Chapter 3

The Two Phases of Perceiving People

Already something of a success on Broadway, a young dancer from Omaha, Nebraska, was eager to finally make his big break into film. His initial attempts, however, did not go as well as he had hoped. After viewing his MGM screen test, an associate producer there dismissed him, saying, “You can get dancers like this for seventy-five dollars a week.” The dancer’s first screen test for RKO Radio Pictures wasn’t any better—this time, the report came back: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances.” True, he wasn’t the handsomest young man to ever try to make it in Hollywood. And he was balding, and a trifle too thin.

Fortunately for the young man in question, famed studio executive David O. Selznick, best ...

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