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153 Comments

Reply Diane Crost
9:29 PM on February 1, 2017 

Thank you Marilyn for inluding me in the credits for your Hollywood Museum article. This is a fabulous website :)

Reply kerry michael boyce
1:04 PM on February 1, 2017 

I enjoyed reading the page about Mabel’s motorcycles. As well as the Indian there is a picture of a V–twin motorcycle that someone, I believe, has identified as a Flying Merkel. The Flying Merkel and Indian do have another (sort of) link with Mabel and ‘Mabel At The Wheel’ in that the company which produced Chaplin’s Thor IV motorcycle started in business making parts for Flying Merkel and Indian (including complete engines for the latter). If anyone is interested there is a video of a circa 1912 Thor engine being rebuilt by a couple of guys on YouTube. In another video, a Thor is shown in action. Although the cycle seems serene enough on silent film, the noise is actually horrendous! Furthermore, the hot exhaust gasses would have been vented towards Mabel’s right foot, even if a silencer was fitted (I can’t see that the Chaplin example was actually fitted with one). The precarious-looking passenger seat was an accessory. It is worth noting that all the photos of Mabel with the Indian show the machine on a stand, even when Jack Pickford is represented as the pilot. I believe the Indian belonged to Claude Normand (bought by Mabel perhaps?). Does anyone know if Mabel herself ever actually rode a motorcycle? A motorcycle would definitely have NOT been suitable for negotiating Edendale’s unpaved, muddy roads while wearing furs, dripping with diamonds, and a poke bonnet for head protection. Incidentally, Jack and Mabel seem very cosy sitting on the Indian, as indeed they were at Biograph, Goldwyn’s, and in an English comic-strip that can be seen on this site (I presume that the Jack illustrated is Jack Pickford).

Reply ★ Owner
8:13 PM on January 10, 2017 

Kel, 

Mabel Normand wrote a whole series of these silly letters.  She said that she was sending them to "put a smile" on the faces of very busy important men.  TheIMPORTANT men, like Zukor.  The letter was found in a personal papers of Zukor; so we know that he kept it.  The description of the girl sending the letter is COMICAL - fine-thin-fuzzt hair, no chin, very tall, pale eyes, etc.  You should read it in the spirit of hilarious farce as she intended.

MOLLY O' was the Christmas success and she was working on SUZANNA in February 1922.  When the comic letter was written, Mabel was planning a trip to Europe.  The Sennett Studios was waiting for her return to make more feature movies (MARY ANN and THE EXTRA GIRL).

I find the whole WDT case is in the realm of "recrearional thinking" it exists because it is a mystery, even if it were solved there will always be those that will find a constancy theory - (the grassy knoll or wind blowing the flag on the moon).  The fascinations is not with the murder, it is the ubsolved murder.

Kel Boyce says...

Having recently discovered Marilyn’s site, I was intrigued to find Mabel’s letter to Adolph Zukor among its pages. This is my take on Mabel’s scribings:

Mabel’s letter seems more impertinent than usual, and with good reason. Mabel felt she had been sacrificed following the W.D.Taylor murder, in order to protect Zukor’s big star Mary Miles Minter. The application for a job reflects the fact that Taylor had been unable, or unwilling, to get Mabel employed at Zukor’s studio. She seems to imply that Taylor was one of Zukor’s ‘temperamental directors’, and Mabel does not seem to have been impressed by Zukor’s flowers (according to Mack Sennett, Mabel had once threatened to ‘brain’ him and Zukor with a heavy book).

In Mabel’s description of herself, she refers to Syd Graumann who was an ally of Zukor, and much to Mabel’s annoyance, the first to ban Arbuckle’s films in 1921 (‘If I had ‘mad ‘ hair like Graumann would I be your friend too?’ she seems to say). The local theatre- owner she refers to is clearly Graumann. Mabel’s claim to be 7’ 9’’ inches tall, with bobbed hair is evidently a jibe at the new studio practice of casting more slender, taller-looking flappers.

