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Mary Pickford Lost Film Discovered/ Mary Pickford Cocktail


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Watch this segment from *The Rachel Maddow Show,* where she talks about a rediscovered and restored 10 minute Mary Pickford film from 1911 *"Their First Misunderstanding"*. This film was considered lost until rediscovered in a New Hampshire barn in 2006. Discovered by carpenter Peter Massie who was scheduled to tear down the barn, when he discovered a stack of film canisters.


Massie did not know that such old nitrate stock amounted to an explosive! He would smoke cigarettes in his truck with the film next to him, and keep it near his stove! Lucky neither he nor the film were lost! Nitrate is bad stuff, used for artillery shells!


A film historian was called and eventually the Library Of Congress sponsored a restoration. The film will be have it's world premiere next Friday at King State in New Hampshire.


This was Pickford's first credited appearance. She insisted on film credit as a way of building her name recognition and stardom. Until then, it was common for producers to not credit performer's names, thus hoping to suppress their celebrity and hence their wage demands.


Pickford went on to become a huge earner; by 1916 she could get $60,000 per picture. (About 12-14 times what a successful physician earned in a year back then!) She would make several movies a year in those days. Went on to start United Artists along with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith. Their intention was to dispense with studio bosses and be self employed as their own producers, pocketing more of the profit from distribution.



*How To Make the Mary Pickford*





Maddow did her research for this segment, and found out that Mary Pickford's popularity spawned an old time cocktail named after her. Maddow recreates the drink on air and tells us what goes into it! Worth a look!


*The Mary Pickford cocktail*


*1-1/2 oz of white rum*

*1 oz pineapple juice*

*1/4 oz grenadine*

*1/4 oz maraschino liquor (not the cherries!)*


Shake in a cocktail mixer, will produce a nice froth at the top. Sounds like a sweet tasty concoction.


Cheers to Mary Pickford and the TCM community! Cheers to more lost silent films being found!




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I saw this segment Friday evening. I enjoyed that this history lesson in early film stardom was given to a general (if partisan politically) audience. The only thing I could quibble about is Maddow's assertion that Pickford was the first star to be known by name. That would be Florence Lawrence, "The Biograph Girl", whose name became known to the public in 1910, one year earlier. Of course Miss Lawrence would not nearly have the staying power or huge popularity of Pickford.

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Hi Arturo,


I found the mention worthwhile, as it involved the rediscovery of a lost silent film (always a cause for celebration among film fans and historians!) and some means to celebrate with, i.e. a vintage cocktail recipe named after the star!

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Thanks for that interesting link Traceyk!


Some of the drinks named after star's mentioned in that link:


Marlene Dietrich

Jimmy Durante

Douglas Fairbanks

Garbo Gargle

Jean Harlow

Mary Pickford

Ginger Rogers

Will Rogers

Shirley Temple

Lupe Velez

Johnny Weissmuller

Mae West


It would be interesting to experiment with these through a friendly bartender (better write these down, they may not be in a book), or to mix at social events. The names are very evocative!


It's also known what the favorite poison of many stars was. My own namesake's fave was straight up two finger shots of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, a habit that must not have done her much good.

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Here are some additional links.


This one lists the recipe for a "*Charlie Chaplin*". Combining apricot bandy and gin, it sounds like a guaranteed hangover:


*Drink your favourite film star: a cocktail primer*




Here's one that lists a *"Grace Kelly", a "Casablanca Cocktail" and a "Scarlet O'Hara"*:




Here's another that lists a *"Rhett Butler", a "Roy Rogers" and "Blood and Sand" (A Valentino film)*:




Here's one for *Jayne Mansfield*!:





Here's an interesting link listing popular cocktails from the 1920's Prohibition era. The challenge then was getting quality unadulterated liquor!



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*Here's another that lists a "Rhett Butler", a "Roy Rogers" and "Blood and Sand" (A Valentino film):*


Ah, the Blood and Sand. I've had that a number of times at the venerable Tiki Ti, which is on Sunset Blvd. in (East) Hollywood. Or is it now the Virgil Corridor, or annexed to Silver Lake, or...


Anyway, whenever one has one, the bartender makes sure everyone knows and has everyone yell "Ol?" if I remember correctly. My friend Ruben was curious about the movie, and I have yet to see my VHS copy of BAS since then.

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Hi Tracey,


I thought the same thing too! These cocktails would be ideal on one of those TCM cruises! A first class presentation for any party or reception with an "open bar" would be to make up a few of each drink and place them on a tray in front of a picture of each star! It would make for great tie in and great conversation, especially among film buffs!


It would also be cool to research what the favorite drinks were from some stars, and print up a suggestion guide for the guests.


