Dear Reader #185

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My books are available in a number of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Afrikaans and Swedish. And now a new language for my stories with the translation of my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series into Hindi.

Clara Bow’s twenty-fourth movie wasThe Keeper of the Bees,a silent drama released on September 19, 1925 at Salt Lake City. The movie went on general release on October 18, 1925.

The promotional blurb: “Joseph P. Kennedy presents Clara Bow in her greatest emotional triumph!” However, Variety stated: “Clara Bow acts all over the lot and aside from weeping (her specialty) and swirling around, does little.”

At this stage of her career, B.P. Schulberg was still farming Clara out to substandard productions.

I’m organising the Golden Age of Hollywood Mastodon Mega Movie Poll. Here are the results from Week Three.

Voted for by the movie lovers…

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Dear Reader #184

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s twenty-third movie was The Primrose Path, produced during the summer of 1925 and released on September 15, 1925. Clara played Marilyn Merrill. For this movie, Clara was on ‘loan-out’, a common occurrence for contract players. 

The Primrose Pathwas classified as a ‘daily change’ movie, a movie that played in a theatre for one day then moved on to another town. In other words, it wasn’t very good.

At this stage of her career, Clara was overworked – sixteen movies in eighteen months – and underpaid, but she was making progress. In June 1925, she appeared on the cover ofMotion Picture Classic, her first cover feature. The accompanying article stated: “The truth is, little Clara Bow shows alarming symptoms of becoming the sensation of the year in Hollywood. There is something vital and compelling in her presence. She is the spirit of youth…

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Dear Reader #183

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s twenty-second movie was Parisian Love, another cut-price B.P. Schulberg production filmed in early 1925 and released on August 1, 1925. Clara played Marie, an Apache. The plot of this romantic crime drama starts out well enough, but then becomes complex in the extreme. 

Clara was displaying talent, but the production company she was tied to lacked class. She needed a break. She also needed to sort out her love life, which was more complex than the plot ofParisian Love.

My 9 x great-grandmother Barbara Aubrey was born c1637 in Pencoed, Glamorgan. She married John Bevan in 1665 and from 1683 to 1704 she lived with her family in Pennsylvania. Barbara Aubrey is a ‘gateway’ ancestor, connecting my family with the noble houses of Europe.

Barbara’s parents, my 10 x great grandparents – William Aubrey c1610 – c1660 and Elizabeth Thomas.

William Aubrey’s parents…

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Dear Reader #181

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

In early September 2022, I started Tula, my novel set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, 420 pages and 77,000 words later, I completed the story. Four months of editing to go before publication on July 1, 2023. If you are interested, here are the details

Clara Bow’s twentieth movie was The Scarlet West, an ambitious silent film about the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The movie was produced in the spring of 1925, with location shooting in Colorado, and released on July 26, 1925. Clara played Miriam. Sadly, no copies of the film survive.

A transcribed page from my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan’s journal. In 1704, after twenty-one years in Pennsylvania, along with his wife Barbara and their youngest daughter Barbara, he returned to his estate in Wales. Sadly, daughter Barbara died. John wrote of her: “Her innocence and sweet behaviour preached truth wherever…

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Dear Reader #179

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s eighteenth movie wasEve’s Lover, produced during the early months of 1925 and released on 6 July, 1925. Clara played Rena D’Arcy. This was one of Clara’s ‘loan-out’ movies. She was not the lead actress in this movie, yet her image featured on the lobby cards. Another example of how Clara upstaged everyone, regardless of her status in any given movie.


Born this week, 3 February 1813, in Margam, Wales, my 3 x great grandmother Ann David. Out of wedlock, Ann gave birth to a son, Evan Lewis. In 1847, Ann married a widower, David Jones and they produced two daughters, Mary and Ann. Mary died, aged 70, in an asylum, while Ann married my 2 x great grandfather, William Howe. In the 1880s, their son, and my great grandfather, William Howe acknowledged Evan Lewis as a member of the family by recording his…

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Dear Reader #175

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s fourteenth movie wasBlack Lightning.The movie, produced during the Fall of 1924 and released on December 8, 1924, starred Thunder the Marvel Dog, supported by Clara Bow and “An All Star Cast”.

