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 right 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’ll be honest, when I think of the echelon of places to act, my first thoughts turn to Hollywood. No idea why, because I’ve never made a proper movie of any kind, and in terms of theater royalty, Broadway, or Leicester Square should rank higher for me? Not that I have ever got even vaguely close to acting at any of those places either, to be honest.
Me, look at small theaters, village, or school halls would have been places where I was far more likely to perform, lets face it. Then tonight, I was watching something on TV, where the actors involved said that in fact, the acting capital of the world, for them, was Stratford Upon Avon.
I suppose if you’re a classical actor of some note (they are), then I can see the logic of that, given the whole Shakespeare thing, and all. As far as I can remember, I’ve only acted in one piece by Shakespeare (that Scottish play), and amusingly, and probably aptly, with foresight, I played a witch! Let me add, it was being done by a boys Grammar school, so apart from a few main parts, for which we borrowed girls from their grammar school across the road, we were expected to play all the parts. So, with hindsight, probably my first main female role!
Now, if I told you that the first movie capital of the world wasnt Hollywood, wasnt even on the West Coast, would you believe me? Yes, the movie industry was created in, and around the New York/New Jersey area in fact! But the winters made filming tricky, and when they heard about the all year round warmth in California, then history was created! It was really late into the 1920’s before Hollywood began to dominate the scene.
So where, readers, would you say was the acting capital of the world? I still say my vote goes for Hollywood, but thats probably that 30’s chorus girl/movie actress buried within me. No, I dont really expect anyone to answer here (rare that anyone does), but just think about it, for me, OK?
OK, video time. So my vote goes for Hollywood anyway, and besides which, I couldnt think of an apt song that links to Stratford in any way. I did think of using Shakespeare’s Sister, but seriously…? Anyway, fine, this seems apt, as its what the modern day chorus girl would probably be doing nowadays, shows on cruise ships, and the like.
Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.
In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting my first passport in my new name, and gender. I know, I’d lived about 7 years as a woman before then, but all the same, that was a special moment when it was made official. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in a transgender sense, with an interview from work, about life as a Transgender woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…
No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.
Of course, my first flight as a woman, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.
The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!
The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!
In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…
In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.
The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.
August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!
Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!
Well fine, as a small part actress, in modern times (and lets face it, supposedly I was an actor back then), I’ve never actually encountered that casting couch moment. I know, what a surprise, not!
However its a well known fact that back in the ‘Golden Age’ of movie making, and before then, the casting couch wasnt only something that was hinted at, it was reality! Back then, its fair to say that more than a few actresses, either trying to get that break, or to move up in the standings got there by more than acting talent alone. Though in truth, on the whole, they were given little choice in the matter, if they wanted to make it. Yes, I wouldnt be totally surprised at some point if Clara Johnson had to go through the routine herself, to get her big chance. I mean, you only have to look at the fact that prior to 1933/34, and her promotion to Goldwyn Girl status, that she’d been around as a humble chorus girl for a while, and then suddenly…hmm? Maybe it was just hard work, who knows, but the cynic in me still wonders, all the same?
Given that the book I read it in, is factually tarnished, many times over, I’m prepared to tread carefully on this, but allegedly Jean Harlow was sought (and not for her movie skills) by high ups in many studios, both male, and indeed, female for other purposes when she first broke through seriously into the movies. True or not, she married 2 ‘senior’ staff at MGM, who werent logical marriage partners for her, but hey, it does seem she had a yearn for older men, so that could be totally wrong assumption, especially as one of them was pretty much proved to be impotent!
But yes, back then, the whole casting couch thing was part of the movie industry, in those less than enlightened times. But if anyone thought it had gone away, oh my, how wrong can you be? In truth, the only question that needs to be asked about the whole Harvey Weinstein thing, is why its taken so long to come out? The answer, my dear, of course, is power. But of course, with anything like that, once one domino falls in the pack, every other domino quickly tumbles over as well. He thought, because of his position, that he could get away with it, but now, finally, thankfully, it has caught up with him.
Is he the only one? I very much doubt it. In truth, I’d be amazed if he was. I suspect a few more will follow now, but we will have to wait and see on that. I think its safe to say that a trans woman actress, fast approaching 60 is not likely to be a casting couch target for anyone lol! Especially given my back wouldnt be up to anything adventurous anyway! But yes, hopefully, now, a number of younger actresses may manage to avoid this fate. But I suspect, there’s always someone, so…
Oh fine, the video. This might sound like its from the 1920’s, but its actually from 1961. Yes, still delightfully ancient for most, but…there were 9 members of the Temperance 7, a play on the term ‘one over the eight’ which definitely wasnt a sign of temperance lol! There was a major revival of the group about 10 years later, which lineup I have featured here in the past. Sadly, the only film I can find of the original lineup singing this, is of pretty poor quality, so lets go with this, which looks like a scene that Clara Johnson, and other chorus girls of that era would be very familiar with!
So, assuming I can get feminist, if I dont get all militant about it, right? Oh fine, you know me already, I dont do militant, just equal chances for the fairer sex anyway!
