What Does Hollywood Think of Herself?: September 29, 1924 (National Silent Movie Day)

Very little is left of The Legend of Hollywood

This is part of the National Silent Movie Day Blogathon. Be sure to visit the other entries!

To celebrate National Silent Movie Day, I want to remember a lost film. The Library of Congress estimates that 75% of all American silent films are gone. Some are mourned because they were an important part of film history, like Tod Browning’s London After Midnight (1927) and F.W. Murnau’s Four Devils (1928), but most are utterly forgotten, even ones that provided “excellent entertainment.” All we have left of the filmmakers’ hard work are reviews, ads, and still photos.

On this day in 1924, Los Angeles Times film journalist Grace Kingsley noticed how much film people already liked to make movies about themselves in her review of The Legend of Hollywood:

Hollywood is getting to be the greatest heroine of them all! I wonder what she thinks as she sits on her seven or eleven hills and looks at herself in the movies!

She is the heroine again in The Legend of Hollywood, which is the attraction at the California, and which provides excellent entertainment whether you feel that Hollywood is done entire justice to or not.

Everyone having been funny about the town—or melodramatic—Frank Condon, who knows his Hollywood, took it into his head to show up the other side of the pattern that fate weaves about the ambitious screen folk. So he takes a whack at the soul drama.

And what types he gives us! The heroine (ZaSu Pitts) is a perfectly hopeless girl from a small Middle West town, who has about as much chance of making good in pictures as Emily Fitzroy would as a trapeze performer, or as Mildred Harris would have in writing a dictionary.* She is homely, without the slightest sex appeal, with no dramatic gifts and she ends by being a waitress in an actors’ boarding house. The hero (Percy Marmont) is an author, who believes in himself, but who can’t get any producers to put on his stories. Not much of a hero or heroine—just folks, but as such full of the great commonplace drama of the world.

If you expect to see breast-beatings and eye-rollings, don’t go to the California. If you do want to see a bit of plaintive life unrolled, you will like the picture.

Well before Argo (2012) or even Sunset Blvd. (1950), Hollywood has found itself to be fascinating.

Legend was based on an article written by newspaperman-turned-magazine writer Frank Condon, from the March 1924 issue of the fan magazine Photoplay. Film production moved fast then: the movie was funded, written, staffed, shot, edited, and in theaters just five months later!

Another movie based on a Condon story, Hollywood, had been a success a year earlier. It’s presumed lost, too, but because it was directed by James Cruze and has 30 cameos from some of the biggest stars of the time, it’s on “most wanted” lost films lists.

Condon’s article recounted some gossip he’d heard in a drug store on Hollywood Blvd. and again at a party at Adolph Menjou’s house. A failing scriptwriter’s landlady threatened to evict him in a week, and in desperation, he filled seven glasses with wine, put poison in one of them and shuffled them. He drank one a day. On the seventh day, he drank his final glass. Just as he was certain to die, he received a check for an accepted story. Then he learned that the boarding house maid, who loved him, had replaced the glass. He married her and they presumably lived happily ever after. Condon tried to track down the screenwriter but hadn’t been about to find him. So Photoplay offered a thousand-dollar reward to the man, if he’d let them publish his name and photograph.

By August 1924, nobody had come forward to claim the reward and the mystery hadn’t been solved. It was probably just an urban legend; after all, playing Russian roulette with wine is an excessively strange way to die by suicide. In her review Kingsley pointed out another big problem with the story: Hollywood aspirants didn’t live in boarding houses, “they live in apartments and single rooms, the poor ones cooking and washing for themselves.”

Kingsley wasn’t the only reviewer who appreciated The Legend of Hollywood. Wid Gunning in the trade magazine Film Daily admired it, but he recommended:

Don’t herald this as greatest of the year, but you can sell it pretty hard as exceptionally human and appealing story of real life in Hollywood. Properly exploited it should get good business because of the interesting life of studio workers. It is slender and really is characterization study centered on two players. There is one great idea and some corking suspense developed up to one good climax which makes it much more effective than many yarns that have twenty times as much material with none of it carrying a wallop.

As it is you will have to sell your gang on the fact that this is an exceptionally human, real story of the real struggles of folks who try to get into pictures in Hollywood.

Selling a quiet character study that aspires to art has always been a problem. Variety saw the same difficulty: “The Legend of Hollywood has more substance to it than the average picture for the neighborhood theaters, but it has been spread too thinly over too much territory.”