The other Syd cited, Cohen, was leader of the independent exhibitors that were in a legal war with Zukor. With a bit of luck Zukor will get a bloody nose, thinks Mabel.

I am not sure this letter was ever read by Zukor, but I hope it was!C

 

 

Reply Kel Boyce
11:22 AM on January 10, 2017 

Having recently discovered Marilyn’s site, I was intrigued to find Mabel’s letter to Adolph Zukor among its pages. This is my take on Mabel’s scribings:

Mabel’s letter seems more impertinent than usual, and with good reason. Mabel felt she had been sacrificed following the W.D.Taylor murder, in order to protect Zukor’s big star Mary Miles Minter. The application for a job reflects the fact that Taylor had been unable, or unwilling, to get Mabel employed at Zukor’s studio. She seems to imply that Taylor was one of Zukor’s ‘temperamental directors’, and Mabel does not seem to have been impressed by Zukor’s flowers (according to Mack Sennett, Mabel had once threatened to ‘brain’ him and Zukor with a heavy book).

In Mabel’s description of herself, she refers to Syd Graumann who was an ally of Zukor, and much to Mabel’s annoyance, the first to ban Arbuckle’s films in 1921 (‘If I had ‘mad ‘ hair like Graumann would I be your friend too?’ she seems to say). The local theatre- owner she refers to is clearly Graumann. Mabel’s claim to be 7’ 9’’ inches tall, with bobbed hair is evidently a jibe at the new studio practice of casting more slender, taller-looking flappers.

The other Syd cited, Cohen, was leader of the independent exhibitors that were in a legal war with Zukor. With a bit of luck Zukor will get a bloody nose, thinks Mabel.

I am not sure this letter was ever read by Zukor, but I hope it was!C

 

 

Reply ★ Owner
9:58 PM on December 25, 2016 

Kel, and everyone that has taken the time to comment in the GuestBook, please have a joyful 2017....

Reply Kel Boyce
6:54 PM on December 21, 2016 

A great site - lots of interesting stuff. It's strange (in a good way) how people love Mabel and feel protective towards her, even today. Her art and magic come from her own emotions that bubble to the surface in her films. I seem to remember reading that Louise Brooks said of herself that she could have been a great actress, if she had only been able to put her own emotions into her screen characters. Mabel had no such problems, and I doubt that she adhered strictly to her scripts, even in the Sennett features.

Reply Marilyn Slater
8:34 PM on November 16, 2016 

Thanks, it is wonderful when people that know stuff, share

Rod Wallberg says...

  The motorcycle in question is a 1911 Flyingmerkel

Reply Rod Wallberg
9:25 PM on November 15, 2016 

  The motorcycle in question is a 1911 Flyingmerkel

Reply ★ Owner
12:27 AM on August 10, 2016 

I think there were 4 comedies she made in 1915 with Owen Moore, the divorce between Mary Pickford and Owen Moore was not until 1920. Stolen Magic – The Little Teacher – Mabel Lost and Won – Oh Mabel Behave (Mabel was not at her best in it and it was not released until 1922). Yes, indeed she was doing her own stunts in 1915. What can I say, when "Won in a Closet" (Cupboard) was found in New Zealand back in 2010 and it was brought home to us, I sat with a standing room only theatre with live music and watched our Mabel walk to that tree…WOW, it is the oldest known film we have of her acting & directing efforts.

Reply matthew annis
11:23 PM on August 8, 2016 

I was surprised when i watched "The Little Teacher" that Owen Moore was in it! I believe he was still married to Mary Pickford at that time. Am I right?  A Very hilarious movie! Was that really Mabel that jumped from the bridge to save Fatty and his friend? I'm pretty sure that had to be her. She was very fearless, Mack Sennett,Roscoe "Fattty" Arbuckle and Mabel made my guts hurt from laughing. Very hilarious move. "Won in a Closet" was very enjoyable to watch, pretty cool that she directed it and stared in it.