A little while ago, we told you the story of Florence Lawrence, the first film celebrity. If you recall, back in the super early days of cinema, movie studios strove to maintain the anonymity of their actors for fear that fame would give them leverage. Lawrence proved their fears real, as people actively sought to see her movies. After her, actor names hit the theater marquees. Today, we are going to follow up on this theme with Mary Fuller, another early actor whose picture is on display in our Music Room.
Like Lawrence, Fuller's story is a sad one overall. But she started out great! The daughter of a Washington, D.C. attorney, Fuller's childhood sounds like it was pleasant. Born in 1888, Fuller first experienced the stage as a teenager and, by 1910 she was appearing in short films for the Edison Company. Within four years, she not only rivaled Mary Pickford in popularity, but she was writing her own screenplays. But, by 1917, her career was over at the tender age of 29. What happened? Well, there was a slump in attendance of her films, and maybe she alienated the Studios. Regardless, nothing she tried could restore her fame and she disappeared for years. She married a failed opera singer, then moved in with her mother and lived with mom's death in 1940. Nervous breakdowns haunted her, and she was checked into an asylum, where she lived pretty much until her death in 1973. Fame is a fickle monster, to be sure.
QUESTION: Another (unrelated, to our knowledge) Fuller became a director of bloody films between the '50s and the '80s. What was his first name?
THE AGE OF AIR. By 1928, flight had become a national obsession. Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean the year before, and everyone was trying to get up in the air. Well, on this day in '28, Lindbergh's accomplishment had been repeated - by Amelia Earhart, the first woman to make the claim. Soon enough, transatlantic flights would be considered normal, but for now, this was a monumental event. And even better, Earhart continued to fly well into the 1970's, breaking records around the world - and certainly NOT disappearing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in 1937, because we already told a sad story about Mary Fuller, and would not tell a sad story about Amelia Earhart, too.
LAUGHING HAPPY. Turning 63 today is Carol Kane, the talented and accomplished comedienne whose been on the stage and television for over forty years. Most famously, she starred in the popular sitcom Taxi in the early eighties and the film Princess Bride in 1987, and is now a part of the popular and controversial Netflix comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Happy birthday, Carole!
QUOTE: My face is my career. - Carol Kane
ANSWER: B) Samuel. Some of his best-known films include Straw Dogs, The Wild Bunch and White Dog.