November 19th 1960
Please Rest in Peace, Major John Zanft
Since November 19th is the anniversary of Major John Zanft’s death I thought that it would be a fitting tribute to write an essay about him as he was a MAJOR part of Hattie Carnegie’s life.
They were happily married for twenty-eight and one half years. Hattie died of cancer at the townhouse located at 1133 Fifth Ave. At the house they shared since their marriage on August 22nd 1928,
Hattie passed away in her loving husband's arms.
John S. Zanft was born in January of 1883 in New York City.
He was the first born and the only son in the Zanft family. His mother’s was Jeanette, as her name was included in his marriage announcement to Hattie Carnegie. John’s father’s name was not included in the announcement as he was pre-deceased. I do not currently have the information. John had two sisters they were named Susan and Yetta. John completed high school. He was planning a future in the military when he met his future wife, a young Austrian girl, Henrietta Kanengeiser.
They met while she was working as a sales associate at Macy's Department Store.
John made Henrietta nervous, because he was always finding an excuse to go into the store, he was hoping that she was working and if she wasn’t he would never fail to inquire about her. Henrietta was also training as a milliner.
A milliner is a person who creates and sells hats
During this time period, she was just beginning to be called Hattie. The the other girls would reply,
“You must be looking for Hattie.”
With John’s constant pursuit, word got back to Hattie who was secretly happy that he had taken an interest in her, but she was still she very confused about her feelings towards him.
Hattie was from a culture in which couples did not date as arrangements regarding future marriages were made either by a family member, in most instances this was done but the father. More well to do familes hired the matchmaker.
Couples often didn’t know each other until the wedding day. This was a common practice to ensure that they would be no questioning of the chosen spouse, and that the couples would go through with the marriage.
A marriage based solely on love was foreign to young Hattie, she was confused, because she knew that she adored John and knew in her heart that it must be love that she felt, in her head, Hattie was raised in the belief that couples were supposed to grow to love each other, as was what happened in the case of her parents, but dating was a different story altogether this was just was not accepted in their culture.
The apparent language barrier also presented a problem, because Hattie was still speaking broken English at the time that she begun her formal courtship with John.
John would ask Hattie to lunch, during her breaks when she had a few moments to talk with him. Hattie would in turn, politely decline. Hattie’s friends, Both the Americans and other immigrants alike, thought that Hattie was being extremely foolish, and they did not hesitate in the least, to tell her that.
“Don’t you understand, he must really like you, he is hanging around the Women’s Department.”......
"Why don’t you give him a chance?"
Hattie decided that maybe her friends had a point, therefore she accepted a lunch date with John. Several dates followed and the couple soon quickly discovered, that they were following in love with each other.
Hattie’s culture continued to act as a road block for the couple. Hattie’s parents had selected a gentlemen who was to become Hattie’s husband.. She was informed of her parents decision.
Hattie and John wanted to be together more than anything. They started to sneak around, so they could continue their romance, and be able to see each other. Hattie’s friends and co-workers covered for them.
The Kanengeiser’s knew that Hattie and John were friends, but they were unaware that friendship had developed into a romantic relationship and would ultimately become a deep love
When Hattie’s father died the relationship between Hattie and John was ended for a few reasons.
John was sent to another location through military assignment. Hattie’s mother had another baby, Hattie didn’t want to abandon her mother to take care of the little ones alone, which would have happened if she married a military man. Hattie also felt she had to honor her father’s wish that she marry Ferdinand Fleischman.
MAJOR JOHN ZANFT- SEVERAL OCCUPATIONS AND SKILLS
John stayed enlisted in the military, all the way through World War I, developing a growing interest in the theater.
Assisting with the theater industry which was the World War I equivalent to the USO of World War II and beyond.
Although his rank was never that high while in the military. He was given the honorary title of Major because of his tireless devotion to military service, and providing entertainment for the troops.
Major, was what John was called from World War I forward.
After the war ended, John again became a civilian, although he was still called Major.
He was able to obtain a job writing a theatrical column for the Morning Telegraph which was located within the city, of New York He utilized the pen name of John Zan for his columns.
John’s gift for putting pen to paper brought him to the attention of William Fox, who owned the Fox Theater Chains.
William Fox became John’s mentor and friend. John was personally selected by Fox to become the Vice President of the Fox Theater Corp of New York, and also parts of New England.
John Zanft even produced a few movies which sadly were not successful, As a producer, he was torn apart by unmercifullessly by the critics, That didn’t discourage John too much as he was friends with Samuel Goldwyn, and it was because of Goldwyn, that he was never out of work as he was called to Hollywood often, to assist with projects.
Rekindling the Flame
It was on one of these Hollywood trips, where he met up and rekindled his teenage romance with Hattie.
It didn't take long for Hattie and John to discover, they were still very much in love with one another. John asked for Hattie’s hand in marriage almost immediately, she accepted and a few months later and twenty years after they broke off the initial romance, the couple happily eloped to Philadelphia, two weeks later they had a religious ceremony in a synagogue in their old neighborhood, they wanted to be certain the marriage was going to be blessed by God.
The happy couple bought a beautiful townhouse at 1133 Fifth Ave and settled in to make that their home.
Hattie Carnegie was now a successful fashion designer and a very successful businesswoman. Hattie appointed her new husband Vice President of her company and he assisted her with the business aspect of Hattie Carnegie Inc.
From that point on Hattie Carnegie Inc was a family business.
Just prior to their marriage, John was appointed Commissioner of the Elmira Reformatory in New York.
(A residential home for troubled youth, which still stands.)
John thought that certain kids if given direction and discipline could be reformed, change their ways to become productive adult citizens and contribute to society in a positive manner and he hoped to help them avoid a life behind adult prison walls. These kids didn’t like John, because he was strict with them, made them tow the line, but he most definitely commanded their respect.
Unfortunately though, John couldn’t keep his own mentor from staring at prison walls.
William Fox spent money beyond his financial limits, building up his theaters and in the process, he also built up resentment and jealousy within other companies which set out to ruin him. Fox suffered anti-trust litigation, had to file for bankruptcy.
Even good friends, John and Hattie, who remained loyal and testified on his behalf couldn’t help redirect Fox’s fate.
William Fox sensing impending failure, got scared and bribed a judge, was made an example. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Never turned their back on their friend, the couple would remain friends with Fox till his death in 1952.
Jack of All Trades
John Zanft held many occupations throughout his life among them
World War I Veteran- Vice President of Fox Theatre-
Director of the Poli Chain of Theaters in New England
Wrote a daily newspaper column for The Morning Telegraph
Commissioner of the Elmira Reformatory in New York
Vice President of Hattie Carnegie Inc
John Zanft was also a loyal and loving husband to Hattie Carnegie, just adored her.
Their embattled courtship and sad separation as teenagers, seemed to help them to be certain not to take their marriage for granted, when they finally reunited they appreciated their time together and felt like God gave them a second chance, they were meant to be together forever.
John bought Hattie a ranch home with 160 acres of land in the city of Red Bank, New Jersey (Rumson). They had a vacation home to go to to get away from the city, so that a stressed out Hattie could relax and have all the things that were important to her. That she couldn’t possibly have in the city, such as flower gardens, apple trees and a ranch full of animals. especially horses. They enjoyed riding the horses around their beautiful ranch
The ranch was named “Four Winds” after a perfume that Hattie created. John felt that Red Bank was a good choice to purchase another home as it was in the countryside, but not too far so they could commute to and from the city
When Hattie Carnegie passed away on February 22nd 1956 of cancer. John was devastated and heartbroken, lost the love of his life, but he had promised Hattie that he would look after the business, but it would prove to be far too much for him without her by his side, too many memories, were tied into the business so he decided to sell
Happily he found a former trainee Larry Joseph, who bought out the jewelry section of Hattie Carnegie Inc
Joseph, made it his own, out of loyality to Hattie, he continued manufacturing certain jewelry items under the Hattie Carnegie label, in care of Joseph Joseph sold the business in 1976, the new owner having no connection nor loyality to Hattie whatsoever dropped her name permanently from the label. Hattie Carnegie was a part of history.
Upon Hattie’s death the ranch was sold just as Hattie wanted and the property was used to provide housing units for lower income families. Hattie was raised in the slums of the Lower East Side, she didn’t want that life for other families. Both she and John wanted people to have a safe place to reside to raise their families.The property was called Carnegie Court, everything within that property was named in honor and appreciation of Hattie and John.
Gardener of Hattie Carnegie's FOUR WINDS RANCH Also Created the Famous Rose Garden at the White House.......
