Edward Arnold’s 10 Rules for Romance (1936) 🇺🇸
The amazing difference between Edward Arnold’s marriage and most Hollywood marriages was shown to us by a little thing that happened the last time we visited Eddie’s white hilltop home in Beverly Hills — a thing that could have happened in none of the other houses of the movie colony, stretched out below us. He called his wife, the lovely Olive Emerson, by a pet name he has for her — “Mamma.”
by Mark Dowling
Human, deep-rooted, sure — you feel all this in the relationship of these two people. Eddie told me, “When we were married, seven years ago, I just had a job. I was touring in vaudeville, and we were married for three years before things really began to break for me.” We asked if Mrs. Arnold had been surprised, as another woman might, over her husband’s sudden, breathtaking success. He shook his head, smiling. “Olive always had a lot of confidence in me.”
Their marriage is like that, too. They have confidence in each other. Eddie told me, “One of the most important of my rules for romance is my belief that no man should be too finicky over what a woman spends.” He paused for’ a moment. “Whatever they do spend, I’ve found, is usually for some good.
“I don’t believe, either, in keeping a wife in the dark about your business affairs, as so many men seem to do. Olive knows just as much about my contracts, salary, and so forth as I do. We have a business manager who gives us a set allowance, and we each have our bankbooks for our joint account.
“It’s as much to her interest as mine, obviously, to save for the time when we grow older.”
He told us of the evenings they spend at the end of every month, going over the bank statements, checking off, together, the extravagances they might have avoided. “Then we decide not to do that again the next month,” he laughed suddenly, “and sometimes w7e succeed.
“Another rule of mine,” he added, “is never talking about one thing very long — especially if it’s a touchy subject that might lead to argument. If you keep on and on and on, you’re bound to get into trouble, and you open too many cans of vegetables.
“Of course, we do have arguments. What married couple doesn’t? Sometimes we go to it hot and heavy over a criticism of my acting in a certain picture. I’ll say, after she has seen a new bit of business, ‘Did you like that part?’ She may answer frankly, ‘No, I thought it was terrible.’ And I try to explain why I did it — and then the fun begins!
“Who wins our arguments? Well, I don’t know. I try to let her see my side — she tries to let me see her point — and we usually come to the same conclusion.
“Recently we decided to send my youngest daughter, Jane, to private school. Mrs. Arnold suggested it. I said, ‘How much will it cost?’ She told me — she had _ it all figured out on the basis of a year’s expenses. I said, ‘Go ahead.’
“Most of my rules for romance, I’m afraid, will take the shape of denials of the rules I’ve read in other articles. For instance, I don’t believe at all in husbands and wives taking vacations away from each other.
“We go away for our vacations — together. I believe deeply that you should spend as much time as you can together. And if you really care, you won’t grow tired of one another, as other writers have warned.
“Of course,” he laughed that famous laugh of his, “if I do have too long a layoff from work, I’m apt to hear something like this — ‘I’ll be glad when you go back to the studio!’
“A wife, too, should have some interest of her own — to keep her mind occupied outside the house. And one of my rules is that a man should make that his interest too. Adapt himself. For instance, I’m glad that Mrs. Arnold is interested in singing,
and that she has had considerable success as a concert singer. Just recently she gave a recital of songs before an important musical group in Los Angeles. We attend concerts together regularly. Even if I were not interested in music — as I have grown to be — it would be only fair for me to encourage her.
“Big things, I believe, are more important than little things, though I try to remember that saying about little things pleasing a woman more. I’ll confess that usually I have to ask the children to remind me of birthdays and our anniversary — but now I have them written on my calendar so as not to forget.
“Another of my rules has to do with the children. We never play favorites, as some parents are apt to do, but try to give them all an even break. And when one of us is correcting the children, the other never interrupts. I believe that leads to trouble in many families. The mother will be punishing Johnnie, and the father — Johnnie is his favorite — will interrupt and say, ‘Aw, he’s not such a bad kid. Why don’t you let him alone?’ Then the fun begins!
“I do believe, definitely, in bringing my work home with me. Mrs. Arnold is interested in what I’m doing — she’s a darned good critic — and it’s only natural for me to want to get things off my chest sometimes.
“She has her favorite roles that I’ve played, and liked my parts in ‘Million Dollar Ransom’ and Sadie McKee especially. She considers the role of the priest in The White Sister the best acting part I’ve done — possibly because she knows that in real life, I’m so different!”
His fine, healthy children — Elizabeth, Edward, Jr., and Dorothy Jane — are living proofs of the worth of Arnold’s rules for domestic happiness.
Edward, Jr., — now 16 — looks forward to an acting career, and has already appeared in a boys’ picture made by Universal, starring the sons of many famous Hollywood stars. Elizabeth, just 18, acts as her father’s secretary and attends to his fan mail. “We haven’t put little Jane to work yet,” Arnold laughs.
But already, at 11, she has a list of duties, and must take care of her own room, make her bed, and so forth — the Arnolds’ prescription for raising unspoiled youngsters in Hollywood.
The atmosphere of Eddie Arnold’s home is more like that of a club than a private house. He calls it, jokingly, the Arnold Club. “We all, even the children, usually stay home nights because we sincerely have a better time than when we go out. Mrs. Arnold and I enter into the conversation and games of the kids. Right now we’re all making a movie with our 16-millimeter camera, with a script the kids have written, and regular professional acting parts for us all.
“I love cooking, and get a bigger kick out of turning out a new dish for the family’s benefit than anything else I can think of. My whole family is crazy about a special rarebit I make — you should hear the shouts when I head for the kitchen about nine in the evening!”
His new assignments make him, he told me a bit ruefully, the busiest actor in Hollywood. “I won’t have a vacation for over a year,” he said. You’ll see him starring in such pictures as “The Mighty Pinkerton,” “The Incredible Jim Fisk,” “Life of Alexandre Dumas,” “Meet Nero Wolfe,” Come and Get It, and others for practically every studio in Hollywood.
And his success, he will be proud to tell you, is by and for the home to which he returns each night from the studio — kept safe and happy by the “Rules for Romance” he has given you.
Latest portrait of Edward Arnold and his wife, Olive Emerson Arnold, who is a popular concert singer.
Source: Screenland, August 1936