Friday, February 19, 2016

Theodore Le Berthon (1892-1960)-Part Six

Theodore Le Berthon seems to have been a full-time writer, journalist, and/or publicity man all of his working life. I have found lots of credits for him. Some have dates attached to them. Some don't. I'll list them by bullets. These are in rough chronological order.
  • Manager?, Imperial Theatre, San Francisco
  • Editor, Orange (California) Daily Star (as of 1917)
  • Reporter, San Francisco Post and Los Angeles Evening Herald (prior to 1920)
  • Publicity, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (ca. 1917-1919) (1)
  • Publicity, (Sid Grauman's) Strand Theater, San Francisco (ca. 1919)
  • Publicity, (Sid Grauman's) Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles (to Sept. 1920)
  • Publicity?, King Vidor (1920); Balaban & Katz theaters (1920s)
  • Editor, The Photodramatist (June 1921-ca. 1922)
  • Columnist, "Screen Writers Forum," Camera (ca. 1921-1922)
  • Police reporter (as of 1923)
  • Columnist, "Merry-Go-Round," Los Angeles Evening Herald (1920s)
  • Title writer, Arizona Wildcat, movie starring Tom Mix (1927)
  • Reporter on New York, Brooklyn, and Chicago dailies (dates unknown)
  • Reporter, managing editor, Los Angeles Record (as of 1930)
  • Reporter, columnist,  "Night Court," Los Angeles Daily and/or Evening News (columnist, 1936, 1937, or 1938 to Sept. 1943)
  • Contributor, AmericaMotion Picture, possibly other movie fan magazines (1920s on)
  • Columnist, "White Man's Views," Pittsburgh Courier (1940s)
  • Contributing editor, Negro Digest (1940s?)
  • Received the first annual Blessed Martin DePorres Award for his interracial work (1944)
Ted Le Berthon was a Catholic, and he wrote for Catholic publications. His credits there:
  • Association with The Catholic Worker (1940s?)
  • Assistant editor, The Catholic Digest (1940s)
  • Columnist and staff writer, The Tidings of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles (dates unknown)
  • Contributor, Catholic MindThe Marianist, The Sign, and Commonweal, including for Commonweal:
  • "The Inner Forum," Aug. 7, 1942
  • "The Lights Went Out," May 17, 1946
  • "At the Prevailing Rate," Nov. 1, 1957
  • "The Bare Minimum," Mar. 14, 1958
  • "Trouble in California," June 20, 1958
  • "Vindication for the Nisei," Jan. 16, 1959
  • "Disappearing Dailies," Nov. 6, 1959
He was also an author of short stories, including:
  • "Demons of the Film Colony," Weird Tales, Oct. 1932
  • "I Took Thee, Constance," Story, May-June 1946; reprinted in Many-Colored Fleece, an anthology of Catholic fiction edited by Sister Mariella Gable, O.S.B. (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1951)
  • "The Racist," The Sign, Apr. 1949
In The American Catholic Who's Who, 1960 and 1961 (p. 260), Le Berthon was listed as being on the editorial staff of the Central California [or Fresno?] Register and residing at 3309 Grant Avenue, Fresno. He died of a heart attack in Fresno on January 31, 1960. So far in this series, Le Berthon has died at least three times. I think it will happen once more before I reach the end.

To be continued . . . 

(1) Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, formed in 1916, eventually became Paramount Pictures. Today, Paramount is owned by Viacom, also the owners of the Weird Tales property.

In the 1910s, Ted Le Berthon worked in publicity for Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. (I think it was sometimes called "exploitation" in those days.) One of the stars of that studio was Wanda Hawley. Here she is being levitated by Harry Houdini. The image is from a blog called Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence, by Joe, and dated July 27, 2014. Two recent entries (Jan. 10 & 17, 2016) are about Houdini, H.P. Lovecraft, C.M. Eddy, Jr., and Sonia Greene. You might want to have a look.

So here is an actress named Wanda Hawley. Ted Le Berthon's wife was also named Hawley, and he was involved in the movie business. Was there a connection between them? I was really hoping I would find something, but . . .

Wanda Hawley was born Selma Wanda Pittack on July 30, 1895, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1916, she married Allen Burton Hawley (1895-Sept. 1925). She made her debut the following year with the Fox Film Corporation, but she went on to work with Famous Players-Lasky, King Vidor, Cecil B. DeMille, and other moviemakers. Ted Le Berthon worked in publicity for Famous Players-Lasky and King Vidor. It seems likely to me that he knew her. But was she related by marriage to his wife? In other words, were Frances Elizabeth Hawley Le Berthon and Allen Burton Hawley related? I don't have access to all the resources I might need to answer that question, but in my research, I haven't found anything to suggest a connection between them. In any event, Wanda Hawley divorced her husband in 1923 (not 1922 as sources on the Internet indicate). Her career pretty well ended with the first talkies, and she died on March 18, 1963, in Los Angeles. Look for her on Find A Grave, here.

By the way, Houdini will show again before this series is finished.

Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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