THE PRIVATE WORLD OF A GREAT GARDENER
''Part of creating is understanding that there is always more to do; nothing is ever completely finished,'' says Rachel Lambert Mellon, whose landscape designs grace such varied places as The White House, Jacqueline Onassis' summer home on Martha's Vineyard and Hubert de Givenchy's Manoir du Jonchet in France.
In the same tradition as an earlier landscape designer, Beatrix Jones Farrand, Mrs. Mellon is one of those inherently talented women, who, though not formally trained, has read her way through the subject and observed and learned in her travels both horticulture and landscape design. Recalling their work together at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on Boston harbor, I.M. Pei says, ''Mrs. Mellon has the combination of sensitivity and imagery with technical knowledge that you only find among the best professionals.'' It was she who suggested for the Library grounds the dune grass which now bends in the wind - symbolic of the Cape Cod terrain where the President loved to walk.
This past year Mrs. Mellon has been occupied overseeing the completion of her own new garden library, a building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, on the grounds of Oak Spring, the farm where she lives with her husband, Paul Mellon, the art patron and philanthopist. The library houses her extensive collection of botannical and gardening books amassed over the years.
Oak Spring, a U-shaped complex of white-washed buildings with trees espaliered against the walls is the residence that Mr. and Mrs. Mellon consider ''home''. Like their other properties - city houses in New York, Washington and Paris, country houses in Cape Cod and Antigua - Oak Spring has a distinctive garden, designed by Mrs. Mellon, this one in a series of parterres in the French style. Crab apple trees square off one area, and a single cordon of McIntosh apple trees border the cool beauty of blue-and-white flower beds. Nearby is a vegetable garden planted in perpendicular rows edged in boxwood.
The garden slopes gently, and descending on either side is the main house, with the peaked roofs of the linked structures, giving the impression of a small white village.
Settled into a hillside, beyond an orchard, is the new whitewashed fieldstone library with the pitched shed roof silhouetted against the sky. The entire facade facing southwest is an immense sun dial with steel gnomon and strokes. The building includes the main book room, underground stacks, a book-processing room, a kitchen and a cubical tower which is Mrs. Mellon's workroom and where her collection of botanical porcelain will be installed.
Inside, the white walls are awash with light and shadow from strategically placed square windows. ''I wanted a modern exterior with large openings to let the outside in,'' Mrs. Mellon confirms.
Between the library and the main house, a pleached arbor of crab apple trees, leads to the double greenhouse where Mrs. Mellon experiments with unusual and rare plants. Working greenhouses they are, but Mrs. Mellon has added her touch: the storage shelves of the entryway are concealed by trompe l'oeil doors depicting other shelves arrayed with garden paraphernalia. Not the least of which, hanging on a ''hook,'' is the riding raincoat from her days at Foxcroft School, which she still wears.
One area of the greenhouse is reserved for her miniature herb trees, a form that she originated 30 years ago in this country. Using rosemary, thyme, myrtle or santolina, she grows them from small slips. ''They are living objects,'' she says, ''and although they have a medieval quality, they complement a contemporary interior as well.''
Her miniature herb trees sit on trestle tables inside the galleried library where the bookshelves rise to the ceiling. The white linen shades on the window wall blow like sails in the wind, and the patterned floor, a hallmark of every Mellon interior, is a diagonal checkerboard in blue-gray and beige squares that blend with the paving stones of the adjoining library terraces.
Most of the interior fittings have been hand-crafted on the farm to Mrs. Mellon's specifications. ''All the materials relate to the earth; clay tiles, handwoven linen and the wood is from our own trees,'' she says. The 75-foot-long room, with its white stone walls and juxtaposition of old and new, has the comfort and ease of a spacious living room. Couches upholstered in off-white are scatted with botanical-print pillows, Homespun blue linen covers the desk chair and even on a grey day, the brilliant yellow of a Mark Rothko painting lights the space.
In her tower workroom, Mrs. Mellon continues to design landscapes and gardens which take their inspiration from Le Notre, as well as modern artists like Mondrian and Diebenkorn. Despite her active life, she has always found time to design.
As a child, Mrs. Mellon was fascinated by gardens. She watched the landscape man from the Olmstead firm in Boston who came down to Princeton to work on the grounds of her family home. Fairy tales, especially those illustrated by Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac were beloved childhood reading. She studied prints in old books of Italian and French gardens and then built miniature ones in wooden boxes incorporating small stone steps, real soil and tiny topiary trees.
''One of the first gardens I did outside the family was for the designer Hattie Carnegie, said Mrs. Mellon, ''. I was 23 then, and I went to her salon, but could not afford any of her dresses myself, though I loved them,'' she tells the story. ''Miss Carnegie suggested I do a garden in exchange for a coat and dress, and so I designed and planted a garden for her.''
Since then, Mrs. Mellon has created numerous landscapes for private residences and for public projects, In some instances she has received payment which she donates to a horticultural or medical cause. But most of her clients, freqently her friends, are creative personalities themselves and savor the experience of their collaboration with her.
Looking out the window of her workroom, Mrs. Mellon explains, ''I always design a landscape with fixed horizons whether it be mountains or a stone wall around a 20-foot-square plot.'' If there is no set boundary, she will create one. ''On the other hand,'' she says, ''the sky is a free asset in design and nothing unnecessary should be planted that takes away the sky.''
She shapes the terrain and uses trees as sculpture. Trees are the bones of her garden - always systematically pruned, frequently in topiary forms or espaliered against walls -and they become the focal points from which flower, vegetable and herb beds evolve. She selects indigenous plant material so that her planned landscapes will flourish. And she knows the forms of trees intimately and whether they cast dark shadows or ones that dance like firelight.
On the drawing board now is the landscape design for Jacqueline Onassis' new house on Martha's Vineyard which includes a grape harbor and an apple orchard of several varieties of apple trees with here and there a gap - ''as if a few old trees had died,'' Mrs. Mellon explains.
Jacqueline Onassis and Mrs. Mellon began their close friendship by working together on the floral decorations for the White House. Mrs. Mellon, given President Kennedy's suggestion for a ceremonial outdoor space at the White House, designed the now-famous Rose Garden.
Hubert de Givenchy, the designer, refers to his gardens at Manoire du Jonchet in France, which Mrs. Mellon helped him design, as ''a delicate piece of embroidery.''
In the park of his chateau she planted lapis-blue scilla underneath a hundred-year-old oak tree, filling in the exact area where the tree casts its summer shadow. When the flowers bloom then in early spring, their blueness is like a memory of that shadow.
For the small garden of the New Jersey home of Charles Ryskamp, director of the Pierpont Morgan Library, she had removed a somber wall of hemlocks surrounding his garden in favor of a low split-cedar fence and a more open, park-like view of his neighbors' trees. Then she planted a sugar maple that echoed one in a neighbor's yard, thereby extending his horizon to include the tree beyond.
Currently she is a consultant to River Farm, the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society on the Potomac. According to the executive vice president, Thomas W. Richards, she has begun ''with plantings that give our driveway the appearance of a country road.''
Although each garden or landscape she creates, is as distinctive as the person for whom it is designed, Mrs. Mellon envisions them all as one immense garden of her own. And where are the horizons of this garden? As far, indeed, as her imaginative inner eye can see.
John lived out the remaining four and a half years of his life,at the townhouse he shared with Hattie on Fifth Avenue.
Major John Zanft died of a heart attack on November 19th 1960.
Hattie Carnegie and Major John Zanft have been reunited again this time in Heaven
We hope that they are happy up there and taking care of each other just like they did on earth.
May they both rest in peace, because we certainly love them.
Major John Zanft purchased the house at 1133 Fifth Ave when they married on August 22nd 1928.
Article and photographs-courtsey of Vogue Magazine
Additional information on Hattie's New York City Residence
Jim Abbott is currently writing a book about Jansen of Paris.
Jansen designed the interior of Hattie's New York City Apartment
Here is the information that he provided me with
I am completing a history of the Paris-based design firm Jansen, and Hattie Carnegie was counted as one of the firm's NYC clients. The firm is recorded as having designed an apartment for her at 1133 5th Avenue - great interior photographs survive. Can you tell me when she gave up her townhouse - or did she - in favor of an apartment? (The representative of the firm was Francis Chaillou, who oversaw Maison Jansen's NY office, Jansen, Inc., at 1 East 57th Street. Jansen counted Helena Rubinstein and Coco Chanel as clients in the 1930s, fyi.)
