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Way Back Home(1931)

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Remind Me

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The working title for this film was Other People's Business. Motion Picture Herald reviewed the film under that title. The name "Seth Parker" appears above the movie's title. The character of "Seth Parker" was created by Phillips H. Lord, whose Maine sketches featuring "Seth and Mother Parker" and "Lizzie and Cephus Perkins," were first popularized on the radio. This is the first film in which Lord appeared as "Seth Parker." Lord also appeared in the 1935 Arcturus Pictures film Obeah!, in which his character was called "the adventurer." "Seth Parker" was the name of his yacht in that film. Phillips Lord was married to Sophia Lord, who also played "Lizzie Perkins" on the radio, at the time of this production. In an RKO inter-office memorandum from the "Critic Department," the box office potential of this story was discussed at length. The unidentified script reader complained about the datedness of the plot, stating that "a story of this type should never take itself seriously, for the day when pictures like The Old Homestead [a 1915 Famous Players film based on a well-known New England vaudeville character] would grip the attention of a movie audience is lost forever." The reader mentioned the financial failure of a 1930 RKO Amos 'n' Andy movie, Check and Double Check, as proof that popular radio stars do not always make popular film stars. In addition, the reader pointed out that the majority of "Seth Parker's" fans were "those people who are interested in the singing of hymns, old folk songs, and a very simple brand of humor" and that the "average young person, between the ages of fifteen and thirty, who form a very large percentage of the movie audiences, do not listen to the broadcast." Although a July 1931 Hollywood Reporter news item announced Eric Linden as the lead in the picture, that actor did not appear in the film. According to an August Film Daily news item, scenes for the production were to be shot in Santa Cruz, CA. The Motion Picture Herald reviewer complimented Carl Dreher, RKO sound department chief, for his contribution to this film. The exact nature of Dreher's work on this particular production is not known, however. RKO borrowed Frank Albertson from Fox and Bette Davis from Universal. According to modern sources, Davis was paid $300 per week for three weeks of shooting on the picture.