Ruthe Wheeler.

Janet Hardy in Radio City





Maybe Hollywood styles wont be campus styles, smiled Janet, but I would like a chance to wear that wonderful gown Roddy made for me to a college party.

It was pleasant to think of their first experience in Hollywood when Roddy, the famous designer of gowns at the Ace studio, had created gorgeous evening gowns for them to wear at their first movie premiere. Janet could imagine that wearing such gowns at a party on the campus at Corn Belt U. would create quite a sensation, and she thrilled pleasantly at the thought.

After luncheon was over, Janet returned to her writing and Helen joined her beside the pool, stripping the wrapper off a copy of the Clarion Times, which had arrived on the noonday mail.

Look at this; what nerve! exclaimed Helen, shoving the front page of the paper at Janet. She pointed to a story in the center of the page.

Janet stared at the headline with unbelieving eyes.

LOCAL GIRLS FEATURED IN MOVIE.

Her eyes followed down to the story, which heralded the fact that Cora Dean and Margie Blake, Clarion girls touring in the west, had been drafted for r?les in a western picture by Billy Fenstow, the famous director. Janet read on.

Miss Dean and Miss Blake report that Janet Hardy and Helen Thorne also have r?les in the picture, the story said.

It was then that Janet flushed. She could have told Cora and Margie just what she thought of them if they had been anywhere within hearing distance but fortunately for them, perhaps, they were a good many miles away.

How do you suppose the Times got that story? asked Janet, the flush fading from her cheeks.

I know, said Helen with emphasis. Cora wrote to Pete Benda, the city editor, and gave him all of the information which is in the story. Imagine her telling him that we are also in the picture. Im certainly going to see that Water Hole is shown in the theaters at home. That will kind of spoil their story.

Janet laughed. Perhaps Cora and Margie did feel that they had the major r?les. You never can tell what others will think is important.

It would be a joke on them if the film cutters left out the sequence theyre in, chuckled Helen.

Janet looked at her quickly.

Dont you suggest that to anyone, she warned.

I wont, promised Helen.

Janet handed the paper back to her companion and went on with her work. She spent most of the afternoon at the typewriter and when she was through, felt that she had done a good days work. The manuscript would be ready with only another mornings writing.

Billy Fenstow, dropping in after dinner for a visit with Helens father inquired about the story and Janet handed him the first draft of as much as she had completed.

The little director read it with interest, the lines around his eyes gathering in little puckers as he skimmed through the typed pages. Janet almost held her breath through all the time he was reading and she saw Henry Thorne leaning forward, trying to read some reaction on Billy Fenstows face.

When the director had finished, he looked up and smiled at Janet.

Reads well, he commented.

Of course there are a lot of rough spots, but well be able to use it.

Chapter Fourteen
CLOTHES BY RODDY

Janet felt her pulse pounding. Acceptance of the story would mean a great deal toward swelling her college fund and she leaned forward eagerly.

You mean youll accept it? she asked.

If your final chapters are as good as these, well take it, replied Mr. Fenstow. Of course we wont be able to pay a whole lot since the studio staff will have to whip it into shape, but well make it worth your while.

How much do you think it will be? this was from Helen, whose interest in the sale of the story was almost as great as Janets.

Billy Fenstow mopped his forehead.

That will be up to Mr. Rexler. Id say that it wouldnt be more than a thousand dollars.

Really! gasped Janet, who had visions of her college fund mounting in one great jump.

Well, maybe not that much, but Ill get all I can for you. Now you finish it up as rapidly as possible.

It will be ready tomorrow noon, promised Janet.

Billy Fenstow left a short time later and after he had gone, Henry Thorne spoke to them about the journey back to Clarion.

Now that Janet is practically assured the sale of her story, wed better make our plans. Can you be ready to start home next Monday?

The girls looked blankly at each other. Of course they had known that their stay in Hollywood was near an end, but to put the date so soon was something of a shock.

Mrs. Thorne spoke first.

Im sure we can, Henry. But well almost need a truck to take back all of the things weve accumulated.

Ill have some professional packers come out and make whatever boxes are needed, her husband assured her.

But weve got to get clothes, wailed Helen. We want to wear Hollywood styles when we go to college.

Her father bit the end of his cigar and looked at it thoughtfully.

Why dont you call on Roddy?

But he wouldnt do clothes for us; we couldnt afford it, said Helen.