Also: Are their photographs of the interior of the townhouse? I presume the two images you have of Ms. Carnegie - one sitting at a Louis XV bureau plat and the other with her standing before a Louis XV commode - were taken in the townhouse. Would you be willing to share the source for these images? Are there images of just the townhouse interior?
I thank you for your consideration.
My source is Vogue Magazine from April 1st 1951.
The only request I am asking is that Hattie-Carnegie.com please be granted an acknowledgement
If you need any additional information please feel free to contact me.
The townhouse was her primary residence and Hattie lived thereuntil her passing in Feb 1956, and her husband John Zanft resided there until his passing in Nov of 1960
I thought you may want to know this for updating your web-site.
1133 Fifth Avenue is a large apartment building, designed by Emery Roth, and built in the late 1920s. It went cooperative in 1948. It is for this building that I have photographs of a living room and mirror-laden dining room assigned to Jansen for Hattie Carnegie. I am guessing these date from the early 1940s.
The only townhouse on the block is the Delano and Aldrich-designed William Straight house - 1130 Fifth Avenue, built in about 1912. There is no record of Hattie Carnegie living in the Straight house that I have been able to find, although Mrs. Harrison (Mona) Williams owned this house for a number of years. Was not Williams a client of Hattie Carnegie? Could there have been a leasing of the house from Mrs. Williams? [Harrison Williams did prove in need of cash in the late 1940s, having sold his Palm Beach house to Charles and Jayne Wrightsman.]
I will appreciate whatever information you may be able to provide to narrow the dates for the townhouse, etc.
Thanks, again...and I am more than willing to include acknowledgements.
Hattie and Mrs. Harrison Williams were neighbors, and Hattie and her husband Major John Zanft called this home when they were married in August of 1928, so apparently Hattie Carnegie and Major John Zanft actually lived in the neighboring apartment building because their address was listed as 1133 Fifth Ave, not 1130 Fifth Ave
Hattie mentioned Mrs. Williams as a client and dear friend, they played cards together with a group of neighbors every Thursday night.
Jansen of Paris DID design the rooms for Hattie who appreciated fine antiques and
French Chateaux (sp)
Thank you I appreciate this additional information. That's wonderful that you able to obtain photographs of Hattie's apartment.
As far as I know Hattie and John moved to 1133 Fifth Ave in August of 1928
Fifth Avenue House is Sold to Winter
Bing and Bing Dispose of 16 Story Apartment at 94th Street
Two Deals are Pending
Broadway Corner and 34th Street Flats-in Reported Sales as Ornstein Buys site.
Original Article-Published in the New York Times on November 8, 1928
The new sixteen story at 1133 Fifth Avenue by Bing Bing to Benjamin Winter, Inc. It was announced yesterday. The building contains only thirteen suites, and was just completed for occupancy this fall. It was fully rented from the plans. The bottom floor is an eleven room maisonette duplex. While the top floor is a sixteen room triplex suite.
The remaining floors are eleven-room apartments, and four baths, one to the floor. The building has a rent roll of more than 155.000 per year annually (remember, this was only 1928) The building occupies a site of 60 to 100 feet between Ninty-Fourth and Ninety-Fifth Streets. On the southerly side is the private house bought by Harrison Williams from the estate of the late Judge Gary with a clause restricting it's occupancy as a private residence for over twenty-five years. Insuring to 1133 Fifth Avenue uninterrupted southern exposure for that period.
The new tenants of this building include Thomas E. Mitten, Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn, Hebert G. Wellington, Louis A. Anspacher, Alan Hudson, Mrs. Lena S. Curtis, Henry Morgenthau, Major and Mrs. John S. Zanft, (Note: Hattie and John had the maisonette),Bernard K. Marcus, Isadore J. Kresel, Mrs. Mary R. Donald, Harry Eising, Edwin J. Dreyfus and Otto Abraham.
The Winter Company has been active in Fifth Avenue, which is known as the "House of the Golden Doorknobs"- were recently sold in profitable transactions. With the acquistion of 1133 Fifth Avenue. the company now controls two outstanding Fifth Avenue. apartment buildings, the other being 1035 Fifth Avenue. which was acquired six months ago.
Douglas L. Elliman and Company though Arthur D. Holmes, Vice President were the brokers in the latest transaction.
Photographs of HATTIE'S AND JOHN'S PRIMARY RESIDENCE AT
1133 FIFTH AVE
The 15-story building, which has stunning views of Central Park, has only 16 apartments and is just to the north of the very handsome Georgian-style mansion designed by Delano & Aldrich in 1913 that was built for Willard Straight and for many years was the International Center of Photography but was converted back to a single-family residence in 2002.
Hattie and John resided on the first and second floors in the maisonnette.
This Carnegie Hill (Named in honor of Hattie herself stretch of Fifth Avenue) is very attractive as it was fully developed before World War II and has a very consistent architectural character, interrupted only by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s famous curved building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright several blocks south at 89th Street.
This area has many private schools and there are several nice restaurants nearby on Madison Avenue. Cross-town bus service is at 96th and 97th Streets. This is one of the quietest areas of Fifth Avenue. Stewart Mott, a General Motors heir, bought the penthouse in this building after he moved from a four-level penthouse at the Galleria on East 57th Street.
Hattie's and John's Maisonnette-Interior
HATTIE AND ONE OF HER TOY POODLES ONYX-1955
SHE ALSO HAD OPAL (NOT PICTURED)
Landmark permit issued for 1133 FIFTH AVENUE, MANHATTAN on CARNEGIE HILL
FACTS ABOUT MAJOR JOHN ZANFT John Zanft wrote a daily entertaiment column in The Morning Telegraph under the pen name John Zan. John Zanft worked as a director at a reformatory for troubled teenagers John Zanft was Vice President of Fox Theaters in New York
The Poli chain of theaters in New England
John Zanft and Hattie Carnegie NEVER had any children.
John Zanft bought Hattie a ranch house was located in New Jersey countryside.one year for their Wedding Anniversary, the ranch was nicknamed
FOUR WINDS after a perfume Hattie created.
Four Winds Ranch - Home of Hattie and John was located on Middleton-Lincroft Road in Rumson, New Jersey, a suburb of Red Bank, New Jersey
Nut Swamp Schoolhouse-Also located on Middleton-Lincroft Road, on Hattie's Four Winds Ranch property- Opened in the 1840's Closed in 1906.
The little one-room schoolhouse reminded Hattie of her childhood in Austria where she attended a one-room schoolhouse as a little girl-Feeling nostaligic she had it restored, and upon her death requested it donated back to the City of Red Bank, New Jersey. It now hosts the RFD Community Garden Club and it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Hattie and a few close family members were the only people who referred to him by his given name of John. Everyone else called him Major out of respect.
They were happily married for almost 29 years when Hattie died of cancer.
John Zanft outlived Hattie by almost 5 years.
Internet Movie Database for John Zanft
Date of Birth:
Posters and Promotionals from When a Man's a Man.
Alternative Title: Saga of the West
In my opinion, George O'Brien also bears a remarkable resemblance to John Zanft.
Movies Produced by John Zanft
When a Man's a Man. Produced by John Zanft and Sol Lesser
BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF THE PLOT
The Variety critic gives us a pretty good idea of the plot: O'Brian does the easterner who goes broke and wanders out into the West under circumstances that are rather fanciful. When he goes to work on a ranch and cherishes an ambition to ride a champion bucking bronk, story is no less fictional in its plot. Same old designing rancher trying to force a neighbor to sell his place for pennies because latter can't get water. O'Brian slithers into the picture as a mugg who saves the day for the beleaguered rancher, at the same time winning his daughter.
Story attempts to inject menace in building up scenes of action but for the most part every effort in that direction falls somewhat flat and the final reel upsets all rules of logic. Scenario threatens flying lead and dynamiting of a well, with hero and heroine in danger, but suddenly turns around with all sides going pansy. The rancher heavy lays down his rifle, the hero starts to take his leave peacefully and his ranch foreman consoles the girl who had passed out.
Everybody has forgotten about the quarrel between the two ranchers, the cattle are getting theirs through a well figured out by O'Brian, which draws water underneath the ground from the other side of the fence, and the local ranch lothario hands the girl over to O'Brian. Even the kids will give most of the picture a laugh. It's that commonplace and juvenile."
Release: 20th Century Fox/Atherton Productions
Production: Sol Lesser-John Zanft
Director: Edward F. Cline
Writing/Screenplay: From Harold Bell Wright's novel by same name. Adaption and screenplay by Agnes Christine Johnston and Frank M. Dazey.
I'm happy to report that I have actually been able to locate a copy of this rare movie on ebay. I have always wanted a movie produced by John Zanft as a special addition to my collection.
