Saturday, October 30, 2021

Happy Halloween from the Louise Brooks Society

Happy Halloween from the Louise Brooks Society. The two spookiest images involving the actress that I could find are these two publicity images from The Canary Murder Case (1929).

The closest Louise Brooks ever came to appearing in a horror film was when she was considered for the title role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935), the James Whale classic. Of course, the role went to the another actress with iconic hair, Elsa Lanchester, who was brilliant in the dual roles of the Bride and Mary Shelley. Would Brooks have been any good in the role? It is hard to say.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A new Louise Brooks photograph?

There is a new (to me) photograph floating around the internet that some claim depicts Louise Brooks. I am not sure. It could be of Brooks, or it could be of an unknown, similar looking starlet or showgirl. 

I messaged the person who first posted the image, asking where it came from, but have not heard back. Context can often provide a clue. To me, the image looks like the sort one would see in the "girlie" magazines of the 1920s, like Artists and Models. I am guessing that this image was taken in 1924 or 1925.

THE ARGUMENT AGAINST: The model is not identified. Most models were back then, even something vague like "the newest star of the Follies." However, the identity of this model could have been lost when a caption was trimmed from the image. Hence, my request for the picture's source. Secondly, I don't recall seeing this bit of clothing on Brooks before. When originally posted, some thought the image depicted Colleen Moore. It does not.

THE ARGUMENT FOR: The model does bear a striking resemblance to Louise Brooks, especially in her face. The hair is also right. And so is the body type. Some of the fake nudes floating around get that last point wrong. Also spot on, and this could be coincidence, is the way the model in this photograph holds herself. At some point early on, Louise Brooks was taught to pose. This model knows how to do so. She is also holding her hands -- fingers spread -- in ways Brooks did in some of her early images. As well, there is also the use of a curtain in the background. This is something other photographer's of the time, such as John De Mirjian of the "draped nudes" scandal, would sometimes employ.


If anyone know who this model is, or knows more about the origins of this picture and where it might have been printed, I would certainly appreciate hearing from you. 

Admittedly, I have been fooled before. I once came across a 1920s photo of a pretty model, the so-called "sepia-toned nude," and believed it to be Louise Brooks, even though the model was identified as being of someone else. But still, the resemblance was so great I talked myself into believing it was Brooks to the point of creating a little narrative in my mind as to why the image was deliberately misidentified. Wishful thinking. . . . until other images of this similar looking model-showgirl were pointed out.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The enduring charm of Hailey Tuck - "the millennial's Louise Brooks"

It's no secret I adore Hailey Tuck, not just because she is darn cute and sports a swell bob, but also because she is a gifted jazz vocalist. Hailey is a singer from Austin, Texas who, in her own words, is "based in Paris & London in the 1920's." 

I have been spending a good deal of time on YouTube over the last few days (refurbishing the Louise Brooks Society YouTube channel) when I came across a 2018 interview with Hailey in which she mentions the impact Louise Brooks and Brooks' own memoir, Lulu in Hollywood, had on her life and career. I hadn't seen it before. My bad. And thought to post it here.

I have written about Hailey in the past, as have many other publications including Marie Claire, who once described her as “The millennial's Louise Brooks.” Back in 2015, Hailey contributed a piece to the Louise Brooks Society blog in which fans of the actress were asked to submit their story of discovery -- of how they first came across Louise Brooks and what the actress means to them. Before I reprint that piece, here is another 2018 video clip of Hailey's UK TV debut, singing "That Don't Make It Junk" on the BBC show, Later... with Jools Holland.


Hailey Tuck's story of discovering Louise Brooks
by Hailey Tuck

When I was 18, I was working in a rare and out of print bookstore in Austin, TX and lazily attending a mess of random liberal arts classes at the community college across the street. I'd graduated from a Baptist military boarding school early, and subsequently 'suffered' two heart wrenching defeats in attempting to gain admittance to Julliard, and though I can look back on that malaise with the same wry smile as reading my self-aggrandizing childhood diaries, I do acutely remember looking at my options and feeling very "none of the above."

The job itself was a total dream, and still my number one back up in case I didn't manage to become wildly successful in jazz. My grandmother was a bookseller and called in an old favor for her bibliophile granddaughter, and voila I became their only employee. The shop opened at noon (ideal) and I was mostly left to my own devices, or occasionally joined by my boss, Luke -- an obviously extreme literate, and general good time -- or one of the eccentric collectors who would come and have a whiskey, or tutor me in French. 

Like some sort of adult Montessori school, my browsing led me to a total cultural revolution for a curious 18 year old. After dully expressing my distaste for poetry, Luke pointed me to Pablo Neruda and Rainer Maria Rilke, and like a light-bulb I suddenly understood the art behind the subtlety of expressing something sensuous or painful without the directness or girth of literature. I pawed through sections on occult, anthropology, Swedish furniture. I bought the entire play section. I dated a professor from the university who slept in a soundproof, light proof box and cut off my black hair because I wanted to look like a New York art dealer in the 90's. And luckily, I picked up a book called Lulu in Hollywood because the illustration of the chick on the front had my hair cut. 

