Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Our Club"

Excerpted from Every Week Magazine (Sunday Supplement)- July 21, 1935

By Jeannette Meehan

Back in 1923 a bunch of movie girls were whooping it up.  The occasion was the first meeting of the exclusive "Our Club", whose membership list included (and still does to this day) the outstanding feminine cinema personalities of that time.  The celebration was held at their president's mansion in the Hollywood Hills.

That was 12 years ago.  But it was really 13 years ago that it all started.  The whole thing evolved from one of the oldest friendships in Hollywood - that between Helen Ferguson, then tremendously popular on the screen, and Mildred Davis, leading lady for Harold Lloyd.

About 13 years ago these two girls were present at the Writers Club to rehearse for a play.  During a prolonged interval their conversation turned to friendships.  They decided Hollywood should have a club of "True-blue friends".  They shook hands and - well - that was that - a club it was.


Feeling that such a swank and important organization should have a very auspicious president, they began looking around.  They looked exactly five feet.  A few seats away, just as though fate had placed her there for that particular office, sat Mary Pickford.

The "club" looked at each other and made bobbing motions with their heads.  They rose from their places and approached America's Sweetheart.  Mildred did not know Mary at all.  Helen had met her once.  Nervous but determined, the two crusaders introduced themselves to the screen's greatest star.

They opened their mouths and found their tongues afflicted with that disconcerting condition ordinarily described as "paralyzed".  It was Helen who finally blurted, "Miss-Miss Pickford, we want to know if you will be president of our club?"

"Who is in your club?", inquired Miss Pickford.

The two girls looked guilty.  "Just Mildred and me,"  gulped Helen.

"Well,"  smiled Mary, "I'd be delighted."
(More handshaking)

Four days later, Mildred and Helen and Mary met for luncheon to augment their somewhat scanty membership.  Within six months they had gathered together, under a common name, a group of young women who's friendship has lasted to this day, rather a rare thing in these Hollywood pastures.

All were acquainted with the top of the ladder in the screen world.  They included, Anita Stewart, Carmel Myers, Laura La Plante, Ruth Roland, Virginia Valli, Lila Lee, Zasu Pitts, Leatrice Joy, Gloria Hope, Claire Windsor, Ruth Dwyer, Lillian Rich, Lois Wilson, Carmelita Geraghty, Virginia Fox, Billie Dove, Pauline Garon, Gertrude Olmstead, Clara Horton, May McAvoy, and Edna Murphy.

In those days these were the girls.  They set the social standards for Hollywood's younger set.  They dictated the fashions.  Fan magazines were quoting them on how to avoid, rather than how to acquire a sun-tan.  Fans the world over were copying their manners.
Yes, the girls whooped it up at an awful pace.  Do you know what they served for refreshments at those first parties? -- Eskimo Pies!

Tch, tch, such goings on -- and you haven't heard all or even half of it.  One awful night they held a Hallowe'en party at which they served cider -- but horrors, they had made a mistake and purchased the wrong kind of cider -- a bit on the hard side.  The respective mothers were so scandalized that the girls weren't allowed to hold a meeting for two months.

Now mind you, this was after all these little ladies had been out in the world making their own living and at a time when Hollywood was supposed to be the wickedest city in the world.


Boxer said...

fell in from MJ's blog.

What a wonderful post!

Lindsey Lohan should be ashamed.

FelixInHollywood said...

Hai, Boxer!!

Glad your here, join the fun.
(a bit more chaste than MJ's place perhaps, but we try)

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

I understand that at one club meeting a pianoforte was played by two at once! You can imagine the scandal that caused!

Boxer said...

my blog is PG.

MJ said...

Boxer is secretly relieved to find Eskimo pies here rather than cake.

Mike, Studio city said...

That's a good bit of history.

Donna Lethal said...

I do love their outfits. And yes, Low-han should be ashamed ... of just about everything. But consider the source - those awful parents.

normadesmond said...

imagine walking up to angelina jolie and asking her, will you be the president of our club?

wv: nologsur...as in, "why that's nologsur, that's my dick!"

ayem8y said...

Lol at Norma's comment.

Interesting story but I can’t help thinking that today’s club is filled with conversation about finding film work for women of a certain age…over 29.

I’m off to acquire a sun-tan and an Eskimo pie.

VP81955 said...

Nice site -- have been exploring it for about an hour or so.

In July 2009, I did an entry at my classic Hollywood site, "Carole & Co." (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co), on the Hollywood of 1923, and in fact ran a few of these pictures dealing with "Our Club":

Keep up the good work, and I cordially invite you to take a look at my blog.