RUBBER STAMP - 1111 Franklin St., Santa Monica, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
When the Marx Brothers first started out, there were five—Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo. Frankly I never did care for any of them.
Dear Earl [Shank] Jr.:-
Many thanks your welcome letter 6th.inst.
I intended writing you sooner to thank you for the nice Xmas cards, but due to Mrs L's Brother passing away a few days before Xmas everything has been quite upset around here as you can imagine. His sudden death was unexpected & naturally a great shock to us all (heart attack - 56 years old).
A couple of days later, I got the news of a very dear friend of mine for over 40 years - killed in an auto accident, had just talked to him the night before. He wrote & directed with me on many or our pictures, you may recall his name Chas.Rogers. The oddest thing of all, he was buried right next grave to Mrs L's Brother, the irony of it, Charlie had called us to express his sympathy & 3 days later he was right along side. Well, I guess thats enough bad news for now.
Yes,I spent one night in hospital to have my spine punctured, they found nothing there that would be causing my headache. However, I am still taking the allergy shots which seem to be helping a bit. Poor old Babe is about the same, does'nt seem to be making much improvement, still in bed unable to move or talk, its certainly distressing.
Happy to note Cynthia is coming along so well, I know you must be very very proud of her, I imagine she is about ready to walk & talk a little by now, its really wonderful to watch them grow up.
No, I did'nt know Paul Kelly personally. I knew D.W. Griffith very well but never worked for him, he told me one time, he would give everything to direct a L&H picture, I often wonder what type of story he had in mind.
I do'nt know of J.E. Dodson you mention, was he a director? I think Mae Marsh & Mary Pickford both started with Griffith, he discovered more great stars than anyone & a great deal of talent in supporting roles.
Fortunately we were not in the fire stricken area of Malibu, that really looked bad for a few days, not having rain for so long everything was dried up, big homes were destroyed in a matter of minutes, we saw right on the spot news on TV, it was frightening to look at.
When the Marx Bros. first started out, there were 5, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo & Zeppo, later Gummo dropped out & they became prominently known as The Four Marx Bros. frankly I never did care for any of them, Chico & Harpo played instruments & that was the only talent as far as I was concerned, this is not by any means professional jealousy, just my candid opinion.
Never did care for the Three Ritz Bros. either, typical night club entertainers, they should have called themselves:- "Rough, Rude & Crude", to me, they are in a class with the Marx's & "The Seven Foy's" who were also one of my pet aversions in the early vaudeville days, they were at that time a Big Time act, why? I'll never know! they were worse than the famous Cherry Sisters who were billed as the Most Terrible Act in Show Bus.
Please pardon my being so utterly frank. It would be interesting to know what they all thought about me, would'nt it?
Well, all for now Earl, trust alls well & happy & bus. doing OK.
Kindest regards & best to you all.
Charles Rogers co-directed a number of Laurel and Hardy shorts and features at Hal Roach Studios and also wrote for the team.
Paul Kelly (1899-1956) was a child actor from silent films who would become a Broadway star and major supporting player in Hollywood films of the 30s-50s.
David Llewelyn Wark Griffith (1875–1948) was a premier pioneering American film director. He is best known as the director of the controversial and groundbreaking 1915 film The Birth of a Nation and the subsequent film Intolerance.
J.E. Dodson was a character actor who appeared on Broadway in the early 1900s.
The Marx Brothers were a Jewish-American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico (1887-1961), Harpo (1888-1964) and Groucho (1890-1977). The two younger brothers, Gummo (1893-1977) and Zeppo (1901-1979), did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers.
The Ritz Brothers were an American comedy team who appeared in films, and as live performers from 1925 to the late 1960s. They were: Al Ritz, (1901–1965), Jimmy Ritz, (1904–1985) and Harry Ritz, (1907–1986).
Between 1910 and 1913, “Eddie Foy and The Seven Little Foys”—a family vaudeville act—quickly turned into a national institution. The Foys toured successfully for over a decade and appeared in one motion picture.
