Ballyhoo Who? Warren William in the Return of Picto-Sked

The Kay Francis Picto-Sked I posted last week seemed to go over well and so the feature returns in honor of Warren William's own day on TCM's Summer Under the Stars.

The Picto-Sked concept is very simple. Following you'll find original period newspaper advertisments picturing (that's the "Picto") each movie TCM has scheduled (and the "Sked") to air during its 24 hour celebration of Warren William on Thursday, August 30.

I dub this "Picto-Sked" not only for the sake of brevity, but because it recalls (to me) the rise of photojournalism during Warren and Kay's time, the 1930's, when magazines such as Life and Look hit the newsstands for the first time.

I'll be back in a little bit with the more traditional text format TCM schedule of Warren William movies along with recommendations about what to watch and a brief essay on how I've seen the cult of Warren William grow over the past five years, but for now ...

It's Picto-Sked time ... with some commentary, of course:


Note: TCM Warren William Summer Under the Stars schedule with all times Eastern (EST)

6:00 am - BEDSIDE (1933)

"Women prayed for a breakdown--to have him at their Bedside!"

Bedside advertisement

Source: Syracuse Herald, March 8, 1934, page 28.

This movie is absolutely insane. It features one of Warren William's most unlikable characters--and that's saying a lot. David Landau plays a morphine addict. Donald Meek raises the dead. Not the best film airing today but certainly the most off-the-wall!

Here's my look at Bedside on (Opens in a new window, as will all links to follow).

Oh, but hey, take your kids to see Bedside along with Son of Kong:

Bedside advertisement

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, February 3, 1934, page 4.

7:15 am - THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS (1938)

The First Hundred Years advertisement

Source: Logansport Pharos Tribune, April 9, 1938, page 7.

Maybe I don't remember The First Hundred Years very well because I haven't written about it yet. Or maybe it just wasn't very good. One of Warren's handful under contract to MGM. That's him at the bottom left of the ad above.

8:30 am - WIVES UNDER SUSPICION (1938)

Wives Under Suspicion advertisement

Source: Zanesville Signal, July 17, 1938, page 10

Not a favorite, but Warren's abacus sure is cool! James Whale directed this remake of his own The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933). Universal title that slipped into the public domain.

9:45 am - THE MOUTHPIECE (1932)

"He sold his soul to criminals and willed his honor to the devil!"

The Mouthpiece advertisement

Source: Lowell Sun, May 28, 1932, page 9.

Key, key breakout title for Warren. Remade twice. The first movie I wrote about at back in 2007 (and thus it could stand a rewrite). Read that piece HERE and take a look at The Mouthpiece compared to 1955 remake Illegal, starring a very tired looking Edward G. Robinson HERE.

"He draws the life line thru the death sentence!"

The Mouthpiece advertisement

Source: Huntingdon Daily News, June 24, 1932, page 14.

"He talks juries out of justice ... and women out of honor!"

The Mouthpiece advertisement

Source: Kingston Gleaner, December 5, 1932, page 28.

11:15 am - SKYSCRAPER SOULS (1932)

"The picture that you've heard so much about"

Skyscraper Souls advertisement

Source: Moberly Monitor Index, July 30, 1932, page 7.

And you may have heard so much about it from me when I covered this important Warren William title HERE at One of a few I can't seem to shut up about!

On loan to MGM Skyscraper Souls emerges as the most stylish of Warren's pre-code hits and features him as David Dwight, one of the best illustrations of why Warren William has been rediscovered by modern audiences.

"A symphony of steel and stone - flesh and blood - laughter and tears!"

Skyscraper Souls advertisement

Source: Bakersfield Californian, August 6, 1932, page 6

This one may state the case for Skyscraper Souls best, even if I don't recall Warren ever looking quite as demented as pictured:

"A drama of big business, of high finance, of wrecked lives and loves"

Skyscraper Souls advertisement

Source; Billings Gazette, July 22, 1932, page 3.

1:00 pm - THREE ON A MATCH (1932)

Three On a Match advertisement

Source: Oakland Tribune, November 12, 1932, page 9

One of the most enjoyable movies airing today, but not because of Warren William. You can't take your eyes off of Ann Dvorak in Three on a Match, she's amazing!

As for Warren, I'm surprised they even picture him in the ad.

I wrote about this one on Immortal Ephemera a long while back, you'll find that piece HERE.

2:15 pm - THE MATCH KING (1932)

"You've read the story in the newspapers - Now see it on the screen!"
"He squandered love like he squandered millions!"

