Ten Percent Of Jimmy StewartWritten by Stephen Schochet
Jimmy Stewart was seen one night in 1933 in New York performing on stage as a female impersonator by an MGM talent scout. He was signed to a contract to come to California to work for prestigious studio. Studio Head Louis B. Mayer expressed doubt when he first saw him,"He's so skinny! A beanpole." Efforts were made to put weight on him, 133 pound actor was constantly sharing butterfingers candy bars with Ann Miller which seemed to fatten her up more than him.
If Mayer was unimpressed by his new star's physique, his behavior was a refreshing change compared to some of prima donnas at MGM like usually drunk Spencer Tracy, or demanding to be alone all time Greta Garbo. Stewart never complained about his salary or workload. Whatever task be it screen tests or B-movies, he was always on time and knew his lines, although sometimes his trademark stammering lead to extra takes. If they loaned him to a lesser studio like Columbia, he was just happy to be working. Slowly, in late thirties with great performances in Frank Capra movies like You Can't Take It With You (1938) and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington(1939), Stewart's star rose as did respect for his talent. He became known as a swinging lady's man around town. Mayer was surprised and delighted by his Academy Award for Philadelphia Story (1940) as well as his humble gesture of sending Oscar statue home to Indiana, Pa. for his father to display in Stewart family hardware store.
Kate Hepburn StoriesWritten by Stephen Schochet
Katherine Hepburn came to Los Angeles in 1932 and like Calista Flockart, had a theater person's snobbish view towards Hollywood. In person, she impressed no one with her looks and style, and executive David O. Selznick worried about her "horse face". She finished her first film, Bill Of Divorcement with John Barrymore and told him," Thank God we're finished. I never want to act with you again". The Great Man replied," My dear girl. I wasn't aware that you had".
Many of Miss Hepburn's co-stars couldn't stand her. The movie Stage Door (1936) called for her to make a speech which would cause Ginger Rogers to cry. The director Gregory La Cava knew that Conservative Ginger Rogers hated Liberal Hepburn, so he called Ginger to set alone. "Babe I got terrible news. Your mother called, your new house burned down." After filming Ginger's tearful reaction, La Cava excused her, and Hepburn was called to set to make her speech.
Another film that gave Hepburn problems was comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Cary Grant. She didn't at first understand concept of playing comedy straight, letting script dictate humor. Her meddling and constant suggestions drove director Howard Hawks to distraction. Finally he confronted her on set. "Katie, will you please shut up!" Hepburn replied calmly," Howard, you shouldn't talk that way to me. I have many friends on set. They might arrange for an accident to happen to you." Hawks looked up into rafters at one of film techs manning a huge spotlight. "Hey Joey, who would rather drop that light on, me or Miss Hepburn?" "Get out of way, Mr. Hawks."
Hepburn at one point was declared box office poison and thought her career would be saved by playing Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, which she was willing to do for free. Mindful of what reaction from South would be to a New Englander playing role, David O. Selznick cruelly rejected her by saying," I can't imagine Rhett Butler chasing after you for 10 years."