The only snag with time travelling back to the 1930’s is if you get caught out time travelling. Its fine if I put on the Clara Johnson look, as no one is the wiser, but if I forget, or the camouflage vanishes, well…
So there I was, coolly back in 1933, walking past Warner’s studio, when I felt a hand on my shoulder, and a voice said, “Clara, so good to see you, we need you for a photo shoot right away. Just go put on a sexy dress, get down to the stills studio, and get it done.”
Well, given I didnt want her to get into trouble, what can I say, I went along with it. Short dress, showing lots of leg, enough to get the men excited, and all that. Up until yesterday, no concern, never seen recently, so I assumed it had got conveniently lost, until it hadnt!
OK, anyone who believed that story, you’re way too innocent, even if it looks like it was taken 85 years ago, lol. Actually, it was taken about 5 years ago, but you have to admit, it has the look of something far more vintage. This fact is down to the talent of a friend named Frank, nothing to do with time travel, or studio photo shoots at Warner’s in 1933. But yes, look at those legs, lol, all me!
I assume its all done with one of these modern computer filter things, to turn this
into my 1930’s self! I actually posted it for a Myrna Loy ‘homage’ photo contest, said jokingly that it should look more 1930’s, and lo and behold…
But fine, if you really want to think that the first picture is genuinely me, taken in 1933, and that the second one is a colourised version of it, then fine. But which is the true story, you decide! 😉
So, you might then be asking, what was Clara doing at Warner’s in 1933, in the first place? Well, unsurprisingly, it was for one of those magical Buzby Berkeley musical numbers. Clearly she was a competent swimmer, as she is in this, see if you can spot her? Easiest in the fountain section, but you do see her in the pool too. So…?
Alright, for those of my readers who havent a clue what I mean by that, lets do a brief history of movies. Back before the end of the 1920’s, all movies were silent, in a voice sense at least. Then, the much hyped at the time, Jazz Singer came along, and the movie world slowly transformed into a world of sound, and not silence. The early movies were quite wild for their time, though by modern standards, most would seem pretty tame,, but drinking, smoking, and costumes that barely covered anything were quite often the norm back then. One movie, the chorus girl outfit for some consisted of a long blonde wig, and that was it! Oh, and they were chained up at the time too! This is what was known as the pre code era. Then in 1934, though not totally acted on for another year or so, there was a clampdown on this wild stuff, called the Hays Code, which spoilt most of the fun! It actually took until the mid 60’s before the code started to loosen again, far too long.
Until yesterday, we had one remaining lady from that era in our lives, Mary Carlisle. Sadly, yesterday, at the amazing age of 104, she finally passed away. There is an interview with her on You Tube, done when she was 100, where she’s doing dance kicks, albeit supported by her chair. And yes, in terms of adult actors of the Pre Code era, she was the last! There are a couple still alive who are slightly older than her, but neither appeared in their first movie until well after the Pre Code era was over.
Every year from 1922 to 1934, there were a new set of ‘baby stars’ introduced, and in 1932, Mary was one of them, at the grand age of 18! She had in fact worked in the movies for a couple of years by then, but that was her breakout moment. Oh, of the others that year, some dancer type named Ginger Rodgers! Oh, and Gloria Stuart, the old lady at the end of Titanic! Some made it, some didnt, some had long lives, others didnt, but anyway… All gone now!
Mary was never a massive star, but she had a decent career that lasted until 1943, all the same. For a few years now, she’d been looked upon as the last link back to that wild movie era, but now even she’s gone. RIP, Mary, and thanks for the memories.
Oh, and lastly on the subject, 113 years ago today, in Montana, Myrna Loy was born! In the same year, 1 month, and 4 days after that, in Oklahoma, a certain Clara Johnson was born! Still, she’ll get her day, I’m sure, given this is the first year I’ve known her birthday, lol.
So, video time. A suitable title to sum up the pre code era? This, maybe? Warning, the song is dreadful, but just seemed apt!
Oh fine, I know, a lot of catching up to be done, so lets get things nicely up to date here.
