Beggars of Life

QUESTION:  In 1932, actor Wallace Beery's contract stipulated that he would receive what per movie?
A)  $30 per film
B)  As many Charleston Chew candy bars as he could eat.
C)  $1 more than his highest-paid co-star
D)  No speaking lines

The American Treasure Tour honors the American film industry however we can. Posters, headshots of actors, soundtrack recordings, we love them all. And we celebrate all genres of film throughout the ages - from drama to action to comedy to musicals. Of course, in the old days, there was no sound in movies. Photoplayers were invented in the early nineteen hundreds as a way to add music and effects to silent films, but technology progressed and, in the late 1920's, audio was added to the film strips. Warner Brothers' 1927's The Jazz Singer became the first successful experiment in sound films.  The other studios began to follow suit, and Beggars of Life became Paramount's debut talkie. 

Beggars of Life was directed by William Wellman and released in 1928.  It tells the story of Oklahoma Red - a hobo played by Wallace Beery whose life is spent traveling the railroads and trying to survive in a harsh and relentless day-to-day existence. Louisa Brooks, meanwhile, is no better off. After she kills her abusive stepfather, she runs away and dresses up as a boy, then hits the rails herself.  She meets Oklahoma Red and, together with a gang of rowdy hobos, live off the land and work their way to Canada, constantly running from the police. In its day, the film was considered a grim depiction of life on the streets for which few could empathize. Soon enough, a year later, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 sparked the worst depression the United States and the world would experience. Then, countless Americans would embark on their own journeys for survival. 

ANSWER:  C)  $1 more than his highest-paid co-star, ensuring that Beery received a higher wage than anyone else in Hollywood at the time.