“But I do know, Flo, that you must be very careful what you eat down there. And as for the swimming—be sure you always wear sneakers and take a first-aid kit along with plenty of raw alcohol, because the coral cuts are most infectious and spread right up your body almost immediately.”


“Oh, yes. Well, say goodby to Casper for us and have a grand time without even a touch of elephantiasis.”

Beverly Hills, Monday, August 27th, 10:00 AM

“Hello, hello, Flo—what’s the matter? I can hardly hear you.”

“Oh, Marian, I can’t bear it—we may not go after all. Casper’s secretary just phoned from the French consul place and told Casper that my certificate thing will get me out of this country and into Tahiti, but I can’t possibly get back into the States without a re-entry something or other, which calls for my former marriage papers, more birth certificates, and more of those awful passport pictures.”

“Oh!, How nice.”

“Isn’t it? I guess I’m just not destined to g. Our only hope is that nice Al Cohn, who says to go ahead and he’ll see what he can do about getting me back in when we return. Isn’t that a pretty picture—me cruising back and forth from San Francisco to Tahiti the rest of my life because they won’t let me off at either end? It just doesn’t seem to mean anything to be born in Brooklyn.”

“I know just what you mean, dear.”

Santa Barbara, Monday, August 27th, 6:00 PM

“Well, you four dears, before you take another drink I want to tell you that I’ve got all the dope for you on Tahiti! Helen Casserly was there last spring and I phone her today and she told me plenty. She says not to think of taking a house—it would take at least two weeks to clean it and put it in order and you’d have the devil’s own time finding decent servants. She says to stay at The Coral Reef Hotel, which is perfectly lovely and the food is really quite good. She says to wear sneakers everywhere as you are liable to all kinds infection; to travel very lightly; not to take any new or good clothes at all, and to protect yourself in everyway possible against leprosy, elephantiasis, and a little blue flower that blooms everywhere and the No-No fish, which is deadly poisonous, but which you can’t find at all when you want to because it’s exactly the color of the sand. But she said you’ll really love every minute of it because the sunsets are so lovely.”

Burlingame, Tuesday, August 28th, 6:00 PM

“But I was there just a few months ago, and although I don’t know this Casserly person, I do know that you must take a house for the month because twenty-four hours in the Coral reef Hotel is plenty long enough for any civilized human. The food is beyond words atrocious and everything about the place is unbearable. You must rent a little car (which will cost you only about $420 for the month), and the drivers are all most attractive. Whatever else you do, be sure not to touch a drop of water until you have boiled it thoroughly. And are you a camera enthusiast, Casper?”

“Yes, rather. Jack and I each have ten rolls of sixteen millimeter film and ten loads of Leica apiece.”

“Well, that’s really a shame, because the duty on your film going to Tahiti is prohibitive, and because of the humidity, it swells and sticks in your camera ten minutes after you’ve loaded it.”

“Gee, that’s too bad. How about the fishing, is it any good?”

“Not particularly, but you won’t mind that because of the greatest fun you’ll have is going out into a boat and looking down through a box with a glass bottom to see the cute little fellows swimming around.”

“Oh, something like Catalina.”

“Yes, only not quite so much fun because it’s only a little box and the glass isn’t magnifying.”

“Oh. I see.”

“I do hope you girls are traveling light. I made the mistake of taking some clothes along and you really never wear them. You wear just the native pareus from four on.”

“From four?”

“Oh yes, everybody rises at four a.m. There’s really no point in trying to sleep later because the whole island wakes at that time and you couldn’t really sleep any longer even if you wanted to.”

“Well, what time do you usually turn in?”

“Oh, there’s the cinema once a week, and Moo Fat’s is a fascinating native cafe, where you’ll go a lot. I should say we were usually in bed by eleven or twelve.”

“Are there some nice long walks around the island?”

“Yes, but be awfully careful about the little blue flower. And whatever you do don’t take any leather shoes—because the humidity is so terrific that everything mildews. But you will love the sunsets—they’re really lovely. And the mangoes are delicious. And the fish isn’t bad at all, for the most part.”

“But Casper doesn’t like fish—even if it’s good.”

“Oh! That’s really a shame.”

Aboard S.S. Maunganui, September 4th, 1418 miles from Tahiti, 2247 miles from San Francisco

“Thank God, he was on board.”


“That nice Mr. Hall. I’m trying to think what he wrote.”

“Why, he co-authored Mutiny on the Bounty and a couple of others.”

“He certainly was a godsend. I haven’t any of the qualms I had before talking to him.”

Neither have I. You know what I really wish, Flo. I almost wish we were going down to live there—right alongside him.”

“I do too. There’s nothing I’d enjoy more—if only Casper liked fish.”

Besides being a wonderful actor on both stage and screen, March also possessed a great sense of humor and ability to talently fill a blank page. Since i have covered him extensively on this blog you will find his autobiograghy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment