Naturals of Modern Sport Light Up “The Great White Way”

Damon Runyon

Richmond Times-Dispatch/January 2, 1924

NEW YORK, Jan. 1.—Oscar Shaw, the actor, would have made a great professional boxer. Shaw has the role of the fighter-hero in the “Great White Way,” a picture which will be presented for the first time Thursday evening at the Cosmopolitan Theater, on Columbus Circle.

It is a role in which Shaw delighted. He has always been a great “ringworm” or flstlc fan. In his extreme youth he had a strong yearning toward a pugilistic career.

That was before he discovered that he had more talent for the stage, a happy discovery for Shaw. Aa a fighter he might have become a champion. But as an actor he has a more permanent career, will gather more enduring fame, minus the cost of mangled ears or a dislocated profile.

Shaw is a natural athlete, compactly, solidly built, with smooth muscles which carry great strength. He has the appearance of a champion professional boxer, that is as the popular imagination pictures a champion—a Dempsey, a Leonard.

Some champion never look the part. But as a rule a champion is a champion in appearance. This is true of men and horses. Nearly every great horse looks great. There is something about every great fighter that immediately attracts attention to him even when hie identity is unknown.

Shaw could easily be taken for a champion in his street clothes. When you are told he is an actor you think “he must be a good actor,” which he is.

The director of “The Great White Way,” E. Mason Hopper, displayed real imagination when he started out to make this picture, an amazing depiction of Broadway, a modern sport woven through a great story.

When the average director wishes to present a character in a picture he produces a mere imitation of the character.

The director of “The Great White Way” said to himself: “This story calls for a pugilistic promoter. Who can play the part of pugilistic promoter better than a pugilistic promoter himself? And who is the best known pugilistic promoter in the world—Tex Rickard.”

So the director went out and induced Tex Rickard to play himself.

When the director found that the story called for the character of a famous editor, he got the most famous editor in the world to play himself. He got Arthur Brisbane.

When the director desired “gate crasher,” inevitable to all big sport events, he got Tammany Young. A “gate crasher” is one who get through the gates without the formality of paying. Tammany Young is said to be the world’s champion “gate crasher.”

When the story called for the character of a jockey, the director got Earle Sande, king of the modern day horsemen

“Gimme a handy

Guy like Sandy

Bootin’ that winner it!”

Thus “The Great White Way” is a living pictorial of men whose personality and appearance is of general interest, as well as being an exciting romantic screen story.

Kid Broad, picturesque featherweight of another era, is in the picture.

His appearance will revive fond memories among the old-timers of the days of Young Corbett, the great McCovern, Yanger, the “Tipton Slasher”; Joe Bernstein, the Ghetto champion, and many others.

The redoubtable Joe Humphreys, famous announcer, is playing himself in the picture. Johnny Gallagher, who refereed the Dempsev-Firpo fight, is the referee in the picture.

“The Great White Way is a veritable “Who’s Who” of today in the world of sport.

(Source: Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/616207539/?terms=Damon%2BRunyon)

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