American Woman?

Mary Pickford, born 127 years ago today, was known as America’s sweetheart. There was only one tiny fact that was overlooked in giving her that title, she wasnt American. She was actually born in Toronto, Canada, of parents of Irish, and English ancestry, and at that time, had no connection to America whatsoever.

But when Gladys Louise Smith arrived in New York in 1906, to work in theatre on Broadway, no one knew what history would hold. She had her first screen test in 1909 (before Los Angeles became the home of movies), and appeared in 51 films that year, mainly in small parts. 1910 saw her first movie making trip to Los Angeles, though it wasnt until 1916 that she found stardom there. In 1919 she was in at the creation of United Artists film studio, and a year later in one of the celebrity wedding of its day, married one of the other owners, Douglas Fairbanks. They stayed married until 1936. Shortly after that, she married Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, who she stayed married to, for 42 years, until her passing.

Strictly, she did become an American citizen in 1920, when marrying Fairbanks. But previously, she was British, as Canadian citizenship only began in 1947, post independence from the Commonwealth. She did become a dual citizen (American/Canadian) before her death, so she could die as a Canadian, as she wished.

One of the amusing things is that in her mid 30’s, she still was playing child roles, care of her ringlets. Some of them were real, though wigs have certainly been found that she used too. In 1928, the fuss when she had her ringlets cut off, and replaced by a stylish bob, you dont want to imagine!

But yes, if later today, you see pieces in tribute to America’s sweetheart, just remember one thing, she was actually Canadian!

Mary Pickford, RIP.

The video. I thought this apt somehow. A Canadian group, singing about an American Woman, exactly!

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Welcome to Hollywood?

Over on the other blog, I made a few comments about La La Land, which I finally got to see last night for the first time. Yes, fine, watched it mainly for the locations (lots that I’ve seen, or visited), rather than the movie (fine, I guess), but it made me think how tough it must be for those trying to break through in Tinsel Town.

In truth, I accept that my time to do so has probably gone, even if I have been performing more again of late, I cant see the Hollywood studios rushing to sign up a disabled 60 year old, lets face it. As the film shows, its hard enough for the younger ones trying to get their break, let alone a mature old lady like me!

Its one habit that Hollywood has been doing now for about a century, getting the young and ambitious arriving in town, dreaming of becoming a star, and in most cases, failing to do so. The result of that has varied over the years. Sadly, at least one related suicide (Peg Entwistle) due to lack of success, and others who had dreams of fame, but ended up in tiny parts, or in chorus lines, dancing. Yes, Clara Johnson, looking at you, lol. Of course, the irony was, many of those pretty dancers attracted the eyes of wealthy men, who wanted a young, and pretty wife, and yes, in truth, thats all some of those girls did it for, anyway, lol.

I wonder how Clara felt when she arrived in town in 1925, with dreams of fame that never happened, but along came the musicals, and her dancing talents, and the rest was history.

Maybe part of me regrets that I never tried that dream, but maybe it was for the best? Besides which, its easier for young, star eyed American girls to chase that dream, than Brit’s!

Still, all permitting, I plan to be back in town next year, so if any Hollywood producer wants to make me a crazy offer, I’m listening, lol! No, I dont expect a rush!

OK, video time. I wish there was a live video of Rafferty, and this song, but sadly there isnt, and of course, never will be now, I guess? But its one of my favourite Rafferty songs, and so apt, so…

That’s Entertainment?

OK, seriously readers, if you are anywhere within range of Blackpool on March 15th, you want to be at the Winter Gardens in the evening. Oh, and ‘Nancy’, the fact you’re in Brisbane is only a fair excuse, not a good one, lol! 😛 No, thats not her real name, but she will know… 😉

Yes, yesterday, I was working at said venue, for their open day, helping to promote the film festival in March (runs from 15th – 17th, if planning to visit), and the MGM musical extravaganza of that name is the big first night movie. And yes, if you think this is me in a glamorous outfit

me at blackpool

You will have to want to see what I’m wearing on the big night for sure. I suspect at my age that it might not be quite as revealing as many of the outfits Clara Johnson wore, but I doubt it will be that modest either!

