I’m resurfacing for a moment to share a wonderful item I just received for my birthday. A very generous pal sent this wonderful title card to me from Dorothy’s film Mary Ellen Comes to Town. Released in 1920, sadly another case where this film is lost.
Lobby Card for The Hope Chest
Here is an absolutely charming lobby card from 1918’s The Hope Chest which was filmed in downtown Los Angeles at The Dutch Chocolate Shoppe. The place, miraculously, still stands and is undergoing restoration. The place is filled and themed with wonderful Ernest Batchelder tiles, some of which you can see behind Dorothy. Sadly, yet another lost film and this co-starred Richard Barthelmess.
Work on Dorothy continues very, very slowly. Life, of course, had gotten in the way, but I have begun 2014 with renewed vigour and continue to dig for everything I can find about Dorothy, her life and her films.
James Renie and Dorothy in their apartment in New York with a pet parrot.
James Rennie and Dorothy posed for an “official” portrait for the news media, this was published in Motion Picture Magazine in 1921.
James Rennie in 1927
James Malachi Rennie married Dorothy Gish On December 26, 1920 in Greenwich, CT. They divorced in 1935.
How’s that for a short and sweet post!?
The photographer is not identified (might be in the original magazine in the contents), this is from an issue of Photoplay in 1915.
I suspect the photographer is Hoover Art Co. LA, whoever the photographer, Dorothy looks stunning, here at age 17.
Dorothy Gish, 1915 in Hollywood
Just because Dorothy started her career with D.W. Griffith does not make her an automatic pioneer. She did not invent a lens or the close up.
Dorothy did pen at least one scenario that was adapted by Dell Henderson and made into a film, the 1913 The Suffragete Minstrals. Dorothy appeared as an extra in the film.
Where Dorothy really was a pioneer was that she left Hollywood to make films in Great Britain. Hollywood, particularly postwar was the center of the universe when it came to filmaking. Dorothy stepped out of the box and left for Europe.
The later part of her silent career she made several films for Herbert Wilcox. Most notable of which was the 1926 film Nell Gwyn. Nell Gwyn was distributed in the United States by Paramount Pictures. Nell was a great success. The follow up, Madame Pompadour, even according to Dorothy herself, was not.
1926 Paramount Campaign book preview for Nell Gywn
The anniversary of Dorothy’s birthday was on March 11, 2012. 114th years young. I only managed to get a brief post noting the day on Facebook.
Happily, my telephone interview went well. E was a delight to speak with and shared some wonderful stories. What happened, of course, was once I hung up the phone, I found myself mentally asking even more questions. I’m hoping I will be able to follow up with more and I hope that we will be able to meet in person later this year.
The interview gave me a real shot in the arm and helped me get more of a handle on exactly who Dorothy was and what she was like. Makes me lament, once again, how I wish I could turn back time and meet her in person. Also, wish I’d made more of my opportunity way back when I sent sister Lillian a fan letter (which she did answer) to write and ask her about Dorothy. Oh well, not all 17 year olds can be wise and so forward thinking, I certainly was not. Oh well, must continue to look forward while searching for the past.
Portrait of Dorothy by White Studios, NY
Forgive me for a moment while I shout with delight. I received a response to a letter written a long time back, one I despaired that I’d never receive a reply. I despaired for naught for today I received an answer. A positive, I want to talk to you about my best friend, Doatsie. Hashing out a time for a phone call since we’re not close enough for an in-person interview. To say I’m beyond excited at this prospect is an understatement.
Glass Coming Attraction Slide for Remodeling Her Husband (Matt Vogel Collection)
A NYC researcher has been engaged! How much of the material I want to see and will be accessible is anyone’s guess. In any case, this is a HUGE step forward in the hunting and gathering research department.
While I’ve not been really on the hunt for photos, at least not yet, a few interesting things. One thing I have noticed, it’s not always easy to find a candid shot of Dorothy, all by her lonesome.
Here’s one of Dorothy making up for “By Your Leave” in New York and who is sitting there next to her, ever devoted Lillian striking an odd pose.
Dorothy and Lillian in 1934