“She led a very sheltered life, then became the biggest star in the world. That gives me the willies. Clara very much reminded me of a young Groucho Marx, with his 'tashe painted in the wrong place. That led to a few funny moments, I can tell you!”
Clara Bow (; July 29, 1905 – September 27, 1965) was the "IT girl" of silent films in the 1920s. Her "energetic woman moving around" persona made men swoon, women blush, and gave all of them ideas. Those ideas, and not the myth of prohibition, led to the Roaring Twenties. There were more taverns and bars open after prohibition than before it, so it wasn't only the booze, twas Clara made the Roaring Twenties Roar.
Clara Bow's extended brush with greatness captivated the hearts and loins of an adoring public as an entire generation was schooled in what "IT" meant. Because when Clara batted her large ocelot-sized eyes at the camera, even catholics couldn't resist her charms, succumbed to sin, and sprayed holy water all over the place. She was such a sexy person, and by far the sexiest Hollywood star whose movies you've never seen. Much like Marilyn Monroe, only more animated and then more dead.
Clara Bow was a flapper (what now? some kind of bird? a dolphin?) and, although short, frumpy, and burdened with not having a very long neck by today's standards, she was Hollywood's first and cutest female sex symbol. Actually Hollywood's second, but you never hear of Lillian Gish anymore, who was usually portrayed as a depressed and needy little girl you'd like to cuddle up to.
Clara Bow's movies are hardly ever shown today. So if you want to know more about her you might want to share-file them, give Bing and YouTube a try, or just ask your great-grandparents. She's your great-grandpa's dream-then-let's-cream girl, so if he's still alive and can string two emotions together, he still loves her. And he still dances the lindy to her films. If he can.
Bottom-line, of the opening section at least: Like old-timey people know, Clara Bow was hot before hot was the new sis boom bah.
Personal Life and Career
You don't even want to know about her personal life. Read her tragic wikipedia entry if you dare, or watch a creepy David Lynch movie. Basically, she was born with nothing, not even any clothes on her back. She was raised by a crazy mom and an incestuous dad and they all lived like hermits in New York. It was there that Clara was discovered by a film editor who happened to see her shopping in dumpsters, and when she began her acting career with a walk-on in "Johnny, Don't Linger" it turned out that the camera loved her (as did the cameraman that evening). She rose like a Korean rocket, and, once she was the center of attention of everyone who mattered in the industry, she left New York and never looked back. Her trademark eyebrows, babydoll pout, and teethy smile becoming famous worldwide. Fap fap fap went the men, in many languages and dialects.
Hit after hit followed another hit in the Golden Era of the Silver Screen, with Clara becoming even more of a global phenomenon. Every girl wanted to be her and ever boy wanted to be with(in) her. Clara continued to make dozens of movies. She was the talk of the town, the bee's knees of the film industry, and the hot shoulder for producers to lean on. She dined with Kings and left with their Court Jester. She was seen on the arm of Rudolph Valentino and the leg of Buster Keaton. Everybody loved her, at least once. Then, at the height of her career, some do-good technofreak kicked her in the balls and left her dangling. He invented The Talkies, and the shit hit Clara's and Hollywood's fan like a flock of geese landing beak first in the La Brea Tar Pits.
John Gilbert, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Vilma Bánky, and even Little Mary Miles Minter were all out of work. Yes, the camera loved their faces, but each had a voice that only a dog could hear. Over the crude recording equipment of the early talkie era the men all sounded very fey, and the women all sounded gummy, thick, and squeaky. Before you could blink an eye, lots of stars fell from the sky and crashed to the studio floor, and darned if "exit stage left" didn't lead down the road to drink and destruction. Variety called it the The Day the Cat Got Hollywood's Tongue even as Clara's tongue was already occupied.
Poor petulant Clara. So ripe, so firm, so fully packed and unfortunately, from Brooklyn. Her speaking voice resembled the sound of Chico Marx scratching a weasel down a chalkboard with his left hand while strangling a baboon with his right as all three of them chew on tinfoil, crackerjack, and taffy. No director wanted that voice in a movie, let alone hearing it as he was coming out of a mouth of a classy broad like Clara. In six months she went from "The IT Girl" to "The Most Annoying thing in the whole wide world Girl."
“You have the right to remain silent.”
With her career in tatters, and her image surviving only as Betty Boop, a cartoon mock-up of Clara but with a pleasant speaking voice (fap fap fap), Clara spent the remainder of her life collecting matchbooks on her palatial Malibu estate. Earplugs were handed out whenever anyone came to visit. Soundproof rooms were built so Clara could talk to herself. And even though dozens of men still clamored for her favors, they asked her not to open her mouth except for, you know. Then one day Clara came down with a case of schizophrenic, was shock-therapied to death, and seldom made another movie.