Yes, I understand that it got bad reviews, but what do those critics really know anyhow. I can't wait to watch this movie. I will write my personal review here,after I have seen it for myself as a biased fan.
I can only imagine Hattie and John sitting in the theatre on the premiere of his movie, if they even watched the movie, for all the pre-teens out there. They were in the lobby getting popcorn, for all the rest of the readers you know what I'm really referring to.
When a Man’s a Man
Producers: Sol Lesser and John Zanft
Sol Lesser (1890-1980)
At seventeen years of age in 1907, Sol Lesser inherited his family’s San Francisco nickelodeon after his father’s passing. Following an aggressive expansion into distribution He became a leading film exchange operator in California. He also ventured into the production side of the early film business.
In 1920, Lesser founded the West Coast Theatre.in partnership with Abe and Mike Gore. The theatre they founded became the first chain of theatres on the West Coast to show first run films. Lesser sold his theatre to a financier in 1926, seeking an early retirement.. Shortly after the chain fell under the direction of William Fox who was ironically a close and dear friend to Hattie and mentor to John Zanft. William Fox was however hated by the majority of independent producers Regardless of this Hattie and John remained loyal to Fox, testifying on his behalf when he was sued by Sam Goldwyn. Apparently there were no resentments between John and Goldwyn even though he supported Fox, and Goldwyn asked John for assistance on several future projects.
Anyway boredom got the best of Lesser and it wasn’t long until he gave on his retirement and reemerged as an independent film producer with his own corporation which he called Principle Pictures which he began when he purchased a small theatre. Lesser also formed the Principle Distribution Corporation and the Principle Securities Corporation. Lesser helped United Artists discover the talents of Walt Disney and the Lesser family remained lifelong friends with Walt and Lillian Disney. We can all thank Mrs. Disney for talking her husband out of naming that sweet little mouse Mortimer.
Lesser was also supposed to be the original producer of the Tarzan movies because he was sold the rights to produce those films first. He earned the respect of many producers when he allowed MGM to cut their version for a nominal fee to him.
In 1941, Lesser was offered an executive position at RKO which he accepted, but quit after only six months because he missed the Independent Film Industry.
Reference: Sol Lesser
Leading Actor and Leading Lady: George O’Brien and Dorothy Wilson
George O’Brien was born in San Francisco on April 19th 1899. He was the son of a police officer who would become a police chief. He was an athlete in both high school and college. His favorite sports were football, baseball, track and swimming, but the sport that would serve him the most in the future would turn out to be horseback riding, because he was to become one of early films best loved cowboys.
George O’Brien enlisted in the Navy during World War I where he won the Light-Heavyweight Pacific Fleet boxing title. O’Brien was a war hero and was decorated five times for bravery during his enlistment time.After the war, he went back to college, but he left shortly after returning back to classes because he was now interested in trying acting He enjoyed visiting the Fox Studios. He met the right people and an acquaintance named Buck Jones helped O’Brien obtain a job at the studio as an assistant cameramen. The job paid $15.00 per week. He also graduated to stunt work and supporting roles. Impressed by his determination. He was offered a screen test by John Ford. His first starring role was in the 1924 silent film titled The Iron Horse with the success of that film. O’Brien was granted a dream ten year contract with Fox. He starred in several Fox productions, ironically the pictures were dramas and not his signature western. It wasn’t until 1926 when he began to star in mostly westerns.
O'Brien's next batch of films were produced by Sol Lesser and John Zanft with Fox doing the releasing, and these were westerns alternating with the occasional drama or adventure movie --- THE DUDE RANGER, WHEN A MAN'S A MAN, THE COWBOY MILLIONAIRE, THUNDER MOUNTAIN, HARD ROCK HARRIGAN, WHISPERING SMITH SPEAKS and O'MALLEY OF THE MOUNTED. THE BORDER PATROLMAN.
In 1936, O’Brien left Fox and signed with RKO (The Future Desilu Productions-Smile!)
Patriotic O’Brien resigned from RKO in 1942, to again serve his country during World War II. He stayed in the navy until 1946 then he elected to join the naval reseves and was incredibly called up to serve in both Korea and Vietnam.
He was married to Margeurite Churchill and the couple had two children together, a daughter named Orin and a son named Darcy. (Shouldn’t that have been the other way around.) Orin is a bassist with the New York Philharmonic, Darcy was a professeur of English at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa.. He passed away in 1998. He was also the best selling author of The Hillside Stranglers..
O’Brien was able to star in two movies with his hero John Wayne. These movies were Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. He also had a sense of humor and appeared in a Three Stooges film titled Gold Raiders where he was transported back in time
Reference George O'Brien
Unfortunately this was the only information I could locate on Dorothy
One of the oldest "we're going to make you a star" Hollywood clichés actually happened to blue-eyed brunette Dorothy Wilson. While working as a stenographer at RKO Radio studios, Wilson was spotted by a talent scout and signed to an acting contract. It's not certain whether or not the scout fell in love with Wilson once she took off her glasses, but it wouldn't be a bit surprising. Proving to be as talented as she was pretty, Wilson appeared opposite fellow RKO stars. William Boyd in Lucky Devils(1933), Tom Keene in Scarlet Fever(1933), and Preston Foster in The Last Days of Pompeii(1935). Loaned out to other studios, Wilson co-starred with Loretta Young in the White Parade(1934), Will Rogers in In Old Kentucky (1935), co-starred opposite George O’Brien in A Man’s a Man. (1935). Opposite Harold Lloyd in The Milky Way (1936), and Rosalind Russell in Craig Wife’s This last-named film proved to be the cinematic swan song for Dorothy Wilson, who retired from acting to marry Oscar-winning writer/director Lewis R. Foster. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie
WHEN A MAN'S A MAN (and my personal review)
Starring George O'Brien and Dorothy Wilson (Released in 1935)
Granted this film was not as good nor as enjoyable to watch as Hard Rock Harrigan. However I must disagree with the original review of When a Man’s a Man which is posted on the website. The other review of When a Man’s a Man was notcomposed by me. I have definitely not lost my mind and have not contradicted myself.
Seriously though, I think the so called movie experts tend to be a little harsh particularly when the subject is low budget films that happen to find themselves in the B category. I am also a tad bit biased because I have always wanted to see some of the movies that were produced by John Zanft. If a person admires the said individual portrayed in any film, book or picture the person reviewing the film or book will see the good aspects of the film or book and will not care if the film isn’t an Oscar winner. I am a Lucille Ball fan as well and she was known in the 1930’s and 1940’s as “The Queen of the B’s. This was never a complement toward Lucille Ball who would one day become a television icon few actors/actresses could even come close to matching in star status before, in her time nor after her passing. The movie critics thought that her movies were mediocre at the best, but because I am a loyal fan and am able to look past the reviews of the so-called experts. I can see the good aspects of these movies Aspects that might be overlooked by a non-admirer.
A man travels west to locate work (George O‘Brien) Remember the time was present day 1935. The film was set during the Depression and a lot of people migrated to find work. Larry Knight was not a cowboy, but he was fascinated by the rodeo and his dream was to prove that even an Easterner had the ability to ride a bucking bronco. Larry attempted to ride, but was promptly thrown to the ground when he dusted himself off, he asked about the job that was being advertised for which was for a ranch hand to assist an older man and his daughter , Kitty (Dorothy Wilson) keep the ranch up and running. They offered the Easterner, Larry the job.
There was a problem, the bill came due for the deed on the land and the older man, Mr. Baldwin (Richard Carlisle) was struggling to pay the bill, was in danger of losing the land to the outrageous tax increases levied by the city.
Knowing the old man’s distress, an opportunist arrived on the scene,, Phil Acton (Paul Kelly) Phil, was the greedy neighbor of Mr. Baldwin and his daughter. Kitty. Kitty had rejected the neighbors affections which were in all actuality a ploy to overtake the land and his competition,. Kitty was very wise and see could tell that the neighbor, Phil wasn’t any good and was out to practically steal her fathers ranch and force him to sign papers giving up the claim to the land. When Phil knew that the daughter was on to his scheme to win her heart and that it wasn’t going to work. He somehow found out that he controlled the vast majority of the water supply that was supposed to be shared equally between the two properties. He put up an illegal blockage to curtail the water supply to the Baldwin’s ranch and the cattle begun to die due to dehydration. Kitty hoping to resolve the despute peacefully went to the neighbor to ask him kindly to take the blockade down, and he refused. He told her that if she wanted water that she was going to have to sue him and get a court order. Kitty knew that this could take months, even years. Time which they didn’t have because the cattle were dying along with any chance of profit that they could secure to save the ranch. She talked with Larry who noticed that she was in tears, Larry suggested to her that he could contact his friend, Nick Cambert (Harry Woods) who was an expert who worked with dynamite. They could devise a way to dig a hole and blow the blockade away to allow the water to seep through, underground to the Baldwin property but they had to do this without the neighbor hearing about the plan. Word got out through a message that was meant to go to Larry, but was intercepted by a newsboy, who was offered money to spill the details.