He might do it for you as a special favor to me, grinned her father. As a matter of fact, I think he mentioned something about it the other day. Wanted to know when you were leaving and said he might be able to do something for you.

Well see him the first thing in the morning, said Helen.

I wont, spoke up Janet. Ive got to finish the story whether I have clothes made by Roddy or not.

Thats the fight, Janet, said Henry Thorne.

When do we go on to Radio City? asked Helen.

Youll have only a couple of days at home. Then youll have to go on to New York.

How long will we be there? Janet wanted to know.

Im not sure. At least ten days; perhaps more.

Which means well have to hurry back home and start in to school as soon as our work at Radio City is over, put in Helen. I wonder how it will seem to be before a microphone?

Not any worse than before a camera, said Janet.

They talked on at length of plans for their college days and although it was late when they went to bed, Janet was up early and working at her typewriter. The final two chapters of her story unrolled easily and rapidly and at eleven oclock she leaned back in her chair. The job was done.

Helen had gone on to the studio to talk with Roddy and Janet was to join her after lunch. Janet stood up and stretched. Her back ached from the strain of bending over her typewriter and she went into the house and changed into her trim swimming suit. Fifteen minutes in the pool washed away the aches and when she emerged she felt greatly refreshed.

Janet dressed carefully for she wanted to look well when she talked to Roddy. Mrs. Thorne was the only other one at home for lunch and they enjoyed a pleasant meal.

Janet picked up the finished manuscript and took it with her to the studio. She left it at Billy Fenstows office and went on to the building where Roddy had his office and where the wizard of design created the gorgeous fashions that were worn by the stars in the big productions at the Ace studio.

Helen was in Roddys own fitting room and Janet joined her there. Roddy appeared in a few minutes and after greeting her warmly, set about the task of providing her with a new outfit.

Tell me just what you want, he smiled.

Honestly, I dont know. Im going to college, said Janet.

Then let me decide, he begged and Janet agreed.

The next hours passed in a swirl of fittings and cloth which was draped this way and that around them, and when they were through neither girl knew exactly what had happened.

Thats all, said the little designer. Ill send them to your home. It will be a week before theyre ready.

Thanks so much, said the girls as Roddy waved them out of the office.

What do you suppose hes going to make? asked Janet.

Well, I know therell be a sport outfit and an afternoon dress; perhaps something for the classroom; about three apiece.

But how will we ever pay for them? The materials alone will be more than we can afford.

Lets not worry about that. I have a hunch that there will never be a bill for them.

They met Helens father near the studio entrance and they all drove home together.

Ive had a long talk with the general manager, he said. Youve got to be in Radio City in about ten days.

That wont mean much time at home, said Janet.

Nor much to get to Corn Belt U. and get our late registrations fixed up, added Helen.

Dont worry about that. All those details can be taken care of, said her father. Just plan to have a good time in Radio City when you get there.

Both girls knew that they would enjoy their broadcasting experience in New York to the utmost. There might be a little fear of the microphone but they knew that facing a camera couldnt be any harder than one of the silent Mikes.

At dinner that night they told of their hours with Roddy and speculated again at the creations which his fertile mind would turn out for them.

No use to try and guess, warned Helens father. You never can predict what Roddy will do.

On the following day Janet received a telephone call from Billy Fenstow.

Can you come over to the studio? he asked.

Just as soon as a taxi can get me there, she promised.

Helen and her mother were down town shopping and Janet phoned for a taxi. She slipped into a fresh dress while she was waiting and then was whirled away to the studio. Envious eyes watched her go through the gates which were shut to so many.

Janet found the little director in his office back at stage nine, her pile of manuscript in front of him.

Ive finished the story and Mr. Rexler has gone over it, said the director, after greeting Janet and waving her toward a chair.

She waited breathlessly for his next words.

We both think it will do. Mind, it isnt anything sensational, but it does have a new twist or two and can be made into a Curt Newsom feature very well.

He paused and picked up a check which was on his desk.

There will have to be a great deal done to the story by our own writing staff, so we felt seven hundred and fifty dollars would be a fair price to offer for the story, he said handing the check to Janet.

She took it mechanically and turned it over. Then looked at the name on the face of the check. It was payable to Janet Hardy.

Thanks so much, Mr. Fenstow. Its very satisfactory.

Too bad you wont stay on. Id give you the lead, he urged.

