A RISING STAR IN NYC
A 1922 INTERVIEW WITH CLARA BOW
She doesn't hail form Podunk or Cedarville, Iowa, the towns where girls wear the fraternity pins of their best beaus, and consider a high school picnic the essence of hilarity. Clara was born and brought up in Brooklyn, but someway neither our neighboring city nor the big town of New York has ever touched her. She has remained Clara Bow, high school girl, whose beauty somehow brought her into the fillums, but never made her a part of them.
Clara, who is eighteen this month, and who as naively says she was so "smart" she graduated when she was fifteen, has kept all her old school friends. Her class mates are her beaus, although her father, she says, is very strict and makes her send her company home long before midnight. Her mother died at Christmas time last year, leaving her alone with her father who has tried to mother her as best he could--perhaps spoiling her a little. Everyone does.
Morrie Ryskind insisted that I meet the new Preferred star and take a look at her just to see if I had ever met anything like Miss Bow in motion pictures. I never have.
"What paper do you write on?"
asked Clara, slipping her hand into mine.
"she is the lady who wrote the nice things about you."
"Oh, I know you are on the Telegram."
"Just having a little joke,"
But Clara hadn't been rehearsed, she said,
"Honest, Mr. Ryskind, I didn't hear her name--"
"Where shall we have luncheon?"
thinking the sooner the affair was over the better for his peace of mind.
"Shall we go to the Astor, the Biltmore or the Chatham?"
"Let's go to a chop suey place,"
"I know a wonderful restaurant here on Broadway where they dance at noon--don't you love to dance?"
So far motion pictures haven't affected her one iota. She is as refreshingly unaffected as if she had never faced a means to pretend. She hasn't any secrets from the world--she trusts everyone, and doesn't believe that any one would be unkind enough to print any of the romances that she loves to tell about. Almost any mascaro firm would pay her a big salary for the use of her name.
She came into pictures after winning a beauty contest. She screens in the vernacular of the studio like a million dollars, and when Elmer Clifton had a look at her big brown eyes, and her round little face, almost like the girl in a picture book, he gave her one of the leading roles in "Down to the Sea in Ships."
"This chance, Clara" said Mr. Clifton (every one calls her Clara), "will either make or break you--it depends upon the success of the picture. Every one knows of the phenomenal success of Mr. Clifton's great whaling picture. It made him, and it made Clara, and led to her getting an offer from J. G. Bachmann to play one of the leading roles in "May Time" for Preferred Pictures.
She has just finished "Grit," with Glenn Hunter. She says she just loves Glenn.
"I went down to see 'Merton of the Movies' the other night and I sat in the front row. Glenn said something about Clara Bow, the motion picture actress, and I was so embarrassed. Mr. and Mrs. Harold Lloyd were in the audience, too, but Glenn didn't see them in time to put them in the play.
She thinks Mr. Hunter is a fine actor and dares any one to deny it. In fact, she rather hopes someone will, so she can prove her loyalty to young Merton by having a battle.
Our conversation was mostly about whom Clara adores and whom she does not adore, and what she is going to do in California and the ideal man she expects to marry.
she said, confidentially, leaning over a dish of chow mein almost as big as she is,
"I have had six proposals of marriage; but I didn't love one of them. My daddy says I am too young to marry, anyhow."
"What about the fraternity pin, does that belong to one of the loves?"
she was asked.
"I traded a piece of jewelry I had with a boy because I thought it was pretty. A girl gave it to him--some boy had given it to her--and now it's mine!"
(Shades of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Cornell and any other college where the Greek letter fraternities are in vogue!)
"I think you better go back to the office,"
said Morris, interrupting Clara's rhapsody.
"Mr. Beatty wants to see you."
"No, he doesn't, I have to have my picture taken,"
answered the incorrigible Clara.
I thought afterward if the little girl who lives at my house had not been so frightfully grown up she and Clara might have had a good time. We hope some one will tell Mr. Tarkington about Clara so that he will put her in a story. She is almost too good to be true. And to think she is going to Hollywood to play in the "fillums." We only wish some reformer who believes the screen contaminates all who associate with it could meet this child. Still on second thought it might not be safe: Clara uses a dangerous pair of eyes. And as for eyelashes, almost any mascaro would pay her a big salary for the use of her name.