The Little Jazz Baby

Good day, readers!  I have a huge announcement just in time for Christmas!  My new blog, The Little Jazz Baby, is now open for business and looking for readers and subscribers!

Jazz Baby

If you love old jazz, art, fashion, silent film, and the 1920s in general, this blog is for you.  And for those of you who have missed the weekly feature Silent Star Saturday on this blog, it’s making a comeback on The Little Jazz Baby, so stay tuned, folks!  I promised you (repeatedly :p) that this was coming, and now it is here.

Please, please, please drop by and tell me what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right.  I really appreciate feedback from you guys.  You’re the best readers ever.  I’ve missed you!

Coming Soon On the New Blog

  • Silent Star Saturday (as promised over and over again for the past several months)
  • Special offers/giveaways/promotions  I am still in the planning stages on this one, folks.  I am planning on perhaps featuring one star for the whole month and giving away memorabilia related to that star.  And I am looking for anyone who would like to have their projects promoted.
  • Jazz Age art, music, fashion, and more Posts and resources for all things related to the 1920s.  This could even include modern things that have a Jazz Age flair to them…good, bad, or indifferent.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to get a hold of me at any time and left me know what’s up.

To check out the new blog, just follow this link~~> The Little Jazz Baby

I can’t wait to see you there!


Silent Star Saturday is Moving

Clara Bow, a popular silent film star who made...

Clara Bow was the first star I wrote about on this blog. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I promised you all that Silent Star Saturday would be returning this weekend…but I kinda told you a lie.   It will never be returning to this blog.

Now you all are thinking, “Holy cow, Angie, why would you kill one of your best liked series on this blog?  Are you dumb or something?”

Sure, I might be dumb…or something…but before you think I have lost my mind, I am not completely getting rid of Silent Star Saturday.  I’m not that stupid!  I love doing the research for it and sharing my favorite stars with all of you.  However, I am making a lot of changes to this blog and am trying to see what works and what doesn’t.  Silent Star Saturday definitely works as far as bringing in traffic, but it really does not belong here, does it?

Knowing that it is out-of-place here, I have decided to give Silent Star Saturday a new home on a brand new blog.  It will launch on October 6, 2012 at 4am CST.   I only plan on updating the blog once a week on Saturdays, but will be creating a Facebook page for it that will have regular updates, trivia, photographs, video, etc.   My older blog posts for this series will also be available on the new blog.

Details about the brand spankin’ new Silent Star Saturday blog will be coming soon on The Daily Hottentots, so please stay tuned and tell me what you think!

Silent Star Saturday Will Return Next Week!

Star Theater - Weiser, ID

Star Theater – Weiser, ID (Photo credit: Nick / KC7CBF)

For those of you who love Silent Star Saturday as much as I do, you will be happy to know that it is returning next week.  I did not have time this week to prepare a post.  This weekly series requires a lot of attention and research, and I had a crap ton of research on dozens of stars on my old computer, but all that was lost when the comp died.  Just please bear with me a little while longer because I am trying to get things in order after the disastrous couple months I have had.

For now I will give you a short list of the stars I had in mind to feature in the next post for Silent Star Saturday.

  1. May McAvoy
  2. Viola Dana
  3. Anita Garvin
  4. Babe London
  5. ZaSu Pitts

If you have any suggestions feel free to let me know how you would like to see featured.  Please make it a female star.  I do my posts boy, girl, boy, girl, you see.   If you like the ladies on my  short list, please tell me which one you like best in the comments below, or you can vote for her in the following poll.

Thanks so much for understanding about the issues I have had lately.  I promise that things will be back to normal soon!

Silent Star Saturday—Larry Semon, a Cartoonist Turned Big Screen Clown

Larry Semon

Larry Semon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time, when Hollywood was in its infancy, moviegoers fell in love with Larry Semon, a man with a ghostly white face and broad, tight-lipped smile.  He was one of the early clowns of silent cinema, and at the height of his popularity, he brought in $5,000 per week, which is a huge sum by today’s standards, let alone nearly a century ago.  However, his popularity (and his fortune) wouldn’t last.  He sank into obscurity, and most modern audiences are unfamiliar with his name or his long list of films. (more…)

Silent Star Saturday—5 Great Films by the Great Stone Face, Buster Keaton

Happy Saturday, everyone!  It’s time for another edition of Silent Star Saturday.  Believe it or not, this is my favorite day to post on the Daily Hottentots because I just love yapping about old Hollywood and silent pictures.

This series is turning out to be a big hit!  I was delighted when the Clara Bow Archive shared my post on Clara Bow, and last week’s piece on Olive Thomas was very well received.  I am glad that everyone is enjoying these posts, and please keep those likes, comments, and shares coming!  And do not hesitate to contact me and let me know if you have a favorite star you want to see featured on Silent Star Saturday.

This week I am going to do something a wee bit different.  Instead of writing out a mini bio and highlighting one motion picture, I am going to share my top five favorite Buster Keaton films with you.

