In my blogs on here, I’ve introduced you to 3 of my favourite ladies from the movies of long ago, so now, I’m going to introduce you to the fourth, and final one of that group. Like Louise Brooks, I look nothing like this lady, but I adore her all the same. Many assume that Brooks was the original flapper, but general opinion is that there were 2 famous ladies who beat her to that role. Some believe Colleen Moore was the first, though Moore herself was slightly doubtful about that. But the original ‘It’ girl (as in its that look), was one Clara Gordon Bow.
Its ironic, even today, most people have heard of Jean Harlow. A pretty good percentage have heard of Louise Brooks, though for some (including myself), they only discovered her through Andy McCluskey, and the OMD song about her. Fewer still, but a decent number all the same, have heard of Veronica Lake, the girl with the peek-a-boo hair.
But when it comes to dear Clara, well not so many know her, which is a shame, because seemingly she was feisty, and fun. Like Brooks, the bulk of her movies were silent, and sadly a fair percentage are lost forever. Also like Brooks, she did make a few talkies, but showed little interest in the new craze, and retired from the business in 1933. There was talk that it was due to her Brooklyn accent, from what I’ve heard (catch a glimpse of Call Me Savage, for example), that wasnt true, she just hated talking to a microphone, instead of looking at an audience, with her eyes.
To say Clara had a tough childhood, would be putting it mildly! If you want all the details, take a look at this
Like Louise, she didnt play the movie-maker’s game, especially when the talkies kicked in, she really wasnt interested, retiring from the business just as soon as she could, in 1933, and retired to Nevada. The movie making folk pouted in the worst possible way, starting all sorts of wild, false rumours about her, but that backfired, just making her even more determined to get out of the business!
The interesting recent talk about Clara, is a piece that suggests she actually auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara, in Gone with the wind. It may well be true, though I have my doubts, given her feelings about talkies, her insecurities (unjustified) about her Brooklyn accent, the fact she had retired by then, but anyway, she would have made the part entertaining, thats for sure!
Anyway, this is a glimpse at what is probably Clara’s most famous moment, naturally a silent movie
Oh, and to add, as an afterthought. In 1933, Jean Harlow made a film called Bombshell, which supposedly was a pastiche on Clara Bow, directed by one of Bow’s previous flames, hmm…?