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Another time Jack called in a writer to his office. "Look pally, I got to fire you because I heard you were a communist. " "Mr. Warner, please! I'm not a communist, I'm an anti-communist!" "I don't care what kind of commie you are! You are out of here!"
Well after The Jazz Singer's success, Jack remained sensitive to religious matters. When he hired a stage actor named Jules Garfield, he told him, "Ok, we have to change your name. How about James Garfield?" "Mr. Warner I don't want to change my name. Anyhow James Garfield was a President. Why don't you change my name to Abraham Lincoln?" "Forget it Garfield. Abraham's too Jewish. We're not going to give wrong impression." After much arguing they compromised with John Garfield.
Warner's actors gave as well as they got. Humphrey Bogart called him a creep. Errol Flynn actually threatened to kill him. James Cagney, after driving down road and seeing Pat O'Brian's name billed above his on a movie marquee sued him for breach of contract and won. Betty Davis, constantly complaining about films she was cast in, fled to England to perform on stage only to have Warner track her down and legally compel her to return. But perhaps toughest of all his battles was with actor George Raft. Raft, who hung out with gangsters like Bugsy Siegel in real life, was loath to be cast as a thug on screen. He turned virtually every role he was offered. Finally, Jack decided to buy George out of his contract. "Will $10,000 do it?" He asked George wearily. To Jack's astonishment, George pulled out his own checkbook, promptly paid his boss $10,000 and stormed out of office!
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks "Fascinating Walt Disney" and "Tales Of Hollywood". The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at www.hollywoodstories.com.