The Audition Ch. 01byOzArrian©
In this story the career of one of Hollywood's greatest sexy symbols has a fictional encounter with that staple of vintage Hollywood auditioning techniques, the casting couch....
Fred Stern was not a happy man. Sitting at his solid oak desk all he could see strewn in front of him were reports, memos, budget forecasts and contracts for current productions at Panogram Studios. That morning he'd already had to fire the director of his wartime musical romp "The Wacky WAACs of Okinawa" because the pinko East Coast type thought it was disrespectful to set such a film on the island that saw some of the bloodiest fighting three years ago during the Pacific campaign. His leading lady for the horror pic "The Ghoul in The Model T Came Home" was reportedly carrying a 3 month secret given to her by a co-star from her last movie. She was supposed to be playing the innocent bride in this production, not some knocked up floozy. Then, scanning through the returns on "Rebel Swamp Women of the Ozarks" this supposed boffo box office winner in the C-grade movie houses south of the Mason-Dixon line was being pummeled in ticket receipts after a few southern hillbilly evangelists decided it was 'Immoral exploitation of young Louisianian and Floridian women-folk."
"Goddam yokels. Goddam actors. Goddam fucking PINKOS!" Stern yelled to no one but himself, then with a sweep of his right arm he violently brushed all the paperwork off his desk scattering it onto the thick woollen carpet on the floor. He swore in Yiddish a little less louder than his last exclamation then mashed the call button on his office intercom.
"Miss Sneevely, could you please come in here right NOW." Barking his command like a short order cook telling a customer that the burger was supposed to be charcoal black, the head of the most notorious Poverty Row B-Grade movie studio in Hollywood made certain that his secretary would come running. She did, carefully but quickly opening the solid door that separated his little empire from the outer world.
"Pick up these goddam papers and get them filed A.S.A.P. Sneevely. And don't dawdle or I'll have you hooking on Rodeo Drive for 20 cents a throw before you can say 'Yes Mr Stern sir!'."
"Yes Mr Stern sir." The middle aged bespectacled secretary scooted around collecting the scattered documents as efficiently as possible. Then standing up to her full 4 foot 11 inches with a chestful of crumpled and ill-sorted papers she coughed a little to get her boss's attention.
"Um, Mr Stern sir?"
"Yes? What do you want Sneevely?" Staring hard at the mousey woman Stern wondered why it was he kept the singularly unattractive female on staff. Then he recalled she was cheap and never ever spoke of his audition techniques to anyone, hence her continued employment. Lighting up a fat Cubano cigar from a box on his desk he inhaled and repeated his query.
"What do you want? Spit it out woman!"
"Your 9.30 is here for her initial audition Mr Stern sir." Sneeveley waited for her boss's command which came after a few more puffs on his cigar. She knew not to speak unless spoken to.
"Send her in then Sneeveley." His secretary wheeled round and walked away only to be stopped at the door by his firm loud voice. "And I want no interruptions...absolutely no interruptions full goddam stop for say," looking at the clock on his office mantelpiece "the next 90 minutes."
"Yes Mr Stern sir."
"No phone calls, no visitors, no problems...nothing. Now get outta here and send in the applicant."
Stern's door closed behind the disappearing figure of his assistant, and for a few moments he had the opportunity to take a few more puffs on his cigar, run a polka dot handkerchief over his balding forehead and dust off his suit. The intercom buzzed again and he answered by stamping a stubby nicotine stained thumb on the appropriate button .
"Your 9.30 sir." Miss Sneevely's voice crackled through the speaker. As she finished speaking Stern's door opened and in walked a blond haired woman in her early twenties. Dressed in a blue calf length skirt which clung to her legs like a hungry dog on a bone, a lemon yellow halter neck top which immediately drew the movie mogul's eyes to her couple of inches exposed cleavage, black stockings, high heeled shoes and carrying a leather-wrapped portfolio in her right hand, this was easily one of the best looking hopefuls who'd crossed Stern's threshold.
Before the attractive woman could speak Panogram's head stood and indicated a huge lounge next to a fully stocked bar over to the left of the office entrance. "Take a seat my dear," Stern asked in a firm but polite tone "and let me join you." Puffing on his cheap Cubano-knock off the studio boss walked around his desk. As the young lady sat down on the leather sofa she clenched together her knees. "Can I offer you a martini? Bourbon? Soda or seltzer water?" Pouring himself a stiff gin and tonic Stern smiled down to his latest potential 'star'.