Buster Keaton's Eyes

Buster Keaton’s eyes peeping at Marceline Day from behind an old Pathé camera in 1928’s The Cameraman.  *sigh*


5 Laurel and Hardy Films That Comedy Fans Must See

English: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the o...

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the opening scenes of their 1939 RKO picture The Flying Deuces. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everybody knows that I am a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy.  I have seen most of their pictures 10 times over (probably more in some cases) and have them committed to memory from beginning to end.  They are the greatest comedy team to ever grace the silver screen.

If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who is a member of the worldwide Laurel and Hardy fan club, the Sons of the Desert.  Stan Laurel gave his blessing for the club, and today the Sons of the Desert has thousands of members worldwide in tents named after L&H films.  The tent here in St. Louis, for example, takes its name from Babes in Toyland.

The moment you start watching any of their pictures, it becomes obvious why generation after generation falls head over heels for them.  Even their worst stuff is watchable and funnier than the rubbish that passes for comedy these days. (more…)

Silent Star Saturday—The Original Flapper, Olive Thomas

Olive Thomas at the New Amsterdam Theatre

Olive Thomas at the New Amsterdam Theatre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse” perfectly describes actress and model, Olive Thomas.  She did all three.

She was born Oliva R. Duffy in the tiny Pittsburgh-area borough of Charleroi, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1894.  At just 16 years old, she left her widowed mother’s home and married a man named Bernard Krugh Thomas.  The marriage didn’t last long.  Olive and Bernard divorced just two years later in 1913, and she left Pennsylvania to for New York City to stay with an aunt.

And New York City is where her legend began…. (more…)

Silent Star Saturday—The Original “It Girl” Clara Bow

Happy Saturday to all!  As fans on my Facebook page probably already know by now, today marks the first installment of a new weekly series here at the Daily Hottentots called Silent Star Saturday.   Each week will feature the people who made Hollywood what it is today.  You may recognize some of the names instantly (some of these stars went on to have lucrative careers in sound pictures), and there might be some you don’t recognize because their careers faded into obscurity once the silent era ended.  Whatever the case might be, I hope that you find this new series informative and entertaining.

First up is Hollywood’s original “It Girl”, America’s first sex symbol, Clara Bow.

Publicity photo of Clara Bow from Stars of the...

Publicity photo of Clara Bow from Stars of the Photoplay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clara was born into extreme poverty on July 29, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York.  She had a terrible home life.  Her mother was mentally ill and threatened to slit her throat in the middle of the night, causing Clara to suffer from insomnia for the rest of her life, and her father was an alcoholic who physically and mentally abused her.

In 1921, when Clara was just 16 years old, she entered the “Fame and Fortune” contest held by Motion Picture Magazine.  She went to a photographer and paid a dollar to pose for photographs wearing her mother’s old, worn out dress.  A short while later, she was called back for a screen test, and felt out-of-place among women she considered much prettier than herself, but Clara’s acting ability was so superb that the contest jury unanimously declared her the winner.

Bow went on to play bit parts for the next couple years.  In 1922 she had what was initially an unimportant role (10th billing) in a picture called Down to the Sea in Ships, but she stole plenty of scenes and got moviegoers and movie makers talking.  Two years later, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star with a dozen other women who went on to have rather unimpressive careers.

Cover of "'It' Plus Clara Bow: Discoverin...

DVD Cover of It via Amazon

She was a huge star by the time It came out in 1927, but it was that picture, based in part on Elinor Glyn‘s story of the same name, that made her a legend.   She played a modern, single girl who lived on her own and worked in a large department store.  Bow’s character had her eye on the department store’s owner (played by the handsome Antonio Moreno), and used “it” (a polite way of saying sex appeal) to get him.  And, of course, she did get him.  And Clara was forever known after the release of this film as the “Original It Girl”.

That same year, Clara starred in Wings, which won the very first Oscar for Best Picture.

Busy raking in the dough as one of Paramount’s biggest stars, Clara became a huge magnet for controversy.  There were many stories about her sexual escapades in the tabloids, all of which were untrue.  Clara didn’t need the tabloids to create hot romances for her.  She did that well enough on her own, having very public affairs with Gary Cooper, Victor Fleming, and even Bela Lugosi.  So she wasn’t exactly innocent by any stretch of the imagination, but she wasn’t nearly as sleazy as the rags made her out to be.

In 1931, she finally settled down with one man, cowboy actor turned Nevada politician Rex Bell.  And around this time Clara uneasily entered into sound film.  The microphones above her head made her nervous and she was unsure about the sound of her voice on film.  Her behavior on the set became more volatile, her mental health deteriorating, making her hard to work with.  And in 1933 after making 60 pictures (49 silent and 11 sound), Clara Bow retired from acting.

Her later years were full of mental breakdowns, suicide attempts, and other unhappiness, but that’s not the way I want to remember Clara.  She was one of the stars who shaped Hollywood—and the attitudes in society today.  She was an icon of youth, beauty, and the early sexual revolution.  Wouldn’t you rather think of her this way?  I think she deserves it.

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