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They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy (Excerpt)

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy (Excerpt)

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
When a dance marathon craze sweeps the country, Hollywood film extras Robert and Gloria join dozens of other desperate young men and women to compete in a multi-day, dance-till-you-drop spectacle. Most dancers are hoping to get noticed by major movie studios. But as live audiences cheer and jeer, bodies drop, fists are thrown, and the trendy contest quickly becomes a cutthroat nightmare for its participants.
When a dance marathon craze sweeps the country, Hollywood film extras Robert and Gloria join dozens of other desperate young men and women to compete in a multi-day, dance-till-you-drop spectacle. Most dancers are hoping to get noticed by major movie studios. But as live audiences cheer and jeer, bodies drop, fists are thrown, and the trendy contest quickly becomes a cutthroat nightmare for its participants.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Apr 17, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?
By Horace McCoy
IT WAS FUNNY THE way I met Gloria. She was trying to get into picturestoo, but I didn’t know that until later. I was walking down Melrose one dayfrom the Paramount studios when I heard somebody hollering, ‘Hey! Hey!’and I turned around and there she was running towards me and waving. Istopped, waving back. When she got up to me she was all out of breath andexcited and I saw I didn’t know her.‘Damn that bus,’ she said.I looked around and there was the bus half a block down the street goingtowards Western.‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I thought you were waving at me …’‘What would I be waving at you for?’ she asked.I laughed. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘You going my way?’‘I may as well walk on down to Western,’ she said; and we began towalk on down towards Western.That was how it all started and it seems very strange to me now. I don’tunderstand it at all. I’ve thought and thought and still I don’t understand it.This wasn’t murder. I try to do somebody a favour and I wind up gettingmyself killed.
They are going to kill 
me.
 I know exactly what the judge is going to say. I can tell by the look of him that he is
g
oing to be glad to say it and I can tell by the feel of the people behind me that they are going to be glad to hear him say it.
 
 
 
Take that morning I met Gloria. I wasn’t feeling very good; I was still alittle sick, but I went over to Paramount because von Sternberg was makinga Russian picture and I thought maybe I could get a job. I used to ask myself what could be nicer than working for von Sternberg, or Mamoulian or Boleslawsky either, getting paid to watch him direct, learning aboutcomposition and tempo and angles … so I went over to Paramount.I couldn’t get inside, so I hung around the front until noon when one of his assistants came out for lunch. I caught up with him and asked what wasthe chance to get some atmosphere.‘None,’ he said, telling me that von Sternberg was very careful about hisatmospheric people.I thought that was a lousy thing to say but I knew what he was thinking,that my clothes didn’t look any too good. ‘Isn’t this a costume picture?’ Iasked.‘All our extras come through Central,’ he said, leaving me …I wasn’t going anywhere in particular; I was just riding along in myRolls-Royce, having people point me out as the greatest director in theworld, when I heard Gloria hollering. You see how those things happen?So we walked on down Melrose to Western, getting acquainted all thetime; and when we got to Western I knew she was Gloria Beatty, an extrawho wasn’t doing well either, and she knew a little about me. I liked her very much.She had a small room with some people over near Beverly and I livedonly a few blocks from there, so I saw her again that night. That first nightwas really what did it but even now I can’t honestly say I regret going to see

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