Monday, February 22, 2010

The Dorchester Hotel Presents The Hollywood Starlets - 1936 - Part 2 The Scandal!

I was looking for information on the folks in this program and wasn't finding much about the producer, Clifford Whitley. He apparently produced other shows of this type, but this one caused some trouble. This article from Time magazine (July 29, 1935) makes quite a few accusations.

Coolie Chorines

In London native cabaret girls are plentiful & cheap but, to pick up the imported U.S. article, choosy Englishmen must drop in at Mayfair's two new topnotch hotels, Dorchester House & Grosvenor House.
So long as sporting Major Oliver Stanley, younger son of King George's sporting friend the Earl of Derby, remained Minister of Labor there was no interference with this strange monopoly. The new Minister of Labor is bourgeois, Bible-quoting Ernest ("Bashan") Brown, the loudest and fastest talker in the House of Commons. Very quietly last week good Mr. Brown did his duty as he saw it. Grosvenor House and Dorchester House were given two weeks to get rid of their 26 U. S. dancing girls, and a Minister of Labor spokesman explained nothing by frostily explaining: "It has been a general policy not to give working permits to foreign cabaret artists. Heretofore, we have been making an exception in these two cases." "Before these American girls came over here the Dorchester was losing money hand over fist!" said Manager Clifford Whitley of its "Leroy Printz Hollywood Beauties." Chimed in Manager Felix Ferry of Grosvenor's "Monte Carlo Follies," "If England is going to turn our girls out, I think our Government ought to do something about English chorines now cashing in back home." In Manhattan next day correspondents, if they expected to find President Frank Gillmore of the Actors Equity Association up in arms, were in for a disappointment. "We don't have any competition in this country from English chorus girls," sniffed Mr. Gillmore. "I regard the action of the British Ministry as a ban on cheap labor. Such chorus girls as leave this country to appear in London go at extremely low wages. Often they are inexperienced, without professional standing, and their work comes under the class of labor rather than art. Generally this is true of American girls performing in night clubs of other countries. They do not present a burning problem to our organization."

This led to a rely from Le Roy Printz;
Specialty Girls

Sirs: In your issue of July 29, regarding an article you had entitled "Coolie Chorines," I would like to correct you to this extent. At the Dorchester House under the management of Clifford Whitley, I have a troupe of girls called the "LeRoy Prinz Hollywood Beauties." These girls were picked out of 600 of Hollywood's leading dancers, and are all what we call specialty girls —each one a soloist, and capable of doubling into a dancing line. The majority of these girls have also played good bits in various pictures.
I have only one idea in writing you this letter, and that is primarily because I want to be fair to these girls, and because Mr. Frank Gillmore of the Actors' Equity Association is apparently very misinformed.
These girls were given a contract, starting in Hollywood, for six months in London. They were given first class transportation from Hollywood to London. Each girl was in a lower and had two to a cabin, first class passage on the boat. Their return transportation was put up in the bank here, and the contracts agreed to, witnessed, etc. by the British Consul. These girls received a salary of $85 a week minimum, and several are getting $125 a week. As you know, there is a British taxation of 25% on American theatrical artists, and in addition to a salary of $85 to $125 per week these girls are having their British income tax paid. The Equity salary of American chorus girls is $35 a week, and until recently they were required to take four weeks of rehearsals gratis to the producer. The LeRoy Prinz Hollywood girls were paid $25 a week during rehearsals, and are all very lovely, very intelligent and very refined American young ladies. I sincerely resent their being referred to as "Coolie Chorines" and would be glad to send you a copy of the contracts that these young ladies have, proving how far you have been misled by the statement of Mr. Frank Gillmore of the Actors' Equity Association. . . .
Hollywood, Calif.

Let's meet these Chorines;

And for those of you wondering where the Fashion is look at some of the ads;