Friday, January 6, 2017

Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part two

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.

Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.

From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record.

Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.

I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights for the last half of the 1920s.

Sept. 16, 1925
Brooks and a tipsy Herman J. Mankiewicz attend No, No, Nanette at the Globe Theater on Broadway.

Sept. 17, 1925
Brooks’ ghost-written review (by-lined by Herman J. Mankiewicz) of the stage play No, No, Nanette appears in the New York Times.

Dec. 1, 1925
Wearing a celebrated "drafty" costume designed by John Harkrider, Brooks attends the Lafayette fête (a society fundraiser) held at the Hotel Astor in New York City. Also there in costume were Gloria Swanson as Marie Antoinette, and Adolphe Menjou as Price Eugene, with Leon Errol acting as master of ceremonies, and Irene Bordoni singing. Also attending were Ethel Barrymore, Noel Coward, Richard Barthelmess, Marilyn Miller, Walter Wanger, Otto Kahn, John Jay Chapman, and others.

May 26, 1926
Brooks appears on the cover of the Danish film magazine Ugebladet — probable 1st appearance on a European magazine cover.

Aug. 6, 1926
Attends opening of first sound film, Don Juan (1926), with Peggy Fears and A.C. Blumenthal at the Warner Theater in New York City.

Aug. 30, 1926
Attends Rudolph Valentino’s funeral in New York City.

Nov. 5, 1926
Makes a personal appearance at a benefit pre-release midnight showing at the Rialto Theater of We're in the Navy Now, directed by Eddie Sutherland, who is also on hand. (As is Betty Bronson, Ricardo Cortez, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, William Powell, Evelyn Brent, and Philip Strange. Helen Morgan sings.) The event is a benefit showing in aid of the New York American Christmas and Relief Fund.

July 8, 1927
Attends the West Coast premiere of Way of All Flesh at Criterion Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Aug. 27, 1927
At the Paramount studio shooting scenes (interiors in the aviation headquarters and ante room) for Now We’re in the Air. Later in the day attends a Hollywood party in honor of Lina Basquette.


Oct. 10, 1927
New York Sun columnist Eileen Creelman notes Brooks was among those attending the Oct. 7th opening of Texas Guinan's new nightclub. (As did Peggy Fears, Herbert Brenon, Gladys Glad, Dagmar Godowsky, Lita Grey, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Lew Cody, Carmel Myers, and others.)

Jan. 27, 1928
Attends pajama party with Eddie Sutherland at Esther Ralston’s Hollywood home; also in attendance are Buddy Rogers, George Bancroft, Mary Brian, Richard Arlen, Chester Conklin, Frank Tuttle, Warner Baxter, and others.

Feb. 28, 1928
Departs Miami aboard a cruise ship bound for Havana, Cuba.

May 12, 1928
Brooks and Mary Brian are guests of honor at an afternoon benefit bridge given by the Los Angeles alumni of Pi Kappa Psi, a national education sorority, on the south patio of the Alexandria hotel.

Aug. 28, 1928
In the evening, Brooks, Richard Dix and other 16 others involved in the filming of Redskin arrive in Gallup, New Mexico, where they stay at the El Navajo hotel.

Oct. 11, 1928
The Emporia Weekly Gazette reports that Brooks will pass through Emporia, Kansas on the east bound no. 20.

Dec. 1928
Brooks meets William S. Paley, the new owner of CBS. They keep company for the next two months.

Jan. 23, 1929
Variety writes, "Louise Brooks of the 'movies' thinks Jimmy Durante should have that schnozzola patented. Louise is quite the talk of the ringside these nights."

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