Category Archives: Clara Bow

Going to make me a star?

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?

I could be the one?

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!

But firstly…

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?

Amazing setting, for an amazing movie.

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

http://www.bradfordcathedral.org/calendar/event.php?event=3787

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!

2 happy anniversaries, and 1 less than happy one

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.

She had it!

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Bow

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…?