Phil offered Mr. Baldwin another deal for the ranch which was still very unfair, but Mr. Baldwin told Kitty that he felt he hadn’t any choice, but to take Phil’s offer. He had won. Kitty was distressed and tried to stop her father, so she had to find Larry or Nick before her father signed those papers. Nick was getting ready to light the dynamite, but when he saw Kitty, jumped on his horse to stop Kitty’s father from signing the ranch away. Nick arrived, but he was too late. Mr. Baldwin had signed the papers. When Phil saw Nick he shot at him with a rifle. Nick pretended to be injured and fell to the ground which distracted Phil. While Phil thought he had injured Nick, he dropped his guard. Nick grabbed the signed document off of the table, riding off on his horse, until he got to the location of the well with the water supply, jumped off of the horse and tore the document to shreds. Kitty was gone and Larry was gone. Kitty had attempted to go down into the well, dig through the blockade, the dirt ended up caving in on her. Larry thought the Kitty might have attempted to light the dynamite and was concerned for her safety. He yelled to her, and when she answered he knew that she was safe for the time being, but they had to act fast. Nick and Larry dug her out and freed her from the confines of the well, when she was freed Kitty lit the fuse, they ran to safety.
The movie was good up to this point, but the story lacked a good ending. It left loose ties. Perhaps John Zanft and Sol Lesser had planned a sequel which never transpired which was going to continue the story, that is unfortunate.
Kitty had to select her hero from Larry and Nick. She ultimately selected Larry and Nick rode off into the sunset. The viewer also will never have the opportunity to really find out what happened to Phil,
that is open ended. This made me feel that a sequel was originally planned for this story.
The viewer has to use there own imagination to create the ending.
Another Movie co-produced by John Zanft
HARD ROCK HARRIGAN (and my personal review)
Starring George O'Brien and Irene Hervey ( Released in 1935)
I’m so pleased that I was able to acquire this rare movie for my collection.
The 1935 film titled Hard Rock Harrigan was co-produced by Sol Lesser and John Zanft.
The plot is about a group of miners who are called upon to build a tunnel. Mr. Riley is the foreman.
The men are staying in a barracks near the site where the tunnel is to be built.
At dinner each night Mr. Riley has a chance to talk with the beautiful cook/waitress, Andrea whom the workers referred to as Andie (Irene Hervey) who Riley begins to fall in love with. Andie suspects that Riley is falling in love with her, but because she had her heart broken by unrequited love she doesn’t not want to pursue another relationship and repeat the rejection she once suffered, so she tells him that she isn’t interested.
Mr. Riley is called upon by the commissioner who is troubled by the slow movement of the construction and what the project is costing the city. The commissioner informs Riley that a new foreman was being called in, but he could still remain on the job, but would have to give up the position as the foreman. Riley gets some additional bad news the man hired to take his place as foreman was named Harrigan. Mr. Harrigan (George O'Brien) had been nicknamed Hard Rock Harrigan because of his skill with mining, masonry and construction. Hard Rock was Riley’s biggest rival and the two men had a history of hatred and could never stand each other. Riley tells the commissioner that he doesn’t wish to work with Harrigan. The commissioner says that Riley hasn’t any choice in the matter. Either work with Harrigan or quit.
Riley decided to prove that he was the better leader, and wanted his chance to prove the mistake, therefore he elects to stay with the job. Riley visits with Andie and tells her about what the commissioner just told him hoping to get some understanding. Unaware that Harrigan was once Andie’s unrequited love interest. Andie was surprised, very pleased to learn that Hard Rock Harrigan was the new foreman, and sets out to impress him.
The miners are very happy that the comissioner called on Harrigan to assist with the project which infuriates Riley and he vows to get even with Harrigan. Just as the situation couldn’t get any worse for Riley. At dinner that evening Harrigan asks if there was anything else for dessert except for that rice pudding. Andie hears his request and offers him some lemon pie. Harrigan thanks her, but doesn’t recognize her. The miners are passing around a magazine. Harrigan mentions that the model looks like Andrea and he was troubled because he lost his chance to tell her how he really felt about her. Riley is very upset and tells Harrigan that he is absolutely crazy and storms out to find Andie who had overheard the conversation and left work early, went back to her house. Riley goes to locate Andie who had left Harrigan a note with her address because she now wanted to confess that she was Andrea now that she knew his true feelings for her. (vShe was the Andrea that he once loved) Andie got dressed up in her finest dress and did her hair to wait for Harrigan Riley sneaks up on Andie who ignores him because she is waiting for Harrigan and he gets rough with Andie when she rejects him. Harrigan who arrived and the house and saw the scene warns Riley to leave Andie alone. Riley he looks at Andie and coldly,stated that, "She must want some attention because she is dressed to the nines awaiting for somebody." He grabs Andie and turns her around to face him. Andie is startled and screams. Harrigan reacts and punches Riley a fight ensues with Harrigan ultimately beating Riley again.
The next day Riley is embarrassed and still wants to prove that he is the best, so he challenges Harrigan to a fight he told Harrigan was going to pay and be sorry that he ever came to town. He tells him to meet him at eight and that he best show up and that he was going to beat him to a pulp. He leaves the tunnel and other men soon follow to go to lunch with the exception of Harrigan and another miner who stay to continue working.
A reinforcement soon lets go and traps Harrigan and the other miner inside the collapsed tunnel. Emergency sirens are sounded, and the other miners are called to the scene to assist with the rescue. Andie knowing that Harrigan was trapped inside the dark tunnel begs Riley to help Harrigan. Riley agrees knowing that if he can save Harrigan he can gain his good name back, possibly impress Andie, and then still get revenge on Harrigan. The miners dig through the rocks, rumble and debris and free Harrigan and the other miner, On the way into the tunnel Riley collapses and passed out from lack of oxygen inside the tunnel. Harrigan has to make a decision which is difficult for him, either save his rival, who tried to hurt Andrea or let him die. He starts to exit the tunnel until, he spots the tears in Andrea’s eyes who had a change of heart toward Riley, and goes back down into the tunnel freeing Riley who he was unaware had initally attempted to save him. An ambulance transports Riley to the hospital who tells the doctor what had happened, who is played by John Zanft (smile) I was thrilled at his appearance in the movie. He tells the doctor that as soon as he can move that he was going to get even with Harrigan. The doctor informs him that he would have died if Harrigan hadn’t pulled him to safety.
That evening at dinner the other miner that was trapped with Harrigan (Sol Lesser) introduces Riley to the new cook on staff who requested to meet the man that she had adopted as her hero.
Just as a corny happy ending would have it. Harrigan announces his engagement to Andrea, and Riley gazes at his new love interest beside him. Congratulates Harrigan and Andie. Offers Harrigan a truce and a handshake and announced “I guess now we will do all our fighting with our future wives at home."
I enjoyed this movie which turned out to be a romance film which I was not expecting.
The appearance by John Zanft was also surprising, but I thought it was excellent because I not only own a rare movie that John actually produced by was also appeared as an extra.
Please Note: I uploaded these photographs of John appearing in Hard Rock Harrigan via my cell phone.....This is quite the accomplishment for me because I am not technologically inclined.
John had a cameo appearance as an extra in the film that he co-produced entitled
Hard Rock Harrigan. Coal Miner was rushed to the emergency room.
Paging Dr. Zanft.....Paging Dr. Zanft........
John Zanft co-producer of the 1935 Sol Lesser/John Zanft production of
Hard Rock Harrigan made a cameo in the movie in which he plays a physician deciding on the treatment options for his patient.
John Zanft co-producer of the 1935 Sol Lesser/John Zanft production
Hard Rock Harrigan in which he has a cameo appearance as a physician chats with the female lead actress Irene Hervey......The male lead was portrayed by actor George O'Brien.
This movie can be purchased through http://moviesunlimited.com
This site specializes in providing rare out of print titles included are even some almost impossible to locate silent films.
