As I Was Saying

As I Was Saying

I don’t as a rule talk for publication, and I’m not responsible for none of the interviews in the other papers that have been printing all sorts of things they’d said I said and did.
This is a private and exclusive talk and interview I’m giving to the Morning Smile and the lady I’m talking to has made the satisfactory terms and arrangements with me and my lawyer-attorney who isn’t able to be present, but as I’ve told him over and over again, I’m quite able to talk2 for myself, though I’m glad to profit by his legal advice.
First I thank the Morning Smile for the way it has treated me; but what3 the other papers haven’t had my picture on the front page sometimes two or three times a day, to say nothing of me being given equal prominence with suh celebrated people as Ben Shuler, Aza Keiser, and Julian Stoek4 As I was saying, I’m appreciative to all the papers so far as all this free publicity goes, but I’ve made a legal arrangement with the Morning Smile and my lawyer has been teaching me about contracts and things like that. So I hope the other papers will now excuse me for the present and get all the news about me from day to day from the Morning Smile.
Fame is something that does’nt come to every girl in Hollywood. I bet theres not a star or actress in this town but would give her eyes to get one tenth of the space I been getting lately, for I happen to know they pay all kinds of money for even a paragraph in a secure corner. And they do all kinds of fool stunts too. There was Sylvan5 Lee for instance. She drove to the busiest part of Hollywood Boulevard and got out and directed traffic, with her stockings rolled down and her skirt nbove what she thought the papers’d describe as her dimpled knees. She got not a line in the papers and come near getting run over and you ought to’ve heard the horns hooting and the sirens blowing and everybody was wise to what she was doing it for. Anyway those sort of stunts don’t get you noywhere. The only way, short o of murder, that you can crash onto the front page, like Aimee6 did, is to get mixed up in some Sex or Booze fight. I’m tellin you its the only thing. You can get more space from being untrue to your wife or husband than if you build a library and that is a fact. You can ask anyone here in Hollywood.
I suppose you know all about the scene in that Courtroom. Goodness knows the papers were full about it. There must’ve been hundreds of fillum stars there, fighting for a seat or half a seat, some of them friends of the prisoners --My! I’ll bet that makes them sore for me to call them prisoners, but I believe in calling a spade a spade. I’ll not swear to it, because my lawyer has been giving me lessons in Perjury and I don’t swear to nothing, but I can say I’m almost positivel sure that Norma Shearer, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow,7 Jack Gilbert, Ramon Novarro, Greta Garbo---and the whole kit and caboodle of the stars were right there in the audience. If it wasn’t them then it was their doubles.
Not that I’m trying to make out that I was the sole center of attraction, even if my paper that I’m now exclusively contracted to, referred to me as the “Star Attraction.” However, you got to remember that every last tenant of Paradise Bungalow Courts was there. Naturally, they having been brought there in the patrol wagon the night before, and not all of them had the handy bail. As I was saying, though I was not the only magnet I had done my little modest share and no one could deny me that extinction.
It was I who started the ball arolling, and if the owners of Paradise Court knew which side their bread was buttered on, instead of acting like wild loons, just because all their tenants got arrested, they’d realize on the marvelous publicity that has come to them, without any effort on their part. They certainly had their nerve asking me to vacate, and I’d’ve told them where they got off at if my lawyer who represents me hadn’t advised that he write a dignified letter and seeing as I will need far more luxurious quarters, and as naturally I can’t go on living in the same place with all these tenants, who my lawyer advises me might start some Ku Klux stuff, why it gives me just the chance I want to get out of my lease with nine months compensation for the months I didn’t live there. My lawyer, Mr. Abe Lopstein, says leave it to him and thats what I’m doing and not interfering
But now, though I could go on forever talking in this vein
I’ll get down to brass tax and tell you all about it, though you already have read gobbled versions about it in the papers. Nobody knows the real facts except me myself.
I’d been to one of those wild Hollywood film parties. That is what they call them on the outside you know. Whenever anybody gives what they kid themselves into thinking is a wild party and it gets into the papers they put it up to the Movies and everyone swears they’re film stars or Big Showmen. But between you and me and the gatepost, where there’s one wild Hollywood party that’s given by the Movie people there’s ninety given by people that just wish they were in the movies and pass the buck to them. Of course, there was some movie folk living in Paradise Court. There was that couple that lived like a pair of mice in the rear. wouldn’t’ve believed they were alived and no one could have made me believe they were in the movies till they admitted it in court. My! they were the dazed pair. Didn’t seem to know what it was all about, though there was no denying she was sitting on his knee and they found “less than a quart” of alcohol in the bathroom medicine closet. If they hadn’t been so quiet and mysterious the reporters wouldn’t have dug up all that dirt about their pasts, for they both had pasts, but then as he said himself, anybody who’s anybody has. But more anon later perhaps about them.
As I was saying I realize that its me your interviewing and everyone wants to know about her that the Morning Star describes as the beautiful blonde fillum star and has had me photographed in bathing suit, as a prize beauty and in the nood.8 I wouldn’t have done it, but when one has to get out and earn their living by their figures one has to do lots of things they wouldn’t do maybe in their home town, and so long my lawyer Abe Lopstein advises me that we are looking for results and he says the end justifies the meaning.
Well, as I was saying I was at one of those wild Hollywood parties. It was in Natalie Bark’s villa---would you believe that you pronounce that V-yer---which is just across from mine in the court. I had also thought Natalie was a friend of mine up to the time I caught her with my first husband whom she’s married now, and it’s just because we happened to be living in the same court that we made up and anyway as Pill (he was my first husband and is now, for the present anyway, Natalie’s) says, I was kind of interested in Bert Mooney even then. Bert by the way is my present husband, or was--that is he is, but it’s not sure about the future. Anyway Natalie and Pill was throwing a party and naturally they invited me to come along ---I think Pill still has a case on me, though of course being Nat’s husband he can’t very well admit it before her. As I was saying there I was and we were having a bum sort of time and I was feeling kind of sore that they hadn’t invited Bert. Pill explained that it would’ve been kind of a mixup and indelicate he said and Nat made some dirty crack about some people not having any sensitiveness. A lot she thought of sensitiveness when she was hugging my ex husband before the courts said she could. Well, as I was saying, we got razzing and nagging each other and Nat made a crack about Bert and Lorna Velvet. Now Lorna happens to be my best friend, and I wasn’t going to take that from anyone like her. So after I’d said what I had to say I told them what I thought of them I went out banging the door behind me, and I heard Nat inside say: “Well that’s that” and Pill laughed. God! I almost went back, but what was the use and silence often shows ones contempt of character more than the tongue.
