Wednesday, March 8, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mary Astor's Purple Diary, The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936, excerpt five)

from Mary Astor's Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward Sorel:

The prospect of being grilled in court about his intimate affairs terrified this very private man, and he had to get out of California before the subpoena was served. Kaufman made a frantic call to MGM’s “boy genius” producer chief, Irving Thalberg, to save him from the law. Thalberg, thirty-seven, second in command at MGM, had lured the proud citizen of Broadway back to glitzy Gomorrah the preceding year with an offer of $100,000 to coauthor the Marx Brothers’ first film for MGM, A Night at the Opera, with Morrie Ryskind. Thalberg was the only movie producer Kaufman respected, and the feeling had become mutual after the playwright—author of a fierce clause in the Dramatists Guild contract, informally named for him—once responded to pressure for a rush treatment with, “Do you want it Wednesday, or do you want it good?”

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