As regular readers of my blog(s) know, they tend to vary from the very serious, to the wildly wishful, with a large lump of silliness thrown in for good measure. This definitely falls into last group, though some might say there is an element of the second one in here too.
So fine, lets go back 90 years, to about 1930 (though the earliest date I have strict confirmation of Miss Johnson as being a Goldwyn girl is 1932, but suspicions of 1931), but… And meet my past life self, and…
Ooh, hi, well the regular author here has asked me to take over tonight, just for one night, and write this. Mr Mayer tells me that this weird thing I’m typing this on is called a laptop, and when this time travel portal thing (whatever that may be?) works for the internet, well, if I’m a good girl, I might get one of my own. Mind, I know he’s said the same to those more important folk like Loy, Powell, Harlow, Gable and a few others, so I’m going to be way down the list, giggle!
But apparently I’m now at the top of the queue for something called a cell (or mobile) phone. I’ve been told not to ask how they work back here, but they do. Yeah, I know, Jean, sorry, Miss Harlow, has shown me hers, and…they’re so much the cats whiskers! What, you dont believe sweet little Clara, oh? Fine!
Anyway, I’ve now got sufficient standing that I’ve been given one too! I’m told its a pretty basic model, but thats fine by me, in truth. Just means that if they need me for an extra scene, or to tell Mr Berkeley that one of his dance routines is just too crazy (Most are crazy, but doable. Some though…rolls eyes…), I’m able to do so. Equally, if the trolley bus is running late, just call in, and they know! 🙂 Oh, and if I want to ring Marion Davies, and tell her I’ll be late for one of her nice parties (Yes, she’s got one too), I can do that now!
So fine, I’m told to say that if you have a good reason for needing to know said modern person’s phone number, feel free to ask. Either when you see her, or by something called email, or just in comments with a contact email address on here, whatever suits you best.
Right, done? Fine, just going to ring Ginger, sorry, Miss Rogers, and arrange to go out dancing tonight, sounds like fun! I’m told normal service will be resumed in the next blog, so bye for now, darlings!
Love and best wishes,
Clara Johnson (Miss)
Oh, what, a video, whatever that may be? Fine, what I’m told too many people see these phones as?
I got a nice surprise while I was away, when a friend of mine asked if I would still be in the NYC area on 19th October (do the date that way, to get around the whole UK/US thing), and sadly I had to say no, that I was actually flying back home last Monday, and enquired why? The answer, darlings, before you ask as well, is this:
Yes, something important in a publicity sense (a reading, I believe?) is happening in NYC that day, and they wanted me to be there. Well, Jeffery did for certain, and I’m sure he wouldnt have asked without checking with Barry, so to say I’m flattered, would be putting it mildly. Lets just say that I’m assuming he only wants me to attend the event, and nothing more, but of course, you meet people at things like this, and who knows where things might lead from there?
Equally, I thought I was going to a wedding as a guest, only to discover I was a bridesmaid, which turned out to be being Maid of Honor, and where all that led to. No, I dont think I’m likely to end up starring, or even working on Broadway (though I wouldnt say no, if offered), but its that thing of getting yourself known, and seeing where it takes you?
Sadly, unless I win the lottery (I know, stop laughing), I really havent got the money to go at present, especially as the ‘old girl’ is on a 4 day week at present due to her back issues. So yeah, probably any part needs me either to be sat, or in a wheelchair, which pretty much kills most roles anyway! But yes, I could make a cute ‘flapper’ for the day, given the chance! In truth, I dont even know if the holiday is available at work at present lol, but…?
So fine, if any ‘guardian angel’ out there wants to make my dream visit come true, then I’d love it. No, I dont expect it to happen, but no harm in asking lol! Comment here, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is a W.R Hearst type out there, lol!
Regardless of helping me out, if you’re in the area, and hear of this event happening, go support it, please! 2 lovely friends deserve all the support they can get, in every sense, and I only wish I could be there to help them too. If anyone needs details of venue, and time, and cant find it, ask, and I will ask. My logic is, if I cant get there, its probably better I dont know. Equally, Jeffery, or Barry, if you see this, and want to add those details to the piece, please do!