Oh, and we’re doing Wizard Of Oz on the Saturday morning, and I’ve said I will where something for that too, if required. Tin Woman might be too much to hope for, lol! But who knows, and would you want to miss that?

I must admit that Blackpool, rather like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, has seen better days. But like Norma, there’s plenty of life in the old lady yet, and will be showing that in March. And yes, it will be warmer than January, hopefully! Certainly I’ll be glad to be indoors if I am doing the chorus girl look!

So seriously, if you’re reasonably nearby, or even if you’re not, but feeling adventurous, you know you want to be in Blackpool in March, if only to laugh at me, releasing my inner Clara!

Oh, for more details, darlings, go to http://www.wintergardensfilm.co.uk at the end of the week, for more details, and prices! See you there?

Video time. Astaire and Co, proudly present…?

Lets Make A Movie?

(Firstly, let me offer thanks to my friend, Michelle, on Twitter, because without her, I wouldnt have even known this had happened, so appreciative.)

It seems that British pensioners might retire, but it also seems that not all said pensioners wish to stay on the right side of the law, as my friend showed me this morning

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/11/british-pensioners-arrested-caribbean-cruise-2m-cocaine-haul/

I do realise that my US friends may not be able to use this link (just as we cant see some US article links), if so, there’s a big clue to the storyline, and I’m sure you’ll find it through a search engine somewhere!

Well, I must admit I admire their cheek, if not their motives, as I’ve never used any drugs in my life. Never smoked anything, in fact, but anyway… Fine what amused me the most, was Michelle’s twitter comment relating to this

Meanwhile, somewhere in London, someone is already pitching this as a script idea… I spy a Brit flick in the offing..

And given that in the past we have made films like Buster (see later in blog), she may well be right! And of course, being a cruise, said film would require lots of ‘senior’ actors, and actresses, and I could certainly do with a cruise somewhere warm at present. Lets face it, I wouldnt care if it was a big part, a small part, or whatever, I’d get an acting break, and get to go somewhere hot into the bargain.

Of course, lets face facts, if it did get made, I’m not going to be at the top of anyone’s casting list, anyway. But yes, lets face it, if I needed an incentive to sign up to one of these online agencies, then that would rank as a pretty big incentive! I should get it done anyway, I have done everything but pay the fee for one, but for me, spending £25 on a whim, that probably wont produce anything, hard to push the button, lol!

Alright, I know, knowing my luck, it would be filmed in a floating ‘boat’ in a water tank, in some chilly studio, but I can dream!

Right, video time. Yes, I mentioned the movie its coming from already. Though a live performance, not the original video.

 

Happy Birthday One Two Five

In these modern times, would you care to nominate any movie star who’s career is likely to last 75 years? Probably not? And lets face it, even if they did, the chances of them making 1 silent movie, let alone hundreds in that career, very unlikely!

But did you know, there was one movie star who did both, and managed to live within 8 months of reaching her century? Well, some readers might, but I suspect, not many. But yes, that amazing lady was Lillian Gish, who would have been 125 today, had she still been living, and she did her best to do so!

Of course, a lot of those silent movies are now lost to time, a lot of that down to films being made on nitrate film back then, which was a highly volatile material, to put it mildly. Indeed a lot of the lost films relate to fires created by these films being burnt to shreds. Thankfully, a number of her films do survive, unlike poor Theda Bara for example, who has 2 extant films from the numerous ones she made.

The thing is, back in the 1910’s (yes, a century ago), she was one of the biggest stars of the time. And she stayed that way until the dreaded introduction of sound to the movies. Though whether it was a lack of interest, or a lack of something else (her voice seemed fine in later life), she didnt make many talkies back then, before her retirement. Well, partial retirement, because as stated, she didnt actually make her last movie until 1987, at the grand old age of 94!

No, no one really knows why she never married in her life, though she did say she was married to her movies. But apart from one fling, and another reputed earlier affair, she never seems to have shown interest in romance. Was it that her preference was frowned upon back then, or was she really just totally asexual, who knows?

But yes, on this day in 1893, one of the great movie legends entered the world, and it took until 1993 before she left it again! So happy heavenly birthday, Miss Gish!

OK, video time. Well, this guy is still with us, though only (only!) 79 at this time. I know, the number is 109 out, but what can a woman do?

This weeks hotshot, an acting star?

