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

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #134

Dear Reader,

A lovely start to the year. Damaged, my latest Sam Smith mystery, published 15 January 2022, is a #60 hot new release 🙂

My direct ancestor, Jeanne de Navarra de Champagne (14 January 1273 – 2 April 1305, a bold, courageous and enterprising woman who led an army against the Count of Bar when he rebelled against her. It’s thought that Jeanne, like far too many of my ancestors, died in childbirth.

My direct ancestor, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd (1090 – 1137). With her husband, Gruffydd ap Rhys, an outlaw who distributed wealth to the poor, ‘like Robin Hood.’ Academic Dr Andrew Breeze argued that Gwenllian wrote the Mabinogion, the tales that influenced Lord of the Rings.

The January 2022 issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads…

Author Features, Genealogy, Poetry, Puzzles, Recipes, Seasonal Articles, Short Stories, National Pharmacist Day and so much more!

My ancestor, Christopher Gadsden (16 February 1724 – 28 August 1805) was an American politician and the principal leader of the South Carolina Patriot movement during the American Revolution. Furthermore, he was a delegate to the Continental Congress, a brigadier general in the Continental Army, Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, a merchant, the designer of the Gadsden flag, a signatory to the Continental Association and a Founding Father of the United States.

Christopher Gadsden. Portrait by Charles Fraser.

The son of Royal Navy officer Thomas Gadsden, Christopher was born in 1724 in Charleston, South Carolina. After service in the Royal Navy, Thomas became a customs collector for the Port of Charleston, hence the family association with the area.

Christopher was schooled in England. He returned to America in 1740 and served as an apprentice at a Philadelphia counting house. When his parents died in 1741, he inherited a large fortune, which made him financially secure for life.

Between 1745 and 1746 Christopher served as a purser on a British warship during King George’s War. In 1747, he developed his mercantile ventures and a few years later he built Beneventum Plantation House. 

Slavery was common practice amongst plantation owners in South Carolina. Although Christopher was ambivalent towards this barbarity, nevertheless he did keep and trade in slaves.

As Christopher Gadsden’s businesses prospered, he invested in projects such as Charleston Wharf. Between 1767 to 1787 and 1803 to 1808, it is estimated that forty percent of enslaved people (about 100,000) were brought to America through this wharf.

The Gadsden flag

Christopher was captain of a militia company during a 1759 expedition against the Cherokee. He was first elected to the Commons House Assembly in 1757 and immediately clashed with the autocratic royal governors. His stance brought him to the attention of Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, which resulted in a long correspondence and friendship.

Christopher Gadsden became one of the founders and leaders of Charleston’s Sons of Liberty. In February 1776, South Carolina President John Rutledge named him a brigadier general in charge of the state’s military forces. He played an active roll in the military, often to great personal financial cost.

In 1778, Christopher was a member of the South Carolina convention that drafted a new state constitution. That year he also served as lieutenant governor, stepping down in 1780.

When the British besieged Charleston in 1780, John Rutledge, as president of the council, fled to North Carolina to ensure a ‘government in exile’. However, Christopher remained and representing the civil government he surrendered the city and was taken as a prisoner of war.

As a prisoner of war, Christopher spent forty-two weeks in solitary confinement in a prison room at the old Spanish fortress of Castillo de San Marcos. Gaining his freedom in 1781, he helped to restore South Carolina’s civil government.

Christopher Gadsden was returned to South Carolina’s House of Representatives. He was elected as the governor, but due to poor health sustained during his imprisonment, he declined. In 1788, as a member of the state convention, he voted for the ratification of the United States Constitution.

The Gadsden house in Charleston (Wikipedia).

In 1798, Christopher built an imposing house at 329 East Bay Street in Charleston, a house that remained in the family for more than a century. He married three times and had four children with his second wife. He died, the result of an accidental fall, on 28 August 1805, in Charleston, and was buried in St Philip’s Churchyard.

Christopher Gadsden was born into privilege. A capable and principled man, he achieved a great deal in his life. He was a man of his times and some of his attitudes look dubious today. 

The world of politics is murky at the best of times, and politics was Christopher’s world. To his credit, he wasn’t a populist. Even when it disadvantaged him personally, he stood up for his beliefs, and I feel that history should commend him for that.

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.

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