Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Louise Brooks, world wide celebrity, in a kimono

Louise Brooks was a world wide celebrity. Here she is -- an American movie star dressed in a Japanese kimono, as depicted in a Spanish publication..


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Louise Brooks - The Fatal Woman type in 1953 British advert

Louise Brooks listed among "The Fatal Woman" types in this 1953 advertisement for the season of films at the British Film Institute. This inclusion in a film series, just eight years after the end of the second World War, shows that the actress was not forgotten -- and is incredibly early in the historical timeline of Brooks' rediscovery.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Louise Brooks, product placement, soap, and the 1931 film It Pays to Advertise #3

And here is another newspaper article about the 1931 Louise Brooks' film It Pays to Advertise and the controversy stirred up by the film's prolific use of product placement. The article is in two parts. It concludes (a bit ironically) on the newspaper's page featuring want ads.




Sunday, September 27, 2015

Louise Brooks, product placement, soap, and the 1931 film It Pays to Advertise #2

Yesterday's blog post discussed the 1931 Louise Brooks' film It Pays to Advertise and the controversy stirred up by the film's prolific product placement. The post also discussed the campaign against product placement initiated by Harrison's Reports, a motion picture industry trade journal. Reproduced below is one newspaper editorial about the issue, from an Oregon newspaper.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Louise Brooks, product placement, soap, and the 1931 film It Pays to Advertise #1

The 1931 film It Pays to Advertise is a farce about rival soap companies, an advertising agency, and a ne’er do-well playboy who attempts to make good. Louise Brooks plays Thelma Temple, a dancer appearing in a musical entitled Girlies Don’t Tell.

It Pays to Advertise was based on a popular stage play of the same name from 1914. Updated and set in the advertising and business worlds, the film referenced a number of actual products and their slogans. As a result, one trade journal took exception.

Harrison’s Reports, which billed itself “a reviewing service free from the influence of film advertising,” objected to product placement in film — be it verbal or visual. Over the course of four months (in articles titled “The Facts About Concealed Advertisements in Paramount Pictures,” “This Paper’s Further Efforts Against ‘Sponsored’ Screen Advertisements,” and “Other Papers That Have Joined the Harrison Crusade Against Unlabelled Screen Advertising”) editor P. S. Harrison railed against this business world farce in particular and product placement in films in general.

Harrison wrote, “The Paramount picture, It Pays to Advertise, is nothing but a billboard of immense size. I have not been able to count all of the nationally advertised articles that are spoken of by the characters.” In the next issue, Harrison stated “In last week’s issue the disclosure was made that in It Pays to Advertise there are more than fifteen advertisements in addition to the main advertisement, '13 Soap Unlucky for Dirt,' which Paramount is accused of having created as a brand for the purpose of selling it.”

Taking the high moral ground, Harrison’s Reports spurred a campaign against “sponsored moving pictures – meaning pictures which contain concealed or open advertising of some one’s product.” Harrison wrote to the studios – and Harrison’s Reports noted that a handful responded with pledges to not include verbal or visual product placement. The crusading editor also wrote to more than 2,000 newspapers, and a number published articles and editorials decrying the practice.

Among those papers that joined Harrison’s cause were four of the New York dailies, the Gannett chain, scores of small town papers, as well as the Denver Post, Detroit Free Press, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and Tulsa Tribune. The Christian Science Monitor added to the chorus of complaint when it remarked, “Paramount should have been well paid for the large slices of publicity for trade-marked products that are spread all through this artificial story.”

Because of tepid reviews and negative publicity, It Pays to Advertise did poorly at the box office. At best, most exhibitors reported only fair business. In Los Angeles, according to one report, the film “set a new low.”

And what of "13 Soap -- Unlucky for Dirt"? The name of this fictional brand originated with the original story. I don't know that such a brand actually existed at the time the 1931 film was released, but according to news reports from the time (and this could be ballyhoo -- see tomorrow's blog post), an offer of $250,000 was made to secure the trademark for "13 Soap -- Unlucky for Dirt".

Sometime in the last number of years, a company called LUSH manufactured a hand-made soap called "13 Soap -- Unlucky for Dirt". (Unfortunately, this product has since been discontinued.) According to the company's website, the soap was named for the fictitious product in the 1931 film, It Pays to Advertise, starring Carole Lombard, Norman Foster, Skeets Gallagher, and featuring Louise Brooks. Here is a picture of that product, followed by the company description.




Ingredients: Oregano and Rose Petal Infusion (Origanum vulgare and Rosa centifolia), Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil & Sunflower Oil & Coconut Oil (Brassica napus, Helianthus annuus, Cocos nucifera), Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Honey, Perfume, Sodum Hydroxide, Manuka Honey, Sodium Stearate, Oregano Oil (Origanum vulgare), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens), Sodium Chloride, Geraniol, *Limonene, Colour 18050.

Lush Times: Our beautiful rose and oregano soap gets its name from a 1931 Hollywood film about a soap company; the son advertised a soap that didn’t exist and demand was so high, the dad had to make it. Sounds like typical Lush, except for the advertising part. Sue from Chelmsford and Dawn from Cambridge had been asked by nurses for an oregano soap because they'd heard that oregano kills MRSA bacteria. (University of the West of England 2008.) This lovely soap has been like gold dust; we adore its translucent loveliness, its scent and its very effective cleansing properties.

Friday, September 25, 2015

It Pays to Advertise

Here is a full page relating to It Pays to Advertise, the 1914 play that became the 1931 film featuring Louise Brooks. Pages similar to this were run in newspapers in 1931, typically groups of smaller ads from local merchants which tied in with the local showing of the Frank Tuttle directed film.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

UFA Film nights in Brussels present Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks

Pandora's Box (1929) starring Louise Brooks will be shown in Brussels later today, Thursday September 24, 2015 @ 20h. The screening is part of the UFA nights series. Music to accompany the film will be provided by the Brussels Philharmonic. More information at http://bit.ly/UFApandorasbox

Brussels Philharmonic Christian Schumann director
Pandora's Box (1928/29) Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Music : Peer Raben, adapt. Frank Strobel

Pandora’s Box, G.W. Pabst’s controversial film which made actress Louise Brooks instantly world famous, transcends its time. The film tells the story of Dr. Schoen and his eventful affair with the sensuous Lulu, who, after she has shot him, takes to her heels towards London, where she will meet her fate in the hands of Jack the Ripper.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How did you first come across Louise Brooks?

