Towed in a Hole - Financial

Neither the negative nor the worldwide gross are available at this time. The cost of props, sets, or cast could not have been excessive. Could not. Was two weeks too long to spend shooting? If not a cost overrun, then maybe the delayed starting of the disturbed Henry Ginsberg. Something did.


Two days after the production wrapped on Wednesday, November 9, Mr. Ginsberg signed a new two year contract to serve as general manager of Hal Roach Studios. The suggestion for this new arrangement came directly from Louis B. Mayer's boss, know to intimates as "The General", Nicholas M. Schenck, chairman of the board as well as president of Loew's, Inc., in New York, and also of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution Corp. Scheck was the source of Roach's financing, and also his revenue stream.

On the very day he executed his new deal, Friday, November 11, Mr. Ginsberg rewarded The General's faith in his frugal days by augmenting another feared economy drive. He terminated George Marshall as a director at Hal Roach Studios. No reason was given in the one page letter firing Marshall. The sum of $50 was withheld for remittance to the "U.S. Attorney, Internal Revenue Department".

Perhaps Messrs. Schenck and Ginsberg failed to see the humor in a line spoken by Marshall while acting in a film he co-directed with Ray McCarey. In PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES then playing in Loews theaters around the world, Marshall played the sarcastic army cook. When Laurel & Hardy inquire about the disposition of a load of smelly garbage, Marshall snarled at them and said, "Take it to The General".

Thereafter George Marshall continued through the 1960s crafting fine comedies starring Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Bob Hope, and Martin and Lewis. Titles in the huge Marshall canon include YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (1939), DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939), THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940), MUDER HE SAYS (1944) and THE BLUE DAHLIA (1946).

-- by Richard W. Bann --