Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Some 'Silent' Ladies

In my collection are signed photos from several actresses whose prime acting years were in silent movies. A few continued to act into the sound era, and some even appeared on tv shows as late as the 1960s, but they are remembered primarily as 'silent screen' actresses.

I never talked to any, except for Esther Ralston, while researching for a never-completed biography of silent screen actor Lon Chaney. I obtained photos of all of them (except for one, Madeline Hurlock - only a photocopy of one pose was available to me). All signed the photos and returned them to me promptly.

Here you can see Blanche Sweet, Colleen Moore, Esther Ralston (she also sent this textured-paper photo), Gloria Swanson, Pola Negri, and Madeline Hurlock (who was the widow of playwright Robert E. Sherwood). Lillian Gish signed two photos for me: this vintage portrait and this 'contemporary' pose.

Ms. Hurlock also wrote this note to me: "I am returning the photograph you sent me recently. I've no recollection of having posed for the silly thing, and I'd never have recognized it as being me. I'm sorry I've no better one. My collection of scrapbooks, photos, etc. disappeared years ago. Good luck to you."


catsafterme said...

Madeline Hurlock holds a special place in history for Laurel and Hardy buffs. She starred in the boys' first 'team' picture at Hal Roach Studios - 'Duck Soup.' I was only able to obtain her signature on an envelope where she wrote her return address. Of course, I bought it rather than getting it directly from her.

Bill Cappello said...

Thanks for mentioning this. I didn't know she was in an L&H movie.