Sunday, September 19, 2010

Asides - Seen, But Not Heard

In 1924, Photoplay magazine came out with their second edition of the "Stars of the Photoplay" hard cover book, filled with 250 images and bios of the leading stars of the day. Actresses accounted for 121 of these. There are many that will be familiar to anyone with an interest in classic film. These include major stars who were well established by 1924 and continued their careers into the sound era - Clara Bow, Mary Astor, Evelyn Brent, the Gish sisters, and Marion Davies, are examples.

However, there are many actresses who made a substantial number of films, but never crossed over to talkies. Five years after this book was published, these actresses were gone from the silver screen forever, never having uttered a word to their fans. Some left because of "fear" of the talkies, others settled into family life, and others left for reasons we will probably never know.

Here are their images and bios, still mute to this day, but pioneers in the early days of film.

Double-click on the images for a larger view.
There were, as far as I can tell, three editions of Star of the Photoplay, 1916, 1924, and 1930. I have not be able to find of copy of the 1916 (which I've seen listed as 1918) edition, but the other two are available if you hunt around a bit.

Sylvia Breamer appeared in 48 films, her last in 1926. She did have one uncredited role in 1936 in a small non-speaking part. Dipping her toe in the water after a 10 year absence didn't turn the tide.

Winifred Bryson was in 19 films, the last in 1928. She was married to Warner Baxter for over thirty years.

May Allison was in 59 films from 1915 to 1927. She became editor for Photoplay magazine after her editor/husband James Quirk died in 1932.

Marjorie Daw was in 71 films, the last in 1928. She was the bride's attendant at the marriage ceremony of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

June Elvidge appeared silently 71 times, the last in 1924.

Elaine Hammerstein was the granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein. She made 44 films before retiring in 1926.

Dorothy Dalton made 56 films and left the screen in 1924. She was related to Elaine Hammerstein through her 1924 marriage to Arthur Hammerstein.

Constance Binney made only 16 films and retired in 1923, a year before being featured in Stars of the Photoplay - guess they thought she would continue to act. She died at age 94 in 1989.

Carol Dempster made 19 films through 1926, all for D.W. Griffith, with whom she had a romantic relationship while he was estranged from his wife.

Ann Forrest hailed from Denmark. She appeared in 34 films from 1915 to 1925.

Alice Calhoun retired at age 29 in 1929 after making 47 films. Like Sylvia Breamer, she had a small uncredited role, in this case after five years (1934), that also didn't turn the tide.

Mabel Ballin was in 28 films through 1925, including the title role in the 1921 version of Jane Eyre.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sally Phipps

Recently I was contacted by Sally Phipps son, who had seen the April 2007 post about his mother on this blog. He was writing to let me know that the postcard I "posted" was actually not her, even though it showed her name at the bottom and was put out by Ross, one of the movie postcard giants of the era. It was actually Sue Carol, whom her son agreed looked quite a bit like her and could understand how the studio and postcard publisher could get it wrong.

However, here at Allure we must be sure to right any wrongs, and due to her son's generosity, we can now present you with a series of wonderful images he supplied and are guaranteed to be the real thing. :-)

He also supplied some additional information on her career. She made her debut earlier than I originally posted, appearing at the age of three - see the image below. She is also uncredited, but easily spotted in F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, A Song of Two Humans (1927) , appearing in the ballroom scene and in the "kissing couple" scene. Additionally, after leaving Hollywood, she appeared on Broadway in Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's hit play, "Once in a Lifetime". It ran for 406 performances, opening September 24, 1930 at the Music Box Theater.

For reference, here is the text that appeared in my initial post in April 2007.

"Byrnece Beutler, how she got Sally Phipps out of that we will never know, was born in Oakland California in 1911.

Not much is available about her early life, but she had just completed high school when she began making films and in 1927 she was named a WAMPAS baby star. Her first role in motion pictures was in Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl (1926). She went on to make only 15 films before leaving the industry in 1929, even though she had signed a five year contract with Fox in October of '27. In searching the NYT film review archives I found several reviews of her work and while they all refer to her beauty and vivaciousness, not much is said about her ability to actually act. This may be why she only lasted three years in the business - just another pretty face?

Sally Phipps died in Long Island, New York in 1978."

According to her son, leaving Fox may have been as a result of some in-fighting with a rival actress of the time, who seems to have prevailed in getting her way.

I am pleased to be able to bring my readers and followers these images of Sally Phipps, and again thank her son for sending them along and chatting with me about his mother's career. He is currently working on an article on his mother for Classic Images magazine.

Double click on the images for a larger view.

Here is Sally at age 3 or 4 when she made her first appearance on film.
Billed as Bernice Sawyer, she played the part of the Baby in Broncho Billy and the Baby for Essanay in 1915. She was in three Broncho Billy westerns that year.

Publicity stills.

Sally Phipps - What do you think - Allure?