Reading, or inhaling rather, doesn't cover it. For once I felt I was reading a real story, and one that closely echoed my own -- sexual abuse, alcoholism, family troubles, and then looking at traditional success and saying, "Fuck that I'm going to make weird ass art house movies in Germany!" Some might view Louise's subsequent eeking descending fall into obscurity as a classic tragedy, however from my current vantage point as a young performer, I see someone who made deliberate u-turns based on a desire to be the most authentic version of themselves, regardless of the viability for commercial success. And most importantly, I saw myself, and felt steeled to seek out my own adventure, regardless of the wobbling uncertainty of ditching college, my father's approval, and the American dream. 

My newfound hubris manifested into a one way ticket to Paris. I should add that I also had the rare luck of a modest trust fund of sorts -- before you start gagging -- it was an insurance settlement. A lonely month or so later on the metro, this American girl complimented my vintage dress, and I asked her how she knew I spoke English, and she said, "I don't, I just speak to everyone in English!" 
For some reason it seemed entirely charming, and I asked her if she wanted to get off and have a glass of champagne together. She told me about her strange marriage to an older wealthy record producer (they have separate houses, and she collects dollhouses) and I told her that I was sort living in this squat and was too scared to tell my Dad, or he'd make me come home. She happened to be house sitting this beautiful apartment in Voltaire and offered for me to sleep on the red velvet fainting couch. One night later we were throwing a party and I was sitting on my bed/fainting couch and this completely decadent red headed American, in head to toe 1920's sat down next to me and I told her I'd been living there on this couch, then asked her the proverbial, "Do you come here often?" She looked at me sardonically, and patiently replied that this was her house. And her couch. After a second/hour or so of complete embarrassment I bumbled and mumbled my way through an explanation about being fresh off the boat, wanting to do acting or singing or something, and a few glasses of Prosecco later she had yanked off the music and had me singing Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You" on her dining room table. 

When I read Lulu in Hollywood I had this grand idea of what Europe might be -- cavorting with intellectuals and passing out at orgies at Rothschild mansions. But when I got there everything seemed garishly contemporary, and lonely. I just felt like an American at an overpriced cafe.

But whatever Sorrel saw in me on her dining room table was the catalyst for everything I could have imagined. I got upgraded from fainting couch to painting studio, introduced to a swath of filthy Italian phrases, chess on trains, regency balls, schooled on not offending Venetians at Carnival, posing nude in an Art Deco harem, literally physically force-dressing me for winter time, and above all encouraged and supported to sing at every single event, party, and opportunity possible until, like learning the other side of poetry, or understanding the inevitability of forever, I became the most true, authentic version of myself as a jazz singer trying to evolve and challenge myself in Europe, and of course offending Venetians and passing out at Mansion parties. 
I'm still sort of making wobbly guess-choices, but I do know that everything that has led me to where I am now feels right, and nothing about it seems like the beaten path to any real commercial success, and that feels great. And when Marie Claire did an article on me this year, I definitely felt a wry self-aggrandizing smile when reading the title "The Millennial Louise Brooks".
In 2020, Hailey released another splendid album, Coquette. To keep up with Haily and her career, be sure and check out her website at or follow her on Twitter or YouTube. That's where I am headed now to watch a few more videos.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Drawing Louise Brooks - videos from the LBS YouTube Channel

Lately, I have been revamping (pun intended) the Louise Brooks Society YouTube channel. Among other things, I have created some new and different playlists of interesting and quirky things I have found on YouTube. Among them are a handful of videos of individuals drawing Louise Brooks, which I never knew was a thing. Here are a few examples of from my new playlist. If you have done one a video drawing, or know of one I have missed one, please let me know.

Writer/Artist Rick Geary draws a portrait of silent film actress Louise Brooks, who was a relative of his. Show here in time lapse . . . and one of my favorites. I have interviewed Rick Geary in the past. Read my interview HERE

Time lapse digital speed painting of Louise Brooks by Jeff Stahl done in Photoshop CS5 with Wacom tablets Cintiq 12wx and Intuos 4L. Real time: 1h16min.


The first video in a series from Bee the Artist titled "Bio-pics" - a mix between portrait drawing and film history. This video is a bit longer, and features multiple sketches.

 And lastly, a drawing of Louise Brooks by Gregory Roth, drawn in ArtRage. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

A milestone for the Louise Brooks Society blog

A rare portrait from the 1930s
Recently, I was tidying up the Louise Brooks Society blog (I hope you like what I have done with the place) when I noticed it was coming up on a milestone. Today's post marks the 3400th blog.

I started blogging back in August 2002, first on LiveJournal, and then on Blogger starting around 2009. I managed to transfer the most interesting pieces from LiveJournal to Blogger, and have been writing and blogging and posting all along. Admittedly, those very early pieces were infrequent and sometimes slight. In 2006, however, during the Louise Brooks centennial, I posted 290 times. There was a lot to report. In 2011, I posted only 69 times. The best year was 2014, when I posted 306 times. I can't imagine how I did it. The pandemic has certainly slowed things down, as there are fewer screenings and news items to write about. My goal these days is to focus on more substantive pieces and newly found material, and to post about 100 times a year. I figure it all adds up.

The LBS blog has hundreds of followers. IF YOU ARE NOT ONE, SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE IN THE COLUMN ON THE RIGHT. Since 2009, according to my hit counter, the Louise Brooks Society blog has been viewed more than 1,665,000 times by individuals from all around the world. That is pretty cool. Check the flag counter below or in the right hand column to see if your country is represented. Not surprisingly, English speaking countries lead the roll call of visitors. And of course, France and Germany (where LB made a few films) also show many visitors. It pleases me that Russia and countries in Latin America also show up, as does India. But come on New Zealand, you can do better! And so can you, Poland!