CLUBS AND ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIPS
OF MAJOR JOHN ZANFT (and Hattie)
I have dedicated several of my essays on this site to Hattie’s and John’s rekindling of their teenage love after many years apart and their eventual marriage
. I wanted to update this section because November 19th is the forty-fourth anniversary of John’s passing of a heart attack. I decided that this time, I would research some of the clubs and organizations that Major John Zanft obtained membership through and that were important to him.
You may notice that the majority of the clubs that John (and Hattie) belonged to were founded by Jews, this was because forty years ago many clubs wouldn’t permit people of the Jewish faith to obtain membership to or even be issued an entrance to the clubs as a guest, so they formed their own organizations.
THE LOCUST CLUB
The Locust Club was formally known as the Mercantile Club. The club was founded in 1920 as a social club for the Jewish businessmen to congregate, to partake in team sports, drink and socialize in private bars or read and relax in the club library.
This club was founded because most of the other men’s clubs of the day restricted Jewish membership.
Membership in the Locust Club/Mercantile Club represented fraternal brotherhood, and pride for Jewish businessmen.
Only men were permitted to join this club, Women were only allowed to visit if it was a special occasion such as a dance or fundraiser.
Many wives were noticeably upset by this restriction and made their opinions known. Women were upset by the clubs tolerance of gambling and drinking.
I really don’t think that Hattie ever felt like this, she always seemed to trust her husband and mentioned that fact in several interviews. She was secure in the fact that John loved her. John went on business trips, but she did as well, she hadn’t any reason not to trust him, but other women didn’t feel this way, ironically many of the same women who objected to their husbands membership in the club thought it was perfect for their young sons to belong to because on the rare occasions that women were permitted into the club for dances, fundraisers etc. They thought it would give their sons a chance to meet someone to fall in love with and eventually marry. I think the shift in attitude was due to the fear that wives thought that their husbands might be unfaithful to them.
At the height of it’s popularity the club had thousands of members, but when the Locust Club finally closed it’s doors for the final time in 1999. Membership had declined to roughly only three hundred. This was because of social change other clubs that in the past once restricted Jews were now welcoming them
For Additional Information on the Locust/Mercantile Clubs
This site has an interesting Jewish Timeline of Events
Other Reference Sites
PHILMONT COUNTRY CLUB
Once an exclusive Jewish retreat, this was a country club that both Hattie and John belonged to. Hattie and John were avid golfers, so it’s not surprising that they joined a club that fueled that interest when the club first opened it’s doors in 1907, it was only a nine hole golf course which eventually expanded to an 18th hole course.
Starting during World War I the club excused the dues of any member of the club that was enlisted in the service. The club generously donated money to several worthwhile charities most notably the American Red Cross. The club also contributed a substantial amount of money from the golf tournament entrance fees for the entertainment of the club’s disabled veterans. These fees also helped to provide ambulance and other medical services to those veterans
When he was enlisted in the service during World War I John Zanft was instrumental in scheduling theater entertainment and bringing the popular celebrities of the day to entertain the servicemen fighting overseas so I am certain this program continued to be of importance to him even after his military retirement.
Hattie loved to gamble and John had a difficult time tearing her away from slot machines when she discovered them. She played to win. She equally enjoyed playing golf
She was very serious about her hobbies she was very competitive. At times this trait annoyed John, but other times he thought it was cute that his little wife wanted so much to win that he would challenge her and he found her reaction comical.
I can’t really imagine Hattie playing golf. She was so tiny that the golf clubs were probably as tall as she was, but golf was a very popular sport when she was a teenager, and it was very common to spot young ladies Hattie’s age with a set of golf clubs over their shoulder. Hattie’s first shop was located above a sports store, and the building owners were golf pros and they taught her how to play the game, she would practice during her free time, and the love of the sport stayed with her for the rest of her life.
I don’t know if John enjoyed playing golf before he met Hattie or if he adopted the sport because of her to challenge her competitive nature
The club had a very famous president with a department store connection Ellis Gimbel, was the club president for over forty years. He was the owner of the world famous Gimbel’s Department Store.
There were several additions to the club that were first added in 1923 to make the club more family oriented such as tennis courts, additional golf courses, a grill, a picnic area, a playground for the kiddies, golf shop and Olympic size swimming pool.
Philmont Country Club website
THE NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB
It appears that John loved sports and the spirit of competition based on the various clubs that he belonged to during his lifetime
The New York Athletic Club is located in New York City. First founded in 1868
NYAC has had a proud history fostering sportsmanship, challenge, and a strong love of athletic competition. Prior to the 2000 Olympic games, club members had already won 115 gold medals 40 silver medals and 47 bronze medals.
The club organized the first professional United States Championships in boxing, wrestling and outdoor track.
Sports training and competition on all levels is available in these sports which include but aren’t limited to stretching, weightlifting, running, basketball, golf, badminton, soccer, tennis and rugby.
There are several clubs offered inside the faculty based on the individual interest of each member within the United States or overseas such as golf tournaments, fishing and camping trips are available for members to participate in. The club also sponsors members to help them meet the traveling and additional training session expenses incurred by taking part in overseas Olympic competitions. The organization prides itself on training and funding of Olympic athletes, but it also wants to support younger children to develop an appreciation of sports, helping to develop and fund inner city sports programs for children and teens is of equal importance to the NYAC..
The New York Athletic Club has a beautiful summer home located on Long Island sound. Thirty acres of beautiful landscape boasts a saltwater swimming pool, which allows diving. Being so close to the ocean offers a variety of aquatic activities for members including rowing, yachting and outdoor swimming. NYAC now has a day camp for children.
For Additional Information Please visit the New York Athletic Club website at
Additional FACTS ON MAJOR JOHN ZANFT.
(John Zanft was Hattie's second husband and her teenage sweetheart.)
John Zanft worked in the film business for a few years during the Depression. Mostly producing B-Westerns and silent films.
Even though John gave up full time studio work to be with Hattie. Because of his and Hattie's friendship with Sam Goldwyn. John and Hattie were called on to assist with various projects in Hollywood on occasion.
John worked as the commissioner of the Elmira Reformatory from the 1920's to the 1950's to try to help troubled youth reform their lives.
John loved the theatre and sports (New York based teams especially.)
Hattie and John loved to travel
Major John S. Zanft
January of 1883
Place of Birth:
New York City
Met Hattie in 1902 When she was sixteen years old and employed at Macy's Department Store. He was nineteen years old and considering enlistment in the military
Even though they were deeply in love, John Zanft and Hattie broke up because her parents pressured and encouraged her into an arranged marriage.
Incredibly, they didn't see each other for 20-25 years after their breakup.
Interesting Fact: Hattie and John Zanft were married the same year, Lucille Ball had began modeling
He took on the job as Vice President of HATTIE CARNEGIE INC, he felt his wife should retain her rightful title as President as she built the company, but he helped her improve upon the business.
Generousity of John
Red Cross Drive
May 21, 1918- New York Times
RED CROSS TOTAL HERE $4,500,000; First Day of Drive Gives Good Promise of Oversubscribing Quota of $25,000,000. G.F. BAKER GIVES MILLION U.S. Steel Donates $500,000, J.P. Morgan & Co. $325,000, and H.C. Frick $250,000. W.C. Breed Presides at Luncheon. Starting of the Various Teams. List of Yesterday's Subscriptions. RED CROSS TOTAL HERE $4,500,000 Mayor's Wife Sells Buttons. Theatrical Profession Assists. Theatrical Committee Announced. Colonel Roosevelt Speaks Today. Message from British Red Cross. Red Cross Issues Warning.
Charles Gehring and John Zanft with their full commitee of volunteers have this work in hand on Sunday night at the Century Theatre at the Second Annual Red Cross Fund Drive for the War.
The commitee was proud to announce on the first day alone, they were able to raise an amazing sum of over 4,500,000.
William C. Breed, Chairman of the Red Cross War Fund Drive of New York had this to say about the generous fundraising efforts.
"It certainly gives one a thrill to think that for a week, New York's patriotic citizens, forgetting and abandoning their business demands and going out on the streets in service to the Red Cross, and that the campaign in New York opened under the brightest of conditions, and that New Yorkers were generous of heart, and reminded them how important the Red Cross is to winning the war.
Nine Car Accident in Chicago- Major John Zanft Injured
December 10, 1923
Major John Zanft of New York was seriously injured in an accident that involved nine cars, and twenty-six people. John was hospitalized with several broken bones including his left leg, and several ribs, he also suffered a concussion as a result of the accident.
The accident apparently occured at a railroad crossing
John was lucky that he survived this accident because at least seven people were killed. This was sadly before the invention of the seatbelt.
