When I came across the above photo it led me into an interesting story about John Ford and the play/film “What Price Glory”.
John Ford was obviously a fan of the 1924 comedy/drama, “What Price Glory” by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. After a successful run on Broadway, it was filmed by Raoul Walsh in 1926, with Edmund Lowe , Victor McLaglen and Dolores Del Rio.
The play tells the story of the rivalry between two U.S. marine corps officers in France during the First World War.
Possibly with a view to filming it, Ford put together a group of his Hollywood friends and staged ‘What Price Glory’ in 1949 , with Pat O’Brien and Ward Bond as the two leads, plus Maureen O’Hara as the French girl they fight over.
The play was first seen at the Masquers Club Of Hollywood, with profits to charity.
The play subsequently toured California with a changing cast including Gregory Peck, Oliver Hardy, Alan Hale, Wallace Ford, Pat O’Brien, Rod Cameron, Forrest Tucker.
What a cast. In addition to O’Brien, Bond and O’Hara in the lead roles, others in the cast included John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr, William Lundigan, Ed Begley, Wallace Ford, Oliver Hardy, Jimmy Lyndon, Robert Armstrong and Gregory Peck!
Then In 1952, Ford did a film version, but couldn’t get Wayne or Maureen O’Hara for the leads. James Cagney, Dan Dailey and Corinne Calvert stepped in , but reviews suggest the 1926 silent version was better.
If anyone has seen either film, I’d be interested to hear from you.
I hadn’t heard of the Masquers Club of Hollywood which started in 1925 as an Actors club. Many famous names in Hollywood joined and they often put on shows and made several film shorts including “The Stolen Jewels” in 1931, featuring Norma Shearer, Irene Dunne, Joan Crawford. Edward G. Robinson.
A 1968 Masquers dinner for Edward G.Robinson. James Stewart, Richard Widmark, George Burns, Cesar Romero and Mervyn LeRoy.
Other testimonial dinners were given for Mae West in 1973 and Ginger Rogers in 1979.
Judy Garland was honoured by the Masquers in 1958 .
Membership declined in later years and the club has been resurrected as a historical society. An Anthony Caruso Award for achievement in film history and preservation is to be started. (Caruso was a long time Masquer.)
It is hoped to digitise the club’s archives which include the personal records of producer Harry Joe Brown and actor Allyn Joslyn. Plus an audio of Judy Garland’s speech in 1958 ( the audio is now available on the website.)