Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Knitting behind the scenes turn of the century film stars

Knitting on screen, behind the scenes

Knitting for pleasure, relaxation, for necessity, for victory! Famous knitters
Shirley Mason
included Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Rosalind Russell. Cary Grant had a knitting scene in Mr. Lucky. What others can you name? 

June 2015 will mark the 10th anniversary of Knit in Public Day, some celebrate a Knit in Public Week and tweet photos. Fun that it occurs in summertime. Do you participate? Knit all year you don't need an excuse.

Here begins a series of knitting actors and actresses. It opens with the 1910s. Most f these are photos of actresses at home or behind the scenes, publicity stills or in early publications.

Shirley Mason made her film debut at the age of ten in the 1910 film A Christmas Carol

Actor Marc McDermott played Ebenezer Scrooge. Was this the first film version to the Charles Dickens classic? 

She appeared in the silent movie, Desert Gold, a lost film that featured William Powell early in his career playing a character with the unpleasant name of Snake Landree.

Shirley Mason's sisters Edna and Virginia (better known as Viola Dana) were also actresses. The photo of Mason above is from 1917. 

Marguerite Clark
Marguerite Clark was a top box office draw and worked alongside big stars such as John Gilbert, John Barrymore and Harrison Ford.

Clark was one of the first female film directors. Many of her films are now considered to be lost.

She starred in a 1916 silent version of Snow White. Creighton Hale was Prince Florimond and Lionel Braham was Berthold, the Huntsman.

The 1917 photo at left said this young Lasky studio actress had only one arm but she was doing her bit for the war effort. 

Encouraging her was fellow actress (and knitter), Mary Pickford

Baby Marie Osborne with her mother 1918

A 1918 image of Baby Marie Osborne knitting with her mother. Born in Denver, CO, the story of how the young star became the foster daughter and then the daughter of the Osborne couple is disputed. 

Child stars were big business and brought lots of money to the studios and to their guardians in those days as there were no real laws protecting their incomes.

Baby Osborne was a goldmine for the studio. She earned $300-per-week. The average annual salary in the United States was $750.

Balboa president Herbert Horkheimer issued a proclamation of Rules to be observed in regard to Little Mary Sunshine, which was handed out to all involved in filming her movies. Among the rules were:

* She is not to be teased at any time
* She is not to be shouted at or addressed in slang
* She is not to be given sweetmeats nor presents of any description while at work on the stage or on location. All presents must be sent to her dressing room or left at the general offices of the studio.
* Threatening or addressing the baby star in loud or unseemly language or using objectionable language in her presence shall be cause for instant dismissal.
* She is not to be coddled nor handled unnecessarily. You must adore her from afar.

Excerpt from: Location Filming in Long Beach

Evart Overton helps Baby Aida Horton

Anna Little knits between scenes
Actress Anna aka Ann Little was especially popular in Westerns and her films with Wallace Reid. 

After retiring from movies in the 1930s, she managed the Chateau Marmont Hotel on the Sunset Strip. 

She's not to be confused with Little Ann Little who was 4'11" tall and provided the voice for the Betty Boop cartoon character.

Chester Conklin learning to knit,
Louise Fazenda knits (right)
Louise Fazenda made nearly 300 films, beginning in the silent era. On Thanksgiving Day 1927, she married famous Warner Brothers' producer Hal B. Wallis. He was the producer of iconic films such as Casablanca. The other actresses in this photo were not identified.

Beatrice Lillie, Louise Fazenda, Frank Fay & Lloyd Hamilton in Recitations from The Show of Shows, the "all talking Vitaphone production" full of Warner Brothers stars from 1929.

June Caprice 1917

June Caprice worked in silent films as a character actress for the Fox Corporation. She also appeared on calendars for the Coca-Cola company. She married film director Harry F. Millarde. They had a daughter, June Millarde (an actress and model) who also went by the name Toni Seven.

According to Wikipedia, in 1949, U.S. Senator Warren G. Magnuson was described as the most eligible bachelor in the United States Capitol. 

June Caprice's daughter Toni Seven was linked romantically with the senator. She is featured in a book, Warren G. Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America.

Enid Bennett 1919
In 1918 Enid Bennett became the second wife of director Fred Niblo. He'd previously been married to actress Josephine Cohan, who was the mother of Fred Niblo, Jr. 

Josephine Cohan Niblo, sister of George M. Cohan and member of The Four Cohans, died from heart disease at an early age.  

Actress Enid Bennett played Lady Marian Fitzwalter the 1922 film Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery.

This is part of a short series. Watch for more entries, more photos and trivia about favorite stars

Related Articles of Interest:

Roaring 20s Hollywood Stories Knitters Knitting with the stars in the Jazz Age, Age of the flappers: The William Desmond Taylor case

James Cagney Yankee Doodle Dandy Where were you in 42 James Cagney is George M. Cohan the Yankee Doodle Dandy

Travel, Flying with tools: Knitting needles on a plane, musical instruments

Harrison Ford, Strong and Silent Movie Star, Two Stars, Same Name: Two stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Ten Woman Film Producers of the 1910s

Errol Flynn Custom Tights Record Seams: How tight is too tight?  The question of tights and Dressing a Hollywood Actor

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