 Free counters!

As many longtime readers of this blog know, my other online writings about Louise Brooks have appeared on, Huffington Post, SFGate (website of the San Francisco Chronicle), Open / Salon, Pop Matters, and recently Film International. And what's more, my articles have been tweeted about by the likes of Roger Ebert (twice!), Neil Gaiman, and others. That is really cool. In 2018, I collected a number of my best articles and blogs into an illustrated, 296 page book, Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star. Why not ORDER a copy today! 

Just recently, I noticed one of my past blogs caught the attention of Greil Marcus back in 2015. Writing on BarnesandNobleReview, the famous critic and author singled out a 2012 blog I penned on Louise Brooks and the Kansas-born artist Bruce Conner. Here is a screen capture of Greil Marcus' blog about my blog.

Again, I was pleased by the attention. The Louise Brooks Society blog is a proud member of the CMBA (the Classic Movie Blog Association). I was also heartened back in 2018 when the Classic Movie Blog Association profiled the LBS blog and even interviewed yours truly. That is certainly another highlight in the life of the Louise Brooks Society blog. The recognition is nice, and so is the feedback. 

My sincere thanks to the blogs which link to the LBS blog (some are linked in the right hand column), and to the bloggers (including Immortal Ephemera), online publications (including Shelf-Awareness), and websites (including Columbia University Press) which have written about its various entries. I will end this pat on the back with another little seen portrait of Louise Brooks from the 1930s. Long live Lulu!

Another little seen portrait of Brooks from the early 1930s

Saturday, October 16, 2021

More about Louise Brooks in the early 1930s

It is a shame Louise Brooks' career fizzled out in the early 1930s. She could have been a contender.

In early 1930, publications carried stories of Brooks’ return to Hollywood. Behind the scenes, the actress was being courted by Columbia Pictures, where there was talk of a possible role in a Buck Jones western. Brooks, however, refused the part and walked away from a contract with the up-and-coming studio – just as she had done with Paramount in 1928, and American Pathé in 1929. Eventually, she found work in a trio of American talkies released the following year.

Brooks’ career had achieved a momentum which necessitated a strong role in a good film to keep her in the public eye. . . that film might have been the celebrated crime drama, The Public Enemy (1931), if only Brooks had accepted the role offered her by director William Wellman. Instead, what the world got were supporting roles in three lesser films. Each received scant attention and relatively few showings - the most popular and certainly the best of the lot was the slightly suggestive pre-code farce, God's Gift to Women. Nevertheless, it too was a lesser film, and none of the three did anything to help her flagging career. 

Windy Riley Goes Hollywood promo photo

Which again is a shame, because Louise Brooks could have shined in pre-code films. The actress even adapted her look, brushing back her bangs, exposing her forehead, and letting her hair grow just a little bit longer as was the style of the time. 

It Pays to Advertise promo photo

God's Gift to Women promo photo

Following the release of the three films in 1931, Louise Brooks dropped out of Hollywood for what amounted to a five year absence. She declared bankruptcy in 1932, got married and divorced in 1933, worked and toured as a ballroom dancer in 1933 and 1934, and drifted along until 1936, when she played a supporting role in the Buck Jones western, Empty Saddles (Universal). But before that, she was considered for but never offered the title role in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), James Whale's sequel to his 1931 hit film, Frankenstein. Oh, what might have been. . . . 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Louise Brooks - Her Last Hurrah in 1931

I recently noticed that the fabulous Media History Digital Library has a bunch of issues of Broadway and Hollywood Movies magazine dating from 1930 through 1934. That's five years worth of this stylish though little known publication. I did my usual search through the magazines, looking for articles or mentions of Louise Brooks, and was a bit surprised by how little press the actress received. Of course, at the time, it was all about Garbo and Dietrich and Mae West and other stars both still remembered and now forgotten. Here is the cover of the February, 1931 issue of the magazine.

Brooks' best year in Broadway and Hollywood Movies was 1931. During the year she was mentioned 3 times, once erroneously, and once not at all when she should have been mentioned. In 1931, Brooks had been absent from Hollywood for nearly two years. She had worked in Europe, and returned to the United States hoping to make a comeback. That year, she appeared in three films, two feature, It Pays to Advertise (Paramount, directed by Frank Tuttle) and God's Gift to Women (Warner Brothers, directed by Michael Curtiz), and a short, Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (Educational, directed by William B. Goodrich aka Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle). Each were middling fair at best, and each did nothing to help restart or revive Brooks' flagging career. Brooks was also cast, but walked away from a film which would have helped her career a good deal, William Wellman's The Public Enemy (Warner Brothers).

Brooks' standing in Hollywood is exemplified by these mere mentions in various 1931 issues of  Broadway and Hollywood Movies magazine. In each, she referenced as having appeared in a film. Coincidentally, the write-ups for both God's Gift to Women and Windy Riley Goes Hollywood appeared side-by-side. Considering how concise these write-ups are, it's not surprising that Brooks didn't receive more coverage, especially in regards to Windy Riley Goes Hollywood, in which she is the co-star.

