The Film Mystery
19. Around The Circle
"I'd like to have another talk with Millard about that Fortune Features affair," remarked
It was the third morning after the death of Stella Lamar, and I found him half through
breakfast when I rose. About him were piled moving picture and theatrical publications,
daily, weekly, and monthly. At the moment I caught him he had spread wide open the
inner page of the Daily Metropolitan, a sheet devoted almost exclusively to sports and the
I went around to glance over his shoulder. He pointed to a small item under a heading of
recent plans and changes.
It is hinted to the Metropolitan Man-about-Broadway, by those in a position to know but
who cannot yet be quoted, that Fortune Features is about to absorb a number of the
largest competing companies. Rumors of great changes in the picture world have been
current for some weeks, and this is the first reliable information to be given out. It is
premature to give details of the new combination, or to mention names, but Fortune's
strong backing in Wall Street will, we are assured, have a stabilizing influence at a
critical time in the industry.
"Seems to be a lot of hot air," I said. "There isn't a name mentioned. Everything is 'by
those in a position to know' and 'rumors of and 'it is premature to give details... or
Kennedy turned to places he had marked in several of the other periodicals and papers
and I read them. Each was substantially to the effect of the note in the Metropolitan,
although worded differently and generally printed as a news item.
"It's a feeler," Kennedy stated. "There's something back of it. When I caught the reference
to Fortune Features in the Metropolitan, which I've been reading the past two days, I sent
the boy out for every movie publication he could find. Result: half a dozen repetitions of
the hint that Fortune is expanding. That means that it is deliberate publicity."
"You think this has something to do with the case?"
"I don't see the name of Manton mentioned once. Manton is a man who seeks the front
page on every opportunity. You remember, of course, what Millard told us. Somehow I
smell a rat. If nothing else develops for this morning, I want to find Millard and talk to
him again. I believe Manton is up to something."