Sight and Sound, Daily Racing Form, 1958-05-01


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, -. ■ : ——————————— SIGHT AND SOUND k Bv Leo frAlshkm NEW YORK, April 30. — All the way through the case history of a movie star presented on NBC-TVs "Wide Wide , -. ■ World" World" Sunday Sunday after- -. ■ World" World" Sunday Sunday after- : after-; noon, I kept thinking something w a s strangely out of focus. And it was only in the closing minutes of the program that I finally discovered what it was. "A Stars Story," as this study was called, kept insisting that there were still thousands upon thousands — — maybe, maybe, even even millions millions ——————————— — — maybe, maybe, even even millions millions — of girls throughout the United States possessed of a burning ambition to become screen stars in Hollywood, to win the worship and adulation of the "world, and to live the .life of sable coated luxury, swimming pools in the garden, and extravagant night life of which they had always dreamed. To support this theory, "Wide Wide World" did indeed give us some glimpses of a bakers dozen or so of girls just like that, now living at the famed Studio Clubin Hollywood waiting for their big break. It also gave passing mention to the fan magazines, the Hollywood gossip W columnists and the other features of the Hollywood transmission belt that perpetuate this national yearning. As I said, it was only in the closing minutes of the show that it suddenly struck me what was wrong. It just doesnt ring true any more. Not that there arent many young ladies up and down and across the land who dont dream of Hollywood glory, of course. But I have a conviction that Hollywood is no longer the glittering lure that it used to be, that many thousands of adolescent girls have turned their dreams into other channels — the sales of pop music records and record albums may be taken as one indication — and that the .economics of Hollywood movie making have changed so much over the period of the past 10 or 15 years or so, that the vast bulk of the female teen-age population of the country has become more or less disenchanted with the wonderful illusion it once held.* Even "Wide. Wide World" recognized this subtle change in attitude with its own exposition of the hard work entailed, the struggle against terrific odds, the long uphill climb and the necessity of a "lucky break" for anyone still seeking movie stardom. AAA To point up its case history, "Wide Wide World" considered the career of Joanne Woodward, this years winner of the Academy Oscar for her performance in "The Three Faces of Eve." Miss Woodward said she started acting at the mature age of 2 when she recited a poem before some guests and was applauded so vociferously she recited the same poem twice over again before her mother could pull her off. She also became obsessed with the idea of becoming an actress when she was 9, and by the time she was of high school age-, she was already undergoing intensive training for her eventual career. In New York, she studied under Sanfor/I Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School; on television she did bit parts and commercials; and then one day. in a TV appearance with Dick Powell, she caught the eye of producer Buddy Adler, was tested for possible motion pictures,., and was signed to a contract with a major studio for her Oscar-winning role. , AAA . Along the course of this history, "Wide Wde World" poked into the Museum of Modern Art Film Library, with some shots of Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, William S. Hart and Greta Garbo; it paid a visit to the Neighborhood Playhouse School it-1 Self, to learn how actors are trained for their profession; it spent some time with those young ladles out in the Studio Club in Hollywood working as carhops, clerks and stenographers until the moment somebody should discover them; and it finally would up with Miss Woodward herself, interviewed at home with her husband, Paul Newman. All of which was very interesting, sxl of which was most enlightening, I and a good deal of which was both in- formative and entertaining as well. The only trouble was that there are many new . factors now involved in the business of becoming a movie star that "Wide Wide World" never touched upon. , AAA As for instance, the competition that Continued on Page Forty-Three [ ! ! SIGHT AND SOUND I By LEO MISHXIN Continued from Page Two television itself offers against the .movies. Both Miss Woodward herself and many of the young ladies waiting to become future Joanne Woodwards merely brushed off TV as just an interim business until the main chance came along. Such examples as Lucille Ball and Dinah Shore, in whose cases the procedure worked in reverse, were . never mentioned at all. Nor was any word given us on the synthetic, behind-the-scenes operation- of the press agents, the make-up men and costume designers, and all the other industrial wheels that go into motion once it is decided that Susy Glutz, or Mary Effenheimer, or Joanne Woodward is to be given the "build-up" as the newest discovery of the studio. "A Stars Story" was more or less reminiscent of a picture made some years ago called "A Star Is Born." But "A Star Is Born" went into much greater detail than did "Wide Wide World," and besides, the same conditions in Hollywood no longer prevail. No wonder the show was out of focus. It was also out of date on Sunday afternoon, April 27, in this year 6f 1956. ,, qJ. j

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