The recent Telegram feature describing the display of one of Hollywood’s covetous Golden Oscar Awards in St. John’s, brings to memory a couple of Hollywood related stories from our past of two Newfoundland writers who left their mark in the American film industry.
George Hippissley and John Gallishaw both published works that were turned into successful Hollywood movies.
George Hembert Westley, author of “House of Rothschild,” was the pen name used by George Hippisley who was born at Harbour Grace in 1865 and had moved to the United States in 1895. This book was turned into a Hollywood movie starring Robert Young, Loretta Young and George Arliss and was nominated in the Best Picture category at the Hollywood Academy Awards of 1934.
Other American best-selling books by Hippisley included: “The Maid and the Miscreant” and “Clementina’s Highwayman.” He co-authored with Robert Neilson Stephens “The Man’s Game,” and “The Intruder.”
Hippisley passed away on Sept. 25, 1936.
John Gallishaw was a top consultant and writer for Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and Universal Pictures. He started the Gallishaw School of Creative Writing at Cambridge, Mass., which turned out a host of outstanding television and screen writers. He collaborated with F. Scott Fitzgerald on screenplays for a couple of Fitzgerald’s books. Among his Hollywood friends were Clarke Gable and Gary Grant. John Gallishaw was born in St. John’s in 1890.
The Gallishaw’s moved to the United States where John earned a degree from Harvard University. In 1917, during the First World War while still at Harvard, he volunteered for the Canadian Forces, but sought and obtained a discharge in order to join the Royal Newfoundland Regiment with hopes of obtaining an immediate assignment to the battlefront.
Once the military brass saw his educational credentials they assigned him to the War Office in London to keep regimental records. Yet his thirst for action was so strong that he stowed away on the military transport ship taking the Newfoundland Regiment to Malta and turned himself in at sea. At this time, he asked to be assigned to battle duty.
Gallishaw was granted his wish and he was assigned to B-Company which turned out to be his first and last battlefield experience.
During the evacuation of Gallipoli, he was wounded and after a period of hospitalization was shipped home to the United States where he completed his studies at Harvard.
Five books authored by Gallishaw became part of the English courses in American Universities. In 1961, he returned to St. John’s as a guest of Premier J.R. Smallwood to attend the official opening of Memorial University.