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Louise Brooks Society is soliciting short essays from the actresses' many fans asking them to describe how and when they first came across Louise Brooks, and what the actress means to them. The length of the piece is up to the writer, with the only requirement being that it be detailed and individualized. Pieces that range from short anecdotes to full fledged compositions are welcome.

Selected submissions will be run here on the Louise Brooks Society blog, and the best piece (in the eyes of the LBS) will be awarded some Louise Brooks swag - like the forthcoming KINO Diary of a Lost Girl Blu-ray bundled together with a signed copy of the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press). The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015 with the prize awarded later that month (before Christmas).

Sharpen your pencils, start your engines. Send submissions to LouiseBrooksSociety@gmail.com

Monday, September 21, 2015

Can you find Louise Brooks?


Pick them out if you can.  That is, if you can find Louise Brooks.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Louise Brooks' Diary of a Lost Girl on Blu-ray one month from today

One month from today, KINO will release Diary of a Lost Girl on Blu-ray and DVD! Be sure and pre-order your copy today. Here are some details.


"The second and final collaboration of actress Louise Brooks and director G.W. Pabst (Pandora's Box), DIARY OF A LOST GIRL is a provocative adaptation of Margarethe Böhme's notorious novel, in which the naive daughter of a middle class pharmacist is seduced by her father's assistant, only to be disowned and sent to a repressive home for wayward girls. She escapes, searches for her child, and ends up in a high-class brothel, only to turn the tables on the society which had abused her. It's another tour-de-force performance by Brooks, whom silent film historian Kevin Brownlow calls an 'actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history'."

Special Features: Mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements, and digitally restored; Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, Director, Louise Brooks Society; includes the short Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931, 18 Min., featuring Louise Brooks).
  • Actors: Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp, Valeska Gert
  • Directors: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
  • Run Time: 112 minutes

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Louise Brooks Society celebrates 20 years on the web #2

This Fall, the Louise Brooks Society celebrates 20 years on the web. Launched in 1995, the LBS was a pioneer among silent film websites, and it remains today the #1 source for all things Lulu. Here are a few links to some of the many articles about and mentioning the LBS.

Meddis, Sam Vincent. “Net: New and notable.” USA Today, May 23, 1996.
— “Silent-film buffs can get a taste of how a fan club from yesteryear plays on the Web. The Louise Brooks Society site includes interview, trivia and photos. It also draws an international audience.”

Roberson, Fontaine. “Flapper Has ‘Virtual’ Fan Club in Noe Valley.” Noe Valley Voice, September, 1997.
— article in San Francisco, California monthly

Silberman, Steve. “Fan Site Sparks Biopic.” Wired, April 10, 1998.
— article on Wired magazine website (additionally referenced online by Roger Ebert)


O’Connell, Pamela Licalzi. “Dreaming Celebrities and the Earth’s Eye Candy.” New York Times, August 29, 2002.
— “The Louise Brooks Society (www.pandorasbox.com) is an excellent homage to the art of the silent film as well as one of its most luminous stars.” – mention in New York newspaper

Dufour, Nicolas. “Louise Brooks, l’adoration perpétuelle.” Le Temps, December 23, 2004.
— referenced in French newspaper

Caloudas, Constantine. “Louise Bobs Her Hair.” Washington City Paper, July 22, 2005.
— referenced in Washington, D.C. weekly

Maltin, Leonard. “Links We Like: Louise Brooks Society.” Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy, August 1, 2005.
— “Not many sites of any kind can claim to be celebrating a tenth anniversary online, but that’s true of the Louise Brooks Society, devoted to the life and times of the magnetic silent-film star and latter-day memoirist. Thomas Gladysz has assembled a formidable amount of material on the actress and her era; there’s not only a lot to read and enjoy, but there’s a gift shop and even a ‘Radio Lulu’ function that allows you to listen to music of the 1920s. Wow!”


Matheson, Whitney. “Happy birthday, Louise!USA Today, November 14, 2006.
— “My favorite Louise Brooks site belongs to the Louise Brooks Society, a devoted group of fans that even keeps a blog. There, you can find just about everything about the actress: articles, filmography, photos, links and more.”

SiouxWire. “Interview: THOMAS GLADYSZ, founder of the LOUISE BROOKS Society.” SiouxWire, April 5, 2007.
— interview on website

Blackburn, Gavin. “Forgotten book by Margarete Boehme to be revived in US.” Deutsche Welle, November 3, 2010.
— mention in article on English-language German news site

K., A. “Stoletni dnevnik prostitutke, oče avtobiografskih izmišljotin?RTV Slovenia, November 4, 2010.
— mention in article on Slovenian news site

LaSalle, Mick. “Diary of a Lost Girl to be screened at main library.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2010.
— referenced in California newspaper

Rombeck, Terry. “A cut above: Local author’s novel generates national buzz.” Lawrence News-Tribune, June 10, 2012.
— referenced in Kansas newspaper

Toole, Michael T. “Reopening Pandora’s Box in San Francisco.” Film International, August 22, 2012.
— interview in film journal


Smurthwaite, Nick. “The Archive: Louise Brooks – something of an enigma.” The Stage, September 1, 2015.
— “One of the most luminous stars of the silent era, Louise Brooks has been all but erased from cinema history. Only a handful of movie buffs keep her memory alive, mostly through the 20-year-old Louise Brooks Society, whose aim is to honour the charismatic actor and stimulate interest in her life and work.” – mentioned in UK theater publication


To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Louise Brooks Society is soliciting short essays from the actresses' many fans asking them to describe how and when they first came across Louise Brooks, and what the actress means to them. The length of the piece is up to the writer, with the only requirement being that it be detailed and individualized. Pieces that range from short anecdotes to full fledged compositions are welcome.

