Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore and Clara Bow too

In my last blog, I included a couple of 1934 clippings about Sue Read, a pretty, bob-haired young radio singer who was said to resemble Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks. It was an apt comparison, as the soprano and both actresses were pretty in a similar way, and both sported short, sharp bobs.

Colleen Moore
The Sue Read comparison was far from the first time that Brooks and Moore were spoken of together. Over the years, I have come across a number of instances of the two actresses being paired and compared. Usually, the association had to do with their similar hairstyle. And too, both played flappers on screen.

Another actress with whom Brooks was sometimes compared was Clara Bow. And again, over the years I have come across a number of instances of the two actresses being paired and compared in newspapers and magazines published not only in the United States, but also around the world. In fact, a few pages in my forthcoming two volume work, Around the World with Louise Brooks, addresses the Louise Brooks / Colleen Moore  & Clara Bow nexus.

I mention all this because just recently I came across a few clippings that take the Brooks and Bow comparison to a new length. In July 1927, the Selma Times in Selma, Alabama ran a couple of pieces on the local showing of It's the Old Army Game. And in both clippings, Brooks was described as Clara Bow's double!

"Clara Bow has taken the American public by storm with her personality and pep -- and now comes along the clever little Louise Brooks whom critics acclaim her nearest double." This copy was, no doubt, supplied by Paramount -- the studio for whom both actresses worked -- or some allied publicist. The above piece goes on to described Brooks as "Pert, pretty, peppy, snappy, talented, happy and 'bound to get there'."

Another piece which ran a couple of days later also described Brooks as Clara Bow's double, despite the fact that Brooks better resembled Colleen Moore rather than Bow, who was a vivacious redhead who sported a somewhat different hairstyle. In this second piece, Brooks is described as "piquant pert little Louise Brooks." It also mentions that Brooks, or is it Bow, "who takes in the local sheiks."

I think the "double" comment had more to do with a perceived similarity in personality, rather than physical appearance. It's too bad that the two actresses never appeared in a film together. The closest they ever came to doing so was in It's the Old Army Game -- Brooks replaced Bow -- and in the original casting of Glorifying the American Girl, in which both were set to star. The latter film was made later with an entirely different cast.

Had the two starred together in a film, they would have ignited the screen - talk about flammable nitrate! Both had "IT". They would have also offered a study in .....

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