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Title: Making Headlines
Fandom: Singin' in the Rain
Characters: Cosmo Brown/Don Lockwood/Kathy Selden
Recipient: [archiveofourown.org profile] kinky_kneazle for Yuletide 2013
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~2750
Summary: They made headlines in a Variety of ways.
Notes: The Jazz Singer premiered on October 6, 1927. If we use this date as an anchor point, it is fairly easy to extrapolate a timeline for Singin' in the Rain: The Royal Rascal premiered just before The Jazz Singer came out, probably mid-September 1927, and filming for The Dueling Cavalier begins mid-October. Therefore, the "March 23rd/24th" exchange just prior to the song "Good Mornin'" is clearly 1928, and Don and Kathy (and Cosmo) have been together for about four months. The premiere of The Dancing Cavalier is presumably a few months later - May or June 1928.

Many thanks to B for the beta work!

----------------------

WEDDED BLISS - A HOLLYWOOD ROMANCE - Variety headline, April 2, 1929

Mr Don Lockwood and Miss Kathy Selden were married on Sunday in a private ceremony at Mr Lockwood's Hollywood home. Miss Selden was attended by her sister, Mrs Florence Blackwell, and Mr Cosmo Brown stood with his longtime friend. Guests included both families, their Monumental Pictures "family," and several other Hollywood notables. The only surprise came when the couple announced that Mr Brown would be accompanying them on their honeymoon. "Cosmo was instrumental in our meeting and getting together," Mr Lockwood explained. "He is has been my best friend for as long as I can remember, and has become Kathy's as well. He has been a tremendously important part of our lives, and will remain so. It was only logical that he join us. Neither of us can imagine making a trip of this magnitude without him." The happy couple, and their friend, will set sail for a two month long voyage to Hawaii on the LASSCO steamer "Queen of the Pacific" on Saturday.

***

Lockwood mansion, Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1928…

"He is such a child sometimes!"

Cosmo sat at the kitchen table, with his chin propped up on his hands, watching bemusedly as Kathy paced back and forth, waving her arms dramatically. She had been going for a good ten minutes, and he had lost the thread of what she was saying, other than it had something to do with Don. Instead, he found himself mesmerized by the graceful, economical movements of her body and the timber of her voice as it rose and fell. Even mid-rant, she was a performer.

He was brought back to the moment by a newspaper missing his nose by scant millimeters as it was flung down onto the table in front of him.

"You've got to help me, Cosmo," Kathy pleaded. "Help me make him understand that we can't just laugh this off."

He made a show of pulling the paper towards him and perusing it, as he tried frantically to catch up with the conversation. Variety's masthead was nearly dwarfed by the headline. "Two-Step Two-Time?" it asked, and below was a picture of the two of them from the previous night's premiere.

He glanced up and saw that Kathy had taken a seat across from him, one corner of her mouth quirked upwards. She was laughing at him.

"You don't have a clue what I'm talking about, do you?" she asked.

"They must've had fun with this headline," Cosmo said, side-stepping the question. "I wonder if Dora came up with that one all by herself, or if it took the whole staff."

Kathy pulled the paper away from him and took his hands. "Cosmo, pay attention," she said. He could hear the exasperation in her voice, mixing with the amusement. "This is serious. If people start believing this stuff, it could be a public relations nightmare, both for us and for the studio."

He sighed and glanced at the article again.

"You're right, Kath. You're right. If people start believing this - "

"Believing what?" Don's voice came floating in from the entry-way, followed by the man himself. "Good evening, my two favorite people in the whole world."

He kissed Kathy in greeting and rounded the table to do the same with Cosmo.

***

WHAT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT! - Variety headline, special Christmas edition, December 25, 1928

Ladies, the bar has just been raised. You might think you are happy with the mink or the kid gloves or the bracelet your husband gave you. But wait until you hear this story. Last night, Monumental Pictures' annual Christmas party was held in the grand ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel. All the biggest stars in Hollywood were there, dressed to impress, and the holiday cheer flowed freely. The fun started after supper. Miss Kathy Selden and Don Lockwood were, as to be expected, seated at the table of honor, along with R. F. Simpson, Cosmo Brown, and several other studio bigwigs. After the meal was finished, Miss Selden excused herself for a few minutes, and Mr Lockwood and Mr Brown were seen rapidly conferring in hushed voices with Mr Simpson. Mr Brown then proceeded to the orchestra and took the conductor's place after speaking with the musicians. Mr Lockwood took up a position by the door, and when Miss Selden returned, the lights dimmed and a spotlight shone on the couple. Mr Lockwood led Miss Selden to the middle of the dance floor and, accompanied by the orchestra, serenaded her with "You Were Meant For Me," from their recent picture. Then he dropped to one knee and pulled out a light blue ring box, known around the world, and proposed to her. She agreed, of course. There was a round of applause and the newly engaged couple spent most of the rest of the night dancing together. We suspect that wishes for a Merry Christmas are unnecessary for the Lockwood and Selden households, but we will extend them anyway!

