I’m not always thrilled with their films but those silent film stars had lives and careers that are still fascinating to read about.
Louise Brooks. She’s sensational in Pandora’s Box and she looks ultra modern. This photo was taken in the 1920s.
Gilbert Roland. On the back of this photograph is written in fountain pen: Nov. 21, 1927. He was involved with Norma Talmadge around that time. They made a series of movies together including a silent version of Camille in 1926.
Gloria Swanson. She lived like no other star in the history of motion pictures and she’s in my favorite movie of all time Sunset Boulevard.
Thomas Meighan. He was very popular in the 1920s and was teamed with Gloria Swanson often.
Joan Crawford. This is from around the time of Our Dancing Daughters.
Lon Chaney. He’s great in The Unknown and The Phantom of the Opera.
Marlene Dietrich. Her big break was in The Blue Angel but I prefer her in The Scarlet Empress and A Foreign Affair.
Harold Lloyd. He created some unforgettable images. Especially, in Safety Last! where he dangles from the hands of a clock tower over a busy Los Angeles street.
Lillian Gish. She was a “teens” star. She was in Birth of a Nation but by the mid twenties she wasn’t a big star anymore. She has great lips. I like her in Duel in the Sun, The Night of the Hunter and The Whales of August.
Warner Baxter. I can’t remember ever seeing him in a movie but he did win an Academy Award in 1928 for In Old Arizona.
Charlie Chaplin. I don’t know if he’s the biggest star of all time but he’s probably in the top 3. His hand and foot prints (at the Chinese Theater) were removed in the 1950s.
Emil Jannings. He won the first Academy Award for best actor in 1927 for The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. I’ve seen both of those films and they’re both quite enjoyable. When sound came to Hollywood Jannings went back to Germany due to his thick accent.
Fatty Arbuckle. It’s not the best picture of him but I like it. Fatty was a big star in the early 20s and he lived down by the old AAA building on Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles. His house is still there.
Douglas Fairbanks is one of my favorites. Probably because he was always that All-American guy who didn’t take himself too seriously.
That is until he started making all those costume epics and then he started running around half naked like a pagan.
Mary Pickford. I’m not always a fan of her films but I am a fan of her business sense. She was a smart woman. She was good with money and one of the founders of United Artists. She won an Academy Award in 1928 for Coquette.
Pola Negri. She wrote a revealing autobiography, Memories of a Star, which is very readable. She appears to be going for a bat look in this photo.
This is the way I think of Francis X. Bushman. This is an arcade card. Uh, he’s wearing an awful lot of make-up. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying wow, wow, wow.
Francis X. Bushman. Here is a VERY early photograph of Bushman. His eyes are the giveaway but the printed name helps identify him too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of Bushman this young before. When I found it I had to buy it.
Mabel looks glamorous on this post card.
Ramon Navarro. I like him in Ben-Hur and I recently saw him in an episode of Boris Karloff’s Thriller.
William S. Hart on two cigarette cards. I’ve never seen any of his films but I have gone to his home at the William S. Hart State Park out near Valencia. I suspect I like him because he’s associated with the cowboy myth of the west and all it entails: cowboy clothes (who doesn’t want to dress up like a cowboy?), horses, Indians, homesteading and the wilderness.
Wallace Beery on a cigarette card. I had just seen Wallace Beery in 1932’s Grand Hotel where he plays General Director Preysing. I told a friend, “You know you look like Wallace Beery.” I meant it as a compliment. That friend doesn’t talk to me anymore.
Thomas Meighgan was a big 20s star. He wasn’t as big as Charlie Chaplin or Mary Pickford or Douglas Fairbanks but Meighgan was still BIG.
This is a piece of ephemera given away at a movie theater advertising a future film run.
I found this on ebay for a very modest price. It looks like it was used on a cigar box.
Fatty Arbuckle. It’s a give-away from a theater. Fatty was involved in a scandal in 1921 that ruined his career.
If I remember correctly I found this at a “paper and postcard” show. The scan doesn’t do the paper justice because it has a watermark. I bought it because I like Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase.
Gilbert Roland. Gilbert is also one of my favorites due to his portrayal of Gaucho in The Bad and the Beautiful. He is so charming, suave and manly in that movie.
Gilbert Roland is the kind of man I had in mind when I wrote the character of Felix De la Santos in my book, The Odd Fellows.
Wallace Reid. It’s unfortunate he had that drug problem. He’s quite enjoyable in the movies I’ve seen him in despite his addiction.
This is a Beautebox Canoco tin. They were sold with candy or cosmetics inside.
