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

By Louis Pizzitola | Go to book overview

12
Fire and smoke
1922–1925

THE GOLDWYN-COSMOPOLITAN DEAL

In January 1923 a brief letter marked “Personal” was sent to Will Hays by John Eastman, a journalist from the Chicago Daily Journal:” Your January 24 letter has been received. I am almost inclined to ask what will be your plan when the Marion Davies scandal breaks. I assume you are aware that it is imminent, and that when the ‘blow-off’ comes it will create a bigger sensation than many of the meretricious doings at Hollywood.”

The meaning of the letter is unknown. There is no correspondence elsewhere in the Will Hays papers—including the January 24 letter mentioned here—to indicate what “scandal” Eastman had in mind. Marion Davies's comings and goings in January and early February do not seem to be particularly unusual. In January she was busy working on her latest Cosmopolitan picture, Little Old New York. She took a break to visit New York radio station WEAF, as a guest of the Rankin advertising agency, to give a ten-minute talk called “How I Make Up for the Movies.” After plugging Cosmopolitan Productions and a product called Mineralava, Davies offered a free autographed photograph to listeners and the radio station was bombarded with hundreds of requests. In early February, just days after Eastman wrote Hays, Variety reported that Davies was forced to halt work at the film studio and remain at home for several days after a fellow actor accidentally fell on top of her during a stunt. Was Davies's sudden seclusion related to

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