The other film Brooks appeared in in 1931 was It Pays to Advertise. Her role was little more than a brief bit, a five minute cameo at the beginning of the film. (Brooks reportedly played the part to complete her contract with Paramount.) Usually, she was billed fifth or sixth. Truth be told, at the time Brooks was the biggest name in the film; Carole Lombard was at the beginning of her career. However, despite her past fame, her cameo wasn't enough to be mentioned in this short write-up of the film. 

Brooks' one other mention in a 1931 issue of Broadway and Hollywood Movies was for her non- appearance in The Public Enemy. As mentioned, Brooks was cast in the film, and early publicity went out listing her among the cast of this sensational film. (William Wellman Jr, the son of the director and a friend to the Louise Brooks Society, thinks Brooks may have even shot a scene or two before leaving the production - but this has never been confirmed let alone proven.) Somehow, Brooks' name remained associated with the film, for decades to come. And in 1931, Broadway and Hollywood Movies magazine was not alone in mentioning the actress, even though she was far from one of the top billed stars in the film. (I have a thick file of similar erroneous mentions of Brooks' role in the film from film magazines which should have known better to big city newspapers which printed the publicity materials they received.)

And that's it. Brooks' acting career was in steep decline. The only other time she is mentioned in Broadway and Hollywood Movies was on their "Splits and Splices" page in March 1933 in relation to her ex-husband, Eddie Sutherland, who had just remarried.The magazine noted, "Eddie Sutherland is back in L. A. with another wife, his fourth. He flew to Yuma. Ariz., to marry Audrey Henderson, who is not an actress, like his other wives. They were accompanied by Harry Akst, song writer, and Lonnie D’Orsay. Sutherland is a nephew of Thomas Meighan. His former wives were Marjorie Daw, Louise Brooks and Ethel Kenyon. Miss Kenyon, incidentally, was married to Charles Butterworth, actor, in New York,, a few weeks ago." 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Guest Post: Barbara and Louise - a Friendship Set Sail

Philip Vorwald has written-up a fascinating guest post here on the Louise Brooks Society blog about the trip Barbara Bennett and Louise Brooks took to Europe in 1924. Philip's post is titled "Barbara and Louise - a Friendship Set Sail."

Friday, October 8, 2021

Remembering Reading the Stars: The Silent Era, part 2

In my previous post, I presented general information about an exhibit I curated called "Reading the Stars: The Silent Era." The exhibit, which was on display at the San Francisco Public Library in 2011, was comprised of vintage books about film dating from the silent era. Most of the books in the exhibit came from my personal collection - except for a case worth of Rudolph Valentino related material loaned by my friend, Donna Hill, an author and Valentino collector. 

The books on display included biographies and memoirs, pictorials, and how-to titles, as well as novels, poetry and self-help works written by some of the biggest names in film. "Reading the Stars" was divided into five parts. They were 1) general books about the movies - including criticism and commentary, guide books for the aspiring hopeful, and fiction showing both the glamorous and seamy side of Hollywood, 2) vintage books about individual movie stars, 3) books written by various film stars, 4) photoplay editions, the movie tie-in books of the time, and 5) books by and about Rudolph Valentino, an actor who was both the author and subject of a number of books. 

What follows is a more detailed look at the exhibit. The text is drawn from the information panels and descriptive tags placed inside the five display cases. All together, there were a few dozen books on display, regretfully too many books to picture here; I have, nevertheless, tried to depict as many highlights and favorites as practical.

(Section 1) About the Movies:

In the early years of the 20th century, the movies and the movie industry were just getting started. The movies were an art form in search of itself, while the movie industry was growing by leaps and bounds into a business concern whose reach would know few limits. This sections collects some of the many books in which society and the movie industry itself looked at where things stood with this, the "7th art."

The Best Moving Pictures of 1922-23, Also Who's Who in the Movies and the Yearbook of the American Screen, by Robert E. Sherwood. Boston: Small, Maynard, 1923.
An early consideration of the movies as an art form all its own. Sherwood was one of the original members of the Algonquin Round Table as well as the "motion picture editor" of both the New York Herald and Life magazine. He would later make his name as a playwright and screenwriter, and would win four Pulitzer Prizes.

What's Wrong with the Movies?, by Tamar Lane.  Los Angeles: The Waverly Co., 1923.
Lane was a forward thinking critic based in Hollywood who went on to found Film Mercury, a notable though short lived independent journal of film criticism. This scarce book brings together articles by the pseudonymous critic written for Motion Picture Magazine and The Screen.

Pictorial Beauty on the Screen
, by Victor O. Freeburg. Macmillan Co.: New York, 1923.
An early attempt at formulating an aesthetic of motion pictures - or what some might call the language of film. The book is dedicated to James Cruze and features a prefatory note by Rex Ingram. Each were important early directors.

Hollywood Undressed: Observations of Sylvia As Noted by Her Secretary, by Sylvia Ullback. New York: Brentano's, 1931.
A gossipy look at Hollywood goings-on, by an "internationally famed masseuse" who "ruthlessly exposes the follies and foibles of our best loved film stars."

