Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies

By Louis Pizzitola | Go to book overview
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7
Perils of Passion
1915–1918

THE GOSSIP

As the summer of 1918 neared, a small item appeared at the bottom of a page of movie and Broadway gossip in the New York magazine Town Topics:

The town is plastered with Lithos and other flamboyant advertising
material of Marion Davies, who has been making movie appearances
here recently. This advertising, which must have cost a fortune, is
reported to have been done by William Randolph Hearst, who is
deeply interested in the movie business and believed that in Miss
Davies he had another Pickford. Last winter the Hearsts entertained
the Davies girl in Palm Beach, together with the Dolly Sisters, and no
one will be more disappointed than the newspaper magnate at the fail-
ure of his new star to impress the critics and enthuse the audiences.

The column was ghostwritten by Lady Duff-Gordon, a British society matron, fashion guru, and sister to Elinor Glyn, author of the sensational novel It. While submitting her fluffy pieces, Duff-Gordon was also employed as a part-time writer for the Hearst publications.

For many years the slogan pinned to every Hearst newsroom bulletin board was “Get It First.” It wasn't until much later that a directive on accuracy was posted. Hearst was in love with high-speed communication, and he

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