Im sorry, but Ive made up my mind. Perhaps when college days are over, Ill come back and apply for a job.

Youll get one if Im still on the lot grinding out westerns, he promised.

Janet left the little office and walked across the sprawling motion picture plant. It was probably her last visit for the hours left before their departure would be filled with thoughts of packing. It was a dull time at the studio, with only one or two pictures in production, but with the coming weeks every sound stage would be humming with activity as new celluloid dramas were rushed to completion for the entertainment of millions of movie fans. Janet knew that she would not be a part of it, but there was a tremendous satisfaction in recalling the experiences of the past weeks and looking forward to the new ones that were bound to come at Radio City.

Chapter Fifteen
HOMEWARD BOUND

Hours filled with packing and last minute details took their time up almost until the actual hour of the departure of their plane. They finished finally at midnight and they were to take the four oclock eastbound plane for the midwest. New schedules had been inaugurated since they had come west and they would be home in time for dinner that night.

Helens mother came in.

You girls must get some sleep, or youll look pretty much worn out when you reach Clarion.

Im too excited to sleep, confessed Janet.

Then lets take a swim in the pool. That ought to relax us, urged Helen.

They slipped into their suits and for nearly half an hour enjoyed the pool. The moon was well up in the cloudless sky and it was an ideal night. Neither girl said very much, just floated on the pool, wondering what the coming weeks would have in store for them.

When they finally emerged from the water they were ready to call it a day and they were sound asleep by one oclock.

Mrs. Thorne called them at three. It was still dark, but a hot breakfast was ready for them in the dining room. Even up to the last minute it seemed as though there were a host of things to do and they took a final survey of the house before they closed their bags. Two cabs were waiting; one for them and the other to take their bags.

It was exactly three-thirty when they started for the airport. The streets were deserted and lights were on in only a few of the homes. Their cab swung on to a boulevard and flashed past the entrance of the Ace studio. Janet caught only a glimpse of the plant, but she felt a queer tightening of her heart, and she wondered if she had been wise in deciding to leave Hollywood. But it was too late now. She had made her decision.

At the airport the big twin-motored transport was on the ramp, its motors idling and flickers of blue flame coming out of the exhaust under the wing.

An attendant at the gate checked the tickets Henry Thorne held in his hand and they were escorted to the plane where their stewardess assigned their seats. The cabin of this ship was even more luxuriously furnished than the one in which they had flown west and Janet settled herself comfortably into the thickly upholstered chair. Their baggage was stowed in the tail of the plane and then she saw the pilots come out of the office.

They stepped into the cabin and walked up the narrow aisle to their own compartment. Both of them were youthful and Janet wondered that they had the marvelous skill in their hands necessary to guide the huge plane on its flight.

Two more passengers hastened up to the gate and were escorted to the cabin. Then the stewardess checked the list of reservations. In addition to Henry Thorne and his party, there were only the two late-comers, both of whom were men.

The motors roared and the plane rolled ahead, gaining speed rapidly. Before Janet knew it they were off the ground and soaring into a half light of the early day. A blanket of lights unfolded beneath them, but the lights were strangely dim and the plane headed away for the mountains, climbing steadily to have safety in crossing the dangerous peaks.

Night faded rapidly now and they were well into the mountains at sunrise. They were heading northeast, flying now over great stretches of desolate land where there was nothing but sand and sagebrush, and sometimes precious little sagebrush.

Salt Lake City was beneath them almost before they knew it and when the plane landed there Janet and Helen got out to stretch their legs while the crews were changed and the plane refuelled. Then they were in the air again, climbing once more to get above the continental divide and after that came the descent to Cheyenne. Lunch was served aboard the plane with Omaha the next stop and they roared on east as the sun rolled westward.

Janet was watching the landscape below closely now for this was her home state a land dotted with many farms and huddles of houses that were the villages, tied together by strips of white highway and an occasional train that seemed to be puffing along a ladder which had been laid on the ground.

Almost before she knew it the motors of the plane lessened their roar and a town appeared underneath. It was Rubio, the nearest regular stop on the transcontinental line.

The giant transport settled down easily. Janet felt the wheels touch and she looked eagerly through the heavy glass of the window for the first glimpse of her father and mother.

She saw them on the ramp, gazing anxiously at the plane as it wheeled up to the concrete slab.