Selected submissions will be run here on the Louise Brooks Society blog, and the best piece (in the eyes of the LBS) will be awarded some Louise Brooks swag - like the just released KINO Diary of a Lost Girl Blu-ray bundled together with a signed copy of the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press). The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015 with the prize awarded later that month (before Christmas). Send submissions to LouiseBrooksSociety@gmail.com

Friday, September 18, 2015

Excerpt from the Louise Brooks inspired Roaring Road novels by Johann M.C. Laesecke

What follows is a brief excerpt from chapter 26 of the Louise Brooks-inspired novel The Roaring Road: Book 2 The Road East. According to author Johann M.C. Laesecke, "There are things not evident in this excerpt, including a description of how Louise transfers the derringer to Laure. Too much of a spoiler. But the excerpt is a good example of one of Louise's actions in The Roaring Road."

For more on this work of historical fiction, check out the interview with the author on the Louise Brooks Society blog from September 8th.

------ 

“Who do we have watching the Crawford Theater tonight in case any of Pádraigh or any of his people show up?”

“We have not assigned that. Although it’s unlikely they show, we should have someone there who can think fast and call for backup. Someone that Laure, Frank and Buster would recognize, but who is not known to Pádraigh” Dawn said.

“I’ll watch the Crawford” and we all turned in surprise to Louise Brooks. She was in the meeting because she wanted to make sure we would get Buster out soon.

Bill said “Everyone would recognize you Louise, even some of Pádraigh’s gunmen.”

“And what if they do? You guys haven’t let me outside except when I go in disguise. And they don’t know I’m with you guys. My father moved us to Wichita and I went to high school here. I’m well known in Wichita so tonight I can play Louise Brooks, lost little girl from Kansas, an ex-Denishawn, ex-George White’s Scandals and ex-Ziegfeld Follies dancer and now one of Paramount’s new Junior Stars. I danced at the Crawford Theater when I was with Denishawn so it would be natural for me to attend their performance. I can move about the place and no one would be suspicious. I know all the back rooms and hallways and even the basement hidey-hole. It was put there by one of the builders who was also a rumrunner. Montgomery County was dry a long time before Prohibition and I dated guys who knew how to move contraband here.”

“I would like to see the latest Denishawn players and dance routines and the Pádraigh guys probably won’t show up, but if they do I can sneak out to the drugstore around the corner where they have public telephone booths and call you. The best case would be if Buster or Laure or Frank show up so I could pass a message or something.” Louise looked at me and I could tell she was serious. While she was not an experienced operative she was very smart, not a coward, could think on her toes and she was a natural actress. After a short discussion everyone agreed and I asked Louise if she would agree to try to pass Laure’s derringer to her if she was there. It would be dangerous and have to be done with the utmost subtlety so when she agreed I told her to talk to Dawn and Meghan before she went to the Crawford Theater.

After the meeting Louise stopped by to see Dawn and Meghan, who gave Louise a small cloth bag. It was heavy, as if it had a metal object in it. “It’s a derringer, a very small handgun that Laure requested.”

“I’ve shot guns and I know what a derringer is. How do I give it to Laure?” asked Louise.

“There’s no way to plan that because we don’t know if she is really going to be there and how many men will be watching her if she is. You must get it to her without anyone knowing, without any suspicion. If nothing else, try to give it to Buster or Frank. If they are there but if it doesn’t look possible to transfer the gun, call Meghan at this telephone number. Memorize the telephone number so if you’re caught they won’t find it on you. If you call Meghan, just say something like ‘I forgot to feed the dog, can you do it?’ and Meghan will be there as quick as she can. And don’t feel bad about asking for help – even the best and most seasoned operators know that calling for backup is better than forcing the issue and getting caught or blowing the game. When Meghan arrives she will assess the situation. One of the things she might do would be to create a diversion to draw everyone’s attention away from you, to give you a chance to pass the gun to Laure.”

“Is Laure going to shoot the gangster?” Louise asked.

“She will if the opportunity presents itself. She is very courageous and resourceful” said Dawn.

“Like her sister?” Louise asked with a beautiful, rare smile.

“Yes, just like her sister. You OK with this? You don’t have to do this, you know. It’s not your business and it could turn dangerous” said Dawn.

“I’m OK doing this. I love Dan and Laure, they are so wonderful together and they treat me like a loved sister instead of a dumb bunny like some others do. I’ve made a mess of their relationship so maybe I’m feeling a little bit guilty. If Laure is being held against her will I want to help get her out. I also need to get Buster out for my own carnal needs. Since I can be expected to know my way around the theater and talk to lots of people, I will blend into the audience.”

Dawn said “Thank you Louise. You have a good heart. If you call Meghan, I will be somewhere in the background too and I’ll watch for you if there’s any trouble.”

“Me? Have a good heart? Don’t let that get around. I have to keep up my reputation for enraging people” Louise said. Dawn laughed. She was beginning to like Louise.

Laure wanted to be at the theater early to get good seats but Buster called ahead and talked to the theater manager and requested three seats together be held for an important person who would arrive just a few minutes before the show started. The manager reluctantly agreed when Buster promised to pass something along when they shook hands.

They arrived at the theater four minutes before show time and Buster sought out the manager, shook hands with him and the manager found a sawbuck in his hand. The manager was disappointed because the usual tip for these seats was twenty bucks each. Frank, Laure and Buster were seated just six rows back and near the middle of the row, a perfect sight line for the show. Frank and Laure had become very good at talking to each other without moving their lips much and he told Laure that he was sure someone from Dan’s crew would be here too, but not to acknowledge anyone, which could jeopardize any transfer of materials or messages. Frank knew Laure was hoping to get her derringer. Frank told Laure who then passed it on to Buster that he had spotted Tony in the audience a few rows back and that there might be others that he had not seen, so they had to be extra careful. Frank and Buster would have to act like tough bodyguards if she talked to anyone in the theater.

The show began with a short vaudeville act that wasn’t very funny or interesting. Laure wished that W.C. Fields was there. Now he was a man who got the audience to laugh. The dance show began on time and although Laure only knew ballroom and jazz dancing, she thought the Denishawn Dancers were very elegant and graceful, with each dance telling a story. She could see why Louise had enjoyed dancing with Denishawn, even if they did throw her out for being too bold when it came to her relationships with men. At intermission time the lights were turned up and Laure wanted to get up and move around but Frank pushed her back down, a little roughly Laure thought, but then she remembered that the ugly thug Tony was watching.

