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Dear Reader #168

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s seventh movie was Black Oxen a silent fantasy/romantic drama produced during October 1923 and released on December 29, 1923 in San Francisco.

Black Oxen starred Corrine Griffith and Conway Tearle. Corinne Griffith was one of the big names of the day. As well as a successful acting career, she also excelled as a producer, author and businesswoman. Dubbed ‘The Orchid Lady of the Screen’, she was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses of the silent era.

Clara excelled in this movie to the extent that she gained more parts immediately, and the studio quadrupled her salary to $200 a week, the equivalent of $2,900 today.

📸 Clara Bow as Janet Oglethorpe, the flapper in Black Oxen, holding a copy of Flaming Youth. Also pictured, Kate Lester and Tom Ricketts.

Highest Grossing Movie of 1927Wings.

A silent war movie set during the First World War, Wings won the first Academy Award for Best Picture, the only fully silent film to win the award. Because of her status, Clara Bow received top billing, but the film mainly concentrates on Charles Rogers and Richard Arlen’s characters.

The movie was designed as an action-war picture, but romantic elements were included to accommodate Clara Bow, Paramount Pictures’ brightest star at the time. The film featured nudity, one of the first to do so.

Wings was shot on location in San Antonio on a budget of $2 million, $30 million today. Shooting ran from September 7, 1926 to April 7, 1927. The antics at the actors’ hotel have become the stuff of legend, and they will feature in a future article.

Hundreds of extras and around 300 pilots were involved in the filming. The highlights of Wings are its realism and its stunning air-combat sequences. Indeed, the pilots and their planes are the stars of this movie. Many of the flying sequences required extraordinary courage and skill.

My latest translation, the Dutch version of Operation Treasure, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE book four.

Clara Bow Quotes: “What advice would you endeavour to give a girl who was trying to make good in Hollywood? I can give my viewpoint with absolute frankness and understanding. I was ambitious and at the same time I was shy and super-sensitive. I saw Hollywood as Utopia. I see Hollywood now as it really is. I’ve tasted fame and wealth and love – true love – and I’ve also suffered heartbreak and disappointment as much as any other person in the motion picture world. Some scars I shall carry on my soul forever. Through recklessness, thoughtlessness and impulsiveness, I have made many mistakes. But I’ve profited from such errors and that is why I am attempting to assist those who will take the advice of one who knows.”

Intertitle #8

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #167

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s sixth movie was Maytime, a silent romantic drama produced during August and September 1923 and released on December 11, 1923. The movie starred Ethel Shannon, Harrison Ford and William Norris, with Clara fourth on the bill playing Alice Tremaine. 

After a stunning screen test, producer B.P. Schulberg gave Clara the part of Alice in Maytime. Within a week, the film’s crew were urging Schulberg to ditch Ethel Shannon and give Clara the lead role. He didn’t. Nevertheless, Clara had made her point and established her breakthrough.

📸 Clara Bow and Ethel Shannon in Maytime.

Highest Grossing Movie of 1926, For Heaven’s Sake.

A silent comedy, For Heaven’s Sake starred Harold Lloyd and was directed by Sam Taylor. The movie was a great success for Lloyd and earned $2,600,000 at the box office, which made it the twelfth highest grossing film of the silent era.

In the 1920s, Lloyd alternated between making what he called “gag pictures” and “character pictures”. He regarded For Heaven’s Sake as a “gag picture”. Despite the film’s success, Lloyd wasn’t happy with it. Indeed, he was so disappointed with the final cut that he considered abandoning the project.

A large number of scenes were filmed and later cut from the final movie. Some of those scenes, especially an underworld sequence, resurfaced (no pun intended) and were incorporated into Lloyd’s 1928 film Speedy.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 34 of the magazine.

Roundabout, Series 1, Episode 22 of The Rockford Files was the last broadcast episode in the first series. This episode contained some great one-liners. Obnoxious Hirer: “I should warn you, I have a blackbelt in judo.” Rockford (picking up a golf club): “And I have a blackbelt in seven-iron.” 

Bank Manager: “She’s strange.” Rockford: “You don’t call people with $300,000 in their account ‘strange’.” Bank Manager: “What do you call them?” Rockford: “Eccentric.”

