March 10, 1945
Capitol Theater, New York
by Paul Secon
Stageshow this week is probably one of the best entertainment layouts seen on Broadway in a long, long time. And it will probably be a long time before payees around here get a chance to lay their dough down for as varied a package of solid dollar value in a vaude show. Reason, of course. is that the prime ingredients are there, but in abundance. It's strictly MGM all the way. The band, Xavier Cugat is under contract to the studio, as is young male star Robert Walker, making his initial stage appearance, and singer Lena Horne, also making her first in-person showing.
And all three of them click! Together they are a first class example of how to group a package of talent and put it on for enjoyment of all concerned. The Garcias, Rhumba team, and comic-impressionist Paul Regan round out the bill, that runs for more than an hour and slows down only momentarily, and then not enough to put a real damper on the goings on.
Stage is done up in a colorful way, so that when Cugat and his mammoth organization come into view on the up-rising platform, the payee is put in receptable frame of mind just by the visual surroundings. Ork with Cugat's pleasing emcee, literally toss Latin American Rhythms at the audience with a bang - and few, if any onlookers can withstand the zing of L. A. Rhythms when done up in a colorful package. And Cugat's organization puts plenty of zing into every number they do.
And they do plenty of numbers!
Robert Walker proves an ingratiating fellow, with a pleasing stage manner. He brings with him the shy, boyish mannerism for which he is known on screen. His opening gimmick is spiel about studio sending him east and its charm lies in his youthful squirming stage manner that catches on with payees. It's a natural stage stint, no phony attempt at a corny love scene, and because its different from average Hollywood appearance, it clicks! He smartly bows off with a Rumba session with fem member of the Garcias, who supposedly comes back to give Walker a lesson, but finds that as shy as he is, he is a pretty competent dancer himself. It's all done with ease and Walker's affability and ability to be himself hits paydirt.
Pic is MGM's Portrait of Dorian Gray. Opening night, place was overrun with payees.
March 31, 1945
Walker Won't Walk Home
Robert Walker Metro's flicker star, who just closed at the Capitol, had a tidy deal from the theater. Salary was $3500 but in addition to his weekly take theater also paid his New York living expenses and round trip transportation from the coast.
Copyright Billboard Magazine