And let us not forget W.C. Fields, who possessed an admirable iron self- discipline and restraint: he claimed never to have anything stronger than gin before breakfast! There was a man who knew self-control!

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I'm reminded of the sage words of my online alias's spouse, who, of course, was not to be outdone in the sport of competitive cocktail-consumption ;) -


"The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time."



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That was a brilliant contribution and tie in from the movies Nora, thanks!


There was such a guilt free, unself-conscious and hedonistic view of drinking in those Thin Man pictures, it's almost jarring today, where everyone is expected to be so socially "responsible". Heavy consumption and constant use was considered more acceptable and glamorous then, apparently.


I know that drunken driving was considered more socially acceptable then, and often was not treated as a serious matter by law enforcement. (Quite unlike today.) When I was a kid, "drinking and driving" meant doing the two things simultaneously! Getting drunk first and then driving would not have counted as "drinking and driving"! Anybody who quibbled too much over such things was considered a "killjoy", or a person with a "bee in their bonnet"!


Edited by: ThelmaTodd on Oct 8, 2013 12:05 PM

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Arturo, I think we are on some harmonic convergence as just yesterday I started thinking about Florence Lawrence BEING the Biograph girl.


There was some big picture of her in an old film book I had, discussing this occurrence.


Poor Mary, I loved her in films but just cannot ever get out of my head that horrid appearance she made on the Academy Awards show way back, when hubby Buddy Rogers opened the door to their home and she seemed mummy-like in her little speech. But this is not to defame her great film career and other accomplishments, but is more of a pan to bad Hollywood plastic surgery of the times...

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From what I have seen of Pickford, her film appeal seems dated. She appealed to the sentimentality and vogue of her time. Another thing that I noticed is that she often was cast in roles for which she was over aged, made out to appear a "girl" while almost a grown woman.


Her fame, films and memory have not seen much revival in later decades, nor does she seem to have a cult following of fans. Despite being a super-star in her day, she has been relegated to a foot note in film history. Today more remembered for helping to found *United Artists* and her off screen life with *Douglas Fairbanks at "Pickfair*" than her film work.


She was however quite a force as a producer and a businesswoman.


So said a movie journalist of the time:


*"the best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history."*



Here is a must see Technicolor short from 1934, featuring Pickford:





*Star Night At the Cocoanut Grove (1934)*




20 minute short


This is some real Hollywood nostalgia, filmed at the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub and features a number of stars:


*"Star Night" musical revue with many of Hollywood's elite including Ted Fio-Rito and his Orchestra, The Debutantes, Eduardo Durant's Rhumba Band, and the Fancho & Marco Girls. Leo Carrillo serves as the Master of Ceremonies, and introduces a "Galaxy of Stars" including Mary Pickford, Jack Oakie, El Brendel, Arline Judge, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper."*



Here is a 1931 comedy starring Pickford and released by her United Artists:




*Kiki (1931)*




Full movie 1hr 28 min



Pickford's legacy amounted to more substantial contributions:




*The Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study* at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood, constructed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, opened in 1948 as a radio and television studio facility.


There is a first-run movie theatre in Cathedral City, California called *The Mary Pickford Theatre*. The theater is a grand one with several screens and is built in the shape of a Spanish Cathedral, complete with bell tower and three-story lobby. The lobby contains a historic display with original artifacts belonging to Pickford and Buddy Rogers, her last husband. Among them are a rare and spectacular beaded gown she wore in the film *Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924)* designed by Mitchell Leisen, her special Oscar, and a jewelry box.


From wiki:


An astute businesswoman, Pickford became her own producer within three years of her start in features. According to her Foundation, "she oversaw every aspect of the making of her films, from hiring talent and crew to overseeing the script, the shooting, the editing, to the final release and promotion of each project."


Pickford first demanded (and received) these powers in 1916, when she was under contract to Adolph Zukor's Famous Players In Famous Plays (later Paramount). He also acquiesced to her refusal to participate in block-booking, the widespread practice of forcing an exhibitor to show a bad film of the studio's choosing in order to also show a Pickford film. In 1916, Pickford's films were distributed, singly, through a special distribution unit called Artcraft. The Mary Pickford Corporation was briefly Pickford's motion-picture production company.


Here is the website to the *Mary Pickford Foundation*, which also provides scholarships:




"Mary Pickford was an original founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an early leader in the film preservation movement and an ardent supporter of creating a museum devoted to the art of moviemaking."


"Now, in the summer of 2012, the Mary Pickford Foundation and the Academy have partnered on a multi-year initiative to promote the legacy of Mary Pickford and the silent film era. The partnership includes the Academy and the Foundation co-sponsoring an annual Mary Pickford Celebration of Silent Film, film preservation initiatives and the digitization of components of the library?s Mary Pickford Collection."


