FEBRUARY 1, 1939
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Last week I was invited to Keith's Theatre here to see a moving picture in which they felt I would be interested. It was impossible to get out, so one evening which seemed fairly free, we asked if they would send the picture over to the White House. There were only four or five of us here, but the President was able to stay with us and see this picture called: "Boy Slaves." It had hardly been running for three minutes when I realized that I had read the manuscript. The author had sent it in for comment long ago and I had found it most interesting.
The picture is produced practically as it was written and kept everyone breathless for over an hour. It depicts conditions in a certain industry in this country and tells the story of a group of boys who had become a travelling gang. There are not so many boys on the road today as there were a few years ago, but I am told that the number is again on the increase. The conditions in this particular industry are probably not universally as bad as they are in this picture. In fact, I imagine in certain places there are very good working conditions, but I do know first-hand of one or two places where men fare little better than did the boys of this particular story.
The film is almost as exciting as "Jesse James." If you will keep in mind that probably nowhere will you find exactly these same conditions, but that all of them may be found singly in different places, then you may find yourself better fitted to recognize them when you come across them. I hope that many people will have an opportunity to see this film.
I went to seven Birthday Balls last night after the President and our daughter-in-law, Ethel, had their joint birthday cakes at dinner. They toasted each other and we toasted them both and enjoyed this double celebration.
Washington seemed so thrilled with all the movie stars that I think many people must be finding it hard to settle down again today to being in a city where you are not looking for a glamorous lady or a gentleman of romance on every corner! I always enjoy the luncheon with these young people. How they remain as natural as they do never ceases to be a wonder to me when I consider the constant gauntlet of observation which they have to run and the interminable number of autographs which they have to sign.
A press conference this morning and a very delightful lunch with Secretary Perkins, who had a number of guests from New York City. They carried me back to old time interests and that is always a great pleasure.