Over the years, rumors persisted that actress/singer Ethel Waters (above, on the left) was jealous of Lena Horne (above, on the right) because of her light complexion.

This allegation may be false as we uncover the following in Donald Bogle's book, "Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams."

The most talked about movie set explosion (back in the day) occurred on the set of "Cabin In The Sky."

Ethel Waters-now an older, heavier star believed that the glamorous, younger Lena Horne was getting preferential treatment from director Vincente Minnelli (Liza's father).

Horne was alerted by Minnelli of possible problems with Waters, who still had a reputation for a quick temper and repeated outbursts. Minnelli told Horne the only way to compete on screen with Waters was basically to do nothing. "Be real small," he said.
"You can never be stronger than Ethel. Just be vulnerable and coquettish."

Horne stuck to the plan but when she injured her foot, shortly before her big scene with Waters was to be filmed-Waters believed that it was a ploy to get attention.

An infuriated Waters exploded at a rehearsal, criticizing nearly everything about the production. But she went further. She flew into a semi-coherent diatribe that began with attacks on Lena, and wound up a vilification of 'Hollywood Jews."

You could hear a pin drop. Everyone stood rooted in silence while Ethel's eruption shook the sound stage. She went on and on and no one could calm her down.

Afterwards, Minnelli told everyone to go home for the day. Later, the sequence was filmed without incident but Waters said her career suffered.

"Six years would pass before I could get another movie job."