Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.15 at 19:51
Current mood: impressed
“Safety in Numbers” marked Carole (then Carol) Lombard’s debut at Paramount. Hired as one of the four chorus girls squiring heir-to-be Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Lombard didn’t win him at the end. But while she lost that battle, she won the war, or should I say a long-term Paramount contract, thanks to the strong impression she made both on audiences and the film’s director.
His name was Victor Schertzinger, and while his legacy as a director may have been forgotten, it’s entirely possible you know of him in ways you’re not aware of. Not only did Schertzinger direct both silent and sound films, he was a famed concert violinist, as well as a composer and screenwriter. In fact, he was the first to compose an original score to accompany a motion picture. And he composed music for a number of popular songs, including one that’s become a standard, “I Remember You,” and another a major hit during the swing era, “Tangerine.” (Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for both.)
Scheertzinger (1888-1941) was born in Mahanoy City, Pa. A violin prodigy in his youth who performed with Victor Herbert and John Philip Sousa, he subsequently became a symphony conductor, and composed three songs for L. Frank Baum’s 1914 stage production of “The Tik-Tok Man of Oz.” Two years later, he was hired by Thomas Ince to compose a musical score for his epic “Civilization,” and he continued creating music for films and even directed many Ince projects.
When sound came to movies in the late 1920s, Schertzinger’s musical experience made him a natural. He composed music for Ernst Lubitsch’s groundbreaking “The Love Parade” in 1929, and later worked on “One Night of Love” (for which he received an Academy Award nomination for best director), “Something to Sing About” (1937, James Cagney’s second and final film for Grand National) and the first two of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby-Dorothy Lamour “Road” pictures, “The Road to Singapore” (1940) and “The Road to Zanzibar” (1941). After finishing musical work on “The Fleet’s In” (1942), Schertzinger died of a heart attack on Oct. 26, 1941 at age 53.
Schertzinger’s name has come up because the mansion in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles where he lived from 1921 to his death is now up for sale (http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/07/victor_schertzinger_los_feliz_fixer_estate.php). The four-bedroom house and estate, comprising slightly more than an acre, has an asking price of $6.25 million (up from $3.327 million when it was last sold a decade ago). Let’s look at some recent photos of the site while we ponder whether Lombard ever was invited there in conjunction with “Safety in Numbers”:
What an impressive abode.