Hollywood – By BOB THOMAS – The Associated Press (1945)

San Pedro News Pilot, Volume 18, Number 202, 26 October 1945


By BOB THOMAS – The Associated Press

Hollywood—Movie making has not changed much in 30 years, says Dorothy Gish, and she ought to know. “Should I ask when you made your first picture?” I inquired cautiously. You know how touchy actresses are about their age. “Certainly you may ask,” she responded graciously

Dorothy Gish Television Show Behind the Scenes 5502156

“It was in 1912. In that year we made a one-reel drama for D. W. Griffith.” Miss Gish had made her stage debut at the age of four, as a “male impersonator,” playing Willie in “East Lynn.’ She swears to this day she has a reversion to wearing pants because of Hat role. During their early stage careers, Dorothy and Lillian became close friends with another girl actress, Gladys Smith. One day the sisters saw their friend in a movie and they called the film studio to talk to her. The studio declared there was no Gladys Smith there, but there was a star, Mary Pickford, who formerly bore that name. The girls figured if Gladys could do it, they could, and went to see D. W. Griffith. He put them right into a picture. “My sister and I played two girls whose brother left them in the cook’s care when he went to work,” she related. “But it turned out the cook was in cahoots with a robber and they threatened us. Finally we got to a telephone and our brother arrived just in time.’ Right now Miss Gish is acting in a somewhat more sophisticated picture called “Centennial Summer.” But she claims the art of making pictures has not changed much.

“You have the same long waits while the camera and lights are set up,” she said. “And acting has not changed much except that you can use your voice instead of relying merely on pantomime. “One thing about acting in pictures now—it is much easier. You don’t have to do a thing. You come in the morning and someone fixes your hair. Then someone else dresses you in your costume. All you have to do is act. “In the old days we did all that ourselves. Also I would often design my own costumes.

In fact, I knew nearly everything about film making. If there was a new cameraman on the picture, I could show him how to light my face to the best advantage.” As for the actual shooting of a picture, not much has been developed since the early silent days, she said. Even the boom shots which her director, Otto Preminger, is fond of are nothing new. She said D. W. Griffith took some of his spectacle shots in “Intolerance” from a moving wooden platform. It might be pertinent to add, however, that actors’ salaries have changed quite a bit since those days.

BOB THOMAS – The Associated Press

Intolerance - shooting A Ride To The Rescue (Modern Story) D. W. Griffith, American film master
Intolerance – shooting A Ride To The Rescue (Modern Story)


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