Seemingly from out of nowhere Louise Brooks came rushing down the row of seats and pulled Laure up from her seat to hug her. She had moved quickly and no one had seen her coming, not even Tony, who stood up and put his hand inside his coat and rested it on his gun. Tony noticed Frank did the same and Buster took Louise by the shoulders and moved her away roughly. Louise had only been able to hug Laure and her hands were visible and empty the entire time so she could not have given anything to Laure. Buster took Louise by the arm and moved her down the row toward the aisle. When they reached the end of the row, Louise turned and slapped Buster’s face hard, then again. She loudly told him to keep his hands off her or she would call her friends in the police department and have him arrested.

Louise turned with an arrogant flounce and stormed her way to the exit. Tony saw the entire incident and did not see how Louise could have given anything to Laure. His only concern was that Laure should be frisked to make sure. From the rear of the auditorium, Dawn had observed everything. She was a Pinkerton-trained observer and saw what Tony did not see, that Laure had received the derringer. Louise had played her part perfectly. But then, Dawn thought, Louise was one of the best movie actresses in the business, she could hardly have done any less. Dawn spotted Tony watching and went to the drugstore’s public telephone to call Meghan and tell her what disguises she should bring for each of them. There was now another part for them to play.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 18th (that's tomorrow) special London Silent Film Meetup to see new Louise Brooks-inspired play

On Friday, September 18th (that's tomorrow), there is a special London Silent Film Meetup to see the new Louise Brooks-inspired play American Venus. The meet-up will take place at the 6 Frederick's Place, off the Old Jewry, London EC2R 8AB, London (map). More about the "Meetup" meetup organized by Amran V. can be found HERE.

More about the new play can be found on the September 2nd Louise Brooks Society blog entry HERE. How can you resist?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another new Lulu production

If you are near the Oper Halle (Saale), Germany on December 4, 2015 you might want to check out the premiere of Lulu, a ballet enacted by Jochen Ulrich & the Tanzfonds Erbe, based on Frank  Wedekind's Büchse der Pandora and Erdgeist.

There are performances on Dec. 30th 2015; Jan. 23rd & 31st, Feb. 26th, March 4th and June 25th 2016. For more information see http://buehnen-halle.de/lulu


Gefördert von TANZFONDS ERBE – eine Initiative der Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Mit der Premiere des Balletts »Lulu« des 2012 verstorbenen Choreografen Jochen Ulrich, einem der entscheidendsten Wegbereiter des Modernen Tanzes in Deutschland, knüpft das Ballett Rossa an die erfolgreiche Vertanzung von dessen »Anna Karenina« an. Auch bei diesem Handlungsballett nach der gesellschaftskritischen Doppeltragödie »Erdgeist« und »Die Büchse der Pandora« des deutschen Schriftstellers und Dramatikers Frank Wedekind steht eine der faszinierendsten Frauenfiguren der Weltliteratur im Mittelpunkt. Als musikalische Grundlage dienen Kompositionen des Italieners Nino Rota zu den zwischen 1952 und 1970 entstandenen Filmen »Rocco und seine Brüder« und »Der Leopard« von Visconti sowie »Der weiße Scheich«, »La Strada«, »8 ½« und »Die Clowns« von Fellini, die sowohl groteske als auch dekadent neo-roman- tische Züge tragen. Hierzu erzählt Jochen Ulrich seine »Lulu« mit seinem unverwechselbaren ausdrucksstarken Tanzstil als Geschichte einer selbstbewusst mit ihrer erotischen Anziehungskraft spielenden Frau aus einfachsten Verhältnissen. Alle Männer, die ihr begegnen, erliegen ihren Verführungs- künsten. Indem Lulu deren Fantasien befriedigt, bringt sie ihre Liebhaber um den Verstand und treibt sie in den Tod. Auf der Flucht vor der Polizei landet sie in London, wo sie sich – inzwischen selbst emotional ausgebeutet – im finstersten Milieu prostituiert und die Begegnung mit dem Freier Jack the Ripper tragisch endet.

Musikalische Leitung Hilary Griffiths

Musikalische Leitung Robbert van Steijn

Inszenierung und Choreografie Jochen Ulrich †

Inszenierung und Choroegrafie Darie Cardyn

Bühne Katrin Kegler-Fritsch

Kostüme Marie-Therese Cramer

Dramaturgie Manfred Weber

Dr. Schön Michal Sedláček

Eduard Schwarz Johan Plaitano

Lulu Yuliya Gerbyna

Dr. Goll Martin Zanotti

Schigolch Dalier Burchanow

Ballett Rossa

Statisterie der Oper Halle

Staatskapelle Halle

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Seeking your Louise Brooks story of discovery


To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Louise Brooks Society is soliciting short essays from the actresses' many fans asking them to describe how and when they first came across Louise Brooks, and what the actress means to them. The length of the piece is up to the writer, with the only requirement being that it be detailed and individualized. Pieces that range from short anecdotes to full fledged compositions are welcome.

Selected submissions will be run here on the Louise Brooks Society blog, and the best piece (in the eyes of the LBS) will be awarded some Louise Brooks swag - like the forthcoming KINO Diary of a Lost Girl Blu-ray bundled together with a signed copy of the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press). The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015 with the prize awarded later that month (before Christmas).

Sharpen your pencils, start your engines. Send submissions to LouiseBrooksSociety@gmail.com


Monday, September 14, 2015

New book - Sally Phipps: Silent Film Star

There is a new book out that silent film fans will want to know about. It's Sally Phipps: Silent Film Star by Robert L. Harned. It is a self-published work, issued under the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform imprint (Amazon). Don't let the fact that it is self-published stop you from checking out this book. It is a worthwhile subject, and a labor of love. I purchased a copy recently, and liked it.