Jewish Aid Drive- Fundraising for Europe
May 6, 1926-New York Times
Governor Alfred E. Smith sent his personal check, for two hundred dollars, by messenger yesterday to the Hotel Biltmore yesterday to be added to the fund of the United Jewish Campaign to Relieve the Jews of Eastern Europe. The city's quota is six million.
"Once more, said Governor Smith, in making his contribution, "the American Jew is called on to help his stricken brethren in foreign lands"
The joint disttribution commitee which rendered such historic service to the Jews during the war is taking up the task to secure the necessary funds for a thorough reconstruction to help the victims of the war.
Again and again, New York is called upon to give generously to victims of the world, and New York always responses.
The present need for relief is needed to end the misery and starvation overseas, and to help the overseas workers to find jobs, and restablish them as artisans and productive factors in the countries in which they reside should be encouraged and aided, and this cause merits the sympathetic interests of all of our citizens.
The present plight of the Jews is particularly tragic, because the gates of America and other countries are now practically closed to them. In the part the sufferings were mitigated by the outlet of migration. Now this escape is denied them.
The American Jew who has always been so generous in helping his less fortunate brother will not be indifferent to this noble effort made by the American Jewish leaders who are at the head of the United Jewish Campaign.
Major John Zanft made a contribution of one thousand dollars to this fund raising drive.
Old Hospital is Unsafe-John Zanft said, Conditions at Bellevue are a Disgrace
New York Times- December 26, 1928
The Adminstration of Bellevue Hospital opened 106 years ago and contains wards in which between 300 to 400 nervous or convalscent patients are housed was referred to as a "Fire Trap" by John Zanft, General Manager of the Fox Film Company who made a holiday visit to a friend. When his criticism of the old building, Mr. Zanft maintained should measure up to the requirements of picture and other theatres was brought to the attention of Dr. Mark L. Felming, Assistant Medical Superintendent who admitted that the structure was not fireproof.
Other members of the Bellevue staff who said that they did not wish to be quoted talked freely of conditions that they said were well known to exist within the old building, and asserted that those conditions were well known by the city.
When the building was declared unsafe by the fire department four years ago, by the fire department according to Dr. Fleming all the patients on the third and fourth floor were removed. Since then only the first and second floors were used for wards. Dr. Fleming said that between 300-400 patients reside in those wards at the present time.
Mr. Zanft said, I am surprised that the City of New York is tolerating such a condition at a hospital such as Bellevue, "It is very unsafe, and isn't kept as clean as it should be. He continued, "This place is a disgrace, and I can only attribute it to the inactions of our politicians. If I public subscription is taken up to correct this place. I will readily head the list. For if this building were to burn it would have the most tragic consquences.
My knowledge of public buildings, and the requirments to protect people from fire peril, received from my contact with motion picture houses, causes me to say, that it would be criminal if the conditions here at Bellevue were not remedied immediately.
John Zanft headed the commitee for a new hospital which was eventually built.
John Zanft and Carole Lombard
May 16, 1933
Problems with the press have plaqued the stars since the "Golden Days of Hollywood"
A group from the press spotted John Zanft having a friendly luncheon with Actress Carole Lombard. They appeared to be having an enjoyable time, as they chatted and laughed. Carole looked beautiful, and she was dressed to the nines. Hattie Carnegie, John's wife, was nowhere to be seen.
As the lunch was coming to a conclusion, the reporters watched with interest as John Zanft paid the tab, and the couple embraced, and went their separate ways.
They decided it was time to pounce.
They cornered Carole who refused to comment, so as John exited the restaurant, they were ready with their pens and pads. They asked the usual questions that John had expected, such as,
"Why was he lunching with Carole Lombard?.......Where was Hattie?.......Was the marriage in trouble?"
John replied, "Hattie is back home in New York, we have been happily married for five years, and waited for years to get back together. I would never do anything to jeopardise our relationship", and he added, "I don't really understand why this is news, Carole and I are friends, and I have not seen her in a while, so I asked her to join me for lunch," and so they understood what he just said, he closed with this statement. "I'd be sick, if I worried every single time that Hattie dined with a male colleague or friend.
Updated profile for John Zanft on Internet Movie Data Base
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO HATTIE CARNEGIE AND MAJOR JOHN ZANFT
AUGUST 22nd 1928
PLACE OF MARRIAGE; PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA- UNITED STATES
Miscellaneous Crew (3 titles)
Did You Know?
Selected by William Fox
as CEO and vice president of the Fox Theater in New York City. See more
The 22nd of August 1928
In Honor of What Would have been Hattie Carnegie and John Zanft's Eighty-Fourth Anniversary.
I wanted to share these Articles about Hattie, John, and their Associates and Friends
Major John Zanft was a reporter for the Morning Telegraph of New York City. His entertainment column appeared twice weekly in the 1930’s.
News items written by or about Major John Zanft in the year of 1934 appear here.
RUNAWAY SCATTERS RIDERS.; Stopped by Mounted Policeman After Two-Mile Run on Bridle Path
After riding a runaway horse for more than two miles over the bridle path in Central Park yesterday afternoon, and after being chased for nearly half the distance by a mounted policeman, Ferdinand Fleischman, who lives at the Barnard, Seventy-first Street and Central Park West, managed with the aid of the policeman to bring his mount to a stop at Eighty-sixth Street and the West Drive.
FACT: This was the only news item that I could locate on Hattie’s first husband Ferdinand Flesichman via arranged marriage.
ANOTHER FACT: Toni Carnegie (Hattie’s brother) resided in the same building as Ferdinand Flesichman so therefore Hattie and John saw Ferdinand often. Hattie and Ferdinand had an amiciable separtion.
Hattie and Ferdinand lived at this address while they were married.
THE FILM DAILY-
May 27, 1930
WHO'S WHO IN THE FOX ORGANIZATION
FOX THEATRES CORPORATION
President Harley L. Clarke
Vice-President Winfield Sheehan
Vice-President and Treasurer W. C. Michel
Vice-President and Secretary Samuel R. Burns
Vice-President and General Counsel '. Saul E. Rogers
Executive Vice-President Oscar S. Oldknow
General Manager Harry Arthur
General Purchasing Agent Charles A. Caballero
Comptroller Wilfred Eadie
Director of Advertising and Publicity Gabriel Yorkel
Harley L. Clarke
Arthur F. Lafrentz
Samuel W. Fordyce
Robert C. Winmill
Otto E. Koegel
Walter R. Herrick
New England—Fox Poli Theatres
Herschel Stuart, General Manager
Wisconsin—Fox Midwesco H. J. Fitzgerald, General Manager
Bronx and Upper Manhattan Rudolph Kramer, Manager
Brooklyn Samuel Rinzler, Manager
New Jersey Harry M. S. Kindred, Manager
New York, Up-State Harry Goldberg, Manager
DE LUXE DIVISION
Vice President/ General Manager JOHN ZANFT
Brooklyn- Harry B. Wati
Academy of Music- Jerry O'Connell
Audubon- Harry Moor
Chicago- Sidney Meyers
Detroit- William Raynomd
Washington- Hardie Meakii
Philadelphia- David Idza
Atlanta- Rocky Newton
St. Louis- Harry Greenman
ACTOR SUES ZANFT.
James J. Ryan, a stock actor and a
member of the Academy of Musie cast
during its stock run, has filed suit
against Manager John Zanft of the
Academy, asking for two week's talary,
amounting to $120.
When Zanft abolished the stock
policy at the Academy, he retained
Ryan for a so-called indefinite period
to appear in one act playlets at $60
weekly. Ryan did well the first week,
but the producer objected to his presence
thereafter. Hence the litigation.
John Zanft, of the Fox vaudevitle
circuit, will end his duties as manager
of the Academy of Musie Saturday.
Mr. Zanft is going into the film department
of the Fox enterprises. This firm
is figuring on building two studios with
the object of doing their own producing,
one to be in New York and the
other in California. Mr. Zanft is planning
to take charge of one of these.
Poli in Five Year
Deal With MGM
New York. — One of the biggest
blanket booking deals on record was
concluded yesterday with the signing
by the Poli Circuit of a five-year
deal for MGM product.
The circuit, now controlled by Na-
thanson and Blumenthal interests,
plans to do its own vaudeville booking
and looks to a revival in that field.
Fact: Major John Zanft was the Vice President of the Poli chain of theatres.
Major Zanft Here-Hollywood
Ma)or John Zanft arrived in town
Wednesday from New York. He was
a guest in A. H. Ciannini's private car
on the trip across country.
