Voices of Paramount Past
By ALLEN DI BENEDETTO
December 06, 2012
Paramount Pictures is turning 100 this year, and to celebrate, the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Hollywood, CA is hosting a special tribute to the studio by making props, clothes, and other such artifacts from various Paramount films available for public display.
Esteemed "Golden Era" actors Marsha Hunt and Pauline Wagner, who were present on opening day of the tribute, spoke fondly to ET of their experiences working alongside such notables as Gary Cooper, Jimmy Cagney, Robert Cummings, Bing Crosby, Mae West, Carole Lombard, and many more.
Wagner, who once doubled for Fay Wray on the original 1933 version of King Kong, recalled how she first fell into acting, "It was an accident. During the Depression, my girlfriend and I used to go down and swim in front of [Marion Davies's] house. … and one day the maid came out and said, 'how would you guys like to work in pictures?' … so we went out there and I got hired for $75 a week on a contract. And that's how I ended up in pictures."
Hunt, who was blacklisted in the early '50s McCarthy era and is currently the subject of a feature documentary still in production called Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity, also spoke of her early beginnings in show business, telling ET, "I had an early start, and Paramount gave it to me at 17. Paramount was only 5 years older, cause if it's 100 years old tonight, I'm 95. But at 17, Paramount signed me, and I had never been paid to act before, and they put me right into leads, and gave me nothing but leads from the very beginning. I had no idea how unusual and what a crazy compliment that was. All I had to do was try to live up to it, and that was a full-time job."
For more from Marsha Hunt and Pauline Wagner, including advice Wagner was given by her director on one of her very first films, click the video!
The Hollywood Heritage Museum, located entirely within the historic Lasky-DeMille Barn in Hollywood, CA, houses film props, photos, archival footage, and similar items spanning the history of Hollywood, from birth to present. For more information, click here.