Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clara Bow: A 1920's Actress

In the 1920's going to the movies was the thing to do. Approximately half the U.S. population attended movies weekly. And one of the most famous 1920's actresses was Clara Bow, who starred in mostly silent films.

Born in the slums of New York and rising to stardom, Bow became the idea of the flapper during the roaring twenties. It was her spunky spirit and her willingness to defy convention that gave her this title.

Copyright MovieGoods

With a star cast including Clara Bow, a silent movie filmed in the southwest corner of Colorado certainly drew attention as is demonstrated in this article of the 1925 Durango Evening Herald:


The “Scarlet West” the picture which was made at Dolores, Colo., was originally called the “Pony Express” or “The birth of the West” but was changed to “The Scarlet West” by the First National, one of the largest distributors in the world. The picture depicts the pioneer days of ’59 and ’61 and was sponsored and financed by the Colorado Manufacturers and Merchants association. This stupendous and dramatic film with scenes that vividly portray early western life was shown recently to capacity attendance at the Colorado theatre in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Salt Lake City, Ogden and other cities have also contracted for this film. It is understood that it will be shown in Durango in the near future.

Dolores was selected as the ideal location for the production of such a picture and Mr. Carroll the producer was successful in securing an all star cast from Hollywood to take leading parts in “what we believe to be on of the greatest outdoor moving pictures ever filmed.” Notable amongst these actors and actresses are Robert Frazer, Clara Bow, Robert Edeson, Walter McGrail, Helen Ferguson, Gaston Glass, Johnny Walker, Ruth Stonehouse, Martha Francis and Florence Crawford. Several well known San Juan basin residents are also shown in the picture.

Durango Evening Herald
Sat. August 15, 1925

With news like this, I knew I needed to include a little bit of Clara Bow in my 1925 Historical Fiction, Moonshine Murder. Below is a scene from the novel:

Lenora glanced back. Several feet away, Rusty watched.
“Come on.” The officer prodded her in the back.
She swiveled around and tramped along beside him to his idling car and stepped onto the running board, then into the leather backseat. The officer cranked the gears and they drove off.
“I’m with Mr. Strickson,” she said.
“Sure, and I’m dating Clara Bow.” He slapped his chubby hand on the steering wheel.
Lenora tugged against her handcuffs. If she could just reach the door handle, maybe she could jump.
“People have died bailing out of moving vehicles.” The officer studied her in the rearview mirror.
“Better than your company.” She glared at the back of his balding head.
The officer snorted. Lenora slouched back in the seat.

Moonshine Murder isn't the only novel that cites Clara Bow. Janet Fox, in her newly released Young Adult Historical Fiction novel, Sirens, often makes references of the famous Clara Bow. Jo Winter, the main character in Sirens, "could've been a star. Another Clara Bow. She had the looks for it. And the smarts."

To learn more about Moonshine Murder visit my website. And come back and visit in a couple weeks to learn more about Janet Fox, author of Sirens.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing Moonshine Murder

This Friday, January 11, I will be a guest blogger over at a fellow Women Writing the West member's page. Heidi Thomas is published by Treble Heart Books as well, and won the WILLA Literary Award for her YA novel, Follow the Dream.

Stop by and find out a little bit more about Moonshine Murder and my writing routine.