Today's column was written by Helen Kane, who was once the famous Boop-a-Doop girl.
Dear Jim: I know your column is not rigged and i will have to write this myself. I think i had better write about something i know about, show buisiness (which there is no biz like). I never wanted to be anything but an actress and did a lot of amateur plays at school, but i drove the poor nuns crazy. They couldn't understand how i could learn a song in a half hour and memorize a play overnight. but couldn't learn to spell 10 words in a year.
I wanted to go on the stage, but my mother said good girls don't go on the stage. Still i tried all the theatrical booking offices and i never got by the office boy. One day i was talking to one of these kids and a man walked in and asked me what i could do.
I told him i could sing, dance and act. He said he was doing a brother act at the Fordham in the Bronx and his name was Chico Marx. He invited me to meet Harpo, Groucho and Zeppo. I did and i got a job at $65 a week. My mother didn't like the idea and my father was hurt by it. For years he had worked for $50 a month.
My Next JobEdit
was in "A Night in Spain." One critic called it "A Night in Pain" and said that, as punishment, the shuberts should be forced to listen to helen Kane sing all night. But the big break came in the Paramount Theater in 1928. A stage presentation went with the movie, and i had one song, "That's My Weakness Now." For the heck of it, i tossed a few boop-boopa-doos into the number. It caught on like the measles and in a few days my name was out in lights. The critics said, "A new star is born." I was dizzy with success.
Later i was signed for Arthur Hammerstien's "Good Boy" and i met a handsome irishman in the show named Dan Healy, i sand "I Wanna Be Loved by You" to him so many times he finally took the hint and married me.
From there, i went into movies. I made records for Victor and they sold in the millions. I lived in a mansion in Beverly Hill's had a swimming pool and servants and cars, and lots of money in the bank, Still, my biggest thrill came when i headlined at the old palace on Broadway. I felt i had made it. I went throught the Roaring '20s and the Thrilling '30s like a runaway rocket.
Get The Picture?Edit
Now let's turn it over and look at the other side, Everything has gone, fame, money, cars name in lights the works, everything but Dan. Today i'm 55. He's 71. We have a small flat in Jackson Heights, N.Y, and the only struggle we have is trying to pay the rent on time. I have had two cancer operations and now feel great. Dan, at the moment is in a Veterans Hospital getting his plumbing adjusted. We have each otherand that's everything/ The other side of the picture is not as glamorous as the first side, but it's a lot more enduring and it doesn't fade. Remember, i started in a five story walkup in the Bronx, We're still ahead of the game...