Clara is dead. Real dead, not like pretend dead. Don't even think about digging her up. Even if you're some crazed no-limit necrophiliac she's probably fully disappeared by now, or at the very least quite icky. Besides, if you don't mind waiting in line, it's rumoured that Louise Brooks is still necro-hot and up for it.
- Beyond the Rainbow (1922) - Clara sings to her little dog Toto and they meet witches and midgets.
- Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) - And down to her sea in slips.
- Enemies of Women (1923) - Men. Duh. And yeast.
- The Daring Years (1923) - From the time she was 12 until she died.
- Maytime (1923) - Next February's babytime.
- Black Oxen (1923) - Politically incorrect film starring Clara and a team of black actors.
- Grit (1924) - Clara gets stuff in her teeth.
- Poisoned Paradise (1924) - An educational documentary about date-rape drugs.
- Daughters of Pleasure (1924) - Clara's first porno film, co-starring her dad, Long Bow.
- Wine (1924) - Clara drinks on screen, works in a tasting room, and spits into cups.
- Empty Hearts (1924) - And heads.
- Helen's Babies (1924) - Stephen King's Rosemary's Baby was a remake of this gothic horror flick.
- This Woman (1924) - Does that guy.
- Black Lightning (1924) - Co-starring Mr. Bojangles as Clara's love thunder.
- Capital Punishment (1925) - The highly controversial courtroom documentary, which has forever changed our society.
- The Adventurous Sex (1925) - Women. And who represents women? Clara!
- Eve's Lover (1925) - And Adam's three-way.
- The Lawful Cheater (1925) - Clara gets her hands broken in Vegas.
- The Scarlet West (1925) - Clara Bow and Mae West star in this dadaist avant garde film based on the classic book The Scarlet Letter.
- My Lady's Lips (1925) - Clara Bow kisses a girl. And likes it!
- Parisian Love (1925) - Clara's French exploitation film.
- Kiss Me Again (1925) - Clara Bow kisses her lover... again.
- The Keeper of the Bees (1925) - Clara as a beekeeper gets stung by Cupid's arrow.
- The Primrose Path (1925) - Clara leads men down it. Some women follow.
- Free to Love (1925) - Everyone in the day took notes during this film. Most still do!
- The Best Bad Man (1925) - Bow chooses the winner.
- The Plastic Age (1925) - Clara has plastic surgery. Then dildos make their appearance.
- The Ancient Mariner (1925) - Bow gets her grandpa fetish freak on.
- My Lady of Whims (1925) - Sexy title for this documentary about steel production in Whims, Iowa.
- Dance Madness (1926) - This film is considered to be the predecessor of disco.
- Shadow of the Law (1926) - Shadowpuppets of the lawbreakers.
- Two Can Play (1926) - One can watch.
- Dancing Mothers (1926) - About the dangers of dancing while pregnant.
- Fascinating Youth (1926) - Child porn at its finest.
- The Runaway (1926) - Clara Bow goes emo and runs away from home. Later the premise of a Julia Roberts film.
- Mantrap (1926) - Clara Bow and her flapper girlfriends build a device to trap men.
- Kid Boots (1926) - Clara has small feet.
- IT (1927) - The people's favorite!!!
- Children of Divorce (1927) - Another highly controversial courtroom documentary, which has forever changed our society.
- Rough House Rosie (1927) - The film that inspired modern female wrestling.
- Wings (1927) - Clara Bow plays the flapper. Near the end she dresses like a goose.
- Hula (1927) - Bow, playing Gidget, goes Hawaiian. The first surfing movie.
- A Trip Through the Paramount Studio (1927) - a short subject in which Bow continually trips on rakes. Funny as hell.
- Get Your Man (1927) - And she does, believe me.
- Red Hair (1928) - Does the carpet match the drapes?
- Ladies of the Mob (1928) - Clara Bow becomes a gangsta'.
- The Fleet's In (1928) - Clara stars in another porno showcasing her multiple penetration skills.
- Three Weekends (1928) - This porno actually has a storyline.
- Hollywood Snapshots #11 (1929) - A short subject about a photo album.
- The Wild Party (1929) - Clara takes off her shoes, does a crazy dance, and drinks.
- Dangerous Curves (1929) - Clara's body is endlessly explored.
- The Saturday Night Kid (1929) - Another breakthrough child porn fantasy.
- Paramount on Parade (1930) - Just a long parade of elephants and clowns and Clara.
- True to the Navy (1930) - Yep, the entire Navy. Got to see it to believe it.
- Love Among the Millionaires (1930) - A call girl's goldmine. Filmed in Vegas.
- Her Wedding Night (1930) - Clara Bow marries a lemur. Her first and best beastiality pic.
- No Limit (1931) - And no waiting.
- Kick In (1931) - She was petering out about here.
- Call Her Savage (1932) - Clara Bow becomes a mass murderer, based on her real-life story.
- Hoop-La (1933) - Clara moves to Tibet, meets an ancient holy Lama, and jumps through hoops as men watch.