***

Lockwood mansion, Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1928…

"What are we afraid that people will start believing?" Don asked, pulling three tumblers from one cabinet and several bottles from another.

"This," Cosmo said, and held up the newspaper.

Don glanced up from where he was pouring the drinks and began laughing. "Hey, that's a good one. I wonder how long it took them to come up with that headline."

"Don, this is serious," said Kathy. "Cosmo and I could be in real trouble if people start believing this. And that's not even to say what might happen to the studio."

"Oh come on, Kathy. Who's going to believe this claptrap?"

Cosmo raised his eyebrows. "Need I remind you of the charming Miss Lamont and you, Donny-boy, her fee-an-see?"

Don winced. "Alright, I see your point. There are always people out there who are going to believe whatever the papers write. But surely most people won't believe it, will they?"

Kathy and Cosmo exchanged a look, but said nothing.

"Will they?" Don asked again hopefully. Seeing no response, his shoulders slumped. He passed over two drinks, grabbed the third, and joined the others at the table.

***

TRIUMPHANT TRIO DINE AT THE MONTMARTRE - Variety headline, November 23, 1928

Following the triumphant debut of Monumental's newest musical motion picture, "Singin' in the Rain," the trio behind the delightful film took a late dinner at the Montmartre Cafe. Two of them, our readers will know instantly. Don Lockwood, handsome star of both silent films and the new talkies, not only stars in this new picture, but did all of the charming choreography for it as well. Mr Lockwood's leading lady, Miss Kathy Selden, also stars in this new picture. What our readers may not know is that the third member of their oft-seen trio, Cosmo Brown, is the head of Monumental's music department, and composed all of the new music for new picture. So if you have one of those catchy tunes stuck in your head as you walk out of the theater, you know who gets credit! Mr Lockwood, Miss Selden and Mr Brown all piled into one of the Montmartre's cozy back tables, looking tired but triumphant, and feasted on an array of the kitchen's best delicacies. A well earned feast indeed!

***

Lockwood mansion, Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1928…

Kathy swirled the amber liquid in her glass. "Hollywood loves a good scandal. Remember all the fuss about Pola Negri a few years ago?"

"Or Clara Bow? Or even Chaplin?" Cosmo added.

"Alright, alright. I get the picture," Don grumbled. "So what do we do about it? Tell R.F.? Get Rod and his boys in the publicity department to launch a counter-campaign?"

Kathy shook her head. "I don't think that's a good idea. I don't want to tell R.F. anything that might make him uncomfortable. As long as he doesn't officially know about the three of us, he doesn't have to do anything."

"And with all the noise that Hays fellow is making, I don't want to draw any more attention than I have to," Cosmo added.

"Hays? Isn't he just pushing for censorship of what's going into the pictures? Why should that make a difference for our own personal lives?"

Cosmo chuckled, but there was little humor in it. "Don, your ability to look at the world through rose-colored glasses will never cease to amaze me. You've been in this business as long as I have. The studio owns us. Haven't you realized that by now? On screen, off screen. They control everything that goes on outside of these four walls. We're just lucky that R.F. likes us - well, likes the two of you, and he's willing to ignore me because of it."

"Now Cos - "

"No, Don. It's true. You're Monumental's leading man, probably one of the few who is going to be as big a star with the talking pictures as you were with the silent films. And Kathy here is everyone's newest darling. You better believe R.F. was jumping for joy when he realized that you have the perfect storybook romance going without any help from publicity. Bet you a pair of shoes that your engagement and wedding are all going to be as carefully scripted by Rod and his fellows as anything you've done in front of the cameras. You two are his leading couple, and I'm just the goofy sidekick."

***

DANCING DUO SHINES AGAIN - Variety headline, October 9, 1928

Despite recent rumors to the contrary, Monumental's leading couple, Don Lockwood and Miss Kathy Selden, appear to be doing just fine. They have been spotted together many times in the last few days, both on and off the set. On the set of their next musical picture, Mr Lockwood and Miss Selden have frequently been seen holding hands, laughing and dancing together, even between scenes. Off the lot, they have been seen dining together, and the couple even showed up at one of the popular nighclub one evening, wowing everyone on the dance floor. Rumors have plagued the couple in recent months, some saying that Miss Selden was in an unfortunate condition and others linking her romantically to Mr Lockwood's best friend, Cosmo Brown. We are happy to report that neither of these seems to be true, and that Hollywood's golden couple remain untarnished.

***

Lockwood mansion, Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1928…

"Aw, geez," Don grumbled and slumped down further in his chair. "I'm sorry, Kathy. Cosmo. I never wanted that to happen. I was just so thrilled when I realized that what I have with Kathy wasn't going to get in the way of what Cosmo and I have, and. . ."