Video time. Well, it might include some Clara Bow, and it might feature film from one of her better known movies, so…
Fine, I’ll get to the title matter in a minute, but for now…
Sunday evening started with a change of plans, a trip to the cinema, to see It. No, not the 1927 silent movie starring Clara Bow, though I’m sure she would have looked adorable, even in a clowns outfit. No, this was the recent (shock horror) movie based on the Stephen King book instead. Something very different for me, but impressed with it, all the same. Mind, the final outcome (of this section at least) appealed to me no end. The actress playing Beverley caught this actresses eye, as someone to watch for the future, just saying…
After that, a dose of ‘The Orville’ which is a new series on Fox over there, which seems to be a witty take off of Original Star Trek, among other things. Yes, the big attraction for me, the chrome robot, no surprise. Yes, if they ever want an actress to play his female companion… 😉 Suspect its just CGI, in truth, sadly. Not sure when I see any more of it mind, over here, but will keep an eye out for that.
Yesterday was the last full day (for a while) in the US, most of which I just spent relaxing, before heading for home, via JFK, in a shuttle. Yes, wisdom prevailed, given the state of my body at present, only way to go. Before that, I did get to see the Creature from the Black Lagoon thing, though sadly not wearable lol. But if anyone wants to make one, and let me wear it…?
Beyond the traffic levels to JFK (its NYC, for pity’s sake), that all went smoothly, and so did the ride through security. Then the fun began! I was taken to the gate on my boarding pass, for my plane home, fine. Thing was, the departures board was showing a different gate, some distance away, and some ‘know all’ told me my plane was going from there. So I struggled down there, only to find a short while later that my pusher had known what she was doing, and the know all was an idiot! So yes, I struggled back to the original gate I’d been left at.
There was 1 wheelchair waiting there, mine, and yes, someone came this time, and took me to the plane. At this point, someone asked me to swap seats, so he could sit with someone, and I agreed. Unfortunately, the idiot I soon discovered I had the ‘delights’ of sitting next to on the way home, thought rules were for everyone but himself. As in, mobile phones must be switched off before leaving the gate, and only be put back on, in flight mode, when we were in the air. Him, oh no! Trying to hide from everyone (very badly) that he was still using his phone after this point, and indeed continued to use it, until after the plane accelerated for take off. Even then, I’m not sure if he switched it off, or just hid it away. He was certainly still doing something with it post take off (not meant to be switched back on while seat belt light is on), so who knows? Put it this way, he was still using it this morning, up to, and including landing, long again after having been told to turn it off. Oh, and then everyone else decided to be an idiot, as more than half the people in the plane were standing up, long before the seat belt light went off at Manchester.
Then it got, err, better! There was only 1 wheelchair used at JFK to load a passenger, mine! So, at Manchester, only 1 is sent to the plane, to disembark me. Thing is, seemingly, 5 other people then decided they needed a wheelchair to disembark, despite not requesting one. My name was called, I stood up to get in, and another woman took my chair! She clearly wasnt going to move willingly, so in the end, they tried to round up another wheelchair for me, only to discover 4 more people wanting one! No, Manchester Airport doesnt employ psychics, to know that all these additional people suddenly would want a chair.
Finally, and I do mean finally, I was on the move. Snag was, with 4 pushers, and 6 chairs, movement was erratic, and slow. Not improved when I finally got to passport control, and there is a group of 3, from the sub continent, who were clearly being shifty about their reasons for entering the country. Finally, he decided to let them in, I passed through quickly, but then we had to get all these wheelchairs down to baggage claim. Then pick out the right black expanding suitcase, from dozens of them, but we got there in the end. So only about an hour later than expected, freedom, and greetings! Then at last, go home!
Oh, and one last thing before we move on from the holiday, and back to more mundane events, one of the movies shown on the flight across. A movie called Blended, which given my knowledge of modern movies, I had to look up when I got home. Take my advice, give it a miss. It has a shocking review rating, and the actress in the main female lead role was dreadful. One look on her face throughout the movie, basically rabbit caught in headlights! Yes, I swear even now, after a few years off, I could have acted the pants off her! So come on Hollywood, let me prove it, lol!
Thats it, then. Lets close by thanking Kate, Stacie, and Eric (mainly, but there were others) for such a marvelous holiday experience. Yes, being Maid of Honor, at a wedding, very special.
So what happens now? Another suitcase, in another hall (Evita)? Probably not! To a big degree, a lot depends what the doctors say about my back in the next couple of weeks, and how many days of work, per week, I can get through, post medication. I’m currently suspecting the answer will be 4, but we will see. Maybe a magic cure, or a nice new cybernetic body lol? Oh, I wish for the latter! I suspect I will be getting the airport wheelchair experience again too, but we will see?
