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WAMPAS Baby Star and Flappers

Above

A promotional image of Colleen from "The Ninty and Nine." Note the different colors of her eyes.
Come on Over
, was released on at the end of February. On March 5th the Los Angeles Times reported “Film Press Men Plan Big Frolic.” ...Western Motion Picture Advertisers announced March 4th the first Wampas Frolic, to be held March 16th at the Ambassador Hotel to honor the thirteen “baby stars” predicted to become famous, among them Colleen. Victor Herbert was to return to LA to conduct the Hale Dewey Orchestra for the event. A week later Adele Rogers St. Johns reported that: “Of them all (the WAMPAS Baby Stars), I found the most honest enthusiasm, the most confident praise and prediction behind Colleen Moore.”
 
On May 17th the Los Angeles Times reported that Ward Lascalle planned to star Colleen in a series of films starting with Affinities. The film had already begun production, with the initial scenes shot at the Balboa studio with sets being built at the Ince for interiors scenes.  
 
A week later The Wallflower was released. Affinities followed four months later, but the series ever materialized. There was another trip to New York, and while there she was interviewed by Gladys Hall, of the Chicago Daily News. Portions of the interview were reprinted in The Flapper--Not for Old Fogies--and during the course of the interview the subject of Flapper came up.

 

From Gladys Hall interview of Colleen in Chicago Daily News, reprinted n the magazine "The Flapper"

"...I found Colleen as enthusiastic for the maligned misses as most doleful individuals are against them.
“’Why,’ said Colleen, with her head slightly to one side, an alert little manner, sort of characteristic of a humming bird, “Why, I’m a flapper myself!” Colleen is twenty-one, correct flapper age, at any rate—but somehow, until she mentioned it. I really hadn’t cataloged her as precisely that. Flappers don’t generally do as much as Colleen, and they are more blasé—about the subway.
“’A flapper,’ Colleen went on, with wisdom, ‘is just a little girl trying to grow up—in the process of growing up.
“’She wears flapper clothes out of a sense of mischief—because thinks them rather “smart” and naughty. And what everyday, healthy, normal little girl doesn’t sort of like to be smart and naughty?
“’Little Lady Flapper is really old-fashioned; but in her efforts not to let anyone discover that her true ideal is love-in-a-cottage, she “flaps” in the most desperately modern manner.
“’Left to her own devices she would probably dance and flirt just as girls have always done—but honest, I don’t think she’d wear her skirts so short!
“’She likes her freedom, and she likes to be a bit daring, and snap her cunning, little manicured fingers in the face of the world; but fundamentally she is the same sort of girl as grandmamma was when she was young.
“’The chief difference is that she has more ambition, and there are more things for her to wish for, and a greater chance of getting them.
“’She demands more of men because she knows more about their work.
“’She uses lipstick and powder and rouge because, like every small girl, she apes her elders.
“’She knows more of life then than her mother did at the same age because she sees more of it.
“’She knows what she wants and what she is what she is doing, all of the time—and she meets life with a small and an eager, ardent hope. She’s a trim little craft and brave!
“’The flapper has charm, good looks, good clothes, intellect and a healthy point of view. I’m proud to “flap”—I am!'”
In December, the films Foresaking All Others, The Nine and Ninety, and Broken Chains were released a week apart each: on the 10th, the 17th, and the 24th. They were produced (in order) by Universal, Vitagraph, and Goldwyn Pictures. She still had not found a home studio, and that no doubt contributed to the failure of her career to get some traction. After five years in the business, she had hoped to be further along then she was. She had a talent, there was no doubt about that. She was a hard worker and had a strong fan base. However, the stardom she sought still eluded her.  

January 1923 saw the company of Boni & Liveright at 61 West 48th Street publish the book Flaming Youth, by "Warner Fabian," a pseudonym for Samuel Hopkins Adams. Adams said he had based the book on the diaries of “a young friend,” and the book took that general format: an older, respectable man recounting in an almost diary form the events that swirled around a family of three modern women and their father after the death of their mother. It was an unorthodox lifestyle the family lived, not at all what the American public expected of the upper classes: parties and drinking and petting, the daughters and their various lovers, and a degree of drama. It was filled with some hot stuff, showed the younger generation not only doing everything the public had hear whispers about, but enjoying it all. It was a topical book, encapsulating the mood of the moment, and that was the sort of material that Liveright liked. The book was a sensation, scandalous. It shocked reader who nevertheless could not put the book down. Everyone wondered who "Warner Fabian" was, and the mystery around his identity became part of the marketing of the book. First National picked up the rights to the book right away: they wanted to start production on a film version right away to capitalize on the still-flaming sensation

Look Your Best
was released February 18, again a Goldwyn picture, followed a little less than a month later by The Nth Commandment by Famous Players Laskey-Paramount. The Nth Commandment had been a Cosmopolitan Production, as had Through the Dark (Cosmopolitan Corporation). She had managed to land both roles due in part due to her new friendship with Marion Davies, who was the mistress of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper tycoon. Hearst had created Cosmopolitan to give Marion an opportunity to star in films. By February she had also confirmed her engagement to McCormick.


In May, Colleen signed a contract for three films with Associated First National Pictures. She had been a highly regarded actress with a track record of popular films, an up-and-comer. It doubtless did not hurt that she had John McCormick campaigning for her. Not only was she is fiancée, but he saw a special quality in her. "Realizing the important relation of good players to the successful screening of good stories," the Los Angeles Times reported on May 3rd, "it is announced that this company will groom its most promising young players by means of leading roles and featured parts until stardom is justified.
 
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