Modern Screen magazine, June 1947  cont'd

All the Andrews are mad about sailing, and they've been doing plenty of it while Dana was waiting to start his next picture.

Mostly, they use the "Katherine," which is their 55-foot cutter, a beauty of a boat. They're real snobs; never run their motor, and have nothing but harsh words for people who do. Sailing is an art; motors, any slob can cope with.

"There's something about using the wind," Dana says, and he gets the note in his voice some people get when they talk about Beethoven.

He's sensationally good, too, considering he's only been sailing a year or so.

He was coming up from Catalina one day, with a load of guests aboard, and a fog rising. Fifteen miles out, he got a bearing on the sea gate (there's an artificial sea wall at Long Beach, with a 200-yard opening) and then the fog closed in, thick and gray and wet.

Dana couldn't see twenty feet in front of him, the wheel was icy in his hands, and he was sweating.

Once in awhile, someone would ask, "Will we make it?" He could sense the panic; his own fear was sizeable. "Don't worry," he'd say.

When he caught sight of the harbor lights, the Katherine was already passing safely through the gate. It's a piece of work he's proud of.

He had another close shave, too. It was his first trip out with his brother, Bill, and they'd forgotten to look at the storm warnings before they left. Naturally, a storm came up.

Dana was working furiously and Bill came up, "I've been sitting on the bowsprit. It's the dryest part of the boat." He hadn't more than finished the sentence when the bowsprit went under a ten-foot wave.
The brothers looked at each other and laughed shakily.
"Good to see you," Dana said.
Bill coughed. "Glad to be here."

Bill's a handsome blond, over six feet tall. He went into the army right out of high school, and when he was through with the service Dana lured him to California.
He's going to UCLA now, and getting a little more accustomed to the ways of Hollywood.

In the beginning he was hopelessly confused. He'd hear Dana talking on the phone to some girl at the studio. "Thank you, sweetheart," Dana'd be saying.
Bill would look at him strangely. "You know her that well?"

The day he heard Charlie Feldman, Dana's agent, call Dana "baby", he gave up.
It's tough, for a guy from Texas.

Bill stayed with Dana and Mary for awhile, but now he lives in Santa Monica, in a little house out in back of Mary's parents' place.

He got himself into a play at college, and Dana and Mary caught a performance.
It gave Dana a shock.


Two-year-old Stephen Andrews looks like Daddy's
little angel, but that cherubic expression is just a
cover-up for his sinister underground activities

 


Kathy, who's 5, is passing through the hero-worship
stage. Object, Dana. "Six months ago she wouldn't
even say hello to me." Kathy also loves sailing on
the family's 55-foot cutter, "Katherine."


Off-stage, Bill (who's fifteen years younger than Dana) seems very adult. He's been in the army, he's seen a lot. Onstage... "Why, he's only a kid," Dana whispered to Mary. "He's so damn young!"
Mary giggled. "Keep still, Grandpa."

(Website note: brother Bill was to become known as Steven Forrest and would have a long and successful career in movies and TV.)

Bill and Dana have another brother in the neighborhood. He's Charles Andrews, principal of Polytechnic High School in Long Beach. He's a bright man, but awfully modest.

Several months ago, he told Dana a story idea. "I think I'll write it some day," he said. Dana was enthusiastic. "It sounds terrific." But Dana also knew brother Charles. He needs pins stuck in him.

Being on friendly terms with MacKinlay Kantor, because of 'Best Years of our Lives,' and respecting Mr. Kantor's opinion, Dana thought he'd like to have Kantor hear Charles' idea.

They problem was, where to get Kantor where he couldn't walk away. The solution was obvious: the boat. Dana slyly invited Mr. Kantor for a sail, and they all set off.

"Charles has an idea for a story," Dana began. "You want to go up and listen to it?"
  Mr. Kantor laughed, "Do I have to?"
"Sure," Dana said. "There's no place else to go but overboard."

Mr. Kantor went up and talked to Charles. When he came back, he was a different man. "It's wonderful!" he said. "Make him do something with it."

Dana tried for a long time. Charles would listen, look agreeable and then say, "Oh, I don't know if I could write it or not."

After awhile, they dropped the whole subject. And then when Dana was in Vermont, he got a letter from Bennett Cerf (writer and founder of Random House publishing).
"I had lunch with MacKinlay Kantor," Cerf wrote. "He told me of an idea your brother had. I'm interested, and I wonder if you'd please send me your brother's address." Dana did, and told Charles, "See what I mean?"

Cerf wrote Charles, and then when he came out on a visit, went and saw him, and that did it. Charles is really going to start working on the story now.
"You can do it," Dana keeps telling him, and Charles undoubtedly can.

The Andrews family is loaded with talent. Take Dana's son, David. Thirteen years old, and he builds radios.
There's a little house out in the back yard that Dana thought would make a nice shop. When David got through installing his various equipment, the only orderly thing left was the walls. He comes home with these enormous pieces of junk that he finds. Dana looks at him sternly. "David, what are you going to do with that?"
"I'm going to make a radio," his son says seriously.
And two days later, David will call Dana out from the house. "Daddy, I'm broadcasting."
Dana can neither encourage nor defeat him. His own knowledge of radio is confined to the fact that he thinks it's nice.

Then there was the time the very correct-looking gentleman came to the house, looking for a Mr. Andrews.
"I'm Mr. Andrews," Dana said, waiting.
The gentleman held out his hand. "I'm from the FCC. You registered a complaint about a short-wave broadcaster using the same frequency as KNX---"
David broke in. "I did that," he said. KNX is the Columbia Broadcasting System's outlet for Los Angeles, and one night when David was tinkering around with his set, he'd picked up a ham broadcast using the KNX frequency, which is strictly illegal. It irritated David, so he phoned the authorities.

mr. andrews, jr.....

The authorities, vested in the person of the correct-looking gentleman, tried not to smile.
"You want to see my shop?" David asked him.
"The boy knows exactly what he's doing," the gentleman told Dana later.
Dana grinned. "All I know is that we've got a $400 radio inside, but his plays better."

All told, they're rather nice kids, maybe because Mary and Dana are such a wonderful combination. They're not Hollywood, in the glittery sense, and all they ask of friends is a reasonable amount of intelligence and a reasonable lack of affectation.

She and Dana shair an enormous curiosity about people, but hers isn't as far-reaching as his. She'll say, "So-and-so was awfully dull. How could you talk to him so long?"
"Nobody's dull," he says, "if you try and find out what makes them tick."

That's not for Mary, though. At one cocktail party, Mary retires to the den...and falls asleep. When she wakes up, he's sitting there, watching her.
"My fascinating wife."
"I'm sorry," she says humbly, not meaning a word of it, and then goes off into gales of laughter.

Sometimes Dana thinks it's the humor, constant and fresh, that he loves best in Mary. Sometimes he thinks it's her honesty, or her lack of sophistication, or her curiosity. Sometimes he knows it's everything she is.
"That girl," he says in wonder. "I'm crazy about that girl."


 

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