Film Flashes: The Wit and Humor of a Nation in Pictures. New York: Leslie Judge Co., 1916.
This collection of illustrated articles both by and about the stars was drawn from popular magazines of the time. A series of articles by Mrs. D.W. Griffith (about her husband) is included, along with humorous verse, profiles of Mabel Normand, Bessie Love and others, as well as bits about the Niles Essanay Motion Picture Company (headquartered on the West Coast in nearby Fremont).

How to Write Photoplays, by John Emerson and Anita Loos. New York: James A. McCann Co., 1921.
Emerson and Loos are one of the most accomplished husband-and-wife screenwriting teams in film history. (Loos also wrote the local favorite, San Francisco.) This advice book includes writing tips as well as a complete scenario.

Palmer Plan Handbook: Photoplay Writing, by Frederick Palmer. Los Angeles, Ca: Palmer Photoplay Corp., 1921.
This how-to book describes itself as a "practical treatise on scenario writing as practiced at the leading motion picture studios." Also included are the rules of the National Board of Censors.

Screen Acting: Its Requirements and Rewards, by Inez and Helen Klumph. New York: Falk, 1922.
Many dreamed of making it in the movies. This book, which features a preface by Lillian Gish, states that it is a supplementary text used in the New York Institute of Photography.

Photoplay Writing, by William L. Wright. New York: Falk Pub. Co., 1922.
A how-to guide book.

How to Make Your Own Motion Picture Plays, by John E. Bechdolt. New York: Greenberg, 1926.
Another how-to guide book.

Little Stories from the Screen, by William A. Lathrop. New York: Britton Pub. Co., 1917.
An illustrated collection of short story fictionalizations of various films, including one about a cave man.

Buck Parvin and the Movies, by C. E. Van Loan and Arthur W. Brown. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1917.
A early novel set in the filmworld.

Merry Go Round, by Georges Lewys. Los Angeles: Privately printed for subscribers only, 1923.
A novelization of the famous film by Erich von Stroheim, dedicated to and written with the cooperation of the director. This unexpunged limited edition once belonged to director George Cukor, and bears his bookplate.

The Star of Hollywood, by Edward Stilgebauer and E. E. Wilson. Cleveland: International Fiction Library, 1929.
A small press novel about life in the movie capital. It is one of a handful of literary works set in the film world and published in the silent era.

Queer People, by Carroll and Garrett Graham. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1930.
Another example of a Hollywood novel - "If any resemblances to well-known figures in Hollywood life occur in certain passages, it is only because America's fifth greatest industry has become so completely standardized that everybody resembles everybody else."

(Section 2) About the Stars:

Whether in magazine or book form, fans and movie goers of the silent era liked reading about their favorite stars. This sections collects a small number of the many books and booklets published about various stars.  

My Strange Life: The Intimate Life Story of a Moving Picture Actress. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1915.
There is a bit of a mystery around the author of this early book, just as there was around the true nature of certain well known actresses... what were they really like? Included are accounts of Mary Pickford, Blanche Sweet, Pearl White, Marguerite Clark and others.
(see previous post for illustration)

The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen, by Carolyn Lowrey. New York: Moffat, Yard and Co., 1920.
This rare book represents one publisher's attempt to establish a who's who of notable stars. Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is included, Charlie Chaplin is not. Thomas Ince and Rex Ingram are included, D.W. Griffith is not.

Famous Film Folk: A Gallery of Life Portraits and Biographies, by Charles D. Fox. New York: George H. Doran, 1925.
Portraits and short biographies of just about every star in the heavens are included in this well read book, which once belonged to a high school library in Indiana.

Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago: Photoplay magazine, 1924.
Photoplay was one of the leading fan magazines, not unlike People magazine today. This pictorial features a constellation of stars, including John Barrymore and Maurice Costello (grandfather and great grandfather of Drew Barrymore, respectively), Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon on TV's Batman), child star Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester on TV's The Addams Family) and others both remembered and forgotten.

Stars of the Movies and Featured Players. Hollywood, Calif: Hollywood Publicity Co., 1927.
This rare soft cover book features 250 full-page portraits of movie stars from around the world. Included are Europeans Lars Hanson, Conrad Veidt, Lya Di Putti, Pola Negri and Emil Jannings, Canadian-born Norma Shearer, Mexican-born Ramon Navarro, as well as San Jose's Edmund Lowe and San Francisco's Lawrence Grey and Janet Gaynor. The book originally sold for $1.00. Copies in an embossed leatherette binding sold for $1.50.

Wallace Reid: His Life Story, by Bertha W. Reid. New York, N.Y: Sorg Pub. Co., 1923.
Wallace Reid was a handsome leading man described as "the screen's most perfect lover." His Mother wrote this book after his early death brought on by morphine addiction.

The Talmadge Sisters: Norma, Constance, Natalie; an Intimate Story of the World's Most Famous Screen Family, by Margaret L. Talmadge. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1924.
The Mother of the famous Talmadge sisters wrote this book about her three daughters. Norma and Constance were major stars. Natalie was married for a short time to Buster Keaton.

The Private Life of Greta Garbo, by R P. Palmborg. London: Hutchinson & Co, c.193?.
Garbo was among the most private and reclusive of stars. This is the UK paperback edition of a biography first published in the United States in 1931

Behind the Screen, by Samuel Goldwyn. New York: George H. Doran Co., 1923.
The Polish-born Schmuel Gelbfisz changed his name to Samuel Goldwyn and helped found a handful of motion picture studios, including Metro-Goldywn-Mayer. This collection of articles looks at some of the major figures in Hollywood.