Edited by: ThelmaTodd on Oct 9, 2013 12:01 AM

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Thanks very much, Thelma Todd, for the links to the YT Pickford sites, as well as the reference to Mary's incredible business acumen.


Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were, of course, Hollywood's first royal couple. An invitation to Pickfair was the highest social compliment that could be extended to someone within the film community during the '20s.


But it was far more than just inhabitants of the film world that went there, as well known politicians and dignitaries, as well as genuine royalty, strained to visit Doug and Mary on their 56m acre estate, as well. Among the guests were George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Edison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin, who considered Fairbanks his best friend.


Douglas Fairbanks Jr. wrote much about his father and Mary in his autobiography, Salad Days. He related a moment of profound significance in their relationship which occured in 1916, at a time when the silent swashbuckling king had known Mary for about a year but was still married to Doug Jr.'s mother.


Fairbanks and Pickford went for a ride in her limousine around Central Park on a very sad occasion just after the death of Doug Sr.'s mother. They were talking about his mother, of course, and at one moment Fairbanks finally broke down weeping, almost inconsolable in his grief.


Mary did all that she could to comfort Fairbanks and, after he had regained his composure, they both noticed that the car clock had stopped. By their calculation the clock had stopped at the about the same moment at which Fairbanks had broken down in the car.


Afterward the words "by the clock" had a special coded meaning between Doug and Mary, an expression which, when used by either of them over the years to come, would remind them of this tender emotional moment that they shared and, in turn, strengthen their relationship.


In 1920 Mary and Doug would marry, travelling to London and Paris on their honeymoon where, as the most famous couple in the world, they were mobbed by the fans. Their glory days in popularity and on the screen would be from the late WWI years through the '20s.


With the talkies both their careers would suffer, in spite of Pickford receiving an Oscar for Coquette. Fairbanks also had numerous affairs, some of them becoming public much to Mary's humilation, as she became a secret drinker.


In January, 1936 they were divorced. Afterward, however, Fairbanks decided that Mary had been the "great love of his life," and he went through great efforts to try to court her all over again, visiting her at Pickfair where she still resided, taking her for rides in the country, as well as sending her letters of romantic devotion in which he pleaded with her for a second chance.


Pickford, after all the pain she had gone through, however, combined with the public humiliation over his affairs, was determined that the Great Romance was over. Fairbanks fell in and out of depression over his failure to revive the relationship, and impulsively set sail on a luxury liner for Europe.


Douglas Fairbanks Jr. had been with his father during this period, and had been taken by surprise with Doug Sr.'s sudden departure for Europe. Doug Jr. was at the Waldorf Towers, where his father had been staying, and was told that there was a Western Union telegram for his father, which had arrived early that morning and had been overlooked, with his father departing not knowing of its arrival.


Doug Jr. nonchalantly opened the telegram. It was from Mary Pickford, saying, words to the effect "All is forgiven . . . Let us be together again . . . forever."


Doug Jr. immediately tried to contact his father on the ship to get him the news. After a frustrating hour to contact the ship and even more time to get his father on the luxury liner, he gave Fairbanks the news of Mary's telegram. His father, however, refused to believe him, accusing him of lying. Doug Jr. pleaded with him to then call Mary himself if he doubted him. His father's response was to hang up the phone. Shortly afterward, Fairbanks flew to Paris with an English socialite he had been courting for some time, Sylvia Ashley, where they were married.


Three years later Fairbanks suffered a sudden, unexpected heart attack. The day following the attack he had a tone of urgency as he asked his brother to give Mary a particular message if anything happened to him. That evening he succumbed.


The next morning, with the world waking up to the news that the great Douglas Fairbanks was dead, his brother contacted Mary by phone.


Mary Pickford then received her last message from Douglas Fairbanks. It was three words - "By the clock."


Upon hearing those words Pickford was silent. Soon afterward, however, she made the following statement to the press, "He passed from our mortal life quickly and spontaneously as he did everything else in life, but it is impossible to believe that vibrant and gay spirit could ever perish."



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Hi Tom,


Thank you very much for sharing that touching background on Pickford and Fairbanks!


The movies, along with their public fame, make these people seem larger than life. Fans lose sight of the fact that these were very real people who in spite of their success and wealth, were beset with personal tragedy and loss. A peaked out career drove many of them to self destruction. The stars get used to, and addicted to a strange and unnatural way to earn a living. Many just can't settle for a "normal" life or job after getting high on the fame and success!


Pickford had other deaths in her life which also contributed to her depression and alcoholism. Plus the fact that she was past her public acceptance as a movie star must have been hard.


