That's My Boy! Modern Screen September 1947

Modern Screen magazine, September 1947

The gals of the Hollywood Women's Press Club were in a festive mood. It was their annual Christmas party, time to give the Golden Apples to the actor and actress who had been most helpful and cooperative during the year to writers who bring the stars' lives, loves, and scrapes to the pages of Modern Screen and elsewhere.
They're drinking champagne, set up by Joan Crawford. Both she and Dana Andrews, who deservedly got the Golden Apples, were way down east, Joan in New York and Dana with his family in Stowe, Vermont, having the best years of his life roaring around the snow-packed hills on skis.

It'd been arranged to call them and an amplifier hook-up was set up so the Club could hear Dana and Joan accept the awards.

Club member and producer Harriet Parsons (daughter of Louella Parsons) had had her eye on Dana for years, as far back as "Swamp Water", "The Ox-Box Incident", even when he was an actor at the Pasadena Community Playhouse.   Negotiations were now underway for him to star in "Memory of Love", produced by Parsons and Jack Gross.
(Website note: this film was eventually made as "Night Song", realeased in 1948.)


Harriet picks up the story....

Dore said to me, "Things look promising on the Andrews deal, but don't say anything to him yet. The contracts aren't signed."

So when I found myself sitting next to Dana at lunch, I began obediently talking about everything but what was closest to my heart, and then he said:
"By the way, Harriet, I just left Dore. I'm going to do your picture." Very casual-like, he said it.

Rockets and twenty-one gun salutes started going off in my head.
"Oh, did you?" I said in the same casual way. At least I think I said something. Maybe it was, "What picture?" or "Who, YOU?" I wouldn't know. Oh, happy daze! Here was I, snaffling the hottest actor in Hollywood! I might as well sell my convertible because I'd be traveling on pink clouds from now on.

I came out of that roseate glow with a four-alarm alarm. Here were all these press gals and writers around. Miraculously, what went in the gals' ears didn't come out their typewriters. They story held and when the proper time came Louella (Scoop) Parsons broke it. I didn't tell her, I was too busy getting those crossed fingers pried apart.

When Dana and I got down to business, talking over the part (he's a young composer, blinded by an accident and very bitter) I said:
"Do you play the piano at all?"
"I did once," he said. "A long time ago." He looked dreamily amused. "I was nine and mad for a little girl who was giving her first piano recital. Despite my charms, she wasn't impressed. So I told my music teacher she had to teach me a piece I'd decided on for the recital. She was very cold to the idea. According to her, it was way over my head. Well, I learned it, played it at the recital, and that's the story of my piano career to date."

I forgot, under the spell of the Andrews charm, that we weren't here to reminisce.
"You'll be able to manage this chore," I said, reading the line as if it were a flat statement, but meaning it as a question.
"Since I've been in pictures, I've learned to pole a boat in the Okefenokee Swamp, drive a team in Oregon, ride horseback, tie sailor's knots -- I think I can swing the piano," Dana said.                   continue


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