The House That Shadows Built: The Story of Adolph Zukor and His Circle, by Will Irwin.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc, 1928.
The story of Adolph Zukor, and early film mogul and founder of Paramount Pictures.

The Life and Adventures of Carl Laemmle, by John Drinkwater. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1931.
A look at the life of Carl Laemmle, a pioneer in American film making and a founder of one of the original major Hollywood movie studios - Universal.

(Section 3) Written by the Stars:

Like many of today's movie and entertainment celebrities, the film stars of the silent era published all manner of books including memoirs, autobiographies, cookbooks, novels, poetry, and more. But who really wrote them? A few were written by the stars themselves, or with the help of a "actual writer." Most were likely ghost written. 

Pinto Ben and other stories, by William S. Hart & Mary Hart. New York: Britton Publishing Co., 1919.
A Lighter of Flames, by William S. Hart. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1923.
Hart was one of the first great stars; he was especially well known for his Western films, including Tumbleweeds. Life in the American west was also the subject of his fiction.

The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling: An Autobiographical Fragment in Seven Parts, by Marie Dressler. New York: R. M. McBride & Co., 1924.
Dressler was a stage star before entering films in 1910, when she was 42. A robust, full-bodied woman, Dressler's popularity rose and fell during the silent era. With the coming of sound, her popularity rose once more. Dressler won an Academy Award in 1931.

The Bandit Prince, by Sessue Hayakawa. New York: Macaulay, 1926.
Hayakawa was the first and one of the few Asian actors to find major stardom in the United States. Prolifically talented, he created his own production company, and produced, directed, designed, wrote, edited, and acted in films. He also wrote several plays (once appearing on stage in San Francisco), painted watercolors, performed martial arts, and in 1961 wrote an autobiography, Zen Showed Me the Way.

An American Comedy, by Harold Lloyd and Wesley W. Stout. New York: Longman, Green and Co., 1928.
Along with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd was one of the three great comedic actors of the silent film era. This book tells of his life in film while presenting the actor as a regular fellow.

Men, Marriage and Me, by Peggy Hopkins Joyce. New York: Macauley Co., 1930.
Joyce enjoyed fleeting fame on stage and screen, and was just as well known for her several marriages to wealthy men, her colorful divorces, scandalous affairs, and lavish lifestyle. A recent biography was titled Gold Digger: The Outrageous Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce.

Laugh and Live, by Douglas Fairbanks. New York: Britton Publishing Co., 1917.
Making Life Worth While, by Douglas Fairbanks. New York: Britton Pub. Co., 1918.
Wedlock in Time, by Douglas Fairbanks. New York: Britton Publishing Co., 1918.
Three of the handful of "self-help" books written by the swashbuckling film superstar.

The Three Musketeers, by Douglas Fairbanks and Edward Knoblock. Douglas Fairbanks Picture Corp., 1921.
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. was multitalented. He was an actor, screenwriter, director and producer, one of the founders of United Artists, and a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy. The Three Musketeers is Fairbanks' short fictionalization of the classic Alexander Dumas novel.

The Demi-Widow, by Mary Pickford. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1935.
Known as "America's Sweetheart," Pickford was both a film superstar and multi-talented business women. Along with husband Douglas Fairbanks Sr., she helped found United Artists. The Demi-Widow was one of a small number of books Pickford wrote during the early 1930's.

The Truth About the Movies: By the Stars
, by Laurence A. Hughes. Hollywood: Hollywood Pub., Inc, 1924.
This collection of articles includes Mary Pickford's "Advice to Young Screen Aspirants" and Norma Talmadge's "What Percentage of Girls Who Come to Hollywood Actually Achieve Success." Other contributors are Pola Negri, Marion Davies, Lon Chaney, Wallace Beery, Zasu Pitts, King Vidor, Mae Murray, Erich von Stroheim, and Buster Keaton. Each of the articles are signed by the actor, actress, or director - as if to prove their authenticity.

How I Broke into the Movies: Signed Autobiographies
, by Hal C. Herman. Hollywood: H.C. Herman, 1929.
Sixty actors and actress supposedly wrote these short accounts of how they got their start in film. Among the contributors are Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Colleen Moore, Will Rogers, Gloria Swanson, Lupe Velez and others. Director D.W. Griffith wrote the forward. (see previous post for illustration)

(Section 4) Photoplay Editions:

Today, when a book is issued in conjunction with the release of a film, the publisher will often include the image of the movie's star on the book's cover. The practice is meant to identify the book with the film. It is also meant to attract the attention of movie goers, and hopefully boost sales. Such books are called "movie tie-ins." The earliest movie tie-ins date to the silent era. During the Teens and Twenties, motion pictures were called "photoplays" - and thus the movie tie-in books of the silent and early sound era came to be known as "photoplay editions."

Typically, photoplay editions were reprints of novels (both literary classics and popular bestsellers) illustrated with images from a film production. Less typically, photoplay editions were novelizations of films, with the script or film story fictionalized into narrative form. Today, photoplay editions are sought after by bibliophiles, film buffs, or collectors interested in a particular author, actor, film or movie genre.

