Jean Arthur was famous in Hollywood for her retiring nature. She hated publicity, rarely signed autographs and was reluctant to grant interviews. In 1940, Life Magazine said, “Next to Garbo, Jean Arthur is Hollywood’s reigning mystery woman.”
Her first marriage, to photographer Julian Anker in 1928, was annulled after one day.
Must-see movie: The Saturday Night Kid, 1929, not the greatest movie, but in it Jean Arthur outshone the brightest star of the era, Clara Bow, who was “generous and wonderful to me.”
Fay Wray, in Gasoline Love.
Fay Wray achieved fame as Ann Darrow in her 58th (!) movie, King Kong, which was released in 1933. Selected as one of the “WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1926”, her career developed and spanned six decades. Regarded as one of the early “Scream Queens” she featured in a variety of roles until her retirement in 1980.
According to Fay Wray, Jean Harlow had been RKO’s original choice for Ann Darrow, but because of her MGM contract, she was unavailable.
Fay Wray received $10,000 for her portrayal of Ann Darrow, the equivalent of $200,000 today.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr, in Stephen Steps Out (he’d appeared in two uncredited roles prior to this movie).
The son of Douglas Fairbanks and stepson of Mary Pickford, Fairbanks Jr married, and divorced, Joan Crawford. However, his life partner was Mary Lee Epling. Fairbanks Jr and Mary were married for 49 years.
Marlene Dietrich, in The Little Napoleon, Tragedy of Love and Man by the Wayside.
Marlene’s career spanned the 1910s to the 1980s. She was known for her humanitarian efforts during World War II when she housed, provided financial support for, and advocated American citizenship for German and French exiles.
On 15 April 1923, at the Rivoli Theater at 1620 Broadway in New York, Lee DeForest premiered 18 short films made in Phonofilm, a process co-developed with Theodore Case. DeForest’s films included vaudeville acts, musical performers, opera singers and ballet. However, the Hollywood studios pursued other sound-on-film systems, Including Vitaphone, which led to the introduction of the talkies three years later.
Highest Grossing Movies of 1923
#3 Safety Last!
A silent romantic comedy, Safety Last! established Harold Lloyd as a major figure in early motion pictures. The movie contains an iconic image of the silent film era – Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from a skyscraper above moving traffic.
#2 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.
#1 The Ten Commandments
One of Cecil B. DeMille’s early epics, The Ten Commandments was written by Jeanie Macpherson, silent actress, writer, and director. A pioneer in the film industry, Jeanie Macpherson also worked with D.W. Griffith. Irony alert regarding The Ten Commandments: Jeanie was one of DeMille’s three mistresses.
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.