Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gypsies, Vamps and Thieves*

I've been reading Our Hearts were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough. It was published in 1942 and basically contains the memoirs of the two friends' trip abroad after they had just graduated from Bryn Mawr in the 1920s. My great aunt recommended it to me ages and ages ago, and my copy actually came directly from her dusty bookshelf. Anyway, it's fun to read something that refers to so many cultural items of the past. So often I have no idea who or what is being mentioned. Skinner refers to Theda Bara at least three times in the first forty pages. The name did sound familiar and I guessed she was an actress. If you asked me to name silent film stars, though, only four come to mind right away: Louise Brooks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Those are the ones we probably see the most of, today. Anyway, I love having my eyes opened to the fun, everyday pop culture world of the past and this book is sort of like reading a twenty year old girl's personal newspaper.

Here are some photos and a film clip of Theda Bara, one of the first vamps and sex symbols of silent film.

*I miss Cher.


Kelsy said...

You never cease to delight me, and the Cher reference doesn't hurt.

Margaux said...

Merci, ma cherie. I appreciate you.