Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!

Some of you may or may not be aware of the Jean Harlow blogathon that is happening until Sunday. I would have had no idea about it if a Facebook friend who I met through this blog recommended I friend a friend of hers who gave me information about it (got that straight?) I didn't want to do one of my regular entries about Jean not only because TECHNICALLY she wasn't a silent film star but also because this entry and blogathon are for her birthday celebration and I wanted to just talk about what Jean means to me.

I remember when I was younger and working as a page at the library and shelving movies and kept seeing certain older films that interested me, and one of them was Dinner at Eight. I remember recognizing the names of the Barrymores and Harlow. I had never seen their movies, but I knew their names. I took it home and loved it! I loved Marie Dressler and adored Barrymore and was tickled pink when I saw Glenda the Good Witch! But, mostly, I was in love with Jean. That beautiful platinum hair, beautiful gowns, her sense of comedy, and her sassy attitude. She held her own against Beery and it showed!

I love the way she talked. When she was upset her voice would reach a pitch that meant you had really set her off! But she became so sweet and kind when a microphone was put in front of her at premieres. She was sweet and sexy. I mean, the girl had to be sewn into her dresses at times because she wore them so form fitting. And underwear or bra...which is very obvious at sometimes. But, she could pull it off! She had the curves and also the kind of boyish physique popular in the 1920s.

What is so sad about Jean is her tragic death when she was only 26. And it wasn't suicide or drug related either, like most young stars who get too caught up in their new lifestyle. Instead it was due to peritonitis from an untreated attack of scarlet fever. I remember reading about her death in David Stenn's book, Bombshell and getting tears in my eyes because her death was just terrible. This woman I admired so much just should not have had to go through that.

I hope that one day I can visit her grave...even though this seems very unachievable considering you have to give up your first born in order to gain access. I am sure it would be just like it is when I visit Buster Keaton. I would just sit there and...just sit and talk and be in awe of this remarkable person, and the closest to them that I can ever be.

So, tomorrow, in honor of her 100th birthday...I plan on watching Dinner at Eight and toasting the one and only "Baby." All of us who know and love you remember you, Jean. Rest in peace Baby!

Also...there is a new book about Jean being released sometime this month called Harlow in Hollywood by Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira. Any book about Jean is more than welcome. I plan on having the library I work for get a copy of it. Check it out!! Harlow in Hollywood


  1. thanks for remembering Our Baby. I think Public Enemy was the first film I saw of hers. You are so right. She could hold her own with the best of them and she worked with all the best. She was loved by all who new her. In fact , all studios shut down productions for 15 minutes on the day of her funeral.

  2. Amazing that she would be 100! her life was cut too short and she was one sassy gal! I have not seen alot of her movies. they are sometimes too hard to find although Dinner at Eight is great!! I have read a couple of biographies and they state peritonitis but I never knew the root cause for that. I also read that her mother was a Christian Scientist and would not aloow her to be taken to the hospital but i also read reports that was false as MGM would not allow their top star not to be treated. It will be interesting to read this new book. I also have a book by..I think Sam Marx-I am not home so i can't look it up. It is about the real story behind paul bern and his so called suicide. Jean was just married to him and had nothing else to do with it. the theory of his death is much more plausable-his ex-wife was coming over and he asked Jean to leave so he could talk to her and his ex killed him and then committed suicide. Oh well one will never know but she led an amazing life even though it was too short

  3. I heard the same kind of story Birgit. There was so much speculation until someone finally came forward with the real story.

    Amazing how covered up scandals were in those days.

  4. Nice site, and a fine tribute to Jean.

    Harlow's early work is being profiled at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater in August; I just did an entry on it at my site, "Carole & Co.":

  5. Thank you! I will check it out! I love Carole.

  6. "Boyish physique"?
    I can only guess that the ubiquity of enormous plastic breasts has somehow distorted our perceptions of naturally large breasts.
    Busty and hourglass in shape, in her time, Jean's breasts were considered huge!