Rudolph Valentino. He’s one of the few silent stars whose name is still recognized today.
Betty Compson. She was a Paramount star and looks beautiful on this tin.
Gloria Swanson. She appears to be going for a native American look.
Pola Negri. This time she looks like a gypsy.
Jackie Coogan. He co-starred with Chaplin in The Kid and he played Uncle Fester Frump on The Addams Family TV show.
Here’s Doug on the cover of Motion Picture. It’s the September 1921 issue.
This is from The Gaucho.
Doug from The Thief of Baghdad. He’s as dark as me in this photo.
I’ve had this glass slide for years but was never able to get a good image for this site. Finally, I got one.
I think some of these cards are from Germany.
I know practically nothing about this silent film actor but I really like this photograph. He looks so confident. Addendum: I found out that he was born in Dublin, Ireland. His films were released by Pathe and his first big success was in Peggy (1916) opposite Billie Burke.
Another image of Ramon.
He has the most amazing face.
It’s Buster Keaton. My brother recently sent me a copy of Steamboat Bill, Jr. to watch. I had never seen the film. It was very amusing. I especially liked the hat sequence near the beginning of the movie and the wind (tornado?) sequence near the end of the movie.
They’re playing cards from the 1920s. On the card’s reverse is a scene from Ben-Hur. Two big stars here. Antonio Moreno is the guy studios went to when Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Navarro weren’t available. Thomas Meighan starred in a series of provocatively titled movies including: Woman-Proof (1923), The Bachelor Daddy (1922), White and Unmarried (1921) and The Probation Wife (1919).
I suspect Antonio was put in when they created the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the 1960s.
Bryant Washburn was in some pretty forgettable movies but they have great titles: The Mail Order Wife (1912), A Splendid Dishonor (1914), Mongrel and Master (1914), Trinkets of Tragedy (1914), and The Meanest Man in the World (1923). Mabel Normand was big in comedy, was involved with Producer Mack Sennet and had one of those drug problems that so many stars seem to have. She died from TB (!?) in 1930.
I don’t know much about King Baggot but I like his name. Francis X. Bushman was in the original Ben-Hur with Ramon Navarro.
His star is on Vine south of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the W Hotel.
I know nothing about Jack Kerrigan. I like this shot of William S. Hart because he looks so stylized. That handkerchief around his neck is perfectly tied.
His star was on Hollywood Blvd. on the north side in the 6300 block.
If I remember correctly Wallace Reid died from complications during “withdrawal.” George Walsh posed for some “art photographs” when he was younger. G.M. Anderson was another cowboy movie star who went by the name Broncho Billy Anderson.
I like the cigarette up near the top. Wally was a smoker. There’s a famous photo of him smoking in Hollywood Babylon.
I went to his grave out in Whittier. I should have cleaned it off before I took the picture.
Over the weekend I was in Hollywood and stopped off to see Rudy and Doug. Rudy opted for one of those crypt in the walls things. It’s very nice. I can see myself in one of them.
Douglas Fairbanks knew how to be buried.
It was sunny and about 80 degrees.
I hadn’t been out there for years but it was nice to see nothing had changed.
Doug’s footprints at the Chinese Theater. More silent film stars follow.
I bought this postcard online recently. Maciste would be similar to Hercules. Maciste was in Cabiria (1914) and many other Maciste movies through the teens and into the 1920s.
On the University of Southern California campus there is a statue of Doug.
Here’s what the plaque says.
Doug from the side. I don’t know if this is the best likeness of Doug. Doug is much handsomer than this statue but the statue certainly invokes his spirit.
I found this handbill for a Doug movie over the weekend. They’re normally folded but this one hadn’t even been folded.
The inside of the handbill.
Last Friday I went to DeLongpre Park in Hollywood. It’s 2 blocks south of Sunset and 3 blocks east of Highland. There are 2 Rudolph Valentino statues there. This guy looks like a rocket.
This is what it says at the base.
It was done in 1930.
The other one actually resembles him and is from 1990.
I found this plate a couple of weeks ago in Ontario at a place called Trash & Treasure on San Antonio Street. Bryant Washburn was a star in the teens and into the early twenties and certainly had many movies tailored for him. The back of the plate says Star Players Photo Company, Chicago. [note: that white streak is the reflection of the scanner’s bulb on the plate.]
I found this old issue of Motion Picture Magazine online. I bought it because of Wallace Reid. It’s from 1917. It’s a hundred years old.
My book was released on December 16, 2013. It’s called The Odd Fellows.