New York. — MCM's production,
"Dinner At Eight," did over $60,000
at the Capitol theatre here last week
and is being held over another week.
FACT: Actress Marie Dressler appeared in the film version this production.
FACT: Hattie Carnegie Inc designed the women’s wardrobe for the Broadway Production of Dinner at Eight
Scandals' in 5th Week
New York, — "Roman Scandals" is
going to go over five weeks in Phila-
delphia, to establish a new-day record
for time of run and gross cash taken
in at the box office.
FACT: In the summer of 1932, a very young Lucille Ball left her employment temporaily for a small part as a Goldwyn Girl in the movie titled Roman Scandals. She was expected to return to her job with Hattie after the six week filming, but she never returned as she found more movie work in Hollywood
Hattie (in 1933) One year after Lucille Ball left for Hollywood.
Levee-Zanft Can't Agree
M. C. Levee and Major Zanft have
been unable to come to an agreement
which would have brought the former
Fox exec into Levee's agency. Zanft
is understood to be discussing other
important agency connections, deter-
mined to enter that phase of the busi-
TODAY'S FILM NEWS TODAY
Friday, January 19, 1934
• So John Zanft is going to be an
We have known Zanft for twenty
years. Worked for and with him for
almost five years and the toughest
five years we ever had in our life.
He's a tough bird, that Zanft, and we
learned a lot about the picture busi-
ness from him, and thousands of oth-
ers have him to thank for a great part
of their picture knowledge.
Zanft knows this picture business.
He is a showman, he is an excellent
executive. He has all the qualifica-
tions for the making of a really great
agent. And he will be that. And
we hope that he will. This business
owes him a lot.
John Zanft Inc. Formed
John Zanft Inc. has been formed to
conduct a general agency business.
Offices will be located in Beverly Hills
with formal opening slated for middle
of next week.
Hedda Hopper Hangs
Hat in John Zanft Office
Hedda Hopper has hung up her
t'hespian wardrobe to don the toga of
an agent, affiliating herself with the
new organization being started by Ma-
jor John Zanft.
FACT: Hedda Hopper appeared in a 1955 Hollywood episode of I Love Lucy
Marie Dressier Picks
Major Zanft as her 'Rep'
Marie Dressier shot the first can-
non off for Major John Zanft and his
new business of personal representa-
tion when she let it be known yester-
day that she had signed an exclusive
contract with the veteran picture ex-
Zanft will be "personal business
representative" for the star. When
queried by a Reporter representative
she said "There's nothing further to
say except that I am very happy over
Lesser Remakes Harold
Bell Wright Novel
Sol Lesser will remake the Harold
Bell Wright story "When a Man's a
Man," which he made and released as
a silent through First National in
1924. Edward Francis Cline, who will
direct "Peck's Bad Boy" for Lesser, di-
rected the silent version of "When a
Man's a Man." Picture will not get
under way until June or later.
The Poli chain, long considered by
sales managers one of the key buys
of the country, ran into the usual de-
pression trouble and several months
ago, by a bank sale of assets, presum-
ably passed into the control of N. L.
Nathanson, Canadian magnate, also
powerful in Paramount affairs. The ;
price quoted for the circuit at the time '
of the bank sale of assets was placed '
at $13,000,000. Though Nathanson
took nominal control, he allowed
Segal to continue as actual operating
At the time of the Nathanson pur-
chase, A. C. Blumenthal was reported
to have a part in the deal, but he has;
never been on record with the new
company until today's action throwing
control of the circuit to Loew.
Fox Will Be Heard In $2,000,000 Suit New York. — William Fox will be cxammed next Tuesday, prior to the trial of the suit for $2,011,000 brought against him by John D. Elms, an inventor. The suit will be heard in a Staten Island court. Elms claims that, in 1927, he made a contract with Fox through Courtland Smith, for Fox to exploit and market a device which gives the effect of the third dimension in pictures. The in- vention is based on a system of re- volving lenses on the camera and pro- jector.
FACT: William Fox got scared and bribed a judge for this offense he was sentenced to five years in prison. Hattie and John both testified on Fox’s behalf, but they were unable to save him from a prison sentence.
Walsh and O'Brien Sign with John Zanft Raoul Walsh and George O'Brien yesterday decided to put their affairs in the hands of the John Zanft Ltd. agency and signed a five-year managerial contract. FACT: John Zanft co-produced five George O’Brien films along with Sol Lesser.
Sol Lesser Moving To Sennett Studio A deal by which Sol Lesser will make all his future productions at the Mack Sennett studios has been put over by Jed Buell, of the Sennett or- ganization. Although the other in- dependents who are producing there will remain. Lesser is the most im- portant tenant, occupying by far the greater space. Among the productions which he will make there are "Peck's Bad Boy." which is scheduled to start May 21 ; a serial, "Chandu," with Gayne Whit- man in the title role; a Harold Bell Wright story, "When a Man's a Man," and a series of westerns. FACT: “When a Man’s a Man.”
was a Sol Lesser/John Zanft Production.
Shearer and Cantor Still Grip London London. — Three American pictures are holding over here, two of them, "Rip Tide," with Norman Shearer, and Eddie Cantor's "Roman Scandals" go- ing very big. The third is "Wonder Bar," which is trailing them very closely. The newcomers this week are "Bot- toms Up" at the Capitol; "Son of Kong" and "You're Telling Me" at the Plaza; "It Happened One Night" at the Tivoli; "Bulldog Drummond," a British International, at the Regal, and Bob Flaherty's Caumont epic, "Man of Aran," a lovely piece of cine- matography, at the New Gallery.
FACT: Lucille Ball was an extra in the following films, “Roman Scandals”, “Bottoms Up” and “Bulldog Drummond”.
ANOTHER FACT: Norma Shearer was a loyal Carnegie shopper
Beauties Rush For Jobs As 'Coldwyn Girls' More than 300 girls showed up at United Artists last night, the first day of a series of interviews in an effort to secure a new set of "Goldwyn Girls" for the Eddie Cantor picture. Bob Mclntyre singled out those who most nearly met the requirements and will make his final selections after mora are interviewed tomorrow and Tuesday and Thursday of next week.
FACT: Lucille Ball got the job.
Loew's Net Expected To Co Over $4 a Share New York. — The prognostica- tions of Wall Street interests about the showing that will be made by Loew's Inc. in the annual report on August 1 are strongly optimis- tic. It is confidently expected expected that the net will exceed $4 a share. Lesser-Zanft Will Do Six with O'Brien Sol Lesser and John Zanft yesterday announced that they will produce six pictures within the next eighteen months, with George O'Brien as the star. The company is called the George O'Brien Pictures Corporation and the pictures will be released through Fox. This new project will not interfere in any way with Lesser's connection with Principal Pictures nor with the conduct of the John Zanft agency. Goldwyn Girl Hunt On Still not satisfied with the selection of "Goldwyn Girls" for the current Eddie Cantor picture, Sam Goldwyn will hold auditions again next Tues- day and Thursday. Company has op- tioned around 1 50 beauties in the past three weeks. Joan Bennett Set As Lederer Lead Joan Bennett was signed by Para- mount yesterday for the bracket spot with Francis Lederer in "Pursuit of Happiness." The Schulberg, Feldman and Curney office negotiated the deal. It is reported that part of the Radio-Paramount deal for Lederer in- volves Radio's getting the right to sell the picture to its exhibitors to meet the August 28 release date scheduled FACT: Lucille Ball was a mannequin for actress John Bennet when she shopped at Hattie’s. ANOTHER FACT: Lucille was also often a stand in for Joan Bennett when she first arrived in Hollywood.
Receipts Of Loew's Ahead Of Last Year New York. — The receipts of Loew's Inc. are running well ahead of last year and vast improvement is expected in its financial condition. It is estimated that the company's earnings for the second quarter of this year, ended June 9, will be around $1,600,000. For the 28 weeks, ended March 1 5 last, they were $3,973,472. The company expects that its earnings for the full year, end- ing August 31, will permit dividends of $4 per share. Cash and Govern- ment securities on .hand amount to approximately $10,000,000.
N.Y.Times Digging Into Censorship The New York Times has wired Douglas Churchill, its Hollywood cor- respondent, to make an exhaustive survey of the censorship situation in the film industry as it affects Holly- wood. The newspaper considers the sub- ject of sufficient importance to have Churchill spend a couple of weeks digging into it and getting the per- sonal reactions of all leading produc- tion chiefs. The lengthy article which he will write will be taken from thiS picture section of the paper and pub- lished in the Sunday magazine in three weeks.