"Just a soda please Mr Stern. I can't abide the taste of alcohol sir."
As he pulled the cap off a cherry soda that he found in the bar's ice box Fred was musing on the beauty before him. Her voice was a little breathless, sounding like one of those consumptives he used to know when he was a kid back in New York round the turn of the century. She also had a little nervous giggle underneath the breathy sounds. Her hair was long, but not straight like Veronica Lake's. Instead it was curled a little like Betty Grable's. Mostly blond there was a tinge of auburn too. Her pouting lips were not too full and the woman was neither mean nor too liberal with the lipstick. She had a subtle perfume on that mingled most pleasingly with the smoke from his Cubano. Okay, the base of her nose was a little too broad and she could have got a cosmetician to apply her blusher. Yet whilst her eyes were damned pretty and a focal point for his interest at the moment his attention was drawn yet again to the obvious exposure of the skin between her perky boobs.
"Good girl. Never drink anything they use to pickle people in honey!" Stern laughed gutturally at his own crass joke as he passed over the cherry soda to the young woman who tittered politely. Then sitting himself down right next to the sweet young thing he took a long swig from his G&T and then poked a stubby finger at her portfolio. "Okay...give me the pictures please my dear. I would like to see how they match up to what you've described in your application form."
The wannabe starlet passed over the large wallet of glossy photos and scanned the selection slowly. There were some very good cheesecake shots from magazines like 'Laff' and 'Peek' and 'US Camera'. One photo was particularly promising, displaying the honey sitting next to him on a beach, her face lit up by a big smile, her long legs stretched like a gazelle's, and her left arm curled up over her tits which were hidden in a green bikini top. There was a hint of ass there as well thanks to the new French swim suit, and her hair was blown back in what seemed a blaze of auburn and blond streaks. It was all the studio boss could do to clench down on his cigar and hold back his erection as he stared at this intensely arousing photo. To top it off the gal in the shot was here beside him in his office, looking for some kind of favour from one of the most powerful men in B-grade Hollywood.
"I like your still photography work kiddo. Shows moxxie and a bit of leg...the kind of stuff the guys will love to see in my movies. Before we get to the actual acting audition though tell me about yourself. In your own words." Stern put down his glass and the photos and stared with paternal intensity at the woman. If she was too shy, too keen or too secretive he'd kick her out even if she was the sexiest thing he'd seen in years. "Let's start with your name."
"Well Mr Stern my name is Norma. Norma Dougherty. You should have that though on my application right?" Stern just nodded and then motioned for Norma to carry on. He was the boss and what he wanted he got here. "I'm 20, got a husband in the merchant marine and have come into town from Nevada after seeing your ad in a Variety that came out, oh about a month ago."
"Good Norma. All sounds normal and very American honey which is something my stars have to be. American as mom's apple pie, stars and stripes and all that jazz. Your husband got an interest in your plans to be a movie star?"
"Good lord no Mr Stern sir!" came back Norma's reply, uttered somewhere in between a soft whisper and a fiery proclamation. "He's too busy with his sailing stuff," at which Norma blinked back the genesis of a tear "and he doesn't actually know I'm here in Hollywood. He thinks I'm with friends in Portland right now."
Fred mused to himself that his cute little mark was not above hiding some things and taking matters into her own hands when her ambition took centre stage. "Do you think he'll approve if I ever cast you in a movie sweet stuff?"
"I don't really care Mr Stern," replied Norma ignoring the affectionate name the studio chief called her by. "We're getting a divorce," there was steel in Norma's voice now "and I will do what I have to do to get by. Won't stay little Mrs Doughtery. No way!"
"I see Norma. What you're telling me is you're a free agent now? And you're hungry to be a movie star hmmm?"
"Oh yes sir, very very much so!" Norma leaned closer to the sixty-something man who held her destiny in his hands. "I want to be like Jane Russell and Jean Harlow and Linda Darnell. The kind of star that people stop and ask for autographs and feel better just by meeting. The kind of star with the huge house and the nice car and the latest clothes from Paris and New York. The kind of star with a place on Hollywood Boulevard and photographers snapping away like crazy as I walk down the red carpet at Graumann's. You understand what I'm talking about don't you Mr Stern?" The pretty young woman who was like a kid when it came to her taste in drinks had the greedy appetites of an obsessed adult when it came to fulfilling her ambition. Panogram's head honcho had seen starlets with barely inferior looks to Norma come and go, but few had expressed such a drive to succeed. So his plans for the rest of the audition seemed far more appropriate now, understanding that the 20 year old sailor's wife was no blushing violet, no scared mid-west farm girl who'd reject his demands.
