She was the first, the one and only. But what else do you know about Clara Bow?
After hardscrabble beginnings in Brooklyn just five years after the dawning of the 20th Century, Clara took a familiar route to silent-movie era Hollywood — by winning a talent-beauty contest. She was just 17 when she made first onscreen movie appearance. By 1933 at age 28, her movie career was over.
In between Bow lived it up hugely onscreen and off, becoming a symbol of roaring Twenties, right up there with the likes of Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh. She was also a workhorse, making more than 55 movies in an 11-year span.
Ultimately, she “epitomized flaming youth — the girl who lived by her heart, not her head,” according to coauthors Edward Epstein and our own Joe Morella whose 1976 biography, The “It” Girl: The Incredible Story of Clara Bow, is the inspiration for today’s quiz.
We realize that many of our readers were’t even born by the time Bow passed into the great beyond (felled by a heart attack in 1965 at age 60). So all the more reason to get acquainted with her now.
As usual, bonne chance. Answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Clara Bow is indelibly remembered as the “It” girl. What does “It” refer to? a) Her acute sense of comedic timing; b) Her way with Shakespearean dialogue; c) The title of her 1927 movie based on an Elinor Glyn story; or d) Her sex appeal.
2) Question: Bow was known for her insatiable sexual appetite. Which one of the following are NOT counted among her lovers? a) Gary Cooper; b) John Gilbert; c) Douglas Fairbanks; or d) Several members of the 1927 Univ. of Southern California’s football team.
3) Question: Bow was plagued by a medical condition throughout her career that stemmed from her troubled relationship with her mother. a) True; or b) False.
4) Question: In which of her movies did Clara create a sensation by appearing totally nude? a) 1924’s Daughters of Pleasure; b) 1925’s Eve’s Lover; 1926’s Mantrap; or 1927’s Hula.
5) Question: He was perhaps Clara Bow’s most famous lover. Who is he? a) Gary Cooper; b) Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom; c) Harry Richman; or d) Victor Fleming.
6) Question: Although she had many paramours, Clara Bow had only one husband, a handsome, wavy-haired Western movie star. Can you identify him? a) Roy Rogers; b) Rex Bell; c) Gene Autry; or d) Johnny Mack Brown.
7) Question: Bow had a difficult time in the transition of movies from silents to “talkies.” What was her principal problem? a) Mastering the newfangled technology of sound recording; b) Her pronounced lisp; c) Her Brooklyn accent; d) Off-camera distractions involving a scandalous court case against Bow’s tell-all secretary.
8) Question: Bow is now regarded as Hollywood’s first true sex symbol. a) True; or b) False.
9) Question: Bow is also renowned for suffering from serious mental ailments. a) True; or b) False.
10) Question: By 1930, Bow was Hollywood’s most highly paid actress. a) True; or b) False.