I originally started this thread as a heads up to the community about Rachel Maddow's segment. The combination of a rediscovered lost film and a cocktail recipe seemed irresistible! I was never a Pickfordista, considering her silent film roles too maudlin for my taste. As the thread progresses, I'm learning more about her and am coming to appreciate her contribution to the early history of film. She was in on it from the beginning! Her contributions to the business are significant; United Artists is still around!


I welcome more anecdotes and links about her, especially film links. She was in a LOT of films!

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> Hi Tracey,I thought the same thing too! These cocktails would be ideal on one of those TCM cruises! A first class presentation for any party or reception with an "open bar" would be to make up a few of each drink and place them on a tray in front of a picture of each star! It would make for great tie in and great conversation, especially among film buffs!


It would also be cool to research what the favorite drinks were from some stars, and print up a suggestion guide for the guests.



That would be a great idea. That is one thing I want to do someday--either go on one of the cruises or to the Festival...


Edited by: traceyk65 on Oct 9, 2013 9:29 PM

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RE: Star Night At the Cocoanut Grove (1934)


What was that fashion show bit near the beginning about? This was an MGM film, yet the costumes were all from Paramount films (Cleopatra, The Scarlett Empress and I'm No Angel) Did the studios do that sort of thing often? Semi-promote each others'd films? Or did I miss the point entirely and it was a total spoof?

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Hi Tracey,


About those fashions, I see what you are saying. That was an astute catch on your part! *Cleopatra (1934)*, was a Paramount film which came out the year of this short, and Mae West at Paramount was at the height of her popularity. West really liked the 1890's high fashion and wore it in *Belle Of the Nineties (1934).*


There are two possibilities in answer to your question: either *Adolph Zukor (Paramount)* was more than glad to lend his studio costumes to old buddy *Louis B. Mayer (MGM)*, or the MGM costume dept created their own knock-offs.


I won't pass judgement on which was more likely, but I will assume that MGM's costume dept. was quite capable of creating these. Of course, using them was a nod at Paramount success. Imitation is a form of flattery!


The OK for this had to come from Mayer; no one below him at the studio would have dared remind the public of what Paramount was doing! (It was a very competitive business!) That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that 1890's outfit- "God that's so Mae West looking!"


*Star Night At the Cocoanut Grove (1934)* is a period gem, giving us a glimpse of Hollywood nightlife in the 30's. That early Technicolor process had over saturated color, which added a surreal romantic dreaminess to it all! Lucky were the people that could afford to party away in a place like that during the Great Depression!



PS: I'm glad you liked my suggestions. Classic cocktails named after vintage stars have definite interest and appeal! (If any of you decide to serve these at a party, let me know how it went over with the guests.) I hope you make it to a TCM event or cruise someday!

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>There was such a guilt free, unself-conscious and hedonistic view of drinking in those Thin Man pictures, it's almost jarring today, where everyone is expected to be so socially "responsible". Heavy consumption and constant use was considered more acceptable and glamorous then, apparently.


Well, Nick and Nora's martini's were concocted from magical movie booze - no substance-impaired vehicular homicide or liver damage, just increasingly-improbable wit and style with each drink. If only . . . :D


I'm not terribly well-versed on Ms. Pickford, but I like this photo of her and Doug on-set circa 1926 - she in costume for Sparrows and he in Black Pirate garb:




I understand she even donned a wig and took leading lady Billie Dove's place for the great kiss and embrace at the end of the latter picture (in a long-shot, of course).



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Hi Nora,


The "magical movie booze" also produced no domestic quarrels apparently. Those two just got along too well to really be married!


Thanks for the pictures. Tonight I'm sleepy, but tomorrow I'll try to post some pictures of Mayfair if I find any.

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NoraCharles, I really like that shot of Doug and Mary walking away from the camera, his arm around her. The costumes they were wearing, for The Black Pirate and Sparrows, were, in fact, for films that would be considered to be peaks in both of their careers.


The Fairbanks film would employ, very successfully, a two strip Technicolor process to heighten the appeal of this classic silent swashbuckler.


Thelma Todd, I look forward to any photos that you may find of Pickfair. In the meantime, please allow me to submit one. It looks rather like a hunting lodge, doesn't it?


This is where Mary Pickford would continue to live until her death in 1979.



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>...Rediscovered and restored 10 minute Mary Pickford film from 1911 "Their First Misunderstanding". This film was considered lost until rediscovered in a New Hampshire barn in 2006...

>A film historian was called and eventually the Library Of Congress sponsored a restoration. The film will be have it's world premiere next Friday at Keene State College in New Hampshire.


Going to the screening tonight in Keene, NH.

Anyone else going?

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Great to hear that you're going. Only wish I could get there myself.


I just posted this over on Mongo's Candids thread, and thought I'd share it here, too. The cast of Fairbanks's 1921 The Three Musketeers - and a certain pint-sized cinematic dynamo thrown in for good measure. ;)



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