Effie, Addie, Ella, Jessie and Elizabeth, of Marion, Iowa—The Cherry Sisters—were by contemporary accounts the “worst act in vaudeville.” Their show, Something Good, Something Sad, was infamous for its quality and the vehement responses it elicited by audiences, who threw vegetables and disrupted performances. The sisters toured with the act for ten years, during which time they briefly appeared on Broadway. In 1898 they sued two Iowa newspapers for libel after they printed a scathing review of Something Good, Something Sad. The case eventually went to the Iowa Supreme Court, which ruled in the newspapers’ favor and set a precedent for the right to fair comment.
NO LETTERHEAD - 1111 Franklin St., Santa Monica, CA - HANDWRITTEN
Dear Trixie [Wyatt]:-
Thanks your nice letter.
Sorry to tell you, a few days before last Xmas, Eda's brother died suddenly with a heart attack, being so unexpected it came as quite a shock to us all (only 56 years old) needless to tell you it upset Eda very much, he was the last of her family & they were very devoted, so naturally she was heartbroken over it. However, she is beginning to get adjusted & consoled in the situation.
Mr Hardy doesn't seem to be making any improvement, still confined to bed & practically helpless, poor fellow, its a sad & pitiful affair, everything possible is being done for him so we just have to hope & pray a miracle will happen.
Too bad about Bennie Barron being so ill, of course its to be expected at his age, especially having lived such a hard & active life, it hasn't been easy or too happy for him with all he's had to go through, raising, feeding & clothing a family, his nose has always been on the grindstone, he's certainly been a wonderful fellow & is to be greatly admired. If you see him, please give my love & best.
Note the old Palace has closed for good, I guess the Empire will be the next to go, its kind of sad to see all the landmarks disappear into history - Times have certainly changed.
Eda got the lipstick re-fills for you, the same kind as before, they are Real Real Red (Hazel Bishop product) I'll send them on to you in a day or so, it will probably take 2 to 3 weeks to reach you. I haven't been able to get the writing paper as yet, that has to be ordered & takes a couple of weeks, its made back East, so will send it later.
Don't worry about the cost dear, it's our pleasure to send them to you. There maybe a Duty charge for you to pay this time, as we can't send it now as a Xmas gift, which the Customs allow Duty Free into England. Am sorry we can't pay that charge here, it has to be paid over there. Anyway, it shouldn't be more than a few shillings. By the way, the box your lipstick is in belongs to another brand called REVLON - the Hazel Bishop sticks do'nt come in boxes, so Eda got them to give her this one to put them in. I had a nice letter from Jackie Harrison around Xmas time, he said he was sending you a card, did you hear from him?
Think thats all for now Trixie, hope alls well & happy & everything going along OK for you - are you still living alone or have you got a lodger. Eda joins in love & kind thoughts.
Love to Dolly, Bennie & Jack when you see them. Incidentally, if you happen to have any play bills or pictures of the Levy & Cardwell's Pantos, I'd love to have one for a souvenir, to add to my collection of theatrical data. If you don't want to part with them, I could have a copy made & return the orignals to you. Maybe Dolly, Bennie or Jack would have some spare if you haven't - hope so.
RUBBER STAMP - 1111 Franklin St., Santa Monica, CA - HANDWRITTEN
Dear Elmer [Westover]:-
Thanks your 18th inst.
The weather here was just like summer up until a couple of weeks ago, was raining quite a bit & very cold - not near as cold as with you. Of course we probably feel it more due to being so used to a warm climate.
Congratulations on becoming an Uncle - please convey my best wishes to your Brother & Sister-in-law on the happy event for lots of happiness with Wyatt Eric.
I think the first picture I made with M. Hardy was about 1919 or 20 titled "A LUCKY DOG" & our last one was made in Paris - France in 1950 titled "ATOLL K." Over here thery renamed it to "Robinson Crusoeland" - for several reasons it didn't turn out so good.
All for now Elmer.
Good luck & all the best.
The Lucky Dog was released in 1921, and Atoll K in 1951.