Legend did not fare well in those smaller theaters. Even in 1924 there was a big disparity between what critics liked and what audiences wanted.  Exhibitors’ Herald published notes from theater managers about what the audiences thought of the movies they ran, and their reactions to Legend were blunt and nasty:

  • “The Pathe slow motion pictures have nothing on this. It is the slowest dragged-out picture we have ever run. Poor business.” (Crescent Theater, Newark NY, November 29, 1924)
  • “Rotten, in fact so rotten that we have had to dodge some of our patrons for the past two weeks. One patron asked for money back—another said he’d have gone mad if it would have lasted 15 minutes longer.” (Kreighbaum Bros. Char-Bell Theater, Rochester IN, March 7, 1925)
  • “Absolutely the worst picture I ever played. I can see no excuse for any company issuing such a film as this and also having the crust to charge the price they do. Take my advice, brother exhibitors, and stay clear of this and, if you have it booked, tell them to keep it even if you have to pay for it.” (W.A. Doerschlag, Stand Theater, Ransom KS, April 25, 1925)

Despite this, the people involved with Legend had much better luck in Hollywood than John Smith and Mary Brown. Percy Marmont went on to a long career on stage and screen, including co-starring with Clara Bow in Mantrap (1926) and playing David Livingstone in a 1936 biopic. Zasu Pitts’ career was equally varied. She was mostly known for comedy (particularly for a series of 17 shorts she made with Thelma Todd for Hal Roach in the early 1930’s) but she was also Erich von Stroheim’s favorite dramatic actress, and her work in Greed (1924) was especially memorable. Director Renaud Hoffman continued to direct and produce low-budget films throughout the 1920’s, then he became a screenwriter.

But the most successful crew member was the cinematographer, Karl Struss. He went on to shoot Ben-Hur (1925), Sparrows (1926) and The Great Dictator (1940). He won the first Best Cinematography Oscar, along with Charles Rosher, for Sunrise (1927) and he got nominated three more times, for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), The Sign of the Cross (1934) and Aloma of the South Seas (1941).

To answer Kingsley’s question about what does Hollywood think of herself, The Legend of Hollywood’s version of the story was that aspiring to make movies is awfully unglamorous, difficult, and often in vain. So let’s preserve what we can of what did get made.

Happy National Silent Movie Day!

*Emily Fitzroy was a theatrical and film actress who often played society women and mothers, and being a trapeze performer probably never crossed her mind. However, Kingsley’s remark about Mildred Harris was unkind. She had been a child actress, so her education might have been inadequate for dictionary writing, but people only thought she was stupid because her ex-husband said she was. When she was 16 years old, 29-year-old Charlie Chaplin married her, and when they separated the following year, he told people she wasn’t his “intellectual equal.” The poor woman had enough trouble without nasty remarks from Kingsley!

Frank Condon, “The Legend of Hollywood,” Photoplay, March 1924, p. 34-36, 114-117.

The Legend of Hollywood,” Variety, December 3, 1924, p. 31.

The Legend of Hollywood on the Screen,” Photoplay, August 1924, p. 34.

David Pierce, “The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929.” September 2013.

“Simple But Effective Little Story of a Writer’s Struggles,” Film Daily, December 25, 1924, p. 82.

“What the Picture Did for Me,” Exhibitors Herald, November 29, 1924, p.75.

“What the Picture Did for Me,” Exhibitors Herald, March 7, 1925, p. 80.

“What the Picture Did for Me,” Exhibitors Herald, April 25, 1925, p. 70.

Please visit the rest of the Blogathon!

With Friends Like These: Week of September 24th, 1921

Exhibitors’ Herald, April 9, 1921

One hundred years ago, Grace Kingsley had yet another slow news week. The most interesting story she wrote was about a surprise wedding:

Climaxing a romance which resulted from their close association during the filming of The Affairs of Anatole, showing at Grauman’s Rialto at present, William Boyd and Ruth Miller, Famous Players-Lasky players, are on their honeymoon trip today. They were married Saturday night at the home of Sylvia Ashton. Though a good-natured prank, the wedding ceremony was performed a day ahead of the scheduled time.

Telling the bride that he wished them to pose for a picture, a friend of the pair induced Miss Miller to array herself in her wedding finery and stand at Boyd’s side for the photograph. The electric lights were switched off, then on again, and there stood a minister behind the couple, waiting to perform the ceremony, to which both the principles consented.

