I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the first in this series, which combines paper dolls (in color) with a “Name the Actors” contest. Of course, the silent films of 1916 and 1917 would have been black and white [although sometimes the whole image was tinted: yellow for day, or blue for night, etc.] so the colors of the doll costumes are sometimes just the illustrator’s “colorization.”
If you are interested in silent films, as I am, trying to name the actors in these monthly contests is quite a challenge. The majority of silent films have been lost, some leaving not even still photos behind. A knowledge of costume history does supply some hints to the period represented in the film — Renaissance, modern dress, fantasy, 18th century, etc., which suggests (or at least eliminates) some movie titles from 1915-1917. If you want to play — no prizes, I’m afraid — please contribute your comments! You can find lists of film titles, by year, in several places, including wikipedia: 1917 1916 and 1915 . MoviesSilently is currently running many centenary articles about 1917 films.
Delineator, which ran this contest, was a large format magazine, so showing a whole page on this blog doesn’t provide enough detail; I’ve isolated some images for improved visibility.
Around 1917, he played an academic, a man of the Renaissance, and a 20th century soldier.
Reader suggestion [8/22/17:] Francis X. Bushman played Romeo in 1916.
The very petite young lady beside him (who sometimes seems to be dressed as a boy) may or may not have shared a wedding scene with him:
Reader suggestion: Marguerite Clark, who played Prince Edward in The Prince and the Pauper in 1915. She also played Snow White in 1916. [added 8/22/17]
I was half-way successful with the paper dolls from May, 1917.
The costumes clearly representing Joan of Arc led me to Joan the Woman, a Cecil B. DeMille silent released in 1915. Geraldine Farrar was a very successful opera singer who made several silent (!) movies between 1915 and 1920.
Perhaps her skirt and blouse outfit is from The Devil-Stone (1917.) Farrar played a “fishermaid” who finds a cursed emerald….
The movie poster shows Joan’s dress as scarlet, but blue worked better for this illustration, since Carmen wears red.
Delineator explained that “these pictures are based upon photographs supplied by courtesy of the motion-picture producers….”
I have not identified this actor:
It’s possible that the 16th century costumes are from the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre (1572) scenes in Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages (1916). I did see it once, but I’m not willing to sit through it again this week….
From the July issue, I was able to identify William Farnum (Dustin Farnum was his brother) in A Tale of Two Cities (1917) and in one of his many westerns. The actress pictured with him does not have a matching 18th century wardrobe, so she’s probably not his frequent leading lady, Jewel Carmen.
Reader suggestion [8/22/17:] Pauline Frederick. Only 15 of her 65 movies survive. She was an established stage star when she made her first film in 1915, and was still making movies in the 1930’s.
The 18th century costumes for this actor led me to A Tale of Two Cities. Here he is wearing the dark costume, with the buckle-banded hat, although the doll instructions say it goes with the yellow coat.
The actress drawn in a green evening gown also wore these costumes:
Any costume with a Civil War flavor suggests Birth of A Nation (1915), but that was not the only pre-1918 film set in that era. (And she doesn’t resemble its female star, Lillian Gish.) She also wears a green brocade evening gown and a “peasant-ish” red ensemble.
In August, there were three actors to identify: child actors.
“The paper dolls on this page represent three of the most popular moving-picture actors. The costumes are those they wore while being filmed in their latest plays. Who are they?”
Children were often the stars of shorter films, which makes finding their titles less likely. The boy seems to have played both princes and peasants — but were they in the same movie?
This character stands next to a sword:
Sometimes child stars were filmed in parodies of well-known films, in which they mimicked adult actors. That may explain the pink evening gown worn by this young actress:
Baby Marie Osborne had this hairstyle; famous for playing Little Mary Sunshine (1916), she was earning $1000 a week and made about 28 films before retiring at age 8. Unfortunately, her parents mis-spent her earnings; she made a second career for herself as a movie costumer, including The Godfather, Part II. I can’ t confirm her identification using these costume illustrations — can you?
The curly-haired child star at the upper left of the page carries a doll that evokes another of her costumes:
Please comment if you recognize any of these actors & costumes from a film you’ve seen!
Added: August 22, 2017: Fritzi Kramer (via MoviesSilently.com) suggested some answers: “Very cool collection! The first unidentified gentleman is Francis X. Bushman, who made Romeo and Juliet around this time. My guess for the brunette changeling is Marguerite Clark. I believe the woman in the green dress next to William Farnum is Pauline Frederick. Hope this helps! [It certainly does, especially since Marguerite Clark played a boy in Prince and the Pauper.]