Gloria Swanson - Thursday, October 8, 2015

Many of the men and women whose names covered the tabloids as stars of the silent film era have been forgotten by modern film lovers.  Gloria Swanson is arguably one of the most famous, today.  Even if people are unfamiliar with her by name, they know the most famous line she spoke: "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."  Heck, a lot of people don't even know who 'Mr. DeMille' was!  We will talk about him another day, but today is Gloria Swanson day, here at the America Treasure Tour blog.

Born in 1899, the young Swanson sort of stumbled into celebrity.  She lived modestly as a young girl in Chicago when she joined her aunt on a trip to a small hometown movie studio.  They asked her to work for them as an actress.  She was fifteen.  Something clicked for her, because she became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood by the time she was twenty-four.  Two years later, she married a French Marquise, and officially became a member of European nobility.  By 1927, her standing was so strong that she confidently turned down a million-dollar contract with Paramount Studios and helped form United Artists so that she could choose her own vehicles. Unfortunately, this proved financially questionable, and Swanson had few successes, including 1950's Sunset Blvd., in which her fading star Norma Desmond would become her iconic character and one of her finest performances.  

Swanson became one of the true movie stars of her day - her strong personality dominated many of her films, as well as her six husbands.  When she passed away in 1983, it was not far from her penthouse apartment in New York City.  Quirky, principled, exotic, Miss Swanson was perpetually ready for her close-up.
QUESTION:  Which of the following men was never married to Gloria Swanson?
A)  Wallace Beery
B)  William Duffy
C)  William Holden
D)  William Davey

TELEGRAPH LINE.  It's difficult for people today to realize just how difficult communication used to be.  Prior to the invention of the steam engine and the train, it could take days to get a message from New York to Philadelphia.  Trains made that time go quicker, but nothing would have a greater impact than the telegraph.  Using a series of dots and dashes (Morse Code, of course) you could communicate instantly, so long as wires were placed - and protected - over great distances.  It was on this day in 1860 that telegraph lines were completed between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  A few years later, the transcontinental line would be completed.  And that truly changed everything. 

NOW THAT'S A KNIFE!  One of America's favorite Aussies turns 76 today.  Paul Hogan became famous in a series of comedy films he starred in playing Crocodile Dundee - a resident of the Australian Outback who experiences life in New York City, then Los Angeles.  The films span three decades, with the third film being released in 2001.  There's still time for a fourth....

QUOTE:  As daddy said, life is 95% anticipation. - Gloria Swanson

ANSWER:  C)  William Holden