Kingsley concluded: “They did not announce to friends the destination of their honeymoon trip.” With friends like theirs, I’d keep it secret too! Who knows what they’d arrange for them, wherever they went.

Ruth Miller (and Gloria Swanson’s foot), The Affairs of Anatole (1921)

Ruth Miller and William Boyd both had uncredited roles in Anatole: Miller played a lady’s maid and Boyd a party guest. Their marriage lasted until 1924. Ruth Miller got married once more, in 1927 to cinematographer Blake Wagner, and stopped acting after the birth of their son. Wagner went on to become a make-up artist, which is an unusual career progression.

William Boyd

William Boyd’s life and career was even more eventful. He continued to work with Cecil B. De Mille, and in the mid-1920’s he became a leading man. Unfortunately, in 1931 a newspaper mistook him for another actor named William Boyd who was arrested, and his studio ended his contract. In 1935, broke and unemployed, he got the part of Hopalong Cassidy, and the films were a hit. More than sixty-five “Hoppy” movies were made. In 1948 he and his fifth wife bought the television rights to those movies and resold them to the new medium, making him one of the first national TV stars. The films’ popularity inspired a radio show, comic strip, and a big demand for product endorsements. In 1953 he sold all his interests in William Boyd Enterprises for 8 million dollars and retired to Palm Dessert.

Nevertheless, I’ve been noticing that Grace Kingsley has been sidelined more and more at work. As this is the least dull story I can find from this week, I think I need to change my blog schedule. Starting in October, I’m going to switch to posting twice a month so I’ll have more material to choose from. When Kingsley gets some interesting writing assignments, it’ll go back to weekly.


“William Boyd Dies at 77,” Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1972.

A Melodramatic Love Life: Week of September 17th, 1921

Ruth Renick and Edward Hearn in The Fire Bride (1922). Hearn played a first mate, not a captain, but close enough

One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley told a cute story about an actress who went on to have an even more eventful love life:

Going down to the South Sea Islands doesn’t seem to have taken a bit of pep out of Ruth Renick, who plays the leading feminine role in the Far East Production’s feature, The Lagoon of Desire, which is being made in Tahiti. Here’s an excerpt from her diary, which she sent me in lieu of a letter:

First day out: Sea rough, but am not seasick.

Second day: Gave the first-class passengers the once over and found them rather uninteresting.

Third day: Met the captain and found him exceedingly interesting.

Fourth day: Walked with the captain on the promenade deck. He wanted to kiss me, but nothing doing.

Fifth day: The captain swore that he would sink the ship if I refused to kiss him.

Sixth day: Saved a thousand lives.

What a brave act of self-sacrifice! I’m sure her fellow passengers were grateful.

Renick and the film crew had left for Tahiti in August, and they returned to Los Angeles in November. Their movie’s title was changed to The Fire Bride, and it told the story of American treasure hunters looking for gold on a South Sea island. When it came out in 1922, C.S. Sewell in Moving Picture World thought that the tropical scenery was striking and beautiful, but the story wasn’t always convincing, and the cast was merely satisfactory. It’s a lost film.

Ruth Renick

Even though the film wasn’t a big hit, Ruth Renick continued to work in both film and on stage. Born Ruth Griffith in Colorado City, Texas in 1893, she got her start as an actress in stock companies in the 1910’s. She became a film actress in 1919; her most remembered role was as Douglas Fairbanks’ leading lady in The Mollycoddle (1920).

Douglas Fairbanks and Ruth Renick, The Mollycoddle (1920)

She returned to the stage at the Fulton Theater in Oakland, and that’s where her personal life again got featured in the newspapers. In early 1924, her family got a telegram that she’d married one Wellington L. Belford. As the Newspaper Enterprise Association Service (January 15, 1922) reported,

He was a brilliant conversationalist, was clever with magic tricks and claimed to possess hypnotic powers. The romance was short and snappy. Marriage followed quickly. In fact, it happened so mysteriously that relatives of Miss Renick investigated.

It turned out that the wedding was mysterious because it wasn’t real. An Associated Press story (January 13, 1922) told what happened next:

Wellington L. Belford was arrested today in the honeymoon suite of a fashionable Oakland hotel as a result of information furnished by J.C. Walden, brother-in-law of Miss Ruth Renick, screen and vaudeville actress, who claims to be Belford’s bride. Belford, who is charged with impersonating an army officer, is quoted as saying he was not married.