The climactic chase scene at the Hoover Dam was originally scripted as a car chase. However, someone suggested that Rockford and the villain should run through the Hoover Dam instead, creating one of the iconic moments in the first series.

Time for a break. I look forward to catching up with series two of the Rockford Files in the new year.

Coming soon, our new magazine, The Golden Age of Hollywood, available from all leading Internet outlets. Here’s a preview of the cover.

Clara Bow Quotes. After the director cut her role in Beyond the Rainbow, Clara enrolled in a business training school. However, Fate intervened again. “A month or so after my first motion-picture ‘flop’ I was called one day to the telephone. The man speaking at the other end of the wire introduced himself as Mr Elmer Clifton, and asked if I could see him that afternoon. My heart took a leap. Elmer Clifton was a motion-picture director and, hardly daring to believe my good fortune, I readily agreed to see him. I was so excited, I could hardly talk.”

Clifton offered Clara a two-week trial period and a salary of $35 a week. The two-week trial period stretched to thirteen weeks as, impressed by Clara’s natural talent, Clifton developed her role as Dot Morgan in Down to the Sea in Ships (pictured). This time, Clara was truly setting sail.

Intertitle #7

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #166

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s fifth movie was Grit, a silent drama produced in the summer of 1923 in New York, and released on January 7, 1924. Adapted from a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Grit featured Clara as a sexy street urchin, Orchid McGonigle.

Clara impressed director Frank Tuttle, especially with her ability to produce emotion at will. He said, “This dynamic and erratic whirlwind was a joy to her director.”

Grit was a tale of cowardice and revenge set on New York’s Lower East Side. Fitzgerald said of the film, “The whole picture is sordid, showing disgusting scenes of immorality and crime.” The censors demanded cuts, and they were duly made. Despite those cuts, Grit was still banned by the British Board of Film Censors.

Clara saw Orchid as the embodiment of herself. “A little roughneck and a tomboy like I was.” The critics panned the film. However, Variety added, “It is Clara Bow that lingers in the eye after the picture has gone.”

Joint Highest Grossing Movie of 1925, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Ben-Hur was a silent epic drama that starred Ramon Novarro as the title character. Production costs rose to $3,900,000 ($60,260,000 today) compared to MGM’s average for the season of $158,000 ($2,440,000 today), which made Ben-Hur the most expensive film of the silent era. The movie earned $10.7 million at the box office.

Ben-Hur became notorious for its egregious animal abuse: a reported one hundred horses were tripped and killed merely to produce the set piece footage of the major chariot race. A ‘running W’ device was used on the set to trip the galloping horses. Ten years later such devices were frowned upon in Hollywood.

The extras at the chariot race read like a who’s who of Hollywood at the time. They included: John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian Gish, Samuel Goldwyn, Harold Lloyd, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Mary Pickford.

Just by Accident, Series 1, Episode 21 of The Rockford Files, is a curious episode. It was actually the last episode filmed for the first season (22 episodes), and the last episode produced by Roy Huggins.

Written by a new team, Charles Sailor and Eric Kalder, my impression is this was a generic private eye story adapted for Rockford. The Becker role was filled by a lookalike, David Spielberg as Lieutenant Tom Garvey. This episode gave the impression that the hirer, Louise Hartman, was a long-standing friend of Rockford’s, but the nature of their friendship was never explained.

As someone who loves genealogy, I loved the premise of this episode, which was based on birth certificates. A great answering machine message too. Kooky voice: “This is Thelma Sue Brinkley. It’s about the research I called you about – the family tree. Did you talk to your daddy? We may be kin!”

In this month’s issue of our #1 ranked magazine…

Interview with Publishers Weekly #1 author Dani Pettrey. Plus, Author Features, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Short Stories, Young Writers, National Veteran and Military Family Month, and so much more!

Clara Bow Quotes. Having achieved her movie breakthrough with Beyond the Rainbow, Clara was keen for her friends to see her on the silver screen. “I assembled all the children for blocks and borrowed enough money to purchase tickets for those unable to pay for their own admission.” 

However, Clara did not appear in this version of the picture; the director had decided to cut her role. “I bolted from the theatre, ran all the way home, locked myself in my room and sobbed as though my heart would break. This was the end. How could I ever face my friends again?”

