Earle Williams - May 28, 2014

The veterans of the American Treasure Tour who read the blog will understand that the collection is more than records on the wall, more than classic cars, more than celebrity pictures prominently displayed in our Toy Box, and more than can possibly be described in fewer than two hundred blog entries with any justice.  Although we tend to gravitate towards the vinyl on display in the Music Room, or the movie posters, there are also hundreds of pictures of current and long gone actors as well.  Today, we would like to take a step back in time to the silent film era, and the leading man Earle Williams.

Born in 1880 and a star of the stage as a teenager, Williams was considered the number one box office draw of the 1910's.  (We bet you didn't even know they HAD box office draws that early on - please keep in mind we are not putting money down on that bet.  Thank you.)  The most popular film of his career was 1915's The Juggernaut, for which his studio Vitagraph wrecked an actual train to effect the dramatic climax of the film.  Williams died at 47 because of complications from bronchial pneumonia.

QUESTION:  Who of the following actors never starred in a silent film?

a)  Al Jolson

b)  Mickey Rooney

c)  Cary Grant

d)  Mary Pickford

Answer Below


Things changed dramatically in this country during the presidential administration of Warren Harding.  Some for the better, some for the worse.  In fact, many historians regard his presidency one of the worst this country's ever survived.  It's unlikely that one reasons for this assessment is because of what his Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty, declared on this day in 1923.  Daugherty said it was now legal for women to wear trousers in the United States. There were likely many critics of this new liberalism that gave women the right to vote three years earlier.  Right or wrong, Daugherty would be brought up on corruption charges and forced to resign his position within a year.  Harding would die in office only three months later.  Maybe the trouser law was too much for everybody.

The grand opening of the brand new Chrysler Building was celebrated on this day in 1930.  The art deco masterpiece dominated the Manhattan skyline as the tallest building in the world for eleven glorious months, until the title was ripped from it by the Empire State Building the next year.


Happy birthday, Carroll Baker!  This blonde bombshell was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1931.  Two decades later, she took the world by storm in such films as Babydoll (1956), the same year she starred opposite James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor in Giant.  In 1965, she starred as Harlow as well.  Never one to shy away from controversy, Baker also starred in numerous Italian horror films in the 60's and 70's.  

Another great May 28th baby is none other than Gladys Knight.  The singer, songwriter, businesswoman and humanitarian was born in 1944.  For all her diversity, she is best known for the music she created during the 60's nd 70's with the Motown and Buddah Record labels.  Her music spans six decades, and includes such songs as "Every Beat of My Heart," "Neither One of Us (Wants to Say Goodbye)," "That's What Friends Are For," and "Missing You."  Happy birthday, Ms. Knight, and many more!

QUOTE:  I'm a people lover.  I love interacting with different people as I meet them, and I think people are one of God's great creations, I really do.  They're interesting and intriguing. - Gladys Knight.

Answer:  c)  Cary Grant.  His first role was in the 1932 film This Is The Night - a long five years after Al Jolson's role in The Jazz Singer, which introduced sound to film.