The Fairy Diary Day 372 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

However the theft was accomplished we reached an agreement that we needed to descend back down and take the underground passage to the Low-way of the dwarves and inquire after Artoxon’s people. It is my fear that since it is highly likely that the dragon came via those passages, the serpent could very well have raised havoc among them. When I broached that possibility to Gilgorgon he forthrightly supported my idea. In fact he deputized us as his ambassadors in order to lay the groundwork for healing the breach of longstanding. 

In answering my query on this topic, the High Fairy was quick (and short) in adding his support. Evidently things are quite hectic at present in the Faerie Kingdom. 

There has been no news from Merlin. 

After Dunfallon made arrangements for the care of Gabhe, we set off on our new adventure.

The Fairy Diary Day 232 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

It was decided that the Dromadilian ambassador would return immediately (with the precious item that was the source of the rift between the two peoples). And by their new agreement the Dromadil pixies will send their scouts across the lake to surveil the enemy. 

So once again we bid Dunfallon goodbye as he flew off with the ambassador. Beforehand we all had begged him to return with all dispatch. For we each feel the pressure to be off to do our part on our special mission. 

In the meantime Nililitil commanded the first batch of his forces to commence their march on the land of the dark elves. 

He also is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Merlin.

The Fairy Diary Day 231 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Our sadness lifted the instant Dunfallon landed with his eagle, accompanied by an ambassador from the Dromadil pixies. They were rushed immediately into the Laguayil council chamber where Nililitil received them with much pomp and ceremony. 

While the ambassador negotiated with the Laguayilian leader, Dunfallon filled us in about his latest adventures. 

He looked hard and long for these pixies, and at last uncovered them in burrows beside a lake that sits across from the former land of the dark elves. He was received as a great curiosity at first but when he explained that he was there on the behalf of the elves of light he was almost expelled bodily. 

On a whim our pixie scavenged the area and discovered the presence of the infamous black plants. 

After disposing them, even Dunfallon, as well as the Dromadilians were horrified to see the black crystalline structure across the lake from their burrow. 

From that moment it was easy to convince these other pixies the need to reach out to their former allies. 

And as if that wasn’t enough to rejoice about – before their ambassador had been selected to return with him – who should show up in the burrow of the Dromadilians but our missing wizard. 

And with a twinkle in his eye, our pixie informed us that Merlin will soon be with us here in Laguayil – once he has helped stave off an imminent attack. 

Before the Wind Came

before-the-wind-came

In writing my most recent Memories post (The SoCal Trip 1975), I was curious about one of the sites we visited on that particular vacation, so I did a little research.

The site was (and is) the Selznick Studio, which is wedged away in a small enclave in Culver City, California. (It still does business but now under the name of the Culver Studios). Formed in 1919 when Thomas Ince broke away from Triangle Pictures (whose other two partners of the troika were D. W. Griffith and Hal Roach), it has changed hands a number of times over the years. After the mysterious death of Mr. Ince in 1924, Cecil B. DeMille moved into the lot. He merged the concern with the Pathe company in 1926, which in turn was acquired by RKO in 1932. Selznick leased the lot from RKO in 1936.

[Check out this history, that chronicles some of the films (and TV shows) done on the lot. Of particular note were the old sets on the lot (i.e. ones for King Kong, etc.) that were torched for the burning of Atlanta sequence for GWTW.]

When doing some research for another project, I came across this brief article in Variety for October 30, 1935 p 7.

Shearer-Garbo in with Selznick-Whitney Prods.

Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo are among those who are reported tied in financially with the new Dave Selznick producing firm in which Jock Whitney is also concerned.

I realized this article heralded the genesis of Selznick’s involvement at the Culver Studio (then RKO). Shearer and Garbo disappear from any connection to Selznick, in so far as any corporate involvement is concerned. He had been pursuing Garbo prior to this for the role that finally went to Bette Davis in “Dark Victory” when the rights were sold to WB. Instead Garbo chose to do “Anna Karenina” as one of Selznick’s last projects as a producer in the employ of MGM. Garbo was close to Shearer and her husband Irving Thalberg, so this conjunction of their names is not unusual. The untimely death of Thalberg the following year and the subsequent turmoil may explain their absence from the concern going forward.

This article also set me off on another “rabbit trail,” in so far GWTW was involved.

The name in the last phrase, Jock Whitney, was completely new to me, and it proved fascinating to learn more about him.

Whitney was the young well-to-do scion of an East Coast family (who inherited 20 million from his father after 1927, and 80 million from his mother after 1944). His full name – John Hay Whitney gave the first clue to his family history. To anyone who has read about Abraham Lincoln, John Hay is a familiar name. He was one of Lincoln’s secretaries during his time in office. Later he was appointed ambassador to London, and later still served as Secretary of State under both McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. And Jock Whitney is his grandson and namesake. His other grandfather, served as Naval Secretary under Cleveland.

  Whitney graduated from Yale, and was a member of the Scroll & Key secret society while there, (his father also was an alumnus, but a member of the Skull & Crossbones secret society). He started as a clerk in a banking house. But once he came into money, he invested in personal interests. He was a major “angel” for Broadway productions during the 1930s. – “Here Goes the Bride,” “Life with Father,” and “Jumbo.” From there it was short hop to film.

He had been brought into the film business by Merian C. (“King Kong”) Cooper, then a producer and head of production at RKO. By 1933, Jock founded his own production company, Pioneer Films.  And around the same time he acquired a 15% interest in Technicolor. He used the process in making a musical short “La Cucaracha,” and later the first technicolor (three strip process) feature “Becky Sharp.” Pioneer was merged with Selznick Int’l Pictures in 1936, and Whitney ended up as chairman of the board of the new company.

Together on the Culver lot they were responsible for such films as “A Star is Born,” “Nothing Sacred,” “Rebecca,” and “Gone with the Wind.” In fact, it was through Whitney’s direct investment that Selznick acquired the rights to the Margaret Mitchell novel, which laid the foundation for what would be Selznick’s “signature” film.

In the Yale yearbook for 1926, in its write up about Whitney it noted that his future plans looked to an occupation in either the field of literature or diplomacy. Actually he “checked off both boxes.” The thirties and forties mark his time of involvement with literature as literary projects were translated to the stage and to the screen (in the 1940 census he lists himself as an executive in the Motion Picture Industry). He was an Eisenhower supporter in the fifties, and was consequently appointed the US ambassador to London, following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather.