Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Christmas Album: Mary Pickford

For our celebration of cinematic Christmases of Hollywood Past this December, 2009, let's kick things off with one of the first ladies of movies, who was--at least in her day--probably the most famous woman in the world.

Barely five feet tall Mary Pickford, is seen posting this sign changing the name of Hollywood Boulevard to Santa Claus Lane in 1928. Mary, beginning in 1925, was the honorary chairman of the Holiday Beautification movement that created the pre-holiday activities of the movie colony. That sign would soon be hung with glass icicles to mimic the real thing. When the Hollywood Christmas Parade began for the first time that year, white corn flakes strewn in the path of the frolicking strolling players would stand in for real snow. Since the temperature in LA rarely hovers near the freezing mark, one wonders how Miss Pickford stood being swaddled in that lovely cloche hat and what looks to be a silver fox trimmed winter coat! Still, such garb, perhaps more revelatory of the veiled aspects of human nature in society rather than an accurate reflection of the true weather, will have to suffice as one of the lovely and mysterious illusions of the movie colony back in the day. For the most part, Mary's possible discomfort with these trappings of public life seems to have been worn with grace for many years.


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