It is a source of constant amazement to me how movie stars established a hold on the public so early in the 20th century. Fan magazines sprung up in the teens and before long the world’s newest celebrities were being used to sell every imaginable product. Some of these “endorsements” were generic: a star’s face might appear on a desk blotter or calendar with the local sponsor’s name to be filled in later.
This leads me to a recent discovery: a 12-page brochure called “Frozen Echoes from the Movies” written by one Lillian Blackburn and reprinted from an issue of Motion Picture Magazine, which was founded in 1911. Some of the names still echo across the years like Dorothy Gish, Blanche Sweet, and opera star Geraldine Farrar, who became a screen favorite thanks to Cecil B. DeMille. Others, like May Allison and Cleo Madison, are remembered only by avid silent-film aficionados.
I can’t speak to the quality of the recipes but I would like to quote from an appendix at the end of the brochure about “Color Schemes for Table Decorations.”
“A simple color-scheme of ribbons or crepe-paper streamers in appropriate shades will make your table look dainty and give an added zest to what you serve,” we are told. Bear that in mind this summer. But when it comes to an overall palette, why not imitate the colors most worn by the stars themselves?
“Marguerite Snow most often dresses in blue; May Allison is fond of white and corn yellow; Geraldine Farrar believes that deep purple or black with crimson trimmings best suit her brunette type of beauty, And Anita Stewart is partial to lavender. Lenore Ulrich says that she loves all colors alike, but as Wetona, the Indian maid, she showed a predilection for russet brown, and as for dainty Edna Mayo, cream and ivory white are her favorite shades.”
There may not have been an US magazine or TMZ a hundred years ago, but people were just as eager to learn about famous folk then as they are today.