Flaming Youth - Friday, October 2, 2015

The American Treasure Tour blog returns to the subject of film today.  We are celebrating another one of the classic silent films for which original poster art is on display in our Music Room.  Flaming Youth was a popular film in its day, in fact, the 1923 silent drama has been accredited with helping to trigger the flapper era.  It was a strange film in the days before the Hays code - which manifests today with the ratings system found on movies to help parents determine what is appropriate for their children.

Flaming Youth stars Colleen Moore as Patricia Frentiss.  In an odd family dynamic, Patricia's parents had both enjoyed the companionship of young lovers.  When her mother dies, Patricia is pursued by her former boyfriend while she enjoys a torrid lifestyle that brings her to the verge of self-destruction.  The film was extremely risque for its day, which helped make it quite popular. Unfortunately, large sections of it have been lost over time, and what survives is currently under the care of the Library of Congress, which includes a silhouetted skinny dipping scene.
QUESTION:  The original book, Flaming Youth, was written by Samuel Hopkins Adams, an investigative journalist more famous for his work as a muckraker.  His book Revelry, published in 1926, was highly critical of which presidential administration?
A)  Abraham Lincoln
B)  Grover Cleveland
C)  Warren Harding
D)  Calvin Coolidge

KEEP HEALTHY, WOODY!  Since we're talking about presidents of the early-20th century, it is relevant to mention the bad thing that happened today in 1919.  President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke today that left him partially paralyzed.  With eighteen months left in his second term, and Wilson effectively incapacitated, his wife Edith took upon herself the responsibility of running the nation.  She sheltered her ailing husband from the scrutiny of others and concealed from them the magnitude of his illness, while striving to continue his policies.  

MARX.  And, to celebrate another American whose influence would first emerge in the 1920s, we must celebrate the birth of one of the funniest men of the twentieth century, who was conveniently enough born in 1890.  Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx made people laugh from pretty much just after his birth until just before his death in 1977.  His iconic grease paint mustache and eyebrows are still recognized today by people who don't even know where they came from!

QUOTE:  He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you.  He really is an idiot. - Groucho Marx

ANSWER:  C)  Warren Harding.  His presidency was certainly one of the more controversial in American history.