In theory, if I could get there next month, I could go to NYC again for a reading for a production by 2 friends, surrounding the life of Clara Bow, but money (definitely), and holiday time (possibly) mean thats unlikely to happen. Ah well, might have knocked them over on Broadway, especially if they were looking for a middle aged woman confined to a wheelchair for a role lol. Still, keep on dreaming…
Right, video time. One thing a plane is called, is a silver machine, though I doubt thats what they’re talking about here! Dont think its a robotizing pod either, but its almost more likely! Yes, thats Lemmy, of Motorhead fame!
Due warning, before we get started, this blog wont be short! So if you only have a couple of moments, come back later!
So, catching up on rest of week…
Wednesday was fairly quiet, the rest of the week hasnt been, so lets leave that day at that.
Thursday was moving day, as Kate headed for the Berkshires, and I headed across a few state lines to New York. The ride up to Boston went smoothly (barring traffic, hardly a surprise, but we had tons of time), and because Kate had a room booked, I got to experience the lounge at a station for the first time. The Red Cap was of the opinion that I could stay there after Kate was gone (her train was 50 minutes before mine), but the lady in the lounge thought otherwise lol. Fair by me, I was her guest, so once she leaves, I should go, but he wasnt impressed lol.
The journey to Stamford was interesting, not so much because I remembered anything from 30 years ago, though I got one memory as we pulled into New London. That first time, 30 years ago, me, and my partner of the time were visiting her elderly aunt on the trip, across the River Thames (pronounced differently to the London one) at Groton. 2 months or so later, she died, and as my partner said at the time, she’d probably only been hanging on to see her UK family one last time, and then…I’m not saying how many ‘doggy bags’ they found in her house after death, but there were, err, a few!
Oh fine, Stamford station was entertaining, mainly because all Eric and I had seem pics of each other, were a few on Facebook. And you have to remember, mine were designed to show me at my best, not my everyday look, but anyway, we got together in the end, and… The rest of Thursday, and Friday, I’ve visited the family, and they are all a delight to know. I sort of knew that, online, but even better for real! I got to see some of the area on various trips, which was nice too.
Oh right, Saturday! Fine, fine, we’ve got there now! No, no pics at this point, sorry. The snag with new, sparkly dresses, is that some of the sparkly stuff isnt going to stay on the dress, perfectly, you get my drift? 😉 But yes, the dress was gorgeous, though in hindsight, given that I need to wear a bra, I should have brought a bandeau bra with me, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! Would have made picture set up so much easier lol.
Oh, btw, I’m maid of honor, and I have to make a toast. Yes, I found out the latter at a couple of hours notice, but like all good actresses, I improvised. Might not have been the standard toast, but hey…I got through! The service first, was very nice, just so proud to be there, let alone in the position of honor that I was. The setting for the wedding was delightful, at Cortlandt Manor, but unless you’re in the area, just a note of reference. The food was good, though far too much for a modest British appetite, but besides that…
The additional magic moment of the meal afterwards, one of the servers recognized me, from one of the documentary things I’ve done in the past. I’m assuming its the LA one, from April 2015, from description, but dont quote me on that. Now others want to see it! I have no idea if there is still a link to it, but I’ve asked the lady who done it if there is, but awaiting a reply. Suspect finding it might be a challenge, even if she can, as she was doing these regularly, but we will see…? Yes, its amazing where ‘fame’ can catch up with you, lol!
Oh, the service, well, what with holding my bouquet, the ring for the groom, and the bride’s bouquet at one point, quite an experience, but I got through, and loved every moment of it. I also got to meet a number of lovely people that I will probably never meet again, which will be a shame, but is part of life, I guess? Was a wonderful time, so very glad I could be there, and part of it.
Discretion says I’m not describing events after the reception, OK? Nothing bad, but entertaining, just maybe…?
This morning has been quiet, as all recover after the big day, including me! I actually went for brunch at a nearby diner/grill to the hotel, and if I needed reminding how crazy US portions could be, they did it! The omelette was large enough on its own, but by the time you add in toast, and potatoes, well…thankfully, plenty of coffee! How much more food I need today, not a lot! So currently, I’m in the hotel, watching Kansas City play in the NFL, so…chilling! Tonights ESPN baseball, well, its the Dodgers, so…I guess I can survive for a while, while the Gelhaus family recover after yesterday!
