on men, and she fully took advantage... especially
when the world was in danger.
Yes, movie acting can be treacherous. But just as hazardous as the public trappings of fame is the danger of human absence... at least in one case. In 1913, Lon Chaney was just carving out a career for himself in the movies. After several months in Los Angeles in extra roles, prop jobs, and bit parts, he struck up enough of a reputation with Allan Dwan to start getting regular gigs in the director's films. He was far from famous, but his face was becoming more familiar, and he was definitely bulking up his resume. So it was that Lon joined the rest of Allan's usual troupe (including Pauline Bush and Murdock MacQuarrie) when they traipsed off to Mt. Lowe to begin filming Bloodhounds of the North. Things were rocky from the beginning, with bad weather and torrential rains that kept the cast and crew isolated and indoors. Allan solved the problem by having the cast and crew rehearse not only for Bloodhounds but for his other upcoming features. Once the mud finally dried, Lon-- who had always loved the mountains-- ventured out with fellow actor Arthur Rosson to breathe a deep sigh of relief in the fresh air. Unfortunately, as familiar as he was with the Colorado peaks, Lon was unfamiliar with Californian terrain, and he and Arthur got good and lost. As day turned to night, and the air grew chilly, the two men must have wondered if they would ever find their way out of the canyons. Thankfully, a search party had been sent to find the adventurous twosome. The sight of approaching friends and rescuers must have been a sight for sore eyes after hours of desolation. After all they mayhem, and with his cast in tact, Allan managed to churn out not only Bloodhounds but also Richelieu and Honor of the Mounted in five days. Lon had a part in all of them and kept much closer company with his comrades for the remainder of filming. (Lon plays the aggressor in another wild landscape with William S. Hart in Riddle Gawne, right. This film in 1919, after years of struggle, would help tip Lon over the edge in popularity before The Miracle Man solidified his fame).
James Cagney: actor, dancer... poet??? Yes, indeed. A tough guy on screen, James had a much more artistic bent in his private life. In addition to enjoying the relaxation that painting brought him, he too was a veritable wordsmith. Years spent with his nose buried in books had equipped him with quite the vocabulary and an ability for melodic recitations. He carried a notebook with him that he often scribbled in, doing the random couplet, limerick, or verse. His areas of lyrical expertise ranged from agricultural appreciation, social preponderance, and aesthetic enjoyment-- Joan Blondell was flattered to hear an original Cagney penned in honor of what he described as her perfect caboose. Occasionally, the poems were comical. Jim had a sudden burst of inspiration when riding in the car one day with his wife, Willie. The two came to a red light, and Jim noticed friend and constant co-star Humphrey Bogart sitting in his own car coming from the opposite direction... picking his nose. Bogie picking a boogey? It was too much for Jim to resist. The next day when Bogie came to work, he found the following verse on his dressing table: "In this silly town of ours,/ one sees odd primps and poses,/ but movie stars in fancy cars/ shouldn't pick their famous noses." Jim received no reply. Not every artist is appreciated in his time. (The duo stand left in The Roaring Twenties).