Merton of the Movies
Out There Where Men Are Men
From the dressing room the following morning, arrayed in the Buck Benson outfit,
unworn since that eventful day on the Gashwiler lot, Merton accompanied Baird
to a new set where he would work that day. Baird was profuse in his admiration
of the cowboy embellishments, the maroon chaps, the new boots, the hat, the
checked shirt and gay neckerchief.
"I'm mighty glad to see you so sincere in your work," he assured Merton. "A lot of
these hams I hire get to kidding on the set and spoil the atmosphere, but don't let
it bother you. One earnest leading man, if he'll just stay earnest, will carry the
piece. Remember that--you got a serious part."
"I'll certainly remember," Merton earnestly assured him.
"Here we are; this is where we begin the Western stuff," said Baird. Merton
recognized the place. It was the High Gear Dance Hall where the Montague girl
had worked. The name over the door was now "The Come All Ye," and there was
a hitching rack in front to which were tethered half-a--dozen saddled horses.
Inside, the scene was set as he remembered it. Tables for drinking were about
the floor, and there was a roulette wheel at one side. A red-shirted bartender, his
hair plastered low over his brow, leaned negligently on the bar. Scattered around
the room were dance-hall girls in short skirts, and a number of cowboys.
"First, I'll wise you up a little bit," said Baird. "You've come out here to work on a
ranche in the great open spaces, and these cowboys all love you and come to
town with you every time, and they'll stand by you when the detective from New
York gets here. Now--let's see--I guess first we'll get your entrance. You come in
the front door at the head of them. You've ridden in from the ranche. We get the
horseback stuff later. You all come in yelling and so on, and the boys scatter,
some to the bar and some to the wheel, and some sit down to the tables to have
their drinks and some dance with the girls. You distribute money to them from a
paper sack. Here's the sack." From a waiting property boy he took a paper sack.
"Put this in your pocket and take it out whenever you need money.
"It's the same sack, see, that the kid put the stolen money in, and you saved it
after returning the money. It's just a kind of an idea of mine," he vaguely added,
as Merton looked puzzled at this.
"All right, sir." He took the sack, observing it to contain a rude imitation of bills,
and stuffed it into his pocket.
"Then, after the boys scatter around, you go stand at the end of the bar. You
don't join in their sports and pastimes, see? You're serious; you have things on
your mind. Just sort of look around the place as if you were holding yourself
above such things, even if you do like to give the boys a good time. Now we'll try
Cameras were put into place, and Merton Gill led through the front door his band
of rollicking good fellows. He paused inside to give them bills from the paper
sack. They scattered to their dissipations. Their leader austerely posed at one
end of the bar and regarded the scene with disapproving eyes. Wine, women,