In working previously on Valentino, I knew all too well primary source material would be hard to come by and direct testimony impossible since there is nobody left alive who knew him.
Dorothy Gish is a little different. She lived longer, into my own lifetime. She worked through the early 1960’s. I hoped and believed that there are a few people left who knew her, worked with her and would be willing to talk to me about her. I’ve had confirmation this morning that I’ve succeeded in finding my first direct link back to Dorothy.
Scheduling a telephone call next week! Excitement! Off to a great start!
With Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol completed, I’ve been bitten by the research bug. To begin rediscovering Dorothy Gish, I’ve taken on a project I think I can really sink my teeth into.
Dorothy was a little less famous than her more ambitious sister Lillian. That being said, Lillian always made a point to credit Dorothy as being the more talented sister. This will be a journey of discovery in every sense of the word to find out who she was and hopefully what made her tick.
In speaking recently with theatre historian and author Miles Krueger, he said to me the instant her name came up “She was a real live wire!” He said this with the brightest smile and dancing light in his eyes. It was a recollection of unbridled joy. How can you not be intrigued by that? This is one facet of Dorothy I hope to uncover as I begin this research journey. I have a feeling that won’t be hard, her sense of humor precedes her.
The journey will not only be a virtual time travel back to find Dorothy and her extant films, it’s going to be a literal journey and I will be wading through paper and scrapbooks more than knee deep and not in my home office (at least not yet). I can hardly wait!
I’ve already had some generous and wonderful help with some leads and preliminary material. The list of acknowledgments is already growing and the process has barely begun.