Monday, September 14, 2009

The original "It" Girl

After my blog about movie stars Amy Adams and Nicole Kidman having "it," I was reminded of the original "It girl," Clara Bow.

Bow has been mostly forgotten. Even when people have heard her name they might know she was a movie star, but don't know what she did that made her famous. While other silent film stars have become legends in American culture, for some reason Clara Bow has been left out.

It wasn't for her sex appeal, which was copious. But it had to do with the movies she was given. She worked into the sound era, retiring in 1933 to be a wife and mother, but she's most remembered for her silent movies.

This biography explains some of the facts and fallacies of Bow's life.

One of the problems with sex appeal is that people can assume all sorts of sordid fantasies on a woman who has it. If a woman projects sexiness people automatically assume she is using it for sexual purposes. It's happened--look at Madonna!--but Bow, born of a mentally ill mother, and who showed signs of mental illness herself in her later life, was probably more of a sex fantasy than sex reality.

In the way of early Hollywood stardom, Bow was huge, but no one can live up to that kind of publicity.

This two-page comic strip about Bow is from The Big Book of Weirdos, published in 1995. Many of the stories told about Clara Bow have been refuted by her fans, those folks who continue to this day to keep her memory alive. But sometimes a good story will trump reality every time.

All you've got to do is click on the pages to make them larger than life, just like Clara in her day.

1 comment:

Avalon76 said...

Oh, this breaks my heart. Clara wasn't an angel, but she wasn't a whore either.