Helene Chadwick - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We here at the blog worry that we may have tantalized you, our readers, a little too much with the information we have been offering about stars of the big screen during the silent movie era. But we are here to please, so we happily share the story of another early celebrity:  Helene Chadwick, who also appears in the silent film montage hanging in the Music Room.

Born in the town of Chadwicks, New York in 1897 (the town was named after her grandfather), Helene had equestrian skills that drew the attention of early filmmakers, who introduced her to acting.  She responded positively and, at the ripe old age of 16, moved to Hollywood.  She married the actor William Wellman in 1919 - who would become far more famous as a director in a few years.  Chadwick's career as a leading lady in the cinema lasted from 1920 through 1925.  For five glorious years, she was highly sought after and earning about $2,000 a week.  The introduction of sound to film demoted her to character actor status, and the roles came slower and slower.  She kept hoping for a comeback, but it never came.  In fact, she died at the age of 42 in 1940, after she stumbled over a chair and suffered injuries to her left side, coupled with being in a 'highly nervous state.'  Celebrity is not pretty!
QUESTION:  William Wellman has the distinction of being awarded the first Best Picture Oscar ever for what movie?
A)  Wings
B)  Sunrise
C)  Cimarron
D)  Silence of the Lambs

SHE'S SUPREME!  It was on this day in 1981 that President Ronald Reagan broke from tradition and appointed the first woman to the nation's highest legal office.  Sandra Day O'Connor became an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court.  The federalist and moderate conservative tended to be a swing voter on the Supreme Court before her retirement from office in 2006.  She started the precedent.  There are currently three female justices in the SCOTUS.

MR. TRUMPET.  How many famous trumpeters can you list?  Well, if you come up with one, you should be pretty pleased.  In fact, today is the birthday of Carl "Doc" Severinsen - the most famous trumpeter to play on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  He actually first played on The Tonight Show when Steve Allen was behind the desk, way back in 1952, and became bandleader in '67.  Flashy fashion made him stand out at the time, and helped his NBC Orchestra become one of the most visible bands in the United States.  He stayed on until Carson retired in 1992, after which he has continued to record music and play in concerts.  Way to go, Doc!  Enjoy your 88th b-day today! 

QUOTE:  Do the best you can at every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time.  No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom. - Sandra Day O'Connor

ANSWER:  A)  Wings.  Sunrise also won a similar award that year, but Wings was considered the true winner.  If you haven't seen it, see it.  If you can, see it in a theater.  It's worth it.