Perth Amboy Evening News, February 4, 1924.

I thought that fake marriages only happened in fiction! Apparently, that wasn’t as much of a problem as impersonating an Army major. When a judge asked him why he was wearing an officer’s uniform, Belford said “It pleases my vanity.” He told the police that he was a screenwriter. He paid $500 bail and promptly disappeared, last seen “on the seat of a baggage truck which was taking his belongings from an expensive suite at the Hotel Oakland.” He had a good reason to leave: the police soon got a telegram from authorities in Detroit where he was wanted on a charge of embezzling $15,000. Then detectives in New York chimed in, with news that he was implicated in a bank swindle at New Rochelle.

The cops finally tracked him down in 1925, and they tricked him into crossing the Canadian border near Seattle where they promptly arrested him and sent him back to Detroit. There were no more newspaper stories about what happened next (except for one in 1928 that said the impersonating an officer charges were dismissed), but if the papers were correct and his name really was Martin Livingston Belfort, then by 1930 he was still in Detroit and working as a sales manager for a car company. In 1933 he married Anna Mae Pulver, a public school teacher, and they divorced in 1939. In 1940 he remained in Detroit, but he’d opened his own insurance agency. He died on September 26, 1968.

Newspapers mentioned that Renick tried to annul the marriage, but the courts told her they couldn’t annul something that didn’t happen. Renick got through the public embarrassment and continued to act on stage and in film. She married James F. Lee Jr., a newspaper reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner, on June 25, 1936 and she died on May 7, 1984 in Los Angeles, where she’s buried in the Hollywood Forever cemetary.

“Belford May Be Wanted in Detroit; Girl’s Mother Comes,” Santa Cruz Evening News, January 14, 1924.

The Fire Bride,” Moving Picture World, March 25, 1922, p.404.

“Hypnotism—Or Wedding?” Perth Amboy Evening News, February 4, 1924.

“’Love Pirate’ Gets Case Dismissed,” San Francisco Examiner, September 16, 1928.

“Maj. Bedford Arrested in Oakland, Cal.” Marshall Evening Chronicle, January 15, 1924.

“’Major’ Belford is Wanted in Swindle,” Los Angeles Daily News, January 15, 1924.

“Number Seek Bogus Major,” San Bernardino Sun, January 16, 1924.

“Police Intrude on Unlicensed Honeymoon and ‘Groom’ Jailed,” Humboldt Times, January 13, 1924.

‘A Jitney Jury:’ Week of September 10th, 1921

Virginia Rappe

One hundred years ago this week, a tragedy occurred that still has writers like James Reidel and Popegrutch trying to figure out exactly what happened. Grace Kingsley didn’t offer her opinion about what went on, but she was there to describe some of what people in Hollywood had to say about it:

The Los Angeles motion-picture colony is stirred as never before in its somewhat lively history by the sensational Arbuckle-Rappe case and the indictment of Roscoe Arbuckle on the charge of manslaughter. There’s a jitney jury on every studio set, sitting out the death watch. Groups of picture players gather about at every pause in the film work to discuss developments in the case. Opinions and sympathies are as diverse as the four quarters of the earth regarding the truth of the charges made against Arbuckle and concerning the outcome of his probably trial.

Some paint Arbuckle as a behalo’d saint. Others are busy all day hacking his monogram.

Buster Keaton

Gloom so thick you can cut it with a knife has gathered over most of the picture folk, especially in studios where Arbuckle is intimately known. Buster Keaton’s studio suspended work for two days following the arrest of the comedian. Mr. Keaton was one of Arbuckle’s comedians before he branched out as a star on his own.

“We just couldn’t work,” said Buster with a real choke in his voice and tears in his eyes. To those who know Buster this rare show of feeling reveals how deep his emotions in this matter really are.

At the Lasky studio, where Arbuckle was so well known and so well liked, and at the Realart studio, the crepe stuff is simply gumming up the breezes. Comedians are playing their scenes with the muffler on; leading ladies in sob stories find it very easy to weep. Every edition of the papers is brought to the studios, and a running fire of explosive comment accompanies the reading of each fresh page, along with the murmured obbligato of independent conjecture and gossip.

Wallace Reid — his death due to morphine addiction in 1923 caused another scandal

Not everybody wanted to be part of that jitney jury: some just wanted the subject to go away. At a party at Wallace Reid’s house, they tried to chat and play billiards, “but there was an indefinable sadness over everybody. Somebody said something about how dreadful it all was, and Mr. Reid turned quickly. ‘We aren’t talking about that,’ he remonstrated sharply.”