"Well Norma they are some pretty big dreams you have there!" Stern dropped a wad of ash from his cigar into a platinum art deco ash tray and stared at his newest 'project'. "I have to admit your words have moved me. Made me understand a lot about your personality, your potential movie presence. But you know making fine speeches in private to an old New York schlemiel like me ain't what Panogram movie audiences like. They like beautiful American dolls, celluloid cheesecake...dare I say sex kittens in my movies Mrs Doughtery. For me to make a star out of you I need to make money from my movies. And for me to make money from my movies I got to give the audience what they want." Pacing up and down past Norma Fred Stern kept up his lecture. "If they want a talking mule and a dumb dancer I give it to them. If they want a war film where the Nips get wiped out and old glory gets hung up by a bunch of hero Marines I give that to 'em too." Stern then paused and looked at his target and paused. Watching her for a few seconds digest this information Stern waited for a five count, then continued. "And if my audience want to see a fit, healthy, American girl like you in little clothing dancing or singing or reciting goddam Shakespeare I give it to them. You catch my drift Norma honey?"
"Do you want me to show you some leg Mr Stern? Isn't my portfolio good enough?" Norma blushed a little and tried to hood her eyes from Fred's hungry attention. "Because if it isn't I'm not sure what else I can show you from my magazine shoots to help you sir."
"Screw the magazines kid," Stern spat out "that's the stuff for lining shoe boxes and for dumbass farm boys in Buttfuck Arkansas to moon over." Norma gasped a little at the crudity let loose by the man who held her hopes for stardom in his hands. " We're talking movies...films...pictures. And that means living, breathing, moving, blushing flesh." Panogram's stout and well-upholstered studio boss drew himself up to his full 5 foot 8 inches of Yonkers Jewish persona and put his metaphorical cards on the table.
"You want to be a star at Panogram you need to show me your tits and ass kid. Now. Here." The last two points were driven home for Norma by his stubby right index finger pointing at first her full breasts and then at her curved hips. "T and A honey; that's what sells pictures made at my studio, and by the look of what you have I think we can make a fortune. Together."
"What if I refuse?" Norma wasn't going to get undressed in front of the old man unless it was the last resort.
"You can just about kiss those movie star dreams goodbye. Capiche?"
Norma sighed, stood up and began to undo the buttons that kept her blue skirt up. Why was it whenever it came to getting anywhere in this goddam town someone always tried to see her undressed? She knew she was attractive and that her ample bosom and pert butt were the more significant attributes compared to her acting skills. But she was getting tired with being seen just as a piece of meat by sleazy men. It wasn't fair. Did Harlow have to go through this? Did Alice Faye, Bette Davis, Betty Grable or Dorothy Lamour? Norma tried to resolve that question for herself but Fred's crass voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Stop dawdling kid. Get those clothes off now!"
Norma jumped a little nervously and without a second thought drew down the top of her skirt, the blue material dropping to the floor. It exposed her white cotton panties and the garter belt that kept up her stockings. Fred Stern murmured a few approving comments as Norma then set about taking off her yellow top. "That's it girlie, let me see what the movie going public want to see too." as the starlet disrobed, pulling the halter neck away from her shoulders and up over her head she revealed a delightfully formed pair of breasts that were snugly supported by a strapless bra. There was some coyness to Norma's nervous grin when she finally stood before the studio head's gaze, wearing only her underwear which in turn gave the mogul a silent thrill. "This kid has a drop-dead fucking gorgeous bod" he thought to himself "I think I might have something work with" he then said, addressing the young woman.
"Do you really think so Mr Stern? Does this mean I can be a movie star?" Norma's breathless voice sounded like a 78 rpm record when she asked Fred these eager questions. He didn't return her effusive charm however; instead he kept looking at her with a paternal, officious look. "You know I can sing and dance and act and.."