As I was saying, I’d just got to our door when something that the a spiritualist once told me was my sykick side of me warned me to watch my step. I turned the handle and opened the door so quiet that they didn’t get a chance even to start apart. If I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it, and in a way I realize I did Nat Bark an injustice, for she certainly knew what she was talking about.
There they were on my Murphy couch, she my best friend and he supposed to be my husband. I just stood there and stared at them. You could’ve knocked me down with a feather. They didn’t see me till they were half way through one of those long film Gilbert-Garbo kisses, and then Lorna’s left eye saw me over Bert’s right shoulder. She couldn’t squeel, because he had her mouth covered up, but she did some quick squirming out of his arms and as for him he turned around kind of dazedly and he saw his wronged wife right there at the door.
I wasn’t saying a word mind you and if she’d kept her mouth shut there’s no telling I might never have done what I did, because I’m telling you I was too stunned to move or think, but when she squeeled to my own husband to protect her from his own wife, I got what my lawyer advises me is a legally temporary brainstorm that all the specialists will testify to every lady gets some times when driven into it by such circumstances. I don’t remember just exactly what I said, and you needn’t believe all you hear in the papers. I may have called her names and words that I can’t write down, but believe me it was lucky for her that there wasn’t vitriol or revolvers lying around handy, and upon the advise of my counsel, Abe Lopstein I’m denying that I seized hold of a convenient corkscrew and that I used anything for scratching her face but the natural weapons nature has provided in the shape of my own fingernails, which were manicured just that morning. When I got through with her however, a good part of her henna hair was on the floor and she looked as if she had mange, and as for her face Bert himself who’d been lately slopping all over it in the way I know he can do, had to look away from it.
Now, in the excitement of the brainstorm naturally I hadn’t thought of the racket we were making. She was hollering blue murder, and I’ll admit I had forgotten I was a lady and called her names that as I’ve said I wouldn’t care to write down or repeat to you. But any woman can put herself in my place and have behaved the same. But as I was saying I had had a legal brain storm so there was an excuse for any racket I might have made. And certainly it was nobody’s business but our own. If there’s one thing I keep out of its interfering in family rows, so that when every last person in the Paradise come rushing in, hollering and shouting and even laying violent hands on me to restrain me if you please, and Natalie Bark herself having the nerve to give what she called “first aid” and mopping up that Lorna’s face where there were some scratches which I’m not admitting what caused them, with peroxide and absorbent cotton and when that Pill himself had the nerve to holler to someone to call the police----and the things I know about him --as any ex-wife would know --- and the police come one in---well by this time I was everything that the papers gave me credit for being ---A wild woman at bay, trying to protect her home, etc.
As I was saying, the long and the short of it was that when the cop--I mean the Officer laid a hand on my arm and I realized that I was under the shadow of the law, all of what the papers call my native guile--I don’t know exactly what it means, but I’ve an idea--come to my help. I said to myself: “Remember who you are. A cop--I mean police is a man and human. Are you going to be led like a sheep to the slaughter or if you go to jail pull down the temple as Samson did.”
I’ll tell you frankly that I cribbed that line of talk right out of one of Aimee’s9 sermons I heard shouted over the radio. I certainly give her credit for putting words into my mouth or rather my head for I didn’t speak them, but I turned around and I smiled at the policeman, and I said:
“Can I have a word in your ear on the side.”
He said that I could, but to make it brief and he says, “Did you assault this lady,” and I said: “I’ll talk to you in private. I’ll not shout a thing on the house tops” and he said that we were on the ground floor which of course just shows a cop’s ignorance of literary words.
By this time I was over my legal brain storm and was passing through a deadly calm and I knew exactly what I was doing. I first of all said:
“Officer you’ve come after the wrong party, but I’m perfectly willing to go with you, but if you’ll just let me have a word of your ear I’ll tip you off to something that’ll probably do more to win your stripes than years of honest service.”
He scratched his head at that and kind of grinned, but when I got him in the hall and gave him an earful he didn’t grin for long. On the contrary, as he and the district attorney and all the Vice chiefs of the City know, to say nothing of the Wright and Manna acts which were also concerned in the affair, besides the numerous prominent gentlemen who somehow got mixed up in the raid either through being there or as lawyers or people who give opinions to the papers, anyway as I was saying this young cop took in what I had to say.
And that’s how the thing broke. I give you my word they went through every V-yer in the Paradise Courts, and you can imagine the success of that notorious raid as the papers call it, when I tell you that there wasn’t even the smallest of the bungalettes that they didn’t get something on. If it wasn’t booze, then it was something worse. I know the kind of place I was living at, you may be sure, and though they found a couple of bottles in our own place, no one could blame me for insisting they were brought into the house by Lorna, and of course after what she’d been up to she didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Well as I was saying I didn’t ride alone in that Patrol wagon, which it took the Reserves to bring to Paradise Court. I sat between two of the cops-- the star complaining witness.
You know how it all turned out. Of course, I had to spend the night in Moosegow, but I had some company---and they certainly were raving, but it didn’t do them an ounce of good.
You’d have thought seeing as we were all arrested that the papers’d shared the publicity among us all. But they singled me out and played me up. First as the injured wife, and next as a Vice crusader. I was even complimented by the Judge himself and got out of paying a fine, after Abe Lopstein got through talking--he’s a personal friend of a friend of the Judge’s he told me---.
Well this is about all. Of course, I moved out of the Paradise, but I should worry about that. Abe got me the settlement as I was saying. Of course also I’m through with Bert, that is so far as the public knows, because I’m embarked down upon a career, and I should worry about a husband hugging my best friend.
As I was saying fame has its remunerations, and when they come in the form of a score of sympathetic proposals of marriage or otherwise, and when managers are camping on your doorstep--or rather the hotel’s where you’re happening to be staying, and you have the choice between a film career, as soon as Abe Lopstein gets finished with Will Hays whom he is personally acquainted with, a fifty two weeks vaudeville engagement and I’m considering several offers for what Abe calls the legitimate drammer.
As I was saying I thank the Morning Smile for this opportunity of telling my own story and paying me for it as well and I hope the lady reporter, who says her name is Miss Sob writes my story just as I’ve told it.