Like Kingsley, I don’t have a useful opinion to add to the enormous pile of stuff already written about the case. Gilbert King wrote an even-handed summary of it for the Smithsonian Magazine, if you want an overview. 

April 15, 1922

However, I did learn how eager some filmgoers were to forgive Arbuckle after he was acquitted at his third trial on Wednesday, April 12, 1922. His movie Gasoline Gus had been withdrawn from the Million Dollar Theater on the same day that the first newspaper reports appeared that linked Arbuckle to Rappe’s death (September 10, 1921), and the film was returned to the screen nearly as quickly after the acquittal. It opened at the New Garrick Theater on April 15th, 1922 and Kingsley’s report and review appeared on the 17th. She mentioned that he was back in Los Angeles, then said:

Fatty’s celluloid double came back in Gasoline Gus, too, at the Garrick, and was greeted by crowds, who cheered and applauded him, both Saturday and yesterday.

If the comedian had arranged a professional come-back himself, he couldn’t have stage-managed the job as Fate did it for him. For the audiences weren’t professional audiences who greeted him, but the fans who have waited all this time for another booming laugh, such as only Fatty and a few others can give them. And they cheered his first appearance on the screen and applauded when the picture was finished and laughed in between.

Gasoline Gus is perhaps the best picture which Fatty Arbuckle ever made. In it he has returned to his old jazz comedy, the comedy of whimsical gags, of funny falls and of his own peculiar style of romping through the picture. Yet there is pathos, too, and there is a lot of thrilling suspense and action. It was showing at Grauman’s and was taken off when Arbuckle was arrested.

April 16, 1922

So it seemed like audiences were ready to go to his movies. On April 17th, the Times reported that Paramount studio president Adolph Zukor had wired the West Coast studio that they would immediately release three pictures that Arbuckle had already finished for them, Gasoline Gus, Freight Prepaid and Leap Year.  Zukor said, “We are confident the American public is eminently fair and realize by this time that Arbuckle has been the victim of unfortunate circumstances.”

However, on April 18th, Will Hays, in his first act as the head of the brand-new Motion Picture Producers and Distributors organization, officially banned Arbuckle from appearing on the screen. Bert Lennon, the publicity director at the New Garrick Theater, told the Times that they would abide by his decision. They replaced Gasoline Gus with a Cecil B. De Mille comedy, Saturday Night, which had run earlier that year. Hays changed his mind eight months later, but by then it was too late, and Arbuckle never had the same success as a film actor. Needing work, he returned to touring in vaudeville and directing films.

“Arbuckle Film Withdrawn,” Los Angeles Times, September 12, 1921.

“Ban Put on Arbuckle,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1922.

“Fatty Has Three Releases,” Los Angeles Times, April 17, 1922.

“Mystery Death Takes Actress,” Los Angeles Times, September 10, 1921.

Edwin Schallert, “Reviews,” Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1921.

A Cheerful Home: Week of September 3rd, 1921

The Hollywood Studio Club on Carlos Ave.

One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley told readers that young aspiring actresses weren’t always victims of leering studio bosses, if they lived at the Hollywood Studio Club:

“Oh, what a beautiful, big, cheerful home,” I had exclaimed an hour earlier, as we rounded a corner of Carlos Street, out in Hollywood, when there burst on my view a big colonial house, its windows all alight, while the sound of cheerful voices floated out to me from all the windows.

The club is for all the world like a college girls’ sorority.

Fundraising for the HSC

The article’s purpose wasn’t only to reassure the public that women in Hollywood could live in a clean, affordable, and chaperoned place, they were also starting a fundraising drive to build another dormitory to house “young girls who came in crowds to the city, seeking work in pictures.” Kingsley thought it was a worthwhile project, and said:

Let those who rail against the motion-picture business take a peep at this home. Then let them stop howling for a moment, while they dig down in their jeans to help the cause, focusing their minds carefully, meanwhile, on the hardships and trials of these girls, with their earnest ambitions, their struggles, their determination to keep their lives wholesome and straight at any cost.

