“My goodness, no!” gasped Nan. “I have no desire to act—and I’m sure I have no ability.”
“It might be fun,” Bess said doubtfully. “But do you all have to paint up so awfully?”
“Yes. That’s so we will look right on the screen. Here! that’s Gray—the bald-headed man in the brown suit. I hope you have better luck than two girls from the country who were in here for a couple of days. Gray bounced them yesterday. Who’s your letter from?” added the girl, evidently disbelieving what both Nan and Bess had said when they denied haying any desire to pose for the screen.
“Madam, herself,” said Nan, demurely. “Do you think Mr. Gray will give me a hearing?”
“Well, I guess yes,” cried the girl in costume. “Oh, do give it to him just as he starts in laying me out, will you?”
“Anything to oblige,” Nan said, smiling. “Can we go right over and speak to him?”
“After me,” whispered the girl. “Don’t get into any of the ‘sets,’ or you’ll get a call-down, too.”
They had entered an enormous room, half circular in shape, with the roof and the “flat” side mostly glass. There were countless screens to graduate the light, and that light was all directed toward the several small, slightly raised stages, built in rotation along the curved wall of the studio.
Each of these stages had its own “set” of scenery and was arranged for scenes. On two, action of scenes was taking place while the energetic directors were endeavoring to get out of their people the pantomimic representation of the scenario each had in charge.
One director suddenly clapped his hands and shouted.
“Get this, John! All ready! You dude and cowboy start that scene now. Be sure you run on at the right cue, Miss Legget. Now, John! Ready boys?”
The representation of a tussle between a cowboy and an exquisitely dressed Eastern youth, in which comedy bit the so-called dude disarmed the Westerner and drove him into a corner till his sweetheart bursts in to protect him from the “wild Easterner,” went to a glorious finish.
The camera clicked steadily, the man working it occasionally calling out the number of feet of blank film left on the spool so that the director might know whether to hasten or retard the action of the picture.
Nan and Bess stopped, as they were warned by the girl dressed in Gypsy costume, and watched the proceedings eagerly. Just as the scene came to an end the bald man in the brown suit strode over to the three girls.
“What do you mean by keeping me waiting, Miss Penny?” he demanded in a tone that made Bess shrink away and tremble. “Your scene has been set an hour. I want—Humph! what do these girls want? Did you bring them in?”
Miss Penny poked Nan sharply in the ribs with her elbow. “Show him the letter,” she whispered. Adding aloud: “Oh, I brought them in, Mr. Gray. That’s what delayed me. When I saw they had a letter for you—”