Janet, the first out of the plane, ran to greet them. Her mother embraced her affectionately and her father gave her a hearty hug.

My, but its good to see you! he declared. Weve missed you so much.

And Ive missed you, but Ive had a grand time, replied Janet, locking her arms in theirs.

The Thornes came up and there were greetings all around. Then Henry Thorne and Janets father supervised the loading of the luggage into the Hardy sedan.

The car was crowded, but they had so much to talk about and were so eager to say it that the inconvenience of short space mattered little.

Taking turns, Janet and Helen, rather breathlessly, told the story of their summer in Hollywood while John Hardy whirled them smoothly and safely along the ribbon of concrete that led from Rubio to Clarion.

They stopped at the Thorne home and unloaded most of the luggage there.

Youre coming over to dinner, Mrs. Hardy told them. Is six-thirty all right?

Well be there, promised Mrs. Thorne, who was anxious for all of the news of her friends in Clarion.

When they were home, Janet and her father and mother sat down in the comfortable living room and she told them more in detail of her adventures in the west, of the making of the western films and of their narrow escape from death in the fire.

We were greatly worried by the radio report, said her father, but the call from the Thornes reassured us.

Janets mother spoke up.

Are you going on to New York City?

Yes, mother. Well only have a few days at home. Then Helen and I are to go on to New York for a few days for a promotional broadcast on Mr. Thornes new picture, Kings of the Air. You know, we had minor r?les in it and some members of the cast are being sent east to take part in this promotion work. I think it will be great fun.

But how about college? her father wanted to know.

Thats one of the things Ill have to see about while Im home this time. Maybe you would drive Helen and me over to Corn Belt U. some time tomorrow or the next day so we could see about registration? Well have to arrange to enter classes late.

We can go tomorrow, nodded her father. Ive arranged to spend most of the rest of the week at home. Mother and I want to hear all about Hollywood.

I didnt see it all, smiled Janet. But its a grand place, at least in which to spend one summer.

The Thornes arrived promptly at the dinner hour and they visited at length over a leisurely meal. At eight oclock Henry Thorne glanced at his watch.

The manager of the Pastime telephoned just before dinner to say that he had received a print of Water Hole, a new western, and would add it to his regular program tonight. Think youd like to go?

Why, Janet, isnt that the picture you and Helen were in? asked her mother.

Janet nodded and turned to Henry Thorne, who was smiling.

I believe you had that print of the film shipped east on the plane with us, she accused.

What of it? he parried.

Of course well go, said Janets mother. Well leave the dishes right on the table. It isnt every day that I get such an opportunity.

Helen slipped away from the table and Janet could hear her at the phone calling for Pete Benda, the city editor of the Times.

Pete? This is Helen Thorne. Yes, Im back in town. Drop in at the Pastime this evening if youd like to see the parts that Cora Dean and Margie Blake took in that western picture they wrote you about. No, never mind a story about us now. Weve had plenty of publicity.

Helen hung up the receiver and turned to face Janet.

Do you think that was nice? asked Janet, but there was an upward twist of her lips.

Maybe it wasnt exactly nice, but it was a lot of fun, conceded Helen.

There was just a tang of fall in the air and they slipped on light jackets, deciding to walk to the theater, which was less than half a dozen blocks away.

Janets father insisted on buying the tickets for the party and they had excellent seats well down in the front of the theater. Janet thought she saw Pete Benda slide into a seat ahead of them, but she couldnt be sure.

The regular feature came to an end and the western, which had been added, flashed on the screen. Janet felt her pulse quicken as the title and the cast of characters, with her own name under Curt Newsoms. The action started and she glanced at her father and mother. They were completely absorbed in the picture.

Janet enjoyed it thoroughly. After all, it was a pretty good picture for a western and the clothes Roddy had designed for Helen and her added just the right touch of smartness.

The action came to a driving climax and then the picture was over and people around them started to leave. As they walked down the aisle Pete Benda joined them.

Congratulations, girls. That was a nice show. Say, where were Cora and Margie?

Didnt you see them? asked Helen naively.

Dont kid me, growled Pete. Where were they?

If you had been looking closely at the crowd in one of the scenes in the town you would have seen them, smiled Helen. Better come tomorrow night and look again.

Maybe I will, admitted Pete, but if I do it will be to look at Janet and you. Say, whats this I hear about you going on to Radio City?





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