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Sunday, December 15, 2013

30's Mad Man Dix In The Ad Racket


Clawing Up Madison Avenue in No Marriage Ties (1933)

Richard Dix is a reporter sot inveigled into the advertising game by Alan Dinehart, who, untypically for him, turns out to be the one with ethics. No Marriage Ties proceeds on theory that product-hawking should be truthful enterprise --- this coming from Hollywood? Dix does a crash/burn for being ruthlessly good at his job. In real life, this character would own Madison Avenue and keep on owning it. There's anti-upward mobility postures I'd expect future blacklistees to have written, but none of five credited scribes ring bells (further research needed), and it's based on a play, Ad Man, that I could find no further information on (nothing in Daniel Blum's American Theatre book). Dix is always best when forceful; his drunk act overstays a first reel, but things brighten when he cleans up and goes ad-sharking. Notice how many precode problems are resolved by someone stepping off a window ledge? --- seems to have been preferred means of pest removal then. To dream up slogans seemed a route to riches. It worked at modest level for James Murray in The Crowd, and spectacularly so for Dick here. No Marriage Ties is fun-for-most-part precode and plays not infrequently on TCM.

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