Clara Bow’s seventeenth movie was My Lady’s Lips, a silent drama released on July 1, 1925, that starred Alyce Mills. The film also featured William Powell, later to achieve fame in the Thin Man series, in his tenth movie role. Clara played Lola Lombard, the daughter of a newspaper magnet. Despite their overlapping careers, Clara and William Powell only worked on two movies together.
At this stage of her career, Clara was making cheap films at a hectic schedule, often completing the production within two weeks. Vacillating between the flirtatious and the vulnerable, she was used by people in the film industry, and she used some of those people to get her way.
From the slums of Brooklyn and burdened with low self-esteem, Clara Bow was a complex person, and all those complexities were on display during this phase of her life.
An early photograph of Mary Pickford. For twenty-three years she was the undisputed “Queen of the Screen”. For fourteen of those years she was the most popular woman in the world.
Although Mary was signed to Adolph Zuker’s Paramount, other studios bid for her services. Zucker couldn’t match their offers, so he invited Mary to rest for five years, on a salary of $52,000 per annum. Mary refused. Instead, she made movies for $675,000 per annum.
This ethereal image depicts Mary Pickford’s (centre) first appearance before a movie camera, on April 20, 1909, aged seventeen. The production was a short – Her First Biscuits. This was one of seven shorts Mary filmed in three and a half weeks. Listed number sixteen out of sixteen actors, she played ‘Biscuit Victim’.
Another ‘Biscuit Victim’ was Owen Moore, a regular co-star during this period. In due course, Moore became Mary Pickford’s first husband.
The ‘Big Four’ in 1919 at the time of the formation of United Artists – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, director D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. Chaplin was a regular visitor to the Pickford-Fairbanks mansion, ‘Pickfair’. Chaplin and Mary Pickford were the big earners of the era. When one secured a more favourable contract, the other demanded one too.
My 9 x great grandfather John Bevan was mentioned in ‘Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania’, published 1911. This entry suggests that John was descended from the Last Prince of Glamorgan, and Edward III of England. It also suggests that he lived in Pennsylvania for twenty years.
‘North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000’ mentions my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan and his daughter Elizabeth in relation to a Samuel Richardson, in that Elizabeth married Samuel’s only son, Joseph, in 1696. The entry also mentions slave ownership and Samuel’s wardrobe. Many Quakers were anti-slavery, and from other entries I believe this was John Bevan’s stance. John gifted Elizabeth £200 for the marriage, the equivalent of £24,000 today.
A grainy, but important image, a page from the Pennsylvania Quaker Meeting Records, which recorded my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan, his wife Barbara, and their ‘tender’ family’s arrival in Pennsylvania, 1683.
This entry in ‘The History of Bucks County’ mentions my 9 x great grandparents John Bevan and Barbara Aubrey. It also mentions their daughter, Elizabeth, and Barbara’s ancestors. The entry describes John as a ‘man of considerable wealth, a friend of William Penn, a preacher of great influence, and a judge at the County Court of Philadelphia.’
Clara Bow Quotes: “With my mental attitude in this condition came rumblings. If I had only been able to foresee the results! I would have given anything gladly to have avoided such events but, as usual, with my trusting nature, I could not see the danger signals.
Talk travels rapidly in Hollywood, and before it gets very far the original comment has been distorted and twisted to suit the taste of the gossiper. Rumours, ugly rumours, began to spring up about me.”
As ever, thank you for your interest and support.
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One reply on “Dear Reader #178”
A fantastic read, as always
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