Back in April 2015, on my first trip (but definitely not my last) to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of getting in contact with a wonderful woman named Tema, about a group called Women In Media, who are only trying to do what is fair, and give women an equal chance in media as a whole, but in this case, primarily Los Angeles, of course. On my last night of the trip, our contact got beyond online, when I met her, and a number of other people dedicated to the cause, to watch a 1940 Lucille Ball film, directed by Dorothy Arzner.
It was a wonderful evening, and I have the feeling that if I hadnt been flying out the next morning (yes, timing is a pain, sometimes), I might have at least made a few worthwhile contacts, and who knows what more? I’m not saying I’d now be a movie star, but earning a decent living, in small/medium acting roles, or even writing, who knows?
I was fortunate enough to meet up with her again in May, for a reading event in Hollywood on a Sunday afternoon while there, and only amazed that she wasnt the only one to remember me! Well now, I’m delighted to say, Women In Media have been given 501(c)(3) status, so are now having a big relaunch, complete with new, impressive website at https://womennmedia.com so go and give it a checkout, if relevant to you, as its now live.
To answer questions, yes, I am a member, but no, my profile isnt up yet. It will be in the next few days though, so if you want to use my talents… Yes, this is principally about behind the camera work, because thats an area that women struggle to get their chances at, even more than on the screen. So yes, my profile is probably going to end up looking like a writer, that acts a bit, rather than an actress who writes a bit, but hey, I’m a combination of both, so…
No, dont look for me at many events, I will get to them when I’m in town, but lets face it, thats not often! But I’m certain that if you mention the name, Harlean to Tema, she will know who you mean, there arent many Harlean’s in the world, lets face it. Though Stevie might strike more initial chord, as thats what she got to know me as, of course.
So, all we are saying, media industry, is give women a chance! Not just for me, but all those other wonderful, hard working people out there just looking for that chance!
The video. Yes, its a variation of that song by Cyndi Lauper, but a different sound. Oh, and for some strange reason, the whole concept of the video appeals to me, just saying…
Given how many times I have visited since the turn of the century, its hard now to believe that the first time I visited the US was only 30 years ago. Yes, it took me half of my current lifespan (more or less) before I actually flew across the Atlantic to make my first visit. That first flight, flying with TWA (who no longer exist) was into Boston, a city I have visited several times since, under my own steam. But like I will be doing this year, flying Thomas Cook Airlines, I didnt fly out of the same airport, or city, as I arrived at. For the last few days, we took the hire car back to Boston, then took a train to New York City. Funnily enough, this year will involve a shorter trip on the same railway line (to Stamford), and no, I havent travelled down it, in all that time! Yes, I suspect its changed.
I guess NYC is one of those cities that you either love, or hate. Its loud, in your face, and very, very busy. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the sights, and I loved seeing 42nd Street on Broadway, but the place as a whole wasnt my scene. The strangest memory is that we got the tickets for the musical, in a ticket booth which was either just outside, or just inside (it is 30 years ago!) the World Trade Center, which 14 years later, attracted news headlines for all the wrong reasons.
It was only after the event, after my stay in Chicago, that I realized that I’d taken to the noise, and bustle in a much easier way than I had in NYC about 20 years earlier. Had I changed in myself, or was it the start of the whole transition thing that lightened me up, who knows? Either way, Chicago is on the list of places I hope to get back to, sometime soon. Will be next year, if I get back to a 5 day week, and 2 holidays next year, but lets see how the health issues play out first. If not, Seattle is calling to me even louder, so if it comes to 1 slightly longer holiday, that will probably win out.
But yes, its my strong love for LA, which lets face it, is very loud, very bustling, especially Hollywood, that makes me wonder how I’d feel about NYC nowadays? I know I’ve changed since then. The whole becoming a woman matter has made me feel so much better about myself, made me more self confident, and probably livelier, that makes me think that I might now see NYC in a different light? Yes, the expensive nature of the city will make it hard for me to visit, but maybe at some point…?
No, it wont be this year. I will pass through the city on the way to JFK airport (which is where I flew out of, 30 years ago), but it will only be passing through, nothing more. And thats assuming I dont get driven to the airport, which I’m not expecting, but then again, I had to convince someone she wasnt driving to Cape Cod to pick me up, and I might still need to try and convince her again lol!
So yes, maybe at some point, I will go back to NYC, and see how I feel about it now. Hey, if I love Hollywood, I might love NYC now? But yes, even at 2 holidays a year, it will be a few years yet, as beyond the 2 mentioned for next year, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Minneapolis St Paul (probably in that order of preference) are all cities I want to go back to.
San Francisco for so many reasons, KC to see if I can find any more Harlow landmarks, and to see more of the city. MSP, no idea why, but I feel I want to go back, all the same. And thats all assuming I cant find where Clara Elaine Johnson was born in Oklahoma, and visit there! Texas, where she moved to LA from, I’ll see how they feel about transgender women by then, even if I do find out where in the state she lived. Mind, I might have had the op by then, so…lol?
But yes, in 30 years, the only place in NYC I’ve visited, is a couple of transits through JFK. Maybe someday, I should go back?
The video? Big clue in the blog title, how original!