Thunder the Marvel Dog was a male German Shepherd that appeared in movies between 1923 and 1927. During this era, he had plenty of canine ‘rivals’ including Peter the Great, Napoleon, Rex, Strongheart and, more famously, Rin Tin Tin.

Clara loved dogs. However, the plot of this movie was convoluted and, given her ambitious, she could not have been happy as a support player to a dog. Greater days lay ahead, but at this stage of her career Clara was certainly paying her dues as she made her way in Hollywood.

Frances Gifford’s acting career blossomed in the 1930s and 1940s. Her breakthrough arrived in 1941 when she was cast as Nyoka in…

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Golden Age Actresses #2

Hannah Howe

Born on November 19, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, to a wealthy insurance broker and a socialite mother, Gene Tierney enjoyed a privileged upbringing, which included exclusive schools, extensive travel and glamorous parties. She caught the eye of Hollywood talent scouts and they offered her a contract.

As a teenager, Gene Tierney endured a mind-numbing season of debutante parties. At the close of the season, she informed her parents of her desire to carve out a career as an actress. Initially reluctant, her parents offered their support. Her father, Howard, secured mentoring and schooling, and he formed a company, toassist Gene in her ambitions.

With Gene Tierney’s star on the rise, eccentric movie mogul Howard Hughes entered the picture. He was besotted with her beauty. However, as she later pointed out, “Cars, furs and gems were not my weakness.” And she rebuffed Hughes. Despite the rebuff, Howard Hughes remained friends…

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Dear Reader #174

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s thirteenth movie wasThis Woman, produced during the summer of 1924.This Womanwent on general release from November 2, 1924. Clara was very much a ‘jobbing’ actress at this stage, appearing in bit parts. She was listed eighth (out of nine) on the bill. To add insult to injury, the New York Times miscredited her as ‘Clare Bow’.

This Womanran for seventy minutes and was released by Warner Bros. Clara played Aline Sturdevant, a jealous young lover. The movie was considered lost, but a complete print can be found at Lobster Films, Paris.

Joan Woodbury (December 17, 1915 – February 22, 1989) enjoyed an acting career that began in the 1930s and lasted well into the 1960s. She appeared in B-movies and as the heroine opposite cowboy actors such as Roy Rogers.

Joan appeared in fifty films between 1937 and 1945. Her most…

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Golden Age Actresses #1

Hannah Howe

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford(April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979) enjoyed a career that spanned five decades. A movie pioneer, she co-founded Pickford-Fairbanks Studios and United Artists. Furthermore, she was one of the thirty-six founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

During her career, Mary Pickford was known as “America’s Sweetheart”, “The Girl with the Curls”, and the “Queen of Movies”. One of the earliest stars to receive a billing under her own name, Mary enjoyed great popularity in the silent movie era of the 1910s and 1920s.

Mary Pickford defined theingénuerolein motion pictures. She received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her first sound movie role as Norma Besant inCoquette, 1929. However, the arrival of the “talkies” signalled a decline in her career.

In 1909, Mary Pickford appeared in fifty-one films, most of them shorts. She starred in fifty-two…

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Dear Reader #173

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s twelfth movie was Empty Hearts, produced during the summer of 1924 and released on September 15, 1924. Fourth on the bill, Clara played Rosalie. 

A drama, the plot ofEmpty Heartscentred on a blackmail letter, relationships, and misunderstandings. The screenplay was based on a story written by Evelyn Campbell a screenwriter, author and actress active during Hollywood’s silent era. Evelyn also wrote Westerns.

At this stage of Clara’s career, B.P. Schulberg was loaning her out to various studios. Indeed, not one of her eight movies made in 1924 was produced by Schulberg. On the whole, these movies were beneath Clara’s talent, and she must have felt frustrated.

Serial Stars

Kay Aldridge

Although she was screen-tested for the part of Scarlett O’Hara inGone with the Wind, Kay Aldridge made her name as a heroine in serials. She starred as Nyoka Gordon inPerils…

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