Here is the publisher description: "Sally Phipps was only three years old and the veteran winner of several beautiful baby contests when she appeared as the Baby in the film Broncho Billy And The Baby. It was made at the Niles California Essanay Studio in late 1914. This book follows her amazing life and a career that culminated in her receiving the Rosemary (for remembrance) Award shortly before her death in 1978. Her memories of the early years at Essanay include sitting on Charlie Chaplin’s lap and enduring a frightening stage coach accident. In her teens, she was a Fox Studio star appearing in 20 films, including a cameo in the classic Sunrise. There were bad times also. She was on the set of her Fox two-reel comedy Gentlemen Preferred Scotch in 1927 when word reached her of the scandalous death of her father, a state senator. But in that same year, she was selected as one of the 13 Wampas Baby Stars, starlets that were considered destined for future success. Despite her popularity in Hollywood, she left for New York where she became the darling of gossip columnists, particularly Walter Winchell. She appeared in two Broadway shows, made a Vitaphone comedy short, and married and divorced one of the Gimbel department store moguls before she darted off for India and around the world travel. Back in New York, there was another marriage, two children, and later a stay in Hawaii. Earl Wilson wrote about her in 1938 when she was working for the Federal Theatre Project during the WPA period -- headlining his column “Wampas Ex-Baby Lives On WPA $23 – And Likes It.” Her images – especially her pinup photographs – have become highly collectible. The book features 150 pictures from Sally’s personal and professional life, including glamorous portraits and pinups."


Robert L. Harned was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a professional research librarian and has worked at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and in several universities and law firms in New York City. He now resides in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, with his partner, food journalist, cookbook author, and broadcaster Arthur Schwartz. Robert’s interests are film history, Greek and Roman archaeology, and singing. He has recorded four CD albums. And is also the son of Sally Phipps.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

William Wellman blogathon: Nominate Beggars of Life for the 2016 National Film Registry

The Library of Congress is now soliciting nominees for their 2016 National Film Registry list. Please take a moment to nominate the William Wellman-directed Beggars of Life (1928). It is a fine film, very American, and stars the one and only Louise Brooks.

Learn more about “Beggars of Life” by reading this excerpt from 100 Silent Films by Bryony Dixon (British Film Institute, 2011). Or, check out this essay by Laura Horak from the 2007 San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

You can nominate as many films as you like. More information can be found HERE. It is easy to do. Just send a simple email with your nominees (reasons optional) to filmregistry@loc.gov

Your voice is important! Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The National Film Registry historically has included only those films that were produced or co-produced by an American film company, typically for theatrical release or recognized as a film through film festivals or film awards. If in doubt, check the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for country of origin. Registry criteria does not specifically prohibit television programs, commercials, music videos or foreign productions, however, the original intent of the legislation that established the Registry was to safeguard U.S. films. Consequently the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress give first consideration to American motion pictures.


Looking for ideas on possible films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. This link will take you to the complete list of films currently on the Registry.

For consideration, please forward your recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to: filmregistry@loc.gov. Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. Listing your nominations in alphabetical order is very much appreciated, too. There’s no need to include descriptions or justifications for your nominations unless they’re films that have not been distributed widely or otherwise made available to the public. For example, if a film is listed in the Internet Movie Database or the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, no further information beyond title and date of release is necessary. Lastly, please tell us how you learned of the Registry.
Email is preferred; however, to submit via regular mail, send your nominations to:

National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Saturday, September 12, 2015

William Wellman blogathon: The sounds of silents, Beggars of Life

William Wellman's 1928 film, Beggars of Life, is considered Paramount's first sound film. Though shot as a silent (and released to some markets in that format), a synchronized musical score, sound effects, a few lines of dialogue, and a song sung by Wallace Berry were added to prints of the film --  against the director's wishes.


The film stars Beery as Oklahoma Red, Louise Brooks as The Girl (Nancy), and Richard Arlen as The Boy (Jim). Beggars of Life was named one of the six best films for October by the Chicago Tribune; it also made the honor roll for best films of the year in an annual poll conducted by Film Daily. Musical Courier called Beggars of Life ” . . . one of the most entertaining films of the littered season.” And Photoplay thought it “good entertainment.”

Beggars of Life was well regarded, as was Wellman's earlier effort, Wings. On the basis of those two films, Film Daily named Wellman one of the world's best directors for the year's 1928-1929. Each was adapted for sound, as the rare newspaper advertisement below indicates. The two films were showing in Buffalo, New York at the same time.



Though the sound elements for the film are lost, newspaper articles and advertisements of the time tell us a little about the nature of Beggars of Life. Commenting on its New York City premiere, Women's Wear Daily noted "All of these stars outdo themselves in this picture. Wallace Beery talks in this picture, sings a hobo song and ends with an observation about jungle rats in general." The New Yorker commented on "the synchronized accompaniment of sentimental music."

Elsewhere, the New Orleans Item observed, "Vitaphone helps the story along with music that is fitting and well arranged. The 'Hallelujah I'm a Bum' rhythm helps the story's speed." Peggy Patton of the Wisconsin News wrote "Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen (also playing in Wings) and Louise Brooks play the featured roles. All do praiseworthy work. By the way it is a sound picture and Wallace Beery speaks a few lines and sings a song. His speaking voice is splendid." Frank Aston of the Cincinnati Post penned, "The direction is admirable. Vitaphonic sounds lend some extra force. Beery is heard singing." The San Diego Union added, "Accompanied by a synchronized musical score of more than average excellence, the picture provides an hour and a half of film entertainment radically out of line with the general run of cinema drama. It is pungent, powerful, appealing, masterfully directed and superbly acted."



Advertisements for the film proclaimed something along the lines of “Come hear Wallace Beery sing!” But what that song was is uncertain. Reliable sources, including the director's son, site one of two similar titles, “Hark the Bells” or “Don’t You Hear Them Bells?” While at least two newspaper advertisements for the film, including the NYC one above, mention the songs "I Wonder Where She Sits at Night" and "Beggars of Life."

At the time of the film's release, a few recordings of the J. Keirn Brennan and Karl Hajos song “Beggars of Life” were released. The label on some of those 78 rpm recordings describe it as the “Theme Song of the Motion Picture production.” One was by The Troubadours (with male quartet), another by Scrappy Lambert. Here is the Troubadours' recording. It was issued as Victor 21683-B in 1928.


The lyrics to "Beggars of Life" go this way:

"Beggars of life, beggars of life;
Gypsy hearts that are sighing
For skies of blue, sunlight and dew,
Out where swallows are flying.
Each one longing to be led
To a happy homestead,
Where love will cry,
'Don't pass me by!'
Beggars of life, come home!"

Below is the Scrappy Lambert recording. Lambert (1901 – 1987) was an American dance band vocalist who appeared on hundreds of recordings from the 1920s through the 1940s. Might his or The Troubadours recording have been appended to the film, the so-called "sentimental music" referenced by the New Yorker?