Those who have been around a while, will know of the past life regression I did a few years back, and discovered I was a 20’s/30’s movie actress, though far, far less famous than Miss Harlow. Yes, that very modest actress, and dancer Clara E Johnson. Yes, for once I’m including that middle initial, because it may well hold a lot of significance.
No, I didnt find out that middle initial, or a few other details at the time of regression, but thankfully a chance to look at the census details for LA in 1930, managed to give me more than a few clues. So after that, I knew she was born in 1905, in Oklahoma, and came to LA in 1925, via Texas. Whether any more of her family travelled with her, no idea.
There are a couple of things that I didnt discover, one was her married name, so I have never been able to trace her last resting place. Nor have I managed to find out what the E stood for. Except, that maybe now…?
One of the Facebook groups included a number of women, who were part of the Goldwyn Girls dance troupe back then, and someone mentioned a list of the full troupe, who served over the years it existed. No, I didnt find a Clara Johnson there, before you ask. But what I did find, was an Elaine Johnson! Yes, that E! And guess what, typing that name into Google, bought up 4 pictures of the said Elaine Johnson. Oh fine, here’s a couple,
Cute, isnt she?
Fine, now the disclaimer, I have no literal evidence that this is my Miss Johnson, as it is possible there was another Johnson, with an E in her name, as a dancer, at the right time in history, but…for me, its a good enough match, thats my girl!
Agreed, I still have that annoying challenge of finding out her married name, and trying to trace her last resting place, but at least I now know how she ‘made a decent living’ as she quoted me, and what she looked like. So yes, to say thats a special moment for me, is putting it very mildly! No, Clara Elaine Johnson, until I find your last resting place, that search isnt finally over, but thats a massive step en route for me!
Video time came down to 2 choices. An old time dance number that might have had her in it, or the song given a massive clue in the blog title, and yes, its the latter. I’m sure if anyone had said Marc Almond, and Gene Pitney would work as a duo in the late 80’s, they’d have looked at you strangely. But yes, it worked brilliantly
So this is it, the last blog from LA for a considerable period of time at least, if ever again. I know, I could come back again, and may even need to come back again sooner than that, but being practical, I have many other places to see, some for the first time, some for repeat visits, so its going to be a while, if ever again. And yes, at my age, with the distance involved, and I’m sure the deterioration of my physical health, which is far from perfect even now, I’m sure I wont be able to do as much then, as I can now, anyway. I’m already suspecting that delights like walking up the long hill at Forest Lawn might be beyond me by then at least, but we will see.
To be fair, if you’d told me back in October ’15, that my next holiday would be back here, I would have laughed at you, but its happened. I guess I just wanted to show this city that I’d battled through everything that life had thrown at me, and got here again. But now thats done…?
In some ways today has been a light day, I havent actually left Hollywood. However, I spent a lot of the day on my feet, walking, so maybe not as light as all that? It was actually interesting going on a guided walking tour of Hollywood, where I knew the guide! I know, end of holiday, but in truth, it didnt matter, as I got to visit lots of old buildings that I’d never have got into myself. Oh fine, the one that amused me the most, has to be Musso and Frank’s! Yes, I finally got to go in there, if only for coffee, but at least I now know what it actually looks like from the inside. Of course, for works of fiction, thats a mere technicality, but at least I’ve made it there now. Yes, its every bit as impressive as I’d been led to believe. So if I ever want to use it in a story again lol…?
The other thing I’d already decided was where my last big meal in town would be, and though its not bargain basement, its cheaper than that legendary place. So I settled for the 50’s feel of Mels Diner, for one last time. After that, a couple of final, final goodbyes, at the star, and prints of Jean Harlow, before heading back to base. I do wish there was a star to the uncredited chorus girls/bit part actresses of the world, but no, there isnt, so I just said goodbye to Clara Johnson generally, as I turned off the Boulevard for the last time, on foot at least.
What can I say? You can take a woman out of Yorkshire, but you cant take Yorkshire out of a woman? Yes, I stopped off at a gorgeous, quirky, vintage clothing store on the way back, and saw the most gorgeous, silver flapper dress, really looked the part. Had my size too, but I didnt get it. Why? Because I cant justify spending $65 (plus tax, I’m sure) on a dress I have no idea when, or where I would ever wear it. So yes, I know I’ll regret it, but it stayed in the shop. I could get it in the morning (shop opens at 11, I have to be ready to go at 12.30, and its about 5 minutes walk), but I know I wont.
The only walk I’m planning at present to do in the morning, is a short trip around the block, so that I can walk a little way up Beachwood Drive, looking at the Hollywood sign, one more time. No, I’m not going as far as Verbena though, thats far too far for the short period of time I have left ‘in the sun’ of LA.
Yes, thats it for here. Pretty sure you’ll have to wait until Monday for the next blog, I’ll have too much catching up to do on Sunday for that.
The video. I’m surprised I havent used this Elaine Paige classic before, but seemingly I havent (well, on 1 blog at least), so lets use it now
Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…
As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.
After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.
No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.
So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.
Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.
Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?
After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!
Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…
Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!
In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.
I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?
In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.
There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.
Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!
The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…
I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!
The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.
So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.
The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.