He trailed off and looked so despondent that Kathy got up from her seat and wrapped her arms around him from behind. She kissed his cheek. "We know, Don. I realized months ago that the studio was going to want to control how our relationship was seen by the world. They haven't had to do very much so far, but Cosmo is right. And I'm okay with that, as long as I get to be with you. Both of you," she added with a glare towards Cosmo. "The studio and the rest of the world might just see you as the goofy sidekick, but we don't. You know that, right?"

Cosmo's cheeks reddened and he gave a slight shrug. Kathy's glare intensified and she huffed in annoyance. She kissed Don again and move around to the other side of the table.

"I think we threw everyone for a loop with the premier last night," she said, settling herself into Cosmo's lap. He had a tendency to try to run away whenever she and Don tried to explain how much they needed him, and she was determined to prevent at least his physical escape this time.

"And now we need to figure out how to un-loop them," Cosmo said.

"Or keep them going in circles," Don added.

They all adopted their preferred thinking positions. Kathy could feel Cosmo's hands tapping out rhythms on her legs. His left hand, she realized, was going through a I-IV-V-I chord progression, while his right was tapping out the melody for the latest piece he was writing. Don crossed his ankle over his knee and tugged at his chin as if he had a beard - though Kathy had yet to see him with one. For her part, she folded her hands across her stomach and stared blankly at the table.

Someone would shift position occasionally, but for many minutes the loudest sound in the kitchen was the ticking of the clock.

***

AND BABY MAKES 4? - Variety headline, September 5, 1928

A dapper Don Lockwood, accompanied by his boyhood companion, Cosmo Brown, attended a grand party at R. F. Simpson's home yesterday evening. All of the biggest stars in Hollywood were there - all but one, that is. Notable in her absence was the third member of Mr Lockwood and Mr Brown's usual trio. Miss Kathy Selden, rising star of Monumental's new musical pictures, and Mr Lockwood's partner both on and off the screen, was unaccountably missing from the party. When asked, Mr Lockwood merely indicated that Miss Selden was feeling under the weather and did not wish to risk her voice on the chilly night. But we wonder if that is really the case - or if this mysterious illness is one that will resolve itself in eight or nine months. We expect an announcement of Mr Lockwood and Miss Selden's engagement any day now, but will the wedding follow with unseemly haste? Only time will tell!

***

Lockwood mansion, Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1928…

"I don't know why they were surprised, though. It's not like they haven't seen the three of us around in various configurations for nearly the last year," Kathy said eventually.

"Various configurations," Cosmo muttered.

"Maybe that's it," Don said, and a grin slowly spread across his face. "Check my thinking on this: Hollywood loves a scandal, right?"

"Right."

"And the fan magazines and the gossip columns are going to write about us, no matter what we do. Right?"

"Right."

"So if we keep them spinning in circles, they'll be so dizzy trying to untangle themselves that they won't be able to keep track of what's true and what isn't, right?"

"Right - " Cosmo started to agree for a third time but then got a puzzled look on his face. "Wait, you lost me."

"I think I see what he's saying," Kathy said and stood up to pace the kitchen again. "If we never do what's expected, if we keep them guessing about who is going to show up and do what, then no one will be able to tell truth from made-up gossip."

"So Kathy and I are seen all about town together, Cos and I show up at the next party, all three of us are seen at the Montmartre," Don said, getting up and pacing in counterpoint with Kathy. Their months of dancing together allowed them to fall into an easy pattern.

"And that way, the gossip columns will be so busy falling over themselves to try to guess what we'll do next that no one will ever think that it is anything other than one prolonged publicity stunt," Cosmo said, catching on. He stood and joined in the pacing, falling easily into a complicated pattern. "Right?"

"Right!" Don and Kathy agreed, and they shook on it in a three-way handshake.

***

TWO-STEP TWO-TIME? - Variety headline, August 13, 1928

Monumental's next musical picture, "Beautiful Girl," premiered last night, but the biggest buzz was caused, not by what was happening on the screen, but what happened off of it. Miss Kathy Selden, one of the new darlings of Hollywood, attended the premiere. Although she was only a chorus girl in this picture, Miss Selden has quickly risen to become Don Lockwood's leading lady, both on and off the screen. So where was Mr. Lockwood tonight? Certainly not escorting the lovely Miss Selden, who was resplendent in her light blue beaded gown. That honor was given to Lockwood's longtime side-kick, Cosmo Brown. The two looked very cosy in the theater, and were seen leaving together afterwards. This leads us to wonder, what exactly is going on here? Has leading man Mr Lockwood been thrown aside for the musician? Does he know his best friend is cavorting with his girl behind his back? Stay tuned for further developments on this potentially scandalous story!

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