There was also a cylinder recording of "Beggars of Life" released at the time. A copy of this  recording, housed in a rectangular box and with a paper label, is in the archive of the Louise Brooks Society. However, it being a cylinder recording, the LBS doesn't have a way to play and record it.
To conclude, here is more vintage recording, a cover version on 78 rpm, dating from 1928. It is the Bar Harbor Society Orchestra featuring vocals by Irving Kaufman.


While discussing the use of sound in Beggars of Life, it's worth mentioning that it was during the making of this transitional film that the "boom mic" was perhaps first used. According to David O. Selznick, "I was also present on the stage when a microphone was moved for the first time by Wellman, believe it or not. Sound was relatively new [this was Beggars of Life, 1928] and at that time the sound engineer insisted that the microphone be steady. Wellman, who had quite a temper in those days, got very angry, took the microphone himself, hung it on a boom, gave orders to record--and moved it." In the annals of film history, others have been credited with moving a microphone during the production of a film. Selznick's anecdote, which comes from Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By, is one account.

Friday, September 11, 2015

William Wellman blogathon: William Everson on Beggars of Life

In yesterday blog post, it was mentioned that the George Eastman House optically enlarged its 16mm print of Beggars of Life (which once belonging to William Everson) to 35mm. As part of the William Wellman blogathon, the Louise Brooks Society presents William K. Everson's thoughts on the 1928 Wellman film, starring Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen and Louise Brooks. These notes date from May 31, 1966.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

William Wellman blogathon: An appreciation of Beggars of Life


William Wellman (far left) and Wallace Beery (far right) during the making of Beggars of Life (1928)
Directed by William Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win an Academy Award), Beggars of Life (1928) is a gripping drama about a girl (Louise Brooks) dressed as a boy who flees the law after killing her abusive stepfather. On the run, she rides the rails through a male dominated hobo underworld in which danger is close at hand. Picture Play magazine described the film as "Sordid, grim and unpleasant," adding, "it is nevertheless interesting and is certainly a departure from the usual movie."

Beggars of Life is based on the 1924 novelistic memoir of the same name by Jim Tully, a once celebrated "hobo author" whose own reputation is also on the rise. Kent State University Press in Kent, Ohio (Tully's one-time hometown) has in recent years reissued the author's books, including Beggars of Life -- his best remembered work. They have also recently published an excellent biography of the author called Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler.

Author Jim Tully and actors Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen, during the making of Beggars of Life.



Though shot as a silent and released in that format, Beggars of Life also has the distinction of being considered Paramount's first sound film: a synchronized musical score, sound effects, and a song were added (against the director's wishes) at the time of its release. Early advertisements for the 1928 film boasted "Come hear Wallace Beery sing!" The gravel-voiced character actor and future Oscar winner plays Oklahoma Red, a tough hobo with a soft heart. Richard Arlen, who the year before had starred in Wings, plays a vagabond and Brooks' romantic interest.

Beggars of Life is a film about the desperate and the downtrodden. And in some ways, it anticipates films made during the Depression, which was just a few years off. Among them is Wellman's own 1933 effort Wild Boys of the Road, whose premise echoes that of Beggars of Life.

In 1928, Beggars of Life was named one of the six best films for October by the Chicago Tribune, and, it made the honor roll for best films of the year in an annual poll conducted by Film Daily. (On the basis of Beggars of Life and Wings, Film Daily named Wellman one of the world's best directors for the year's 1928-1929.) Musical Courier called Beggars of Life " . . . one of the most entertaining films of the littered season.” Photoplay thought it "good entertainment." Nevertheless, it is not especially well known today, and its grim story set among tramps drew mixed reviews upon release. One Baltimore newspaper said it would have limited appeal, quipping, "Tully tale not a flapper fetcher for the daytime trade."

Louella Parsons, writing in the Los Angeles Examiner, echoed the sentiment when she stated, "I was a little disappointed in Louise Brooks. She is so much more the modern flapper type, the Ziegfeld Follies girl, who wears clothes and is always gay and flippant. This girl is somber, worried to distraction and in no comedy mood. Miss Brooks is infinitely better when she has her lighter moments." Her cross-town colleague, Harrison Carroll, added to the drumbeat of disdain when he wrote in the Los Angeles Evening Herald, "Considered from a moral standpoint, Beggars of Life is questionable, for it throws the glamour of adventure over tramp life and is occupied with building sympathy for an escaping murderess. As entertainment, however, it has tenseness and rugged earthy humor."



Critics in New York were also divided on the merits of Beggars of Life, and many of them instead focused on Brooks' unconventional, cross-dressing role. In the New York Times, Mordaunt Hall noted, "Louise Brooks figures as Nancy. She is seen for the greater part of this subject in male attire, having decided to wear these clothes to avoid being apprehended. Miss Brooks really acts well, better than she has in most of her other pictures."

The New York Morning Telegraph stated, "Louise Brooks, in a complete departure from the pert flapper that it has been her wont to portray, here definitely places herself on the map as a fine actress. Her characterizations, drawn with the utmost simplicity, is genuinely affecting." While Quinn Martin of the New York World wrote, "Here we have Louise Brooks, that handsome brunette, playing the part of a fugitive from justice, and playing as if she meant it, and with a certain impressive authority and manner. This is the best acting this remarkable young woman has done."

Also getting attention for their role in Beggars of Life was Edgar “Blue” Washington, who played Black Mose. Washington (1898 – 1970) was a prizefighter and noted semi-pro baseball player before entering films in the late Teens. He was a pioneer among African-American actor, and was given the nickname “Blue” by friend Frank Capra. Washington’s career was of interest to the Negro press. The Afro-American newspaper wrote, “In Beggars of Life, Edgar Blue Washington, race star, was signed by Paramount for what is regarded as the most important Negro screen role of the year, that of Big Mose. The part is that of a sympathetic character, hardly less important to the epic of tramp life than those of Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen, who head the cast.”

Girls dressed as boys, pastoral life gone wrong, the mingling of the races, desperation depicted among the glitz and glamour of the twenties -- there is a lot of friction in Beggars of Life. It's a more than worthwhile film and one well worth watching.