The Match King advertisement

Source: Joplin News Herald, January 2, 1933, page 7

Another major pre-code entry starring Warren William and if Warner Brothers could have had his way it would have been co-starring Greta Garbo. They were thinking big with this one! Alas, we have Mrs. Errol Flynn (later), Lili Damita instead.

You can read my entry on The Match King at HERE.

"Now see - Why women cried for his kisses - Why men cried for his blood!"

The Match King advertisement

Source: Huntingdon Daily News, January 11, 1933, page 6.

3:45 pm - THE MIND READER (1933)

"Leave your love secrets at home when you see Warren William in The Mind Reader"

The Mind Reader advertisement

Source: Big Spring Daily Herald, April 9, 1933, page 2.

Yet another major Warren William pre-code title (see why he's important to the era?) and one of the most bizarre. We talked about Tyrone Power in Nightmare Alley a little last week, think of this as the pre-code precursor to that popular film noir title.

After years of procrastination I finally wrote about The Mind Reader at this week. And I think it's a pretty good write-up! Read it HERE.

"Will you fall under his occult spell?"

The Mind Reader advertisement

Source: Altoona Mirror, March 30, 1933, page 15.

"Fake mind-readers exposed!"

The Mind Reader advertisement

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, April 16, 1933, page 16.

5:00 pm - GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933)

Gold Diggers of 1933 advertisement

Source: Big Spring Daily Herald, September 10, 1933, page 2

Warren doesn't feature in the movie until after 40 minutes and he barely features in the advertising either! I found him this ad--look, one of the stars.

Despite top billed Warren William's late arrival he does make an impression over the second half of the film as he gets himself entangled with Joan Blondell.

Another title I had long put off writing about but just posted to on earlier today - Read it HERE.

6:45 pm - TIMES SQUARE PLAYBOY (1936)

Times Square Playboy advertisement

Source: Marion Star, May 19, 1936, page 10.

Personally Times Square Playboy is a guilty pleasure but I'm more than willing to admit it's not even the best movie of the double feature pictured in the ad above. Towards the end of Warren's run at Warner Brothers and good evidence why.

I wrote about Times Square Playboy on HERE.

8:00 pm - LADY FOR A DAY (1933)

"Liberty Gave it 4 Stars!"

Lady for a Day advertisement

Source: Bakersfield Californian, October 11, 1933, page 6

Many other outlets gave the Frank Capra film glowing ratings as well. While this is another big movie that doesn't really belong to Warren--it's a May Robson movie--his Dave the Dude is at least an important character in this Damon Runyon based story.

For Warren this would be the biggest character he would play that came closest to the pre-code template he had been previously carving out.

Wonderful movie, though I would have chosen a different one for this prime time slot on Warren William day!

Lady for a Day advertisement

Source: Carroll Daily Herald, November 25, 1933, page 4

How appropriate is that mention of Disney's Three Little Pigs at the bottom left? "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" would actually be sung by Warren to Ginger Rogers in 1934's Upperworld (not showing today).

I only include the following Lady for a Day ad because it has to be one of the worst I've ever seen! I suppose that character with the mustache is supposed to be Warren:

Lady for a Day advertisement

Blame: Port Arthur News, October 29, 1933, page 17

9:45 pm - CLEOPATRA (1934)

Cleopatra advertisement

Source: Galveston Daily News, October 14, 1934, page 12

If Lady for a Day isn't the best choice for 8 pm EST than Cleopatra is an absolutely terrible choice to follow!

Warren plays Caesar. A pretty important guy historically, but that tiny figure at the bottom right in the ad if we play a game of Where's Warren? Caesar doesn't come to a good end and it comes all too early in this Cecil B. DeMille production, another prestige title for Warren.

I wrote about Cleopatra both more generally HERE on Immortal Ephemera and zeroed in on Warren's Caesar is THIS POST at Warren

Cleopatra advertisement

Source: Ogden Standard Examiner, November 4, 1934, page 19

Don't look too hard for Warren in the ad immediately above!

11:45 pm - EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE (1933)

"Would you pay THIS price for a job?"

Employees' Entrance advertisement

Source: Burlington Gazette, February 18, 1933, page 3.

Ah, here we go. Now this would have been my pick for 8 pm EST. Why? It's my favorite Warren William film and I've seen them all. Several times.

Take Skyscraper Souls, move it inside of a Department Store setting at Warner Brothers and you've got Employees' Entrance. It's the ultimate Warren William pre-code character let loose by his home studio is the speedy snappy type of production they were known for at that time.