The first photoplay editions were published around 1912, and as a publishing genre, they reached their peak in the 1920's and early 1930's. Thousands of different titles were issued in the United States. Most photoplays were published in hardback by companies like Grosset & Dunlap or A.L. Burt, and some in soft cover by a company like Jacobsen Hodgkinson. Similar movie related books were published in Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia and elsewhere around the world.

Most American photoplay editions feature stills and/or a dust jacket with artwork from the film. Deluxe editions might also contain a decorative binding, illustrated end papers, the cast and credits, or rarely - an introduction by the star or director. Sometimes, the spine, cover or title page of the book will note the edition is a "photoplay edition" or is illustrated with scenes from a "photo-drama."

The first book published on the subject was written by Emil Petaja, a San Francisco science fiction & fantasy author. Petaja was also a film buff and collector, and his 1975 work, Photoplay Edition, was based on his collection of more than 800 books! In his introduction, Petaja told of a time when photoplay editions could easily be found in thrift shops and second hand book stores. Now, they are collector's items. (The most sought after vintage photoplays are tie-in editions of classic films such as Dracula, Frankenstein and King Kong, or lost silent films such as London After Midnight.) In some instances, the printed story and handful of scene stills is all that remains of the silent era's many lost films.

The Belovéd Adventurer, by Emmett C. Hall. Philadelphia: Lubin Manufacturing Co, 1914.
This scarce photoplay was based on a now lost 15 part serial. The book features 15 interior illustrations, and was, unusually so, published by the film's production company.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1916.
A landmark work of cinema, this movie tie-in edition features a wrap-around pictorial dust jacket, dramatic illustrated binding, and 4 interior illustrations from the film.

The Rose-Bush of a Thousand Years, by Mabel Wagnalls. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1918.
Author Mabel Wagnalls was the child of the co-founders of Funk & Wagnalls. She authored a number of books, including this one, which was made into the film Revelation, starring the stage and film actress Alla Nazimova. The book features 8 interior illustrations from the "motion-picture drama."

Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore. Springfield, Mass: Milton Bradley Co., 1921.
Published by the famous game company and aimed toward the young reader, this authorized "Madge Bellamy" edition of the popular classic features illustrated endpapers, a special dedication from the actress, her printed signature on the cover, a foreword by movie producer Thomas Ince, 8 duo-tone prints of scenes from the film, and color illustrations. Over the years, this classic novel has inspired at least ten movies and broadcast miniseries.

Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Carolyn S. Bailey. Springfield, Mass: Milton Bradley Co.,1922.
Here, the great American poet shares a byline with one Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, who wrote an introduction and prose version of the familiar poem (which is also included). This movie tie-in edition includes 11 interior duo-tone illustrations from the film.

Ben-Hur, by Lew Wallace. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, circa 1922.
An immensely popular film based on an immensely popular book. This movie tie-in edition features a wrap-around pictorial dust jacket and 8 interior illustrations from the film. The title page states that it is part of an edition of one million copies published by arrangement with Harper and Brothers.

A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1923.
Cather was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. This movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 8 interior illustrations from the film.

Captain January, by Laura E. H. Richards. Boston: L.C. Page, 1924.
Child actress Baby Peggy was one of the silent film era's biggest little stars, and this "Baby Peggy edition" features an illustrated binding and many illustrations from the film.
(see previous post for illustration)

Editha's Burglar, by Frances H. Burnett. Boston: L.C. Page, 1925.
This authorized "Baby Peggy edition" features an illustrated binding, a printed letter from the actress (appropriately written in a child's hand) and numerous illustrations from the film. The back of the book advertises the "Mary Pickford edition" of Pollyanna: The Glad Book, and the "Mary Miles Minter edition" of Anne of Green Gables.
(see previous post for illustration)


Little Robinson Crusoe: A New "Crusoe" Story Featuring Jackie Coogan, by Charles D. Fox.  New York: Charles Renard Corp., 1925.
This retelling of the Robinson Crusoe story was aimed at young readers. This movie tie-in edition features illustrated endpapers, a printed letter from the child actor who stars in the film, and "21 full page action photo-drawings." A special supplement in the rear of the book contains "Jackie Coogan's Own Daily Dozen" - a series of exercises illustrated with 12 photographs of the child star.

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1926..
A classic American novel turned into a classic silent film starring one of the greatest actresses of all time. This movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 12 interior illustrations from the film.

The General, by Joseph Warren. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1927.
A rarity, this novel made its first appearance in print as a photoplay edition; it is also the only American movie tie-in to feature Buster Keaton. This edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 12 interior illustrations from the film.

Wings, by John M. Saunders. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1927.
Wings was the first film to win an Academy Award for "Best Picture." This movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket, tinted illustrated endpapers, and 18 interior illustrations from the film.

Beggars of Life, by Jim Tully. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1928.
Based on the 1924 bestseller by the celebrated "hobo author," this movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 4 interior illustrations from the film. Tully also authored one of the first novels critical of Hollywood, Jarnegan (1926).

Camille, by Alexandre Dumas. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1927.
To emphasize the importance of this film, this "edition de luxe" features a pictorial dust jacket (with a Norma Talmadge printed autograph) and 14 sepia-toned interior illustrations from the film.

 (Section 5) Rudolph Valentino:

Rudolph Valentino (1895 – 1926) was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era. His sudden death at age 31 made news around the world. More than 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City to pay their respects at his funeral. A few heartbroken fans even took their own lives.