Until a few years ago, when the George Eastman House optically enlarged its 16mm print (once belonging to William Everson) to 35mm, Beggars of Life had been seldom screened and seldom seen. That will change next year.

Wellman was one of the great directors -- and he made a lot of great movies; among them Wings (1927), The Public Enemy (1931), A Star is Born (1937), Beau Geste (1939), Roxie Hart (1942), The Ox Bow Incident (1943), and Battleground (1949).

Actor and author William Wellman Jr., who has recently completed a biography of his father titled Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, told the Louise Brooks Society, "Beggars of Life was one of my Father's favorite silent films. He loved it. He talked about it a great deal with appreciation and GUSTO."

Please nominate the the 1928 film BEGGARS OF LIFE to the 2016 National Film Registry. It's easy. All you have to do is send an email to filmregistry@loc.gov

Oh, and don't forget to nominate the 1928 film BEGGARS OF LIFE to the 2016 National Film Registry. All you have to do is send an email to filmregistry@loc.gov

Really. If you haven't already, please nominate the the 1928 film BEGGARS OF LIFE to the 2016 National Film Registry. It's easy. All you have to do is send an email to filmregistry@loc.gov

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

William Wellman blogathon starts tomorrow

The William Wellman blogathon starts tomorrow. Hosted by Now Voyaging, the blogathon runs September 10-13, and will feature nearly four dozen blogs from across the web covering many of the director's best known silent and sound films.

The Louise Brooks Society is participating, and will cover Wellman's Beggars of Life (1928), starring Louise Brooks. We'll be posting some amazing and little know material on this singular Louise Brooks film. See you tomorrow. . . .

William Augustus Wellman (February 29, 1896 – December 9, 1975) was an American film director. Although he began his film career as an actor, he went on to work on over 80 films, mostly as as director, and sometimes as a producer, screenwriter, and consultant.

His ouevre is notable for his work in crime, adventure and war films, with a handful focusing on aviation themes. He also directed several well-regarded satirical comedies.

Wellman directed the 1927 film Wings, which became the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony. His other best regarded silent film is Beggars of Life (1928).

Wellman's notable films include The Public Enemy (1931), Night Nurse (1931), the first version of A Star Is Born (1937) which he also wrote, Nothing Sacred (1937), the 1939 version of Beau Geste starring Gary Cooper, Roxie Hart (1942), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Lady of Burlesque (1943), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), The Iron Curtain (1948), Battleground (1949) and two films starring and co-produced by John Wayne, Island in the Sky (1953) and The High and the Mighty (1954).

Wellman managed to elicit Oscar-nominated performances from seven different actors: Fredric March and Janet Gaynor (A Star Is Born), Brian Donlevy (Beau Geste), Robert Mitchum (The Story of G.I. Joe), James Whitmore (Battleground), and Jan Sterling and Claire Trevor (The High and Mighty).

In his career, however, Wellman won only a single Academy Award, for the story of A Star Is Born. He was nominated as best director three times, for A Star Is Born, Battleground and The High and Mighty, for which he was also nominated by the Directors Guild of America as best director. In 1973, the DGA honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Wellman also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Wellman is the subject of an outstanding biography, William Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, authored by his son, William Wellman Jr. The LBS has read it and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Please nominate the the 1928 film BEGGARS OF LIFE to the 2016 National Film Registry. It's easy. All you have to do is send an email to filmregistry@loc.gov     Read more about William Wellman on his Wikipedia page or IMDb page.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Q & A with Johann M.C. Laesecke, author of the Louise Brooks inspired Roaring Road novels


Recently, author Johann M.C. Laesecke agreed to answer a few questions about The Roaring Road: Book 1 The Road West and The Roaring Road: Book 2 The Road East, two new works of Louise Brooks-inspired historical fiction. This blog post is a follow up to yesterday post about the books themselves.

Louise Brooks is a character in your two novels. What inspired you to write about her?

I will admit to falling a little bit in love with Louise. As I searched for a Hollywood star who could also serve as someone who stirred things up, there was Louise and within a few minutes I knew she was the one that could certainly stir things up. Her character was so perfect it seemed she had lived just to be in movies and in books that other authors and myself have written. I already had plenty of bad people, I wanted a person on Dan and Laure’s side to create mayhem in their favor. Learning about Louise confirmed that she lived the lifestyle to do just what I needed for the story. These were interesting scenes to write.

As a fiction writer, were there specific incidents in Brooks' life that attracted you? Or was your inspiration found in Brooks' personality?

Her personality was the main hook. What made her interesting to write about is that she was interesting. I didn’t have to make up stuff. She wasn’t afraid to go places and do things. Louise went back and forth across the country on the railroads and I make reference to a Pullman porter who watches out for her on his train because she treats him with respect. I have no basis for that assumption except my feeling that as an intelligent and well-traveled woman, loyal and generous to her friends, she would recognize those who worked hard for their living. She might have had fights with Eddie Sutherland and later on George Marshall, but those were different kinds of relationships.
However I would be remiss if I did not admit that her beauty was a factor. When Dan meets Louise he becomes muddle-headed and somehow fails to introduce her to Laure. Billie Dove later tells them that “Louise has that effect on men, and many women too.” It happens to me every time someone posts a new photo of Brooksie on the LBS Facebook page.

You've mentioned trying to be true to Brooks' voice. Was that a challenge?

My guideline in writing historical fiction was to stay true to events, places and characters as much as possible. In truth, there are a small number of inconsistencies and they will be disclosed on the website along with more information including maps, sources for more information and even author interviews with my main characters so they can explain why they did certain things. This proved a comment that I found on an author’s forum website: “Editing your manuscript is the revenge your characters get on you for thinking you’re running their lives.”
I decided to write Louise Brooks into The Roaring Road and to use her natural personality traits that were uncovered in my research to serve the story instead of vice-versa. Louise is sexy and sexual, and nearly destroys Dan and Laure’s relationship but Louise being Louise, they understand her and still love her afterward. 