So yes, fine, who wants to be my agent lol? I’ll even promote you on my Women In Media page, hows that for a deal? Yes, this one

https://womennmedia.com/profile/harlean-carpenter/

Oh fine, strictly because its for people mainly working behind the scenes, my main section there is for writing, but yes, the acting definitely gets a mention there as well. In truth, given the current state of my body, the writing might be the better option to take up on, but fine, once an actress, always an actress, as they say. Let me also say that if anyone is looking for any other women for roles they deserve to get the opportunity for, within the media industry, just go here https://womennmedia.com/ and start checking them out!

I’ll be honest, I dont think I’m in any danger of over stretching any agent of mine, but who knows lol? Yes, I know, I might be limited to sitting down roles, or wheelchair roles at present, but hey, there must be a few of those about, surely? And hey, folks, giving those roles to people who actually need that sort of work might be nice. Who me, militant, oh surely not?

No, at my age, I’m not expecting my acting career to even match Clara (Elaine) Johnson, let alone become a star, but just one nice role, before officially retiring (or is that giving up?) on the acting career would be nice. Equally, if someone wants an ‘interesting’ sci fi/sci fact script written, then hey, equally give me a try!

And yeah, if you want me to wear something weird/interesting, then dont think I’d be scared off, believe me, I’ve seen, and worn a few interesting outfits over the years.

The video. Well, I did use this a couple of years ago, so if you’ve been around that long, apologies. But I suspect most havent, or dont look at the videos anyway, so…

Acting crossover stuff

Right, before I get back to the reality of work tomorrow, lets have a non holiday piece about the crazy world of casting patterns in the acting world.

Back in the early days of movies, ethnicity issues produced some, err, interesting developments from the movie studios. Though a small number of oriental actors, and actresses did break into the movie industry, the emphasis is on a small number. And the situation was little better for African-American actors and actresses as well, beyond a few token parts, generally as servants, or slaves.

Indeed, to take one famous name, Myrna Loy, before she finally got her big break, seemed to only play orientals, generally of the evil kind, or mysterious foreigners, despite having been born in Montana! Thankfully her chance to act as ‘herself’ came eventually, and a star was born! Other famous roles, such as Charlie Chan, Fu Man Chu, and others, yes, you get my drift, white actors in makeup! Thankfully, eventually things changed for the better, but seriously…

One area of personal interest, that sadly doesnt seem to have changed, is disabled roles, most specifically in my case at present, roles involving actors, and actresses, in wheelchairs. Have you noticed, even now, nearly all, if not pretty much all those roles are played by people that dont actually need a wheelchair to get around? Now, thats not to denigrate some, like Patrick Stewart, and Raymond Burr, who were really good in their roles, who just maybe genuinely disabled actors couldnt have matched, but all those smaller roles, where…yes, I know, I might be biased at present lol!

Firstly, let me say, its fair to say that at present, I’m not strictly a disabled actress of the kind I’m talking about. I, thankfully, as I proved at the airports, and the like, can get out of a wheelchair, as long as I dont have to stand in 1 spot for too long. I’m lucky, others arent, but if with this rant, I can help them too, then all the better! But equally, at present, especially on stage (which is in truth, probably more my field level), I couldnt perform out of a wheelchair for very long, so count me in, for now at least. In truth, I suspect that over time, my back will probably get worse, not better, so…

Put it this way, my dream role would be a female equivalent of Magneto, Davros (Dr Who & Daleks) or something equally sci-fi, but in truth, any challenge of a suitable role, for a 60(ish) actress, in a wheelchair would be good. No, I dont want a Tony/Oscar winning type role, my acting skills arent that great, I suspect. But a smaller role would be nice, in more senses than one.

And much though my dream is to act in the US, in the sense of that type of role, I’ll consider anything, almost anywhere! So, if you want to give me a chance to prove it (ha, ha), or know someone that might, then you can either email me at stephmajor8@hotmail.com , or contact @cgemLLC on Twitter, or at cgem-llc.com and mention the name Stephanie Carpenter, and they would probably be as thrilled as me if you did.

I know, I know, wont hold my breath!

Video time, going back to the old days, and in this case, a Scottish woman, pretending to be Japanese! One hit wonder time, btw.