Intertitle #6

Coming soon, our new magazine, The Golden Age of Hollywood, available from all leading Internet outlets. Here’s a preview of the cover.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #164

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s third movie was Enemies of Women, produced in December 1922 through to January 1923. The movie was premiered in New York on March 31, 1923 and went on general release from September 2, 1923.

Enemies of Women was produced by William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Pictures. A silent romantic drama, the movie starred Lionel Barrymore and Alma Rubens. Clara featured as an uncredited dancing girl.

This movie was made during a significant period in Clara’s life. Her mother, Sarah, had just been released from an asylum, although she was far from physically and mentally well. At home, Sarah lapsed into a catatonic state. On New Year’s Eve, she was readmitted to the asylum. She died there on January 5, 1923.

Later, Clara recalled that period of her life. “In the picture, I danced on a table. All the time I hadda be laughin’, rompin’, displayin’ joy of life. I’d cry my eyes out when I left my mama in the mornin’, then go dance on a table.”

The guilt of pursuing her dream while her mother lay dying remained with Clara for the rest of her life. That guilt added to her complex personality, and influenced the choices she later made. 

Sarah Bow was not a supportive mother – her poor mental health and negative attitude to the movies ensured that she did not guide her daughter along stardom’s treacherous path. Clara needed that guidance, but all too often she had to find her own way in the world. 

Clara was right to feel sad when Sarah died, but I think her guilt was misplaced.

🖼 Lobby card for Enemies of Women.

In 1925 Clarence Birdseye, pictured, invented a process for frozen food. Later, he invented the double belt freezer. His initial product line featured 26 items, including 18 cuts of frozen meat, spinach, peas, a variety of fruits and berries, blue point oysters, and fish fillets.

Highest grossing movie of 1924: ThSea Hawk.

The Sea Hawk was a silent adventure movie about an English noble sold into slavery. Upon his escape, he becomes a pirate. Directed by Frank Lloyd, the movie premiered on June 2, 1924 in New York.

Frank Lloyd sensed that moviegoers would not accept miniature models so, at a cost of $200,000, he created full-sized ships. The ocean scenes were filmed off the coast of Catalina Island, California. Lloyd established a mini-village to shoot these scenes, which included 150 tents, 1,000 extras, 21 technicians, 14 actors, and 64 sailors.

The film was so well made that Warner Bros used some of its battle scenes in a 1940 Errol Flynn movie of the same name. Furthermore, the studio used the life-sized replica ships in later nautical films.

Through public records, I’m tracing the ancestry of Eva Marie Saint. I’ve taken the Saint branch back to Eva’s 3 x great grandfather, Hercules Saint. I’ve discovered a lot of records relating to Hercules, but for now here are the basic facts:

Born: May 7, 1747, Perquimans County, North Carolina, USA. Father, Daniel Saint. Mother, Margaret Barrow

Married: Sarah Barrow, June 7, 1775, Perquimans Co., NC.

Died: The records contradict each other, so more research required 

Occupation: Carpenter

Religion: Quaker

Hercules’ wife and mother had the same surname, Barrow. I have yet to determine if they were related.

🖼 The Quaker record confirming Hercules’ birth.

Charlie Harris at Large, Series 1, Episode 19 of The Rockford Files had a great premise – a person who couldn’t offer an alibi in a murder case because they would incriminate themselves in an affair. Diana Muldaur played that person. As the ‘special guest star’, I felt that she was underused in this episode. I would have liked to have seen her interact more with James Garner.

This was a multi-viewpoint episode, so James Garner didn’t appear in every scene. Indeed, the opening reminded me of an episode of Columbo, with detectives and medical staff examining the victim.

The running joke in this episode was someone on the phone or knocking on Rockford’s door getting him out of bed. Some nice scenic shots during the car chases and an excellent performance from Tony Musante as Charlie Harris made this an engaging episode.

Clara Bow Quotes: “I shall never forget my first day on the set. I was just one of the mob. No one paid the slightest bit of attention to me. Being told to make up, I watched others apply deft touches of grease-paint and tried to duplicate their procedure. It was a pitiful job, I realise now, but how wonderful I thought I looked at the time. Finally, the director, Christy Cabanne, gave me a “bit”. It was a crying scene. “Can you act, kid?” he said. I was so frightened I immediately burst into tears. This seemed to please him, and before I knew it I was in front of the cameras. Even to this day I can remember his faint praise of my effort when the scene was completed.”