At least the industry acknowledged that there was a problem of skeevy men preying on vulnerable women, and they helped fund the Club. The Hollywood Studio Club was founded in 1916 by a librarian, Eleanor Jones, who had noticed aspiring actresses forming a play-reading club at the Hollywood Branch library. She was worried about their safety, so she asked the YWCA to help start a place for them to gather. She went on to get donations from studios and businesses, and they rented that house on Carlos Avenue with enough space for 20 women to live.

The fundraising efforts that Kingsley wrote about took awhile, but in 1926, they built a larger building on Lodi Place, designed by architect Julia Morgan. It could house 88 women. Open to any woman who was looking for a career in motion pictures, they offered two meals a day, performing arts classes, job bulletin boards and rehearsal rooms. Residents were limited to living there for 3 years.

The second Hollywood Studio Club

The HSC provided a home for thousands of women over the decades, but by the mid-1960’s ideas about women being able to look after themselves had changed and it began to lose money. It closed in 1975. Since 2018 it’s been crisis housing for women, run by the city of Los Angeles.

A few of the women who lived there did succeed in the movie business, including ZaSu Pitts, Janet Gaynor, Linda Darnell, Marilyn Monroe, and Rita Moreno, but most did not, including the woman Kingsley chose as a sample resident, Ethel Kaye. Here’s her story:

One day she sat looking about her apartment. It wasn’t a bit of trouble to see it all from where she sat. And from that vantage point she saw also that her cupboard resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s in the painful particular in the childish classic. She shook her purse, and no cheerful jingle proceeded therefrom. Just then (even at the risk of having this sound like a melodrama, I’ve got to tell the truth), in came the landlady with the usual conversation about the rent. So she’d have to leave. And she didn’t have money enough to buy her dinner!

But at that very moment, the telephone rang, knocking in the head the usual take-your-trunk-and-get-out business.

“Come on over to the Studio Club, dearie!” came a voice over the wire. “We’ve got a room for you now!” Never was message so sweet to a girl’s ears. The girl went over to the Hollywood Studio clubhouse and was met at the door by Miss [Marion] Hunter.

“Do—do I have to pay in advance?” she asked in trembling tones.

“Come in, my dear! Of course not! You may wait until you get work.”

That really happened, and the girls was a picture actress who is well on her way to fame now. Her name is Ethel Kaye. She has just been engaged to play the lead in the Goldwyn feature, Hungry Hearts.

“And I could never have held on,” explained Miss Kaye to me, “if it hadn’t been for the Studio Club.”

Kingsley didn’t know it, but Ethel Kaye was an excellent example, because like so many women who lived at the Studio Club, she didn’t become a star. After small roles in The New Moon (1919) and a serial called Trailed By Three (1920) in New York, she came to California where she had another small part in Heroes and Husbands (1922). Then she had that big break Kingsley mentioned, which she had announced a few days earlier:

Another young genius has been discovered by Samuel Goldwyn, who is doing a vast lot of Columbusing these days. She is Ethel Kaye, a very beautiful young girl, a Russian, and she is to play the leading role in Anzia Yezierska’s Hungry Hearts, when that picture goes into production soon…Singularly enough Miss Kaye has undergone some of the difficulties, hardships and some of the spectacular adventures as well, which she will portray on the screen, and which the author herself suffered.

The stuff about her adventures and being from Russian herself was probably nonsense; she told the 1930 census taker she was born in New York to parents from New York and Connecticut. Sadly, just as she thought her career was turning around, she got sick and was replaced as the lead in Hungry Hearts by Helen Ferguson. Kaye didn’t appear in any more movie credits after that. The following year she decided to give up and return to New York, where she married a dentist, James Henegan. Nevertheless, the Hollywood Studio Club did exactly what it was supposed to do for her: gave her a safe place to live until she realized her dreams of stardom weren’t going to happen. She didn’t become a cautionary tale for other young women.

Hungry Hearts with Helen Ferguson and Bryant Washburn

Ironically, the Studio Club article appeared in the paper during the same Labor Day weekend that Virginia Rappe went to a party in Roscoe Arbuckle’s hotel room in San Francisco, and people are still discussing what happened there. Kingsley’s stories about that will start next week.

If you’d like to learn more about the Hollywood Studio Club, Mary Mallory has blogged about it and Cari Beauchamp wrote an article for Vanity Fair.

“Ethel Kay to Flit,” Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1922.

“Goldwyn Studio Activities,” Motion Picture News, October 22, 1921, p.2179.

In just a few weeks, it will be National Silent Movie Day! If you’d like to contribute a blog post, visit Silent-ology or In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood for more information.