Louise’s role does is not one of going into battle with guns blazing, in fact she only touches a gun once, and that is to smuggle a derringer to Laure. She accomplishes this by making use of her talent as an actress. I got the impression that she enjoyed playing practical jokes. That photograph of Louise dressed as a policeman stopping a car is hilarious and the look on her face indicates she was having a great time doing it. Of course it was all a setup, but still. Her appearance in The Roaring Road begins when she sets up a prank to play on the Hollywood elite at a garden party. Using Louise’s disdain for the way business is done in Hollywood, she enlists Dan and Laure and a few others to start a rumor and it takes hold, becoming a truth on its own without anyone outside the participants in the prank suspecting it. Today we would say it went viral, but that wasn’t in the vocabulary in 1926. It was fun to write and became a secondary story-line that continues through the rest of the book, and will continue on into the sequel, Road Trip Blues

Lois Long wrote in The New Yorker “We women had been emancipated and we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do with all the freedom and equal rights, so we were going to hell laughing and singing.” One could make the point that was exactly what Louise Brooks was doing with her life at the time and I tried to replicate a slice of that. I am left with the feeling that I only touched the surface.

When and how did you first come across Louise Brooks?

In researching the 1920s I came across Wallace Reid who was one of the top stars of his day. He came to a sad ending from his morphine addiction which was caused by his injuries from a train wreck, and the studio gave him morphine to get through the movie. They continued to give him morphine and eventually his wife tried to get him into rehabilitation but the doctors of the day did not know what to do and with his body weakened by years of addiction, he died. I have Wallace Reid appear in 1921, early in the book. He was one of those stars who appealed to men and women. He was an accomplished musician, actor and did many of his own stunts. He was a handsome man and by accounts was a nice guy as well. The guys liked his race car driver movies, the women swooned over him as they thought of him as their lover.
This led me to find 1920s stars like Colleen Moore, Clara Bow, Alice White, Billie Dove and others and then Louise Brooks appeared on my radar. I was immediately enthralled by Louise Brooks, bought the two biographies and in trying to learn more about her I found the LBS, which I joined. I plan to read the other books about Louise but in the last few months I’ve been too busy with The Roaring Road to do much other reading. 

I didn’t realize until later that the best loved of my lady friends in my life had similar hairstyles to Louise’s bobbed hair. This includes Lori, who transmogrified into Laure in The Roaring Road. When I found Louise I knew I had seen her photos before but didn’t know anything about her until I started researching for the novel. As I said above, I included Louise because of my attraction to her and because she is a most interesting woman in many ways. She fit the need in my story for a female character who would be a hell raiser and a shit-stirrer, who would easily do things that would cause other interesting things to happen. Louise Brooks added a whole new dimension to my plot lines, causing much rewriting. She did this just by being Louise Brooks.

Was there a novel or book that inspired you or that served as a model for your books?

I love history but before writing The Roaring Road I had little interest in the 1920s until it became the backdrop for my first novel. I work in the Sonoma/Napa wine industry and read an excellent documentary by Lin Weber titled Prohibition in the Napa Valley. The first part is rather dry (pun intended) as it describes how Prohibition came about. The second part reads like a novel as the author describes the shenanigans that happened in Wine Country. Another Wine Country Prohibition book is Rumbling Wine Barrels by Bruno Buti, which he maintains is the story of his family’s activities during Prohibition. The things that went on in California’s Wine Country during Prohibition rival the happenings on the East Coast, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis. 

I have been influenced by many authors over the years and I filtered through my mind and made up my own story. I wanted to write my own train chase after I read Clive Cussler’s The Chase. I read about the gritty side of Prohibition in Whiskey River by Loren D. Estleman. The two Wine Country books I listed above, of course. The interest in Hollywood side started when I read Stuart Woods’ novels with his characters Vinnie Calabrese and Rick Barron, although they were set in the 30s and 40s, they give an interesting picture of the way Hollywood did business. A lot of additional information came from local wineries which often research and use their historical background for presentations to tour groups. Other ideas came from my own family history. My grandfather bought a tavern in 1918, two years before Prohibition began and it stayed open until he sold it in 1924. Sometimes the town constable was in the tavern having a beer with his neighbors. 

None of the stories or events in these sources except for the documentaries are repeated in The Roaring Road. The fiction is entirely my own. My train chases are completely different from Cussler’s, and although I tried to portray the grittiness and the ‘above the law’ attitude of the local crime organizations as the book about Detroit does, my characters and their actions are a synthesis of my own imagination. 

I have to add something rather incredible and humorous here. Another influence, and possibly the one that got me thinking about writing a Prohibition era novel, is the graphic webcomic Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler. Now don’t laugh or think I’ve lost my marbles, because Lackadaisy is so far from my normal genre interests that it seems nearly impossible, but then that’s how things are sometimes. The novel is populated by furries, in this case anthropomorphic cats. Normally I stay far away from that kind of thing but someone got me to look at Lackadaisy and it hooked me right off the bat. If you look at the story line development, the realistic dialog and characters (except for the fur) and direct correlation to real history (Tracy has done a lot of research) and you’ll see what I mean. The artwork is superb. I have no relationship or link to Tracy or the Lackadaisy webcomic except for my admiration. 

I pay homage to Lackadaisy in The Roaring Road. In the webcomic, Lackadaisy is the name of the café above the speakeasy. In my book, the café above the speakeasy is named Café Lulu and you can see the double meaning in that, but in 1926 Louise would have no foreknowledge of what that meant. And yes, in one scene Louise and Laure put on a Charleston dance show in Café Lulu. I just had to do that. . .

Any favorite LB films or books?


Louise Brooks: A Biography by Barry Paris
Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks

I haven’t seen all the existing LB films yet, but I’m getting around to them. I’ve seen all or a good portion of the following:

It’s The Old Army Game
A Girl In Every Port
The Canary Murder Case
Pandora’s Box
Prix de Beauté
God’s Gift to Women
Overland Stage Riders

I’ve seen clips of some other of Louise’s movies and through the LBS I’ve seen many publicity stills and other photographs. It’s like being in a long running treasure hunt, almost every day I find all sorts of interesting photos and movie clips and writings of and about our Lovely Louise. I’ve tried to think of what my story would be like had I written Clara Bow or Colleen Moore into The Roaring Road, but I always finish that wonderment with the thought that there is only Louise Brooks!

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Ten day from today, the Louise Brooks Society blog will run an excerpt from The Roaring Road: Book 2 The Road East. Stay Tuned.
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