The movie that hooked me on Warren William and I love it every bit as much today.

Since Employees' Entrance is my favorite, it's another one I've given double coverage too. Read about it HERE on Immortal Ephemera and a deeper look at Warren's Kurt Anderson character HERE at

"What's all the whispering about?"

Employees' Entrance advertisement

Source: Burlington Daily Times News, February 25, 1933, page 2.

And in my favorite ad ...
"Working Girls - This Is Your Picture"

Employees' Entrance advertisement

Source: Lowell Sun, March 24, 1933, page 57

1:15 am - THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG (1934)

The Case of the Howling Dog advertisement

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, November 17, 1934, page 3.

Forget Raymond Burr! Warren William was the first ever Perry Mason on screen. And the 2nd, 3rd and 4th too in what was an enjoyable series from Warner Brothers advertised at the time not as Erle Stanley Gardner's famed creation but simply "the Liberty Magazine Thriller."

This is the first of three examples of Warren William detective roles with which TCM closes out his featured evening on Summer Under the Stars.

Read more about The Case of the Howling Dog at HERE.

The Case of the Howling Dog advertisement

Source: Jefferson City News and Tribune, September 30, 1934, page 4.

2:45 am - THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT (1939)

"The Lone Wolf - suavest rascal of them all!"

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt advertisement

Source: Mansfield News Journal, February 8, 1939, page 2

I love the Lone Wolf series but personally this initial offering is my least favorite of Warren's nine Lone Wolf movies. I do seem to be in the minority with this opinion. Ida Lupino and Rita Hayworth are in the cast and while I typically love Ida she's really too over the top for me in this one. Plus Eric Blore has yet to arrive.

I have covered 8 of the 9 Lone Wolf movies at Warren with my write-up of Spy Hunt found HERE.

The ad shown above was typically how The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt was advertised, though I prefer this more exploitative ad following below:

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt advertisement

Source: Oakland Tribune, May 25, 1939, page 20.

4:00 am - ARSENE LUPIN RETURNS (1938)

"Both loved her"

Arsene Lupin Returns advertisement

Source: Kingsport Times, March 13, 1938, page 25

Well, love might be strong. Arsene Lupin Returns is a newly rediscovered title for me--for some reason I thought I didn't like this one too much. Think I even called it a clunker in my Summer Under the Stars preview post. I was wrong, it's very entertaining and Warren's best outing at MGM.

He's third billed behind Melvyn Douglas and Virginia Bruce in this one, but the movie opens with the focus on Warren and he and Douglas are pretty much equals throughout Arsene Lupin Returns.

Arsene Lupin Returns is another title I've only recently written about at You'll find that shiny new piece HERE.


In Conclusion

So did you make it through all 16? I mean the movies as they air on TCM, not the ads on this page!

Please let me know if you discover anything new or just tell me about your old favorites. I'm always willing to talk Warren William!

It will likely be a long time before Warren William is celebrated in such royal fashion again so, please, clear some space on your DVRs. Sit back and enjoy. I give this line-up my highest rating!

For more Warren William coverage from other (less biased) bloggers please be sure to check out all of the submissions to the Summer Under the Stars blogathon on August 30. Find those posts at Sittin' On a Backyard Fence and ScribeHard on Film.

I'll be back later with more on Warren William and TCM's Summer Under the Stars coverage of him.


    • says

      Same here! I love that they paired Bedside with Son of Kong at the one theater and I got a kick out of The Three Little Pigs opening for the one movie as well. I think my fave is the “By day/By night” Skyscraper Souls ad which I’d love to come across in higher quality.

      Thanks for making it to the bottom!

  1. John Stangeland says

    I can’t believe I’m just getting to this awesome Picto-sked today, Cliff! It was an absolute BLAST! That first Mouthpiece ad is my fave, but the 3rd Emplyees’ Entrance ad (with all the girls running between to logo) is also fantastic. Jeez, this puts me in mind of all those great pre-Code posters from these films – I’m still waiting for my opportunity to invest in one (I know I’ll need some heavy coin for that), but they never seem to turn up. Great work – you’re always coming up with something fascinating and fun.

    • says

      Thanks, John! I was amazed by how much I had to choose from from the big pre-code titles. I loved them all and probably could have posted another 3-4 each that I liked just as much!

      I’ll spring for a Lobby Card every so often, but I prefer sticking to vintage stills; posters, eh–I haven’t even unrolled the few I have to display them so my money isn’t burning a hole in my pocket there.


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