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George White's Scandals

George White's Scandals(1934)

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This film was reviewed by Variety and a pre-release Motion Picture Herald article as Scandals. Although the onscreen credits list only George White as the storywriter and credit only Jack Yellen with additional dialogue, the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library confirm that Siegfried M. Herzig and Samuel Shipman wrote the original screen story, William Conselman wrote the screenplay, Joseph Cunningham wrote the dialogue, and Henry Johnson, Ray Henderson and Irving Caesar contributed to the dialogue. This was Broadway producer White's first film, and it was based on his highly successful series of theatrical musical revues, which began in 1919. The legal records reveal that White was contracted to direct and produce five "Scandals" pictures for Fox over a five-year period, although he only made this film and George White's 1935 Scandals for the studio (see below). A letter in the legal records states that either Fox or White could cancel their contract if, after each film had been in release for four months, it did not appear that the film would accumulate a gross of $1,400,000. White produced George White's Scandals for RKO in 1945. It was directed by Felix E. Feist and starred Joan Davis and Jack Haley.
       A November 29, 1933 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Fox was trying to get Raoul Walsh to direct the picture, and the legal records note that White replaced dance director Russell Markert with Georgie Hale before production began. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, M-G-M initially refused to loan Jimmy Durante to Fox, although he does appear in the completed film, and songwriter Irving Caesar was considered for a "comedy role," although his participation as an actor in the finished picture has not been confirmed. A Los Angeles Times news item notes that the Loomis Sisters were scheduled to be in the cast, but their participation in the final film has also not been confirmed. According to contemporary sources, Jack Haley and Lilian Harvey were set for leading roles, and Marie Ormiston, who was a member of the Broadway George White's Scandals cast, was also to be in the picture. None of them appear in the finished film. Lilian Harvey was replaced by Alice Faye, who made her screen-acting debut in this picture. Faye had appeared in the eleventh edition of White's Broadway show, which opened in 1931, and soon after became a regular on Rudy Vallee's radio show. Modern sources note that Faye was originally scheduled to sing just one number in the picture, but was given Harvey's part when she left the production before filming began. Several contemporary reviews noted that public curiousity over Faye would bring in audiences. The Variety review pointed out: "For box office, Scandals must rest its case on the title, Rudy Vallee's personal draw and probable romantic speculation over, and public interest in, the joint presence of Vallee and Alice Faye." Modern sources note that in January 1934, Vallee's wife named Faye as a co-respondent in her divorce suit against Vallee. Shirley Temple, who was a member of The Meglin Kiddies, is included in the number "Following in Mother's Footsteps," which chronicles the future careers of former "Scandal Girls'" daughters.
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Hays Office objected to three "gags" contained in the picture: a scene during the "So Nice" song in which "Stew Hart" picks up a toilet seat and tells "Patsy Dey" that she can use it as a frame for a picture of her mother; another scene from "So Nice" in which "Stew" picks up a catalog and states that he is leaving the room; and a sequence in which "Patsy," who is bending over to peer through a keyhole, rejects "Stew's" proposal and tells him to "put that in your pipe and smoke it." In response, "Stew" states: "Well, I guess I'll have to get a bigger pipe." Although the other scenes were left in, the catalog gag was apparently shortened, and the picture received a seal of approval from the Hays Office. After the film was released, however, many state and city censor boards and civic organizations lodged protests against it with the Hays Office and Fox. The three scenes mentioned above were objected to, as were the song "Nasty Man," sung by Faye, and the Meglin Kiddies sequence in which one of the children does a fan dance and sings "Nasty Man." The film was banned by the Legion of Decency and was withdrawn from release by Fox on February 15, 1935.