"A Visit to Movieland" reprinted from The Forum magazine, January 1920. This is the 8th of 9 parts. Written by "The Forum's Correspondent."
A "Temperamental" Woman Star:
It was a strange world, the inhabitants of which in one moment strode forth to portray the most idealistic character from a "best seller's" pages; and in the next instant left the rehearsal stage with a "Hey, Bill, gimme a drag. I'm dying for a smoke." And to leave the bed-side of a dying child in the "movie" and catcing hold of an actress begin jazzing with her--the character of the play, shaken off as one would hake off a coat--well!
They are an interesting company, your favorite stars. I have seen them on and off duty. Some of them possess what is called "temperament," an emotional luxury to be indulged in on any occasion save in the presence of "cops." In one studio, they were still speaking with feeling of a recent excursion into temperament by a very popular woman star. For the "punch scene" of the picture, a stupendous set had been built in the studio, several hundred "extras" had been hired, all her high-salaried supporting company, her $1000-a-week director, were waiting. The lady was due on the "set" at 9 a.m. Time passed--no star. At eleven the director plucked up courage to telephone her. "It is a cloudy day," she said, "I miss my sunshine. I am depressed. I am not in the mood to work."
"But," pleaded the director, "the set is ready, the extras, the cost--"
"That is all, Mr. X," the lady said. "You should know better than to bother me with such things."
So there was no work done that day, albeit the payroll and rental wait for no man or woman. Because of the star's temperament about $1500 had to be charged to profit and loss.
In another studio, I found a movie star who was most businesslike. He had a secretary whose task it was to answer every note sent the star by movie fans; and to get out postals whenever a new film of the star was issued, advising all who had ever written to him that his latest picture was about to be "released." And I found that this star was very much a human being, that he regarded his work as one would regard a business, that he lived his life so as to be physically and mentally "fit" for it; and that he saved his money.