"Just because I think you have potential darling doesn't mean that Panogram Pictures and Frederick Benjamin Stern are going to spend thousands of bucks trying to foist some half-baked young divorcee with a cute tush and a great pair onto the film going public of the US of A." Drawing himself up to his full height Fred continued to build upon the audition process as it had been practiced by powerful studio heads with attractive actresses since the days of Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. Moving away from the couch he circled the now silent Norma, who shivered a tiny bit as the cool air of the office fan blew on her barely covered body.
"You see Norma," Fred Stern gruffly said as he drew on his cigar "I don't make films that rely on great actresses. My audience doesn't want to see films with the likes of Katherine Hepburn or some other meschugge women's flick that someone like goddam Billy Wilder or George Cukor would make. No; my films are made on the smell of an oily rag, with plots limited to boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy fights commies, guys fight over girl. The actresses need to look like the girl next door to Joe Public, exude all the style and sexiness of a virgin hooker, and let their all-male all-American soldier boyfriend score at the end of the film as the credits roll. They may not be pieces of art, but they make me money. And to make money I need to have women in my films who look like they'll fuck any guy who watches the film she's in, without scaring off the date the guy brings along as some kind of rival. Are you that kind of actress Norma?"
The starlet considered what the studio bigwig asked. "Gee, I don't know Mr Stern. That all sounds a little, well crude. I was kinda hoping that the stuff I've done in community theatre..."
"I don't give a frigid fat fanny about community theatre honey!" The jowly flesh under Stern's neck turned a mottled purple. "I want to know can you shake your money maker," at which point he aimed his well chewed cigar stub at Norma's butt "and your titties" (waving the cigar now at her breasts) "almost bare naked while you get some B-Grade beefcake with a brick for brains to say his lines without costing me 20 takes on a scene. 'Cause if you can and know how to impress me with your talents in that direction, well I could possibly give you a role or two...supporting mind you...but yeah, a role or two here at Panogram."
Norma blushed and nodded her head in the affirmative. "I want to do whatever it takes to be one of your leading actresses Mr Stern sir. I want to learn, want to be a star. And if it means this", at which point she turned and wiggled her firm and curvy backside at the older man "gets more attention than my acting then I will do what I can. Okay Mr Stern?"
When she turned back to face the head of Panogram she saw that he was sitting back on the couch, his cigar barely held in his slack-jawed mouth and if Norma could believe her eyes a decent size tent was formed over the lap of Stern's trousers that he inobtrusively massaged. She was hoping he'd have a contract in his hand when she looked at him, instead to her dismay it was the shape of a barely concealed hard on.
"Mmmmm, I do love that tush of yours Norma. What say you come and sit in Mr Stern's lap and we talk about your first film." With most of the pretence now disregarded it was time for the Hollywood studio boss to complete the deal with his latest starlet. There was a momentary shuffle back from him as Norma stared at the lump in Stern's pants. He could see she was fighting her conscience, her greed for fame and fortune battling with her morality. Stern knew she was lost the moment she acceded to his demand for her to get out of her street clothes. Now it was just a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's.
"I'm thinking $75 a week, with a furnished bungalow supplied gratis over near the valley, and your debut film will have you.." reaching for a script lying on his desk Stern scanned the cover "as Betty in 'The Shocking Miss Pilgrim'. What do you think honey?"
Norma's clouded face turned into a beaming excited smile. "I get to be an actress here at Panogram Mr Stern sir, and you'll even give me money and a home!?"
"Uh huh." Stern replied patting his knee.
"Well, alright. I guess that's an offer I can't refuse huh?" The young woman who had entered the office about 10 minutes beforehand was before now just another Hollywood wannabe. Here was her opportunity, and it was so tempting. "All I gotta do is make the boss happy, right?" Norma mentally asked herself. With a mixture of bravado, happiness and excitement she took the plunge, moving to Fred Stern as he sat on the couch. "Hope I'm not too heavy for you Mr Stern sir" Norma breathlessly giggled, then she lowered her panty covered ass into the older man's lap.
"Not at all Norma, not at all." Stern's face also shifted from grim leering cupidity to cheery, almost paternal happiness. As the 20 year old starlet's panties rubbed against his black serge woollen suit pants he felt his old cock stiffen dramatically. It had been quite a while since one of the dozens of women he'd auditioned had got him so erect so quickly, and he couldn't help a contented sigh as Norma squirmed a little.