reprint from Radio Guide; October 9, 1937 issue
Evolution of an Idolby Mary Watkins Reeves
A RISING STAR steps before an NBC microphone Sunday night to open a new dramatic series replacing the "Rippling Rhythm Revue," a sensational young actor who has taken Hollywood by storm and who promises to repeat his success on the air. But Tyrone Power is not only a promising young actor. Although he's only 23 - and a very young 23 at that - he's a sentimentalist.
This will explain why he sometimes parks his long, low car in the old block on Highland Avenue where he lived hand-to-mouth after his father's death, sits looking at the same houses and stores, drops in at the same drug store for a malted milk. To intensify this pleasant orgy of nostalgia, he may even whistle "You, You're Driving Me Crazy" or some other tune the place brings back to mind. Until he drives away with a feeling that will torture him enjoyably for hours - the firm belief that having success is not half as much fun as hoping for it was.
THIS WILL ALSO EXPLAIN why his stand-in, Thomas Noonan, is a pal from the days when Tyrone was a theater usher in Cincinnati; his secretary, William Gallagher, an old friend from the months when Tyrone was pounding pavements in New York. Why he likes creamed cauliflower and brown tweeds and soft-voiced girls.
Success has changed him plenty - and he admits it. But its changed him for the better. It's scared him into a few things he should have learned long ago. He's socking his money into the bank, for one thing. He's a little more strategic about his future, for another. He can see now that the risky, impetuous things he did in his impatience to hit the big-time and the big money only made his chance of getting there a thousand-to-one shot. A close call, and he barely made it. He's still a bit watery in the knees, as though he'd just cleared a taxi that missed him by an inch. So he's learning to be calm and careful. He's taking better care of his health, reading more, studying more, even thinking more.
He doesn't like Hollywood. Something about the place makes him lazy. In New York it's no effort at all to steam around from breakfast to bedtime, stay up half the night working. In Hollywood he wants to sit in the sun, gets sleepy early. He likes nightclubs fairly well but hasn't got the bug. It suits him just as well that there are "only a couple or so good ones" in the movie town, and he's already tired of those. He goes for the music, not the floor show.
Outside of the girls he dates, most of his friends haven't any connection with the movie business. Nothing strikes him as being duller than talking about pictures all evening after you've worked in pictures all day.
HE WISHES NOW that he'd gone to college. Not so much because of the education he missed, but the fun. He could have gone - his parents urged him to - but he was too impatient to get started in his career. He subscribes to three book clubs, hasn't yet got around to Gone With the Wind. He owns five radios, usually plays them too loud; not that he can't hear, but something's always interrupting and he hates to miss a note or a word if the program's one of his favorites. Which would be "One Man's Family," Jack Benny and Benny Goodman.
For exercise he swims - in other people's pools, because he hasn't one of his own yet - and plays handball. He usually rushes through dinner to get in a session at badminton; just as much thrill as tennis and doesn't take half the energy when you haven't got it after a long day on the set.
He lives with his mother, Patia Reaume Power, in a rented, unpretentious house which is really larger than they need, but they signed the lease because they couldn't resist the view across the hills.
HIS MOTHER runs the household beautifully and, having been for years a celebrated actress , is a good pal and advisor to her son. Next to his mother, Tyrone's best girl is his sister, Ann, who's married and lives in Honolulu. He hopes he'll get a vacation one of these days, as he'd like to see Ann, and he'd also like to see Honolulu. Frequently she tears some "quote" of his out of a newspaper or magazine, affixes a sly note on the margin - "Since when, old dear, the Romeo stuff?" - and sends it to him. These always give Tyrone a chuckle.
About the Romeo stuff, this is it: It amuses Tyrone how, if a single young actor makes good in Hollywood, the town immediately regards him as though he were the only old-maid daughter in a family of sixteen belles. They're consistently trying to marry him off. This results in one embarrassing and painful predicament after the other, but he does not let these annoy him any more than sitting for photographs or a call for retakes. He would very much enjoy being highly annoyed. But he thinks he has no right to this indulgence, as the Romeo business seems to be an inescapable part of his job, and any time it should get too irksome he knows what he can do about it.
SO HE WILL TALK ABOUT HIS GIRLS and he will say flattering, gentlemanly things about them, and he will be entirely sincere. "Sonja," he will say "is a sweet and beautiful girl. I am as fond of her as any girl I know, but we are not considering marriage. Neither of us is ready for marriage. I greatly admire Sonja," he goes on, "for her drive and ambitious concentration on her career. When she's skating or acting or making personal appearances, her whole thought is solely on what she's doing. I've never seen anything like it. I'd like to think that I'm half as intense."
He will comment seriously, "Loretta's a lovely person. She has a certain - "he pauses to find the right words "-a certain sweet, soft quality about her that appeals to me."
And then Tyrone will tell you that some of the girls he admires most are the youngsters he knew in his pre-Hollywood days and still writes to and goes out with when he returns east. Many of them are yet struggling for a foothold in show business, unknowns, unglamorous as the Hollywood standard of glamour goes. Yet Tyrone - who could dial dozens of numbers and hear the most beautiful and successful women in Manhattan reply, "When? I'd adore to!" - takes his old girlfriends to dinner and the theater and dancing because he wants to. Because he really does enjoy them most of all.
HE'S THE KIND OF DATE who phones to ask what gown you're wearing, takes the trouble to send flowers that will match it. He has as flawless manners as can be found in all Hollywood (the credit here, he would undoubtedly insist, is his mother's). He dances extremely well, plays a rather bored game of bridge. That is, if he can't get out of playing bridge at all.
And while this is still the Romeo business, it may as well be matter-of-factly recorded that Tyrone Power, off-screen is twice as healthily handsome as he is onscreen. Which is handsome! Thick, black hair, intent brown eyes, thick brows. A nose even more tip tilted than it is in pictures, because the make-up boys have devised a way of powdering that brings that nose down a fraction for the cameras. Along with Gene Raymond and Buddy Rogers, he has the whitest teeth in the movie town. And eyelashes that are simply terrific.
Sonja Henie, Loretta Young, Janet Gaynor, all of Tyrone's Hollywood girl friends send flowers to his mother regularly. She doesn't have to keep up with the gossip columns to know whom her son's courting, because he always tells her as a matter of course.
AND HIS GREATEST FAULT is that he doesn't have enough outward confidence in himself. You have to have that in Hollywood. Inside, he knows he'll make good. But he can't brag, swagger, subtly boost his own stock before the right people. It embarrasses him. In other words, he could use some conceit. After the premiere of "Lloyds of London," the whole town was slapping him on the back. He should have grinned, gabbed, talked volubly about his plans. But he didn't. Because his option hadn't then been taken up by the studio. A mere formality, and he knew it would be attended to, but still it wasn't definitely in the bag. So he appeared too serious and uncommunicative to the back-slappers, and the story got around that he was going to be dropped. His studio signed him to a seven-year contract a week later.
Tyrone's thrilled at the prospect of his new radio series, wishes that he'd stuck around in radio longer than he did and garnered more experience. He used to do bit parts on "Grand Hotel" when Don Ameche was its star. One day his boss handed him some funnies to read over the air. Tyrone, histrionic talents acutely wounded, walked out. "That," he says, "was only one of the foolish things I did that I've lived to kick myself for!"
ULTIMATELY, he wants to go back to the stage. In the meantime, established in the movie city until 1944, he'll work hard and learn all the can and mature. One thing certain, he'll never go Hollywood. He has too many frank close friends from whom he has extracted promises that they'll tell him if they ever see him changing. Tyrone Power is that kind of fellow.
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