THE COMPLETE FILM ACTOR. "ARE YOU A GOOD PUGILIST?"
Mr. Percy Garrick Smithers, actor, finding the path to fame less smooth on the legitimate stage than he believed it to be by the Cinema route, went to a producer of film plays and offered his services.
"Yes," said the producer, "I might possibly give you lead in a big sensational I am about to put up. Are you a good pugilist?"
"I have indulged a little in the pastime of sparring," answered Percy.
"Good," said the producer. "You see, the picture opens with Bill Bloodred, the champion prize-fighter, demanding certain documents from his aged uncle. As the latter won't surrender the papers. Bill gives him a swinging blow to the jaw, a few more heavy ones to various other parts of the body, and then proceeds to kick the old man to death as the latter lies helpless on the floor. It's one of those thrilling scenes the juveniles like so much! Then you come in and tackle Bill."
"Quite so," said Percy.
"A terrific fight ensues. Bill surpasses anything he has ever done in the ring, and it goes on until at last you collapse. Bill escapes, leaving you for dead. Do you catch the idea?"
"Pretty well," said Percy."IT IS YOURSELF VERSUS THE POLICE."
"Now Bill goes straight away to the police office and states that you have murdered his uncle. When you come to, you are surrounded by about twenty members of the police force, the chief of whom slips the handcuffs over your wrists. With one wrench you snap the chain and are free!"
"With one wrench?" asked Percy, to be sure he was getting the details correctly.
"With one wrench. Then ensues another big struggle. This time it is yourself versus the police."
"Quite right. After some time you show signs of weakening, and the police look like getting the upper hand."
"Ah!" remarked Percy.
"But just then Mignon, the old man's daughter, emerges from behind a screen. She tells the police the facts and proclaims your absolute innocence."
"Good!" said Percy."YOU ARE SEEN FALLING, FALLING, FALLING."
"The chief of the police thereupon shakes you by the hand and apologises. You indicate that it will now be your life's work to bring the assassin, Bill, to justice, and then you quit. I should mention that before leaving you fall in love with Mignon, and promise that on your return you'll marry her at once. That parting scene will want a bit of acting. Your countenance must show successive degrees of pain, as if you had eaten something that was disagreeing with your digestion; and you mustn't omit the most effective suffering expression of all—chin raised, mouth open, eyelids closed tightly—just as if you were about to sneeze. You'll find your experience on the stage quite useful, you know."
"Oh, quite, quite," agreed Percy.
"Now you are out in the street. You seize the first motor-car at hand, and start off on the grand hunt after Bill. Through the crowded streets, out into the country highway, you fly at a terrific speed. Up the mountain passes you race, down precipitous slopes with every-increasing momentum....