Born in Italy, Valentino made his way as a young man to the United States, where he worked as a dancer and stage actor before gaining small parts in various films in the late Teens. His big break came with The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), in which he famously danced the Tango (a dance then considered somewhat risqué). With the release later that year of The Sheik (1921), Valentino skyrocketed to fame. His dark good looks and smoldering sensuality typed him as a "Latin Lover," though he was in fact a gifted actor capable of playing many different roles. The actor's other films include Camille (1921), Moran of the Lady Letty (1922 - filmed in San Francisco), Beyond the Rocks  (1922 - with Gloria Swanson), and his final film, The Son of the Sheik (1926).

Valentino's was one of the defining personalities of the Jazz Age. His fame was so great - and interest in the actor so extensive - that everything he did was closely watched. When Valentino grew a beard, so did other men. When he wore a bracelet, it became a fashion. Even the way he kissed a woman's hand sparked a public craze.
This display includes examples of the kinds of books found in the other four cases - books by the actor, books about the actor, and photoplay editions of the books which were the basis of his films. Even in death, Valentino was legend. After his passing, a number of tributes were published, as were biographies and memoirs by those who knew him. In the 1950's and 1960's, three books were issued by those who claimed to have been in psychic communication with the then long deceased actor.

The books in this case come from the collection of Valentino scholar, collector and author Donna Hill, a San Francisco resident. Her 2010 pictorial, Rudolph Valentino - The Silent Idol His Life in Photographs, is the most recent title in the ever expanding Valentino bibliography. It is available through the San Francisco Public Library.

Daydreams, by Rudolph Valentino. New York: MacFadden Publications, Inc., 1923.
A book of poems authored by the popular actor.

Daydreams, by Rudolph Valentino. London: Hurst and Blackett, Ltd., 1924.
The UK edition of Valentino's poetry, published to coincide with the UK release of Valentino’s 1924 film Monsieur Beaucaire.

My Private Diary, by Rudolph Valentino. Chicago: Occult Pub. Co., 1929.
Valentino's travel diaries recount his first trip back to Europe after becoming a star. This book was available in hardback as well as paperback, and was originally serialized in Movie Weekly Magazine in 1924.

The Shriek: A Satirical Burlesque by Charles Somerville.  New York: W. J. Watt & Co, 1922.
A “palpitant Passionut” burlesque of the hottest novel of the decade.

Valentino As I Knew Him, by George S. Ullman.  New York: Macy-Masius, 1926.
Rushed to print a scant two months after Valentino’s death, this book promised an intimate glimpse into the life of the late star. It was also published in the UK, France, Finland and elsewhere.

Rudy: an Intimate Portrait of Rudolph Valentino, by Natacha Rambova.  London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1926.
Valentino and Rambova were married for a short while in the early 1920s. This volume only had one printing, as stipulated by the author. It is very difficult to locate in its original dust jacket.

Rudolph Valentino. Recollections, by Natacha Rambova. New York: Jacobsen-Hodgkinson Corp., 1927.
An abridged version of Rambova's book, here published as an inexpensive soft cover.

Rudolph Valentino: His Romantic Life and Death, by Ben-Allah. Hollywood, Calif: Ben-Allah Co., 1926.
A self-published tribute issued after Valentino's death in August, 1926.

Valentino, the Unforgotten, by Roger C. Peterson. Los Angeles, Calif: Wetzel Pub. Co., 1937.
Issued a decade after Valentino's death, these recollections chronicle the fans who made the pilgrimage to the actor's gravesite. It's author was a cemetery worker in Hollywood.

Remember Valentino: Reminiscences of the World's Greatest Lover, by Beulah Livingstone. New York: Strand Press, 1938.
Personal recollections of Valentino by a journalist and friend that includes synopses of his last two films, The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik. This book was published to coincide with the well-received 1938 reissue of the two films.

Beyond the Rocks
, by Glyn, Elinor. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1922.
This movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 4 interior illustrations from the film.

Blood and Sand, by Vincente Ibáñez Blasco. New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1922.
Blasco was a world famous Spanish novelist who also authored The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the basis for another Valentino film. This movie tie-in features a pictorial dust jacket and 16 interior illustrations from the film. This particular edition can be difficult to locate in any form, and is nearly impossible to find in dust jacket.

Cobra, by Martin Brown and Russell Holman. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1925.
This movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket and 16 interior illustrations from the film.

Cobra, by Martin Brown and Russell Holman. London: Readers Library Pub. Co, 1925.
This UK movie tie-in edition features only a pictorial dust jacket. The UK movie tie-in were seldom as elaborate as their American counterparts.

The Eagle: The Story of the Film
, by Hayter Preston and Henry Savage. London: Readers Library Pub. Co, 1926.
This UK movie tie-in edition features a pictorial dust jacket, and is without any interior illustrations.

Monsieur Beaucaire
, by Booth Tarkington. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1924.
Tarkington was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. This movie tie-in features a pictorial dust jacket and 6 interior illustrations from the film.

The Sheik, by E. M. Hull. London: Readers Library Pub. Co, 1922.
This UK movie tie-in features a pictorial dust jacket and 1 interior illustration from the film.

# # # # #

Though not included in the exhibit, this rare softcover photoplay
edition speaks volumes about the silent era.
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