The main event of note on Sunday was a trip along Sunset Boulevard, to a lovely bookshop serving the acting industry, for a series of short pieces written, and directed by women. No, before the men reading this start muttering about rabid feminists, a number of the actors reading were men! Though fine, one of the funniest was a spoof about make up just for lesbians, and if you werent one already, and you wore it, well, you might soon be one! Met up again with some delightful ladies I met just over 2 years ago, had a great time.
Due to some good news, I had to start changing plans on my days out, more on the news, probably in next blog. So I headed out to one of my favorite coastal places around here, Pacific Palisades. Its funny, I’d normally groan at the thought of nearly 90 minutes on a bus, without comfy seats, but for this route, especially the last part, I can make an exception. Had a nice stroll around, though I passed on walking down the canyon to the beach, because I knew I’d see the ocean again, plus you limit your bus options back, if you do that. But yes, I’m going to miss that place.
Known now as the day that if anything could go wrong, it would. A lovely man I know purchased me a nice seat for the Dodgers game that evening, snag was, I had to get the ticket printed off, and obviously my apartment doesnt have a printer, and I dont have a smart phone, so…I walked to a Fedex office in town, got on their internet, to grab the email, print off the ticket, and… Hotmail decided it was suspicious activity, and so wanted me to get a code sent to another email address. Fine, except that when I tried to get into that box, to get the code, it wouldnt let me in, and wanted to send a code to the other address it wouldnt let me into!
Fortunately, he’d sent a copy of it to my Facebook messenger page, assuming I could save it on my smart phone which I dont have, but I printed that off, and it got me into the game. Snag was, I didnt notice at the time, it didnt give all the details of my seat number! More on that later…
Finally, about an hour later than planned, I headed to Venice, the California one! You know, with the beach, and the muscles, and…a certain statue! Back in 1922, a shy(?) student named Myrna Williams posed for a statue that was to stand outside the high school. Oh, you might know her by her acting name, Myrna Loy! Unfortunately, with everything, I arrived in the school lunch hour, which made getting to her trickier that it might have been if the students had been in class. Anyway, having given my regards to her, I set off back to the bus stop, to get a bus to the beach, and waited…and waited…and waited. In the end, 2 buses more or less came along together!
After a stroll along the boardwalk, I set off to find the muscle, on the beach. Yes, it might be lively at weekends, but on a Tuesday afternoon, grand total of 3 guys doing their thing! Fine, it was something, but…I suspect a weekend visit is more, err, fruitful in that sense?
Given that I needed to get back at a reasonable hour to get to the Dodgers game, I set off to get home, which should have taken 90 minutes max! Actually took just over 2 hours. Not traffic mainly, just crazy passengers delaying things! Which meant I ended up leaving here late, hitting the crowds trying to get into the stadium, and then…
I normally sit up ‘in the Gods’ at baseball games. Yes, your view is limited, but the seats are cheap! And when you’re on a budget… Last night, I was down at field level, which is a long way down from the entry area at Dodgers stadium. No idea where I was going, took the wrong turn, got there eventually, though I missed the first half of the first innings, ah well…Yes, thats when I found out my ticket didnt actually give seat details. Anyway, at the second attempt, I found a seat no one else wanted, and watched most of the game.
Yes, one of those games that goes on forever, I left at the 11th innings mark, and headed for the buses back into town, to head home. Unfortunately, despite the bus being very full, the driver wasnt keen on leaving while the game was still going on. Eventually he did, before the Dodgers finally won, after 13 innings! Snag was, there were a lot of very drunk, very loud youngsters on the bus, screaming and shouting at regular intervals, but eventually we arrived at Union Station, and… There is meant to be a train at that time of night, every 20 minutes. 25 minutes after arriving on the platform, a train finally turned up! Given there were already people waiting, I would guess, at least 30 minutes, if not more, after the previous one.
I’ll save today, as this is far too long already! I need to thank Sarah for finding this apt video for me. Looks like Madonna was trying to portray a few golden age actresses, but warning, it is Madonna, and some of it might not be suitable for children, just saying…