October 18, 2017

Flashback: Hollywood Celebrates Christmas

Merry Christmas from Thelma Todd
Hollywood pioneer Mary Pickford makes Christmas official, 1920s.
Hollywood pioneer Mary Pickford (1892 – 1979) b. Gladys Smith, makes Christmas official, 1920s.

by Robert J. Avrech

During Hollywood’s Golden Age, the studios, through newspapers, fan magazines, and trade publications, published photos of their stars celebrating Christmas. In this way, Hollywood—though founded by poor immigrant Jews—assured its vast audience that the motion picture industry was in harmony with Christian America.

My wife and I are Orthodox Jews. We observe the Sabbath and eat only kosher food. Our lives and values are built around the Torah, written and oral. But we enjoy this season, and honor Christmas. We shudder at the relentless postmodern assault on this most Christian of holidays. We want America to remain a steadfastly Judeo-Christian country. Without God individual liberty vanishes, replaced, inevitably, by a powerful centralized state, the cult of personality, and various forms of paganism, currently exemplified by climate change (AKA weather) fanatics.

We urge everyone to pray for the Christians who are being murdered, tortured and oppressed by genocidal Islamists all across the Middle East and Africa.

Here’s a sample of Hollywood and Christmas as it used to be.

Even Louise Brooks, a confirmed atheist, cooperated with Hollywood's Christmas spirit.
Even Louise Brooks (1906 – 1985), a confirmed atheist, cooperated with Hollywood’s Christmas spirit.

 

Jobyna Ralston 1899 –1967) co-starred with the great silent comedian Harold Lloyd in seven wonderful films.
Jobyna Ralston (1899 –1967) co-starred with the great silent comedian Harold Lloyd in seven wonderful films.

 

Silent star Marceline Day (1908 - 2000). Day is probably best recalled for her role as Sally Richards in the superb 1928 Buster Keaton comedy “The Cameraman.”
Silent star Marceline Day (1908 – 2000) b. Marceline Newlan, is probably best recalled for her role as Sally Richards in the superb 1928 Buster Keaton comedy “The Cameraman.”

 

Shirley Temple (1928 - 2014) gets into the Christmas spirit.
Shirley Temple (1928 – 2014) gets into the Christmas spirit. After her death a shocking number of obituaries made light of her post Hollywood career as an important conservative Republican activist. She was U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. Temple forged a particularly close relationships with Vaclav Havel. She is also credited with helping the Velvet Revolution against Communist tyranny by openly sympathizing with the anti-communist dissidents. Shirley Temple Black was a great actress and a great American. My wife and I regularly screens her films for our grandchildren.

 

This is a silent film title from “It” (1927) the film that mad Clara Bow a Hollywood super star.
This is an intertitle from “It” (1927) the film that made Clara Bow (1905 – 1965) a tragic Hollywood superstar who suffered from bipolar disease.

 

Priscilla Lane (1915 - 1995) the youngest of the Lane sisters is best remembered for her roles in The Roaring Twenties (1939) co-starring with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart; Saboteur (1942), an Alfred Hitchcock film in which she plays the heroine; and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), in which she co-stars with Cary Grant.
Priscilla Lane (1915 – 1995) b. Priscilla Mullican, the youngest of the Lane sisters is best remembered for her roles in “The Roaring Twenties” (1939) with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” (1942), and “Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944), in which she co-stars with Cary Grant.

 

Maureen O'Sullivan (1911- 1998) the Irish born actress is best known for playing the fetching Jane in the “Tarzan” series starring Johnny Weissmuller.
Maureen O’Sullivan (1911 – 1998)  decorates her personal Christmas tree. The Irish born actress is best known for playing the fetching Jane in six “Tarzan” movies starring Johnny Weissmuller, produced between 1932 and 1942.

 

Rita Hayworth (1918 - 1987) strikes a uniquely chaste pose considering she was one of Hollywood's most alluring sex symbols.
Rita Hayworth (1918 – 1987) b. Margarita Carmen Cansino, strikes a surprisingly chaste pose considering she was one of Hollywood’s most alluring sex symbols.

 

Cyd Charisse, b. Tula Ellice Finklea (1922 - 2008), recovered from childhood polio to become a ballet dancer. Charisse went to Hollywood where she was paired with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly; her films include “Singin' in the Rain” (1952), “The Band Wagon” (1953) and “Silk Stockings” (1957).
Cyd Charisse, b. Tula Ellice Finklea (1922 – 2008), recovered from childhood polio to become a ballet dancer. In Hollywood Charisse was paired with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Her best films include “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), “The Band Wagon” (1953) and “Silk Stockings” (1957).

 

Jayne Mansfield displays her, um, Christmas spirit.
Jayne Mansfield (1933 – 1967) b. Vera Jayne Palmer, displays her, um, Christmas spirit. Her best film is “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” (1957).

 

Brigitte Bardot (1934 - ) decorates her Christmas tree. BB is most famous for her starring role in the sexually charged 1957 drama “And God Created Woman.” Bardot starred in 47 films, most of them terrible. But she was probably the best known sex symbol of the 50s and 60s. Now, 80, Bardot is quite public in her opposition to the Islamization of France.
Brigitte Bardot (1934 – ) decorates her Christmas tree. BB is most famous for starring in the sexually charged 1957 drama “And God Created Woman.” Bardot starred in 47 films, most of them terrible and forgettable. But I harbor great affection for her performance in “Shalako” (’68) a western shot in Spain with Sean Connery. Bardot was the reigning international sex symbol of the 50s and 60s. Now, 80, Bardot, an animal rights activist, is also quite vocal in her opposition to the Islamization of France.

Karen and I wish all our Christian friends a Merry Christmas.

I would be remiss if I did not link to a splendid Jewish Christmas gift. You have my personal guarantee that this item is awesome, and you can get it in time for Christmas or Chanukah.

Also available from the Apple iTunes store.

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