It's the special Father's Day schedule, of course--Happy Father's Day to any dads reading this over Sunday morning coffee.
My eyes quickly wandered down the page to the midnight, or in this case 12:45 am, Sunday Silent feature, The Circle (1925). Never seen it. Sure I'll record it as I always do the Sunday Silents. Hopefully one day I'll watch.
The star is Eleanor Boardman. Just for the heck of it I opened up my NewspaperArchive.com account and gave a search for Miss Boardman who I knew nothing about outside of her having starred with James Murray in The Crowd, a silent classic I have actually watched. A few times.
And so (possibly!) a new feature was born to the site. The old newspaper articles were a fun distraction for a few hours so I decided to share some of the snippets with you that really caught my eye. Of course, I've illustrated it all with vintage Eleanor Boardman collectible images.
Eleanor Boardman in the Newspapers ...
September 6, 1925, Daisy Dean's column "News Notes from Movieland," published on page 13 of the Nevada Star Journal warns Lillian Gish to look out. MGM producer John M. Stahl thinks Eleanor Boardman looks just like Miss Gish and an additional, unnamed, source, says that while watching Boardman act one "gets the same reaction as that from the elder Gish girl."
Dean compares the visual stats noting that Boardman is two inches taller and eight pounds heavier than Gish, with blue eyes and light brown hair as opposed to Gish's grey blue eyes and blonde hair.
Dean concludes that "It'll take a person with a world of dramatic ability to dethrone the lovely Lillian from the place which she occupies in the hearts of the American movie-loving public. Will Eleanor Boardman be able to fill the bill?"
April 4, 1926, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph of Bluefield, West Virginia, gives over 3-1/2 column inches of text on page 9 to note that Eleanor Boardman has gone blonde for the first time for her latest film, Elinor Glyn's The Only Thing -- This must be a corker of a movie garnering a 1.3 star rating on the IMDb's 10 star scale with 27 voters reporting, surely the absolute worst result I've ever encountered on the site!
The unsigned blurb provides the relevant details noting that Boardman has been a film player three years, playing leads for the last two and a half years, and this is the first time ever audiences will see her as a blonde. "This time a famed brunette beauty, none other than Eleanor Boardman, donned a golden wig ..."
May 23, 1929, the good people of the Mason City Globe Gazette of Mason City, Iowa, were kind enough to plaster Boardman's face on page 4 of their paper with a banner overhead declaring "In Tax Probe." A brief caption under Boardman's photo states that the actress has been "indicted in Los Angeles for making improper income tax returns to the government."
Hey, it's not all good news.June 9, 1929, Virginia Gwin of The Galveston Daily News reports on a visit back to Galveston by the King Vidors. Mr. Vidor is a local boy made good while the glamorous Mrs. Vidor, Eleanor Boardman, arrived "clad in a modish costume of gray, from the top of her hear to the tip of lizard skin shoes."
Gwin reports that King Vidor "reminisced a bit, remembering that his first picture was made at the race track here," and that he handled all aspects of production on it. (Was this 1913's Hurricane in Galveston?)
The local celebrity and his wife had attended a Kiwanis luncheon and "were besieged with requests for autographs." The Vidors graciously complied with the requests.
June 10, 1928, West Virginian readers of the movie section on page 24 of the Charleston Daily Mail were greeted by the headline "Underworld Girls Study Their Dress."
The article talks about Eleanor Boardman's difficulty in selecting a wardrobe for her part as the moll in MGM's Diamond Handcuffs.
Boardman says: "The society woman ... knows exactly what to wear because the Paris fashions tell her. The ordinary business girl knows, because the modern stores have all this data on hand and merchants follow modes and can give any woman perfect designing."
But a gangster's girl often finds herself in a short skirt because she's working on limited funds and trying to outguess the current fashions. If skirts are shorter she'll guess they will be even shorter still going forward and spend her often ill-gotten funds on a skirt "just a bit higher than the accepted mode."
Sounds like someone, either MGM or Boardman herself, are anticipating some complaints over a little more leg than usual. Still photos anyone?
August 1, 1930, the Cumberland Evening Times of Cumberland, MD, masquerades a text advertisement amongst the articles in its movie section telling all about Boardman's latest film, Mamba. The piece is clearly labeled "Advertisement" at the bottom of the reportage.
Mamba was worth a little extra publicity as the ad not only calls attention to novelty of the film having sound, but goes on at length about it being filmed entirely in Technicolor as well!
"It has none of the faults that color pictures frequently have," thanks largely to "the careful arrangement of colors and scenes." Basically the ad is claiming that the subject was a good one for a color film, a jungle adventure, and calls the movie "spectacular, but it has not sacrificed the drama in order to startle the eye."
Special attention is called to Eleanor Boardman at the end of the piece stating that "Color and sound photography have added greatly to the subtle personality of Eleanor Boardman. There is a rose petal loveliness about her skin that is enchanting in the close-ups and her voice is flexible."
August 9, 1931, a short blurb under the banner of "Hollywood" on page 31 of the Montana Butte Standard provides the interesting fact, quoted in full, that: "Eleanor Boardman became famous as the Eastman Kodak girl before her entrance into motion pictures." This page also distracted me with headlines of "Stanwyck's Best Film" currently featuring at the Rialto, Night Nurse. Boardman will be showing at the same Rialto Theater herself, opposite Paul Lukas in Women Love Once.
September 9, 1931, Eleanor Boardman is featured in Elizabeth Stephenson's "Hobbies of the Stars" series of articles appearing in the Key West Citizen, this one on page 6 of the Florida based newspaper.
Boardman's reported hobby is pretty boring: her home in Beverly Hills. A background in art is mentioned and a promising career as an interior decorator is claimed before going to discuss the pleasures Boardman derives from filling her home with rare and beautiful objects such as "colorful old tapestries, paintings by masters and moderns and scores of interesting small objects."
More interesting are a few other interests and personal details given in the article. Her only pets are two bird dogs and she likes to spend her time both painting and playing the piano. She enjoys swimming and plays tennis and golf, each "with better than average skill."
Eleanor Boardman also keeps a good library and is said to be "distinguished for her wit and gems of repartee" which are "quoted in Hollywood much as Dorothy Parker is quoted in New York." Stephenson qualifies that Boardman's wit is "a kindlier, less cynical sort," just in case you're no fan of Parker's sharp tongue.
October 26, 1933, the Evening Independent of Massillon, Ohio features a large photo of Boardman on the front cover of the paper with the headline "Eleanor Boardman to Wed Again."
Boardman's image dwarfs an inset photo of "prominent motion picture director" Harry D'Arrast placed just under her cheek. The caption notes that Boardman has recently obtained a divorce from King Vidor and that the "rumors making the rounds in Hollywood" link her to D'Arrast, whom she's vacationing with near Madrid, Spain.
Eleanor Boardman would marry Harry D'Arrast, but not until 1940.
You can read a more standard Eleanor Boardman biography submitted by a freelancer elsewhere on the Immortal Ephemera site.
That was fun. What I like about this is that there's no beginning or end, just some random trivia type items that I enjoy reading myself.
I can make this as long or as short as I care too and I basically went until I glazed over reading repetitive wire stories printed over and over in papers around the country during the 1920's and 30's.
Still, hope I found some interesting bits from you and you enjoyed the watered down version of my Saturday night research!
We'll definitely be doing it again sometime!