Dear Reader

Dear Reader #163

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s second movie was Down to the Sea in Ships, a silent romantic drama about a whaling family living in a Quaker community. The movie, made during the summer of 1922 when Clara was seventeen, was premiered on September 25, 1922 and went on general release from March 4, 1923.

Clara plays Dot Morgan who, as a baby, is found floating near the shore on a raft made of branches. Dot is a mischievous, rebellious child who wants to be a whaler when she grows up, an ambition frowned upon by her community. So, we have Clara as a tomboy rebel: perfect casting.

Clara Bow as Dot Morgan

Dressed as a boy, Dot stows-away on a ship. She is attacked by a crew member, and rescued by her friend, Jimmie, a cabin boy. The ship returns to port and the main romantic thread of the story, which does not involve Clara, unfolds.

The movie contains authentic whaling scenes and strives for realism. The critics hated it, but audiences enjoyed it. Indeed, the movie played continuously for 22 weeks in New York City.

Billed 10th, Clara received praise for her role in the movie, her natural style contrasting with the mannered approach of the other actors. 
Billed 10th, Clara received praise for her role in the movie, her natural style contrasting with the mannered approach of the other actors. 

The critics said: “Miss Bow will undoubtedly gain fame as a screen comedienne.” “She scored a tremendous hit in Down to the Sea in Ships … [and] has reached the front rank of motion picture principal players.” “With her beauty, her brains, her personality and her genuine acting ability it should not be many moons before she enjoys stardom in the fullest sense of the word. You must see ‘Down to the Sea in Ships’.”


The Adventures of Kathlyn, released on December 29, 1913 was a thirteen episode adventure serial, which starred Kathlyn Williams (pictured) as the heroine. 

The second serial ever made, The Adventures of Kathlyn is widely regarded as the first of the cliffhanger serials that became popular over the next decade. The serial idea was ‘borrowed’ from newspapers and magazines, and adapted for film.

Chapter one of The Adventures of Kathlyn featured a situation ending, but future episodes concluded with a sensational action sequence or stunt, held over to the following week to heighten suspense.

These serials were often tied-in with newspaper serials, boosting the newspapers’ circulation figures. For example, the Tribune announced a 10% increase in circulation as a result of The Adventures of Kathlyn’s success.

November 1922. The Flapper. “Official Organ of the National Flappers’ Flock.” “Not for old fogies”. Learn how to edjimicate a Sweet Daddy. The Definition of a Kiss. Enter the Beauty Contest and win a golden dolphin. And so much more… 

Life Magazine cover “The Flapper” by Frank Xavier Leyendecker, 2 February 1922.

Highest grossing movie of 1923: The Covered Wagon.

A silent western, The Covered Wagon charted the adventures of a group of pioneers as they travelled through the Old West, from Kansas to Oregon. Along the way they experienced desert heat, snow, hunger and an Indian attack (Native Americans who appeared in this movie included the Northern Arapaho Nation from Wyoming and Chief Thunderbird, in an uncredited role).

Lois Wilson, pictured, played the heroine, Molly Wingate. In a career spanning 1915 – 1952 she appeared in 150 movies, including the converted role of Daisy Buchanan in the 1926 silent film version of The Great Gatsby.

Through public records I’ve traced actress Eva Marie Saint’s ancestors back to the early 1800s. The family were Quakers for many generations. And, to my surprise, in 1810, their household contained a slave.

Slavery was abolished in America in 1865. But what of the Saint family and slavery in the period 1810 – 1865? The censuses of 1840, 1850 and 1860 provide an answer: William Saint, a farmer, was head of the household. His family, and labourers, worked on his farm. However, he did not own any slaves.

It would appear that the Saint family cut their ties with the slave trade long before the state did. I think Eva Marie Saint would be pleased to know that.

Also worthy of note, William Saint was born on 3 March 1781 and died on 24 January 1871.  He enjoyed a long life. At the time of writing this, Eva Marie Saint is 98. The Saint genes appear to be very strong ones.

Say Goodbye to Jennifer, Series 1, Episode 18 of The Rockford Files was directed by Jackie Cooper, who featured as Captain Highland in the previous episode, Claire.

The titles in Say Goodbye to Jennifer didn’t appear until 4’ 30” into the episode, a common trait for The Rockford Files, depending upon the number of close-ups in the opening scenes.

This episode made good use of dental records in identifying a victim, in an unusual way. The story was written by John Thomas James, one of his best in the first series.

A classic telephone message too: “This is Mrs Landis. Three times this month I came to clean and it always looks like people’ve been fighting in there; furniture broken, things tipped over; I’m sorry, but I quit.”

Clara Bow Quotes: In January 1921 Clara entered the ‘Fame and Fortune Contest’ organised by Motion Picture Magazine…

“Imagine my surprise when a letter arrived one day stating that I had been declared the winner. According to the rules of the contest, the winner was to be given an evening dress and also a role in a motion picture. I was in seventh heaven. My prayers had been answered. My whole future and happiness had been secured. What luck!”

The picture Clara submitted for the Motion Picture contest. She hated the picture, but couldn’t afford a replacement.

Intertitle #3 😗

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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