Saturday, February 25, 2017

Franchot Tells On Himself: Vintage Magazine Articles

In the 1930's, writer and later press agent Jerry Asher wrote many articles on Franchot for fan magazines. I have mixed feelings about Jerry Asher, who became incredibly and exaggeratedly gossipy as time passed and later made some pretty damaging claims about the private lives of both his once confidante Joan and his one-time friend Franchot. (I am researching the validity of some of Asher's statements and will go more in detail about all of this later, but I'm always mistrustful of "friends" who make themselves readily available for any public opportunity to divulge very private details.) No matter my feelings of Asher's future behavior, back in the 1930's, he could be depended upon to publish quality magazine articles on Franchot. In Franchot Tells On Himself, Franchot divulged the many things he disliked about himself, personally and professionally:
I dislike my so-called ease of manner. I dislike it on the screen and I dislike it in real life. It stands in the way of my creating a character on the screen instead of just playing myself over and over again. If I'm portraying strong, true emotions, instead of giving subtle indications of what the emotion might be, it stands in the way of my ever doing any really fine work, such as in Shakespearean tales. Some day I hope to go beyond it. Of course, it's fine for those Park Avenue playboys I've done to death. I dislike that kind of part intensely. I've played so many, people actually think I'm that kind of smug chap. I agree with them, and if I weren't so lazy, I'd have done something about it long ago.
Speaking of laziness, this is another thing I dislike about myself. For instance, I put off writing letters for weeks at a time. I hate to delegate them to some one else, especially my fan mail. It takes about four or five hours a week to do it, but somehow I seldom get around to it. But when I do write or send photographs, I send them myself. I feel it is cheating to let some one fake my signature, so at least I do it right when it is done.
My family back in Niagara Falls likes to hear from me every week. A few hastily written lines to let them know I am well is all they expect. But I put off writing, and then have to go to the expense of a long-distance call, when a three-cent stamp would have done the work.
People may think I'm conceited, but that doesn't prevent me from disliking my looks in general. The first thing that hits my eye when I see myself on the screen is my big Adam's apple. Can you imagine a surprised-looking turtle with a huge lump in its throat? Well, that's exactly the way I look to myself.
I dislike my superficial knowledge of a great many things, and my lack of real knowledge of any particular one. I dislike it because it gives the impression of being well read and intellectual. The truth is, I went to college and happen to have a good memory for stray facts, which gives me a superficial knowledge of a great many things.
Generations of a legal family behind me have made me pedantic. I dislike this in myself. I argue about dates, exaggeration of facts, wrong descriptions, et cetera. Often they are not important and the inaccuracy usually makes better conversation. But so many of my ancestors were lawyers that it has made me a stickler for the exact statement about everything.
I think there's too much vanity in my general make-up. If I weren't so vain I'd make those playboy roles mean something as in 'Dancing Lady' and 'Reckless.' But vanity kept me from doing anything unusual with these roles. I thought it was more important to look well. If I hadn't been so vain, I could have played the parts drunk and disheveled and really kept myself in character. Vanity enters into it when I talk with people. Somehow I never can bring myself to admit my superficial knowledge, even if I only have a vague idea what we are discussing.
At heart I am timid. But I dislike myself for being that way. I am an actor, and people expect me to be colorful, self-assured and amusing. I feel they expect these things, and they should be carried off with a flourish and an air. When I feel some one looking at me I get terribly self-conscious.
I dislike myself for not living up to my screen personality. I haven't a right to do this to the people who go to see me. I really should have an act. It would be much more intriguing and interesting. It's easy to put on an act on the screen, but off the screen there just isn't any act. I know it's disappointing, but I can't help it.
One of my pet dislikes is that I am such a sane fellow. I don't want to be sane, but I'm so colorless I just never think of crazy things to do. I don't seem to have that magnificent abandon that makes a man suddenly make up his mind to jump in a plane and fly to Alaska, or go tramping off to some desert to dig for gold. If I contemplated giving way to an impulse, I'd first figure out how long it would take, and which would be the best way to do it.
Asher, Jerry. "Franchot Tells on Himself." Picture Play Magazine. 1935.

1 comment:

  1. I read that Jerry Asher had a crush on Franchot because after meeting him at a pool 🏊 party said he was ' Horse Hung ' and made a pass at Franchot ! LOL ~

    I also read Crawford called him a ' jawbreaker ' and a 10 inch ' Cocksman ' ~