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Some London Notes: Television, Marriage, Literature


Television and the air Locarno have been vigorous competitors for the lion’s share of the public attention here—with the former probably in the lead. The first national television broadcast service will start in London this Fall.

In a huge front-page spread (in New York it would be considered sensational treatment of a story but in staid London it is customary) the Daily Express calls the announcement of television broadcasting a “crown of triumph for four men who have for years been striving in secret to find the key to this scientific riddle.”

The four men are John L. Baird, pioneer television inventor; I. Schoenberg, “mystery man” who perfected the system of ultrashort-wave television tranmission; Isadore Ostrer, Jewish film magnate, and David Sarnoff of New York.

Sarnoff, the Express describes as “the Mussolini of American radio.” It tells of his rise from a $15-a-week job as a wireless operator to the presidency of the Radio Corporation of America and reveals that he came to London in 1933 and gave orders for the construction of two secret television research laboratories.

Of Ostrer, the Express says that he sank $250,000 into the Baird system in three years and took the Baird company out of the hands of the speculators. “He is now confident that he has found at last the secret of instantaneous television.” Ostrer is the head of the Gaumont film combine.

An amusing little cat-and-dog fight is being waged here between the Mosley Fascists and the radically anti-Semitic Fascists headed by the blood-and-thunder Mr. Leese. The latter is somewhat handicapped because he can only attend to Mosley in the odd moments he has in his ferocious attack on the Jews.

Mr. Leese is the outstanding English exponent of the Madagascar solution of the Jewish question—but he goes further than the original Nazi proponents of the theory in that he wants to force the Jews to pay for their island prison and he specifies that they must pay well.

Leese publishes a weekly paper called the Fascist. It is about equally divided between attacks on the Jews and attacks on Mosley whose Blackshirt organization is away ahead of the bellicose British adherent of Hitler in numbers, finances and popularity. The Jewish section of the paper mainly reprints Herr Streicher’s outbursts from Der Stuermer and the well-known Nazi “news service,” Welt Dienst.

The London papers reported at length this week on the state of the American Jewish marriage mart. Their correspondents found it in the throes of a belated depression with many offers but no takers.

Not so in London. The marriage agents, as they are called here, report much activity at five per cent commission. The standards set by their young male clients are high—brides of good family, high intelligence, attractive appearance and sizeable dowry.

As in New York, doctors are preferred clients. Parents seeking husbands for their daughters give the medical men as first choice. Other professional men and established business men, of course, also are high in the ratings.

A number of matches by professional agents are made without the couple being aware of professional influences at work in determining their fate. The agents pose as friends of the family, arrange introductions and frequently only have to let nature take its course.

Dean of the marriage agents in London is Mr. A. Frischman, who occupies a tiny, two-room office in an almost undiscoverable lane near East End. His wife, who has been assisting him in his endeavors during the past two years, finds the work fascinating. “All our marriages have been happy,” she says. “We’ve been lucky.”

Stefan Zweig astonished all his friends here by his abrupt return from the United States. He had not been expected before the end of the month. He spent a few days here and dashed off to Salzburg. He isn’t particularly fond of New York, preferring a more leisured existence than that city offers. On the boat coming back, he wrote an essay on the Jewish question which may or may not see the light of day depending on how he feels about it later.

Leo Lania, the brilliant young German Jewish refugee whose latest novel, “Land of Promise,” was highly praised both here and in New York, is at work on another book. He hopes to visit New York in the near future.

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