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Patrick --
remember that in those years the studios were also mining all the old stock
theatre plays, and the time between remakes of "classics" was about ten
years!  Witness Barrymore's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (silent), Frederic
March's (Paramount, '32?), and Spencer Tracy's (Metro disaster, 1941.)  Or
the remakes of Little Women, etc.  Think if we were remaking all the movies
from 1981 now!  I don't think the creativity is less today.  Adapting stuff
from TV is not much different than taking it from the stock circuit. I do
think that because the volume of product was so high, more chances could be
taken.  What's one definite flop among 300?  Still I would hesitate to
canonize Harry Cohn or L. B. Mayer or anyone else as a promoter of art.  Even
the sainted Thalberg had his eye on the bottom line.  It is tempting to be
nostalgic, but as a researcher of the period I think it looks golden largely
in retrospect. Wasn't it Gable who said, "We didn't know we'd be legends?"
 
Selden West