Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Louise Brooks Oddities #1

Louise Bridges -
"By diligence she wins her way"
In my ongoing research, I come across all sorts of material which is a little odd or unusual, and sometimes entertaining. Here is something I found yesterday. It is a page from The Oak Leaf, a 1929 high school year book from the Hugh Morson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. I flipped through its pages, and I found it to be a typical high school year book, filled with portraits, a class poem, school history, bits of humor and the like.

What caught my eye was a reference to the silent film star Louise Brooks by Hazel McDonald, the "class prophet." In a two page spread, McDonald predicted the future's of various students, not doubt based on some characteristic of the student. One, she predicted, would become an opera singer, one a pianist, one a veterinarian, one the heavy weight boxing champion, one a race car driver, etc.... It is the sort of thing one might find in other yearbooks, and perhaps even your own.

McDonald predicted another classmate, named Louise Bridges, would find film stardom, writing "Last of all I saw Louise Bridges, who had taken Louise Brooks' place on the screen." (See the second from last line on page two of the "Class Prophecy" shown below.) This shout-out shows Brooks had a certain currency among high school students of the time.

That currency got me wondering. Why would McDonald had made such a particular prediction for this particular student. They were friends, apparently, and both were members of the Morson Literary Society as well as the school's Dramatic Club. But, did Louise Bridges share some trait with Louise Brooks, besides the same first name? Did Bridges and Brooks look-alike? Flipping through the yearbook, I found that a number of the girls wore bobbed hair, though Bridges' bob was closest to the style worn by Brooks, or Colleen Moore, another popular screen star. Bridges was pretty, like Brooks, and somewhat resembles the actress, in my opinion.

I also found the class prophet, Hazel McDonald, to have a rather interesting look, sporting a fashionable Eton Crop--unusual perhaps for a high school student for the time from the American south. I don't know what happened to either of these students, whether Louise became an actress, or whether Hazel became a writer, but each seemed to be pretty cool kids.

Hazel McDonald -
"I grow in with and worth and sense"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts