While crossing the Atlantic aboard a steam ship one summer, the director Mervyn LeRoy noticed that dozens of his fellow passengers were reading Hervey Allen's bulky bestselling novel Anthony Adverse. Though Warner Brothers chief Jack Warner (who once admitted that he would rather take a fifty-mile hike than read a fifty-page book) was a notoriously lazy reader, LeRoy, intrigued by the book's popularity, fired off a cable: PLEASE READ ANTHONY ADVERSE. WOULD MAKE GREAT PICTURE FOR US. He soon received a reply from Warner: READ IT? I CAN'T EVEN LIFT IT!