Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
According to our Masseuse to the Stars, Madame Sylvia, Constance Bennett was "high-bred, high-strung, restless, and jumpy as a flea" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 137) before she started working on her. Madame Sylvia started giving her nightly rubdowns to help Connie sleep.
And it's no surprise, Gloria Swanson and Connie Bennett hated each other. To keep Madame Sylvia on her side, Connie offered to introduce Sylvia to royalty and invited Sylvia to accompany her to Europe. Gloria Swanson freaked out and Joe Kennedy chewed poor Constance out!
Madame Sylvia decided not to go on the European trip, even though Connie also tried to bribe her with her Sapphire ring! Who could say no to a European trip and a fabulous Sapphire Ring? I know I couldn't! Poor Constance went to Europe without Sylvia and came back with a child.
Up next - Grace Moore tries to upstage Gloria Swanson
Thursday, November 26, 2009
William "Stage" Boyd with Barbara Stanwyck
Back to our story, Alan Hale didn't fit in Billy Boyd's sailor pants, so masseuse Madame Sylvia began working on Alan - but only did one side before Gloria Swanson dragged her away. As we know from previous posts, Gloria got top priority with Madame Sylvia. Madame Sylvia wrote, "To this day he claims that his two halves don't match" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 131).
Some Alan Hale Sr Trivia:
- Was buds with Errol Flynn and had supporting roles or cameos in 13 of Errol's films
- He holds the record for appearing as Little John in separate film productions: 3
Up next: Constance Bennet looks a little creepy
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Harry Bannister and Ann Harding
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Joe Kennedy in the 1920s
Before Joe Kennedy would sign the contract, Madame Sylvia was given a test. The test - find out what Joe Kennedy's physical problem was without being told by anyone. Sylvia was allowed to use her massage magic to find the answer - but nothing else.
Gloria Swanson and Joe Kennedy
Thankfully, Madame Sylvia prevailed. Joe Kennedy had flat feet.
Gloria Swanson and Joe Kennedy's Love Nest
Monday, November 23, 2009
Hedda Hopper steered Norma Shearer to Sylvia. Norma was getting "stringy, muscular, and jumpy from playing a lot of tennis" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 117). Madame Sylvia's prescription was to give her a two hour massage.
Well, Norma and her hubby Irving Thalberg were upset because the day after the treatment from Madame Sylvia, Norma woke up with red ruffles all over her body, and they thought that Sylvia gave poor Norma paralysis!
Well, it turned out that Norma had slept on a towel and it got her skin all wrinkly. Even fabulous stars can make mistakes. Unfortunately, it took a while to convince Norma to let Sylvia treat her again.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Gloria had array of servants including footmen, butlers, etc. At home she was known as La Marquise de la Falise et de la Coudraye. What a mouthful! I would stick to Gloria or Ms Swanson.
Madame Sylvia rubbed Gloria's nerves down for an astounding TWO HOURS! Gloria refused to let Sylvia go until she was massaged to sleep. Well Sylvia must have done a good job because Gloria wanted Madame Sylvia to work for her exclusively. As powerful as Gloria was, this did not happen.
Madame Sylvia observed that everyone has to be a rival of Gloria Swanson. Mrs Patrick Campbell, London actress known best for originating the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion said of Gloria Swanson: "I've been wondering what it was that struck me most about that gel - and her most striking smile, and I've just hit on what it is. Really, my dears, she ought to be told to file down her teeth!"
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anyway, one day Carmel Myers' had a chauffeur drive her to the Old Culver City lot, the one with the colonial portico, lawn and carriage drive, and guarded gate at the fence.
Gloria Swanson made her United Artists pictures on the Pathe lot. Joe Kennedy her "manager" paid the Pathe people for the use of the stages. Gloria was the only hired hand whose car was given the privilege of passing the grilled gates and depositing the passenger at the pillared portico. Warning - This is not going to turn out well.
Poor Carmel Myers made the mistake of driving through the gate when it was still open from Gloria just having driven through. There, naturally, was a major uproar at the studios. Madame Sylvia didn't mention what poor Carmel had to endure, but she did say Carmel got a sore foot because of whatever happened to her. The mind wonders . . .
Catch Carmel Myers interviewing Jeanette MacDonald in 1961
Check out Carmel and Ramon Novarro in Ben Hur (1925)
Next up, Gloria Swanson, Laura Hope Crews, and Norma Talmadge duel over vocal coaches.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
In 1929, Madame Sylvia was under contract to Pathe. She was in charge of taking care of Gloria Swanson, Ina Claire, Grace Moore, and Constance Bennett.. Under her Pathe contract, Gloria got first dibs on Sylvia's services - everyone else had to work around it. During this time, Ina Claire's old beau, Gene Markey, started seeing Gloria Swanson in order to make Ina mad. Instead of Ina Claire becoming mad at Gloria, she became mad at Sylvia and stopped seeing her.
For info on Ina Claire, check out:
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I'm sure you all remember our sweet Ina Claire from my last post. Well, I have a few more random bits about her today.
Another reason Ina started seeing our masseuse Madame Sylvia, was because she wanted a more boyish figure for a costume. She planned on attending a masquerade ball given by Basil Rathbone and [illegible in Hollywood Undressed] Bergere. Ina planned on wearing form-fitting pink velvet pants and a boyish blouse. I wish there were pictures!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So, Hedda Hopper called Madame Sylvia to work her massage magic on Ina Claire. In her phone call, Hedda Hopper claimed "Ina Claire has to be taken down ten pounds in three days. Come and do it!" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 90). I can't imagine having to lose that kind of weight so quickly.
At the time, Sylvia was overwhelmed with clients including Alice White, Norma Shearer and Ruth Chatterton, and had to do morning conditioning on them all. Ina Claire, who was living at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel at the time, wanted a wake-up slapping from Sylvia at 6 AM, but Alice White already had that time reserved.
Alice White found out about this through the press. Alice thought Sylvia had gone to the press, but it turns out Alice Glaser, wife of scenist Barney Glaser, had blabbed the story. So naturally, Alice had to reply to Ina Claire's "offer". Her reply was "You tell her that I don't need drama lessons as badly as she needs lessons in how to move around in front of the camera without showing too many of her profiles!" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 93). Will these girls ever get along?