Archive for the ‘From the Headlines’ Category

John Gilbert–Jim Tully feud

Sunday, October 9th, 2011


John Gilbert and Jim Tully bout stirs Los Angeles




Los Angeles Evening Herald
February 11, 1930


Hollywood today awaited the next flare-up in the John Gilbert-Jim Tully feud.


And while Hollywood awaited, details of a fist fight staged by the pair in a Hollywood restaurant several days ago was coming to light, indicated that Tully, redheaded author, had knocked the screen star down and had scored a decision over him in the presence of Gilbert’s wife, Ina Claire.


Gilbert, now vacationing at Palm Springs, refused to discuss the fight at length except to state tersely: “I don’t care to talk about it. I only did what any man would have done in the circumstances.”


Which was almost the same the same thing Tully said, but the author added: “I did what you’d do if a man came charging across a room at you. I simply got up and knocked him down.”


But “ringsiders” and friends recounted the “blow by blow” report of the fight. Tully, they said, was having a midnight lunch at a table with Miss May Cruze, sister of director James Cruze, and Nicholas Kelly.


Gilbert, Miss Claire and Sid Grauman entered the cafe.


Two years ago, Tully had written “unfriendly” words in a story of Gilbert’s life, appearing in a nationally known magazine, and bad feeling was known to exist between the two.


According to witnesses, Gilbert deposited his coat and then saw Tully seated at the table. With a shout, the romantic star, dashed across the room, it was said.


Tully arose and struck him in the face, flooring Gilbert. Then friends separated the pair, and Gilbert left in a few minutes, joined by his wife.



Jack Gilbert, screen star, may have been down as the result of one of author Jim Tully’s “roundhouse swings.” But he insists he never was “licked.”


Gilbert emerged from temporary seclusion at Palm Springs today to tell the world that his head, target of Tully’s punch in a Hollywood cafe last week, may have been bloody, but it’s still unbowed.


“I’m not saying what I’ll do the next time we meet,” Gilbert said. “If I should feel at that moment as I did the other night, there’ll be another fight. I hope to have better luck next time. I made a mistake rushing him. It put me at a disadvantage.”


Tully scoffed at Gilbert’s latest defy.


“He’s always at a disadvantage when he tackles me,” the author said. “I learned to fight where brickbats were daisies. If Gilbert had gone to that school he wouldn’t have survived to become a motion picture star.”


Tully siad he “was fond of Jack, but Gilbert had no sense of humor.”


Gilbert declined to predict when his next meeting with Tully would take place. He also denied he was “in training” at the Palm Springs resort, where he is vacationing with his wife, Ina Claire.


Ringside reports that Gilbert was the aggressor in the cafe fight were corroborated today by Miss May Cruze, sister of director James Cruze, who was with Tully and Nicholas Kelly when the fight started.


“Jack started it, all right,” Miss Cruze said. “He and Miss Claire and Sid Grauman came in and Jack started making passes at Jim. I think he missed four times. Then Jim hit him and he went down. Men stopped the fight, but Jack seemed willing to go on.”



Fay Wray’s Extortion Attempt

Monday, September 26th, 2011


Fay Wray, intended victim!



Los Angeles Examiner
July 15, 1928


Fay Wray, motion-picture actress, was the intended victim of a bold extortion plot, her mother was marked for death, and the suspected extortionist was captured, all within a the span of two hours yesterday.


The suspect was captured by Captain of Detectives Edward Slaughter and a squad of officers while in the act of recovering a packet of fake money at the rendezvous of the “pay-off.” He gave his name as Lyon I. Bernard, 35, of 521 South Cloverdale Street, and a friend of the Wray family.


To avoid arrest, he tried to “shoot it out” with his captors, but was overpowered. 


Miss Wray is the bride of John Monk Saunders, scenarist and author. They returned from their honeymoon a few days ago.


Miss Wray, who resides at 7919 Thelma avenue, was handed a message at her home shortly after noon yesterday by a special delivery postal messenger. On the envelope was inscribed:


“12:15 p.m. Saturday.


“Quiet is necessary to save dear old mother at once today, Saturday the fourteenth. Mum!”


The envelope contained the following grim message, crudely printed in pencil:


“Say ­the life of your mother is in great danger and only the payment by you of $2,000 will save her life. She is being watched constantly. Don’t be foolish or call the police. In fact, don’t tell a soul of this. Follow instructions and she will not be harmed.



“Get money in assorted currency, wrapped in newspaper. Then get in your car and drive to a vacant lot at Sunset and Laurel Avenue.


“You will notice some tall weeds growing on the west side of Laurel avenue between the street and the sidewalk. Slow up as you pass these and throw money here. Then drive straight down Laurel to Santa Monica. Drive like hell!” As long as nothing happens to us your mother is safe. Don’t even tell your husband.


“If we are hunted­good-by Mother!”


The letter was unsigned.   


Miss Wray immediately notified Captain of Detectives Edward Slaughter at Hollywood station. Time was scarce–less then an hour to work before the appointed “delivery” of the money.



Captain Slaughter, with several detectives, hastened to the rendezvous. He stationed Detective Lieutenant Jackson in a house across from the vacant lot. Captain Slaughter and Detective Lieutenant Page concealed themselves near the lot on Sunset boulevard. Detective Lieutenant Dwight was posted 500 feet north of the lot.


Miss Wray, alone in her car, drove to the appointed spot. Driving slowly past the lot she tossed the decoy packet into the weeds and drove rapidly toward Santa Monica Boulevard.



The officers waited. Half a block from the vacant lot they espied a man,without a coat, nervously sitting in a parked automobile. For almost an hour the suspect “stalled.” He stepped from his car, paced slowly back and forth in front of the lot, scanning the weeds. Several times he got back in his car and drove around the block.



Finally the suspect returned to the lot. He again alighted from his car and advanced into the weeds. He picked up the decoy package and returned to his car.


As he was climbing into his car, the detectives rushed him. He drew the pistol–aimed–and it misfired. The gun was knocked from his his hand and he was arrested.   


“I was broke,” Bernard told his captors. “I knew Miss Wray in her schooldays. I went to school with her brother and sister back in Bingham Canyon, Utah.


“I knew she deeply loved her mother, Mrs. Vina Wray. I knew Mrs. Wray lived at 1332 Sierra Bonita avenue. I thought I could get away with it.”


Bernard said he was married.


Miss Wray faced him in the station and asked him why he did it. Bernard broke down and wept. He is charged with suspicion of extortion.