I will get back there at some point, in fact need to, as one of the wedding presents was a mask (if not more) of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and yes, as if I’d love to see that, you bet I do. Hey, I’d love to wear a full suit (if anyone has one laying around lol?), though at my age, underwater swimming scenes wearing it might be beyond my skills, but I’d try, if I had to! 😀
Tomorrow sees the start of the return to reality, and the return to the UK. Thankfully, with my new shifts, no work until Friday, by which time a very quiet, very shy team leader of mine will have had her birthday. Yes, it might have been mentioned most of September. Yes, Madi, I love you, I really do xxx I’ve accepted the old age thing, btw. I’d originally planned to get to JFK by public transit, but Stacie wasnt happy with the thought of that at present, and in truth, I wasnt entirely looking forward to it either. So yes, going there by shuttle now…angel…and then the wheelchair thing again! 😀
Even if there are any pictures of me as the creature from the Black Lagoon, you’ll probably have to wait until Tuesday, or Wednesday, and back in the UK before seeing them. I will post wedding pics, of me at least, once I have some, OK?
And so endeth the longest blog, with its traditional moment, the video. No, I’ll save a certain Dave Edmonds song, in case I need it, and go for a song I didnt hear yesterday at the reception, but which sums up the day so perfectly. Yes, I’m old enough to remember this, I know…
As to the next US trip, I have no idea when, where, or for how long. Need to hear what the Doctors say, how many days work per week my body can still cope with, and take things from there. I have enough saved that I might be able to do two next year regardless, but if I’m limited to 4 day weeks, that will be the end of that. Though if its one trip per year, I will probably make it longer than a week (flight is major element of cost), but we will see… In theory I have an invite to a stage reading of a Clara Bow show next month in NYC, but unless anyone wishes to donate £1000 (flight and accom) to me, and even then, there is holiday available at work, not going to make it. Shame, as I could use the publicity time for myself, as well as the show! Ah well…
So from the US for the last time, probably…bye for now!
Right, firstly, word of warning, its back to normal for the foreseeable future with blogs from now on, so back to twice a week, and all that. At least it gives me a bit more opportunity to use up material at a sane rate, I guess?
Well, I think I’ve resolved my first issue of 2017, my present to myself. Yes, the Hollywood trip is booked, I think. Flight is definitely booked, accommodation, I’ve made my choice, and requested it, but still waiting for confirmation on that. Yes, I’m waiting because I’ve gone for the apartment option, so waiting for that approval email at present. Given I sent a question to the guy, and he answered it, I’m assuming I’m not going to have any issues getting it, but until I get that confirmation, well…?
About one long block from Hollywood Boulevard (near Highland), and it looks fine, and I’m told there is somewhere nearby for provisions, so gone for it. So yes, for 10 days at least, a Hollywood resident again!
Make me a star? No, somehow I have my doubts, but who knows? I will go there with an open mind, and should the chance occur, then yes, I’ll take it. I’ll certainly plan to visit that agency this time around, arrange that appointment a lot further in advance than last time. But no, I wont rush to apply for the working visa just yet lol! Mind, if someone wants to tell me that I should? 😉
Probably only coincidence, but I was watching a documentary of the life of an actress, who won a competition, and became a famous actress because of it, Clara Bow. No, I’m not winning any competition, but if I could start with a small part, then…? Fine, I’m not 16, and its not that Hollywood Era, so… pretty sure I’ll be coming back!
The video, a clue in the title I guess?
OK, fine, to the few of you who read both blogs, this is a double post, so dont concern yourselves too much with running to the other, whichever that may be?
And yes, some of this may relate to today’s date lol!
Last night, thanks to some wonderful people at Bradford Cathedral, I got the chance to see Clara Bow on a big screen. Well, yes, anything bigger than a laptop monitor would be something, but anyway…
Lets say that its not hard to see why Clara was a silent movie star. She has a wonderfully expressive face, and good acting skills. Of the male stars, Charles Rogers (Jack) impressed me too with his skills, but Richard Arlen (David) came over less well, to be honest. But the film, especially the flight sequences really are quite something.
The staff at the Cathedral were wonderful, the organist was very good (both musically, and in person), and they even provided us with wine and nibbles too! All in all, a wonderful evening.
OK, to the silly bit, as yes, it is February 14th, after all! Well, at this point, I’m assuming all my Valentine cards have gone to my work address, as none have arrived here. Right, fine, I’m not really expecting any at work either, but a girl can dream. Probably why I’m doing a late shift tonight, was never considered as a likely to be being wined, and dined!
I know, I know, I’m not the type to throw myself at men, or women (yes, bi), or indeed show inclinations to romance, but I dont remember that ever stopping the likes of Gable in the past!
No, I cant remember the last time I got a Valentine card, nor do I realistically expect to get one in the near future, but as I say, a girl can dream.
Ah well…You might get a shock when I next post on Monday, but dont hold your breath!
Fine, lastly, the video. If I said the name, Donna Lewis, one song generally comes to mind. But there is so much more to her music career, and this is a much more recent number. As I say, for someone, I could be the one?