Donald Reeve is typed and crossed out. Belle Reed is handwritten beside it.
this word is handwritten over the word “speak.”
“but what” is handwritten over the typed words “not that.”
the names Aimee MacPherson and Councilman Jacobson are handwritten over and replaced with the names Ben Shuler, Gus Parkins, and Asa Keiser.
Sylvan replaces the typed name Laurel.
Eaton has replaced Aimee with another character. This is probably now Asa.
Eaton has written over the name Pela Negria and replaced it with Clara Bow.
Eaton includes some strange spellings of words that seem to suggest dialect or a characteristic of the character’s speech (e.g. nood, fillum, and sykick). These words have not been corrected in order to retain the character speech patterns.
Eaton crossed Aimee out of the work in previous paragraphs and is probably referring to Asa here.


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People Mentioned

Harriet Green

Harriet “Hattie” Green was born in 2012 and is the daughter of Lily Cho. She loves reading and animating.


Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Winnifred Eaton

  • Born: August 21, 1875
  • Died: April 08, 1954
See the Biographical Timeline for biographical information on Winnifred Eaton.

Pseudonym used in this text

Organizations Mentioned

Winnifred Eaton Reeve Fonds

Collection of Winnifred Eaton’s papers and unpublished manuscripts, which were transferred to the University of Calgary in 1982. The finding aid for this material is located here:
Written by Joey Takeda


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