Monday - January 16, 1933
I haven't been able to find time to write the installment letter I
thought of some time ago; so I am putting it all in here.
First of all let me remind you that you have on many occasions mentioned
the value of thinking right. I have tried to do that and am placing
a few of my recent deductions in this letter. I am expecting you to think
right about what you are going to read.
A great retrenchment of all expense is vitally neccessary (sic) to the
existence of the Z.G. financial stability. I shall attempt to show you
why; and then follow it up with my suggestions for your part of the deal.
I shall not go into details as to what will happen if we do not retrench
as they are rather gory. And I expect you will agree with me and comply
to the best of your ability, we have practically no cash. (This "we" includes
all the corporations, Mother and you.) We have no certain contracted income
with the exception of four payments of $2500 each from Paramount. There
is a possibility of some cash from the "West of the Pecos" deal, but no
surety. Harpers will keep 75% of your book royalties to pay both loans,
and possibly they may take more. We can't sell any stories to magazines
- they all find some excuse to send them back - and I will say that I believe
if we could I doubt if we could get $10,000 for a serial now. We cant sell
any motion picture rights because the studios are using up their old material,
and not spending any money on new story material. "Westerns" came back
"went out" again because they are so rottenly made the public can't
stomach them. I seriously doubt if we could get $10,000 for a picture just
at this point.
This isn't due to conditions being any worse, but to uncertainty, and
to the result of all the studios, magazines, etc. finding out how much
money they lost last year. I think things will get better; but I can't
be sure and neither can you. Nor can we be sure how soon they will get
Of course - with regard to what I outlined as to what money we were
sure of -- we may and very probably will get more. Yet I feel we
should plan only on what we are sure of.
Now as to what has to go out -- that is what expenses there are to meet.
Mother must have money for insurance on you, herself, Betty, Loren and
I. This is vitally important to us all; she must pay interest on this place
(Altadena) and principle
payments on the mortgage; she must pay taxes on all your property
such as the yacht, houses, and various other property. (These are $2000
delinquent now) incidentals such as Loren's expenses, food, gas and oil,
utilities are not to be sneezed at; you left over $2500 in bills that have
to be paid. The corporation has to pay $300 a month to the MacRae account;
$125 a month to Andy's wife and $60 a month to Emil's brother. I suppose
the attorney's fees will amount to $100 a month to keep you from being
sued on various accounts; my salary and Ed's has to be paid -- and to these
I attribute the only possibilities for either a stock proposition or a
picture deal right now; our first consideration is of course to send you
money enough to keep going.
We have reduced every possible outgo to its least possible minimum.
If you can approportion your expenses during the next few months to meet
your income -- or rather to meet what part of it we can send you -- we
shall certainly come out with colors flying. The less we have to send you
the more we can pay on debts and thereby reduce interest payments. The
question of raising outside capital at the present is undoubtedly on the
shelf. I mean by this that simply Ed cannot go to New York to raise the
preferred stock money until we can afford that expense, and until the general
uncertainty of peoples -- particularly investors -- minds has been overcome
by an upward trend in values, and a noticeable reaction in business. The
only thing that can raise values is an increase in profits. This
cannot happen at once. It will take time. If we are careful, and can hold
out a while longer, we will be in a great position to make a lot of money.
I would suggest that you keep your outfit down as much as possible.
Watch the food and gas. Drift as much as possible when fishing and don't
run all over the ocean searching for something you already have achieved.
Watch out that you don't get stung on transportation charges to the Tongariro.
Don't go to the South Island. And leave the Frangipani in New Zealand for
the present. I can just hear you saying,
"But God damn it I want it in Tahiti".
Dad you can't have everythin you want. Even Jesus Christ couldn't
And when you get to Tahiti don't drive all over the island. Stay at
your camp, fish and write. Fish as close to home to home as
you can. Is there any way you could get along without taking the New
Zealanders to Tahiti?
We won't be able to send you a Ford if we don't make some kind of deal
for a serial or a picture. I'll be damned if I can see where the money
is going to come from -- but we'll have to trust to luck.
If you think right you will never take another trip without having
the money in the bank I told you a year ago you shouldn't go to New Zealand
this fall, but you went blithely on. Of course my opinion isn't much --
but I am a sort of statistician and I couldn't figure out how cost could
be met without wither income or credit. I still can't.
If we keep expenses down, keep paying on liabilities, keep going, why
surely we'll get to take the big trip and make the pictures we have planned;
but take my advice and don't let a little inconvenience or temporary
change of your plans stand between you and your ultimate goal. Don't risk
losing the background you have built up. You need it. You will do bigger
things but you won't get a quarter as much for doing them. So hang on to
what you already have.
Enough for now. I'm tired. Don't let this fuss you - but for Christ's
sake do something about it.
Regards to all -- we are working like hell here. Love