The Golden Age of Hollywood #3

Our family Christmas Eve movie this year was Miracle on 34th Street. Although strongly associated with Christmas, the movie was released in May 1947 because studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck reckoned that more people went to the movies in warm weather. Furthermore, the original trailer omitted all mention of the movie’s Christmas themes.

Star of Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O’Hara was known as ‘The Queen of Technicolor’, because when that film process first appeared nothing showed off its splendor better than her rich red hair, bright green eyes and flawless peaches-and-cream complexion.

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.

Sears and Roebuck, 1935

Autographed Fashion – Loretta Young 

Starting as a child, Loretta Young enjoyed a long and varied career in movies from 1917 to 1953. At the time of this advertisement she was co-starring with Cary Grant in Born to be Bad, and Clark Gable in Jack London’s The Call of the Wild.

Sears and Roebuck, 1934

Autographed Fashion – Frances Dee

In 1934 Frances Dee starred in four films: Keep ‘Em Rolling, Coming Out Party, Finishing School and Of Human Bondage.

On October 20, 1933, Frances married actor Joel McCrea after a whirlwind courtship. Unlike most Hollywood couples, they remained married, until McCrea’s death in 1990. He died on their 57th wedding anniversary.

Sister of actress Mary Pickford, Lottie Pickford (June 9, 1893 – December 9, 1936) also appeared in motion pictures, although her main passion in life was partying.

Lottie’s first starring role arrived in 1914 in The House of Bondage. She played a prostitute, in stark contrast to her sister Mary’s image as “America’s Sweetheart”. 

In 1915 Lottie appeared in The Diamond from the Sky, a silent adventure serial of thirty chapters. The serial was jeopardized when Lottie became pregnant, an incident that placed her on an unofficial Hollywood blacklist for a short time.

Lottie was a socialite who loved to party. Indeed, her parties were notorious all-night affairs that featured an abundance of alcohol, drugs and nudity. This hedonistic lifestyle took its toll and cut short the life of a woman who, despite her socialite status, was regarded as down to earth, friendly and unpretentious.


I never wanted to be a star. I just wanted to act in movies. I just wanted to get away from the impoverished streets of Brooklyn and live in relative comfort.

Now, at the close of the 1920s, I was the biggest name in Hollywood. My movies were the highest grossing in the business. Investors depended on me, producers depended on me, my fellow actors depended on me, and maybe the strain of that dependence triggered my emotional collapse.

Actually, I knew what trigged my emotional collapse – my father’s death. I found myself in an asylum, in the care of Dr Brooks. Along with my fiancé, fellow actor Gregory Powell, Dr Brooks was convinced that an underlying issue triggered my collapse, and he wanted me to record my life story, so that he could identify that issue.

Gregory had faith in me. He said he’d wait for me, and that he knew I’d make a full recovery. But to make that recovery, I had to address the underlying issue that had placed me in the asylum.

So, I offer you the notes that I prepared for Dr Brooks. To the best of my ability and memory, I recorded the important events that made up the first twenty-five years of my life. And within these notes I discovered the true reason for my emotional breakdown.

And that’s a wrap!

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