Intertitle #4

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #162

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s first movie was Beyond the Rainbow. Filmed in New York in 1921, when Clara was sixteen, the movie went on public release on February 19, 1922. A 16mm print of the film still survives.

The plot is a decent one: guests arrive at a party and are passed a mysterious note saying, ‘Consult your conscience. Your secret is common gossip.’  All the guests have something to hide, so panic and murder ensue.

The note was written by Clara’s character, Virginia Gardener, as a mischievous joke. It’s ironic that in her first movie Clara was the instigator of chaos because, in her own iconic way, that set the tone for her career.

Clara appeared in five scenes in Beyond the Rainbow, but strangely those scenes were cut from the final print, only to be restored when she became a star. Her billing also moved up from ninth to third when she achieved stardom.

📸 A still from Beyond the Rainbow featuring Helen Ware, George Fawcett and Clara Bow.

Do you remember those Saturday morning serials that always ended in a cliffhanger? Even though the cliffhanger was not employed in this serial, What Happened to Mary is widely regarded as the first of the genre. Released in 1912, the serial starred Mary Fuller and ran for twelve episodes.

What Happened to Mary (a statement, not a question) also appeared in The Ladies’ World magazine . It was adapted for the stage and published as a novel. The basic plot involved action, adventure and peril for the heroine.

Sadly, Mary Fuller’s star waned and from 1917 she struggled to obtain roles in film or on stage. Nervous disorders plagued her life and effectively brought an end to her career.

📸 Miriam Nesbitt, Mary Fuller and Marc McDermott in What Happened to Mary.

Highest grossing movie of 1922: Robin Hood.

A silent adventure film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, Robin Hood was the first motion picture to receive a Hollywood premiere, held at the Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre on October 18, 1922.

The castle and twelfth century village sets were constructed at the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio in Hollywood. Wood, wire and plaster constituted the castle with wood also covering the concrete floor.

The story was adapted for the screen by Fairbanks (as “Elton Thomas”), Kenneth Davenport, Edward Knoblock, Allan Dwan and Lotta Woods. Fairbanks also played a major role in the movie’s production and distribution. 

This version of the Robin Hood legend established the elements that served later filmmakers. Indeed, the popular modern perception of Robin Hood is largely due to Fairbanks’ film.

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

I’ve traced Eva’s ancestry back to William Saint, born 3 March 1781 in Perquimans County, North Carolina. I discovered William in the 1810 United States Federal Census. This record also provided a shock. The census lists that the household contained a slave.

Obviously, I was aware that slavery existed at that time, but I didn’t expect to discover a slave in a Quaker household. This has given me pause for thought. I would like to understand the Saint family’s connection to the Quakers, and their connection to slavery. More research required.

NameWilliam Saint
Residence Date6 Aug 1810
Residence PlacePerquimans, North Carolina, USA
Free White Male 0 to 91
Free White Male 26 to 451
Free White Female 16 to 251
Number of Enslaved Persons1
Number of Household Members Under 161
Number of Household Members Over 251
Number of Household Members4

Claire, Series 1, Episode 17 of The Rockford Files was originally titled Lady on the Run. Linda Evans played Claire Prescott, an ex-girlfriend of James Rockford, who found herself in trouble. Naturally, she turned to Rockford for assistance.

The episode offered a prominent role to Noah Beery Jr (pictured) as Rocky, Rockford’s father. Noah Beery Jr was a character actor who specialised in warm, friendly roles. His uncle, Wallace Beery, was a prominent actor as was his father, Noah Beery Sr. Indeed, Noah Sr began his long career in silent movies.

Rocky was noticeably shorter than Rockford but, as writer Stephen J. Cannell pointed out, this was okay because, even though it is not always portrayed in movies, each generation tends to get taller.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 34 of the magazine.

Clara Bow Quotes: “I was an expert in make-up, which always mystified my mother. Appearing in her presence with lips heavily smeared with red and whiteish powder, I never failed to draw the parental wrath. 

For days she searched my bedroom for cosmetics, but found nothing. The truth of the matter was that the wallpaper in our flat had a decided tinge of red colouring. I discovered that this colouring would come off quite readily, and so with the true touch of an artist I coloured my lips with dabs of tint from the paper itself by dampening my finger.”

Intertitle #2 🙂

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