As friends might know, I dont go to the movies very often. In fact, from memory, the last movie that I saw shortly after it came out was ‘I, Robot’, and that was 2004! That was actually in Dallas, and was my first experience of some new movie fad, which I think was surround sound, but dont quote me on that. Apart from ‘Spider Man 2’ which I’d seen earlier that week, with the same host, it had been a while since I’d seen anything live at a cinema. Prior to that, absolutely no idea, its been that long.
Since then, I have seen films on TV, or on DVD, but most, if not all wouldnt be described as modern.
I have seen one movie out, in that 10 year period, but that wasnt new. That was Pandora’s Box, the famous Louise Brooks silent movie, made in 1929, seen in the Grand Theatre, in Leeds. Jean Harlow movies may not be quite the most modern things I’ve seen since then, but you get my drift.
So, the news that I’m going out on Friday, to see a movie in Bradford, might come as a shock to some. Well, until I say that the film was made in 1927, stars Clara Bow, and is again a silent one, ‘Wings’. Thought to be a lost film for so many years, a copy was found in France, restored, so that we are fortunate enough today to still be able to see the first Oscar winning movie, the only silent film to win best movie award, in fact.
Lets see, the movie caused shock back then, with nudity, men kissing, and a few other things besides. Nowadays, well, …
But in this case, its not just the history of the movie that’s stunning, its the setting for watching it, Bradford Cathedral, with the music provided by the organ there. Link
Seriously, this should be quite something. I have seen scraps of Clara Bow in movies, thanks to You Tube, but a whole movie, on a big screen, of course not. Sadly, many of her movies are lost, have never been found as yet, and in most, if not all cases, probably never will be now, given how much the film would have deteriorated over that period of time.
A good number of Louise Brooks films have met the same fate, and as for some, like Theda Bara, barely any of her films still survive. Oh, and as a sidenote, the first performance of a Harlean Harlow Carpenter has met the same fate. Thats right, Jean Harlow’s first film, ‘Honour Bound’ is a lost movie, though she was only an uncredited bit part actress at the time!
As you might have guessed, I dont have a Beau, to see Ms Bow with, even on Valentines weekend. No, you dont have to date me, or even wine and dine me first, but if you want to see a rare moment of history, in an amazing setting, this is your big chance.
If anyone asks, just say Jean Harlow sent you lol!
The video, the most poignant version of Sound Of Silence I could find, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, sung just by Paul Simon. If you want the earlier, original, its not hard to find!
So fine, lets start with the less than happy one, as that’s the biggest milestone of all. One hundred years ago today, World War 1 officially started. It had been boiling up for a month or so, ever since the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, but this date was the one where the first shots were quite literally fired.
The rest is in the history books, as many millions of brave young men died, on the whole, led by fools! I know, its easy to say that in hindsight, but looking back now, history doesnt cast a great picture of those military leaders, whose ideas were by then, clearly behind the times.
Rest in peace, all you brave men, the ones known, and unknown, who died in that 4 and a half year slaughter.
Fine, moving backwards in time, on this date, in 1905, in Brooklyn, a young baby girl was born, Clara Bow. Despite everything in her early impoverished life, in 1921 her picture was sent to a movie company, and the rest was history. Despite her mother’s efforts to end her career before it started, threatening her with a knife, she survived, went to Hollywood, and found fame. 12 years later, she retired from the business, never to make another film, until she met her maker in 1965.
Last, but not least, and the most important in a sense to a Jean Harlow lookalike, is a gentleman born on this day, in 1892. His name, William Powell. Thats right, the man romantically linked to Jean Harlow at the time of her death, and the man who financed the stunning last resting place of both Jean, and her mother. There was actually a 3rd space, for Powell, but as we know, a few years later he remarried, and was buried with her, when he died in 1984. Maybe if its still available, that third space, for me…? No, I know lol!
The irony is, long before they met in Hollywood, Powell, and Harlow (or Carpenter as she was back then) lived no more than a few blocks apart in Kansas City, Powell’s family having moved there in 1907. But obviously, given the age difference, their paths didnt cross for another 20 years or so, and then…
Many years later, when a biography, and a couple of films came out about Jean, Powell is famously reputed to have said that the only things they got right, were ‘her birth, her death, and her movies’ and pretty much the rest was pure fiction! If he said that, I know who I’m inclined to believe about her life.
The video, an extremely tentative connection to Powell. His most famous series of parts was as ‘The Thin Man’, so I thought of this…rolls eyes
Happy birthday, both of you, and rest in peace.
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…?