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Category Archives: Nance O’Neil

“SPINDLE CITY LIZZIE BORDEN” MUSICAL

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Unlike certain TV documentaries, this one has an expanded cast including Uncle John Morse and Nance O’Neil – real life characters.  This “Spindle City.…” musical takes into account the mill workers – something most often ignored in prior plays and T.V. documentaries on the case itself.  This is the second musical I’ve heard, the first being “LIzzie Borden the Rock Musical” which has enjoyed a good measure of success.

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Judging by this casting call, artistic license once again will run rampant.  As with so many TV depictions of the case, there are many fictional characters  However,  I’m looking forward to the singing and dancing.  It is, after all, a musical – –  not some 10 part PBS Documentary by Ken Burns or a major theatrical release directed by Martin Scorcese.   (sigh)

I’ve been to the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood before.  Its very small.  Can’t imagine the dancing on that small stage but we’ll see.  Maybe they go into the audience.

I still maintain that the VERY  BEST PLAY on Lizzie Borden is “Lizzie Borden Took An Axe” by Garrett A. Heater, which premiered at the Covey Theate Company in Syracuse, NY, played at BMC Durfee H.S., and continues to be produced in New England.  But that was a drama with age appropriate actors.

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Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock continues to be the most produced of all Borden-related plays.

I’ll write a review in after seeing Katrina Wood’s production.

Meanwhile, I await Rebecca Pittman’s new book.

 

 

 

 

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NANCE O’NEIL MOVIES ON DVD – FOR SALE

RECYCLED POST  FROM FEBRUARY, 2014 – DVD’S STILL AVAILABLE.

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Nance O’Neil (October 8, 1874 – February 7, 1965) was an American actress of stage and cinema of the early 20th century.

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She transitioned successfully from the theatre to silent movies and on to sound movies into the early 1930’s.

Nance O’Neil was associated with Lizzie Borden from 1904-1905, and it is often asserted or speculated they were lovers although no credible evidence of any sort has ever surfaced to validate that claim.

She was featured in many films from 1913 to 1932    The two most referenced and easily available on VHS are Cimmaron  and The Royal Bed  both in made in1931.

The years 1930 and 1931 were very productive film years for Miss O’Neil.  She worked with some very well known, even legendary, actors, such as Barbara Stanwyck, Basil Rathbone, Anita Louise, Zasu Pitts and Edgar Kennedy.  She also acted with a young Lawrence Olivier in Westward Passage, one of her last films made in 1932.

It was quite unusual for a Broadway tragedienne of the early 1900’s to have such a long career in transitioning to movies.  O’Neil must have had a terrific agent or good connections.  Or perhaps, because she had been such a big star on the stage, producers thought her name would be an added draw to audiences.

I am offering here three films of Nance O’Neil from the 1930’s on DVD:

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The Secret Service (1931) with Richard Dix I just loved this movie.  It holds up after 80 years!  Think of Richard Dix as Agent 007.  Nance plays his mother in this exciting film full of dramatic tension and surprises!  Easy to see why Dix was such a popular actor aside from his Westerns.

Image1I must say she looks like a man wearing a wig in this film, particularly in this scene.

Ladies or Leisure (1930) directed by Frank Capra is a wonderfully engrossing drama starring Barbara Stanwyck.  Jerry Strong (Ralph Graves, Submarine) is the wealthy son of stuffy but permissive parents who allow Jerry to follow his ambition to be a painter. DSCN1672When he hires party girl Kay Arnold (Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity) to be a model for one of his paintings, the two fall in love despite their obvious differences. But eventually, class distinctions push Kay away back toward her old life, one just shy of prostitution. Directed by Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), LADIES OF LEISURE was also one of Stanwyck’s first roles and the one that made her a star. Newly remastered.

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Nance O’Neil plays the mother of Jerry Strong and has some terrific scenes with super closeups. In one she trys to convince “Kay” to let go of her love for the betterment of his life.  It is quite touching and highly dramatic.  One can easily see O’Neil’s acting chops in this film.

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Both Stanwyck and O’Neil have been perceived as lesbians.  It’s true Stanwyck had an abortion at 15, married two times.  Her second husband, actor Robert Taylor, was also rumored to be Gay.  That marriage was arranged by Louis B. Mayor of MGM when both were stars there.

In what seemed like an inappropriate  “thank you dear for seeing my point” kiss, Nance plants one smack on Barbara’s lips.  It almost looked like it to Babs unexpectedDSCN1685ly, and she gently seems to push O’Neil back.

As a loves story, this movie holds up, not corny at all.

 

 

Floradora Girl has a similar theme as Ladies of Leisure only this time the girl wants to get rich.  Here again, O’Neil plays the wise woman to set the girl on the moral high ground. This movie stars Marion Davies and was produced through her film company established by William Randolph Hearst to showcase her stardom.  Perhaps O’Neil met the august Hearst during this time.

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Yep, the 1890’s and early 1900’s were the American Theater’s heyday, and the 1930’s were Hollywood’s Golden Years.  And Nance O’Neil rode the crest of the former and was still afloat for the latter.

EACH IS $20.00 OR $45.00 FOR ALL THREE!  IF INTERESTED, EMAIL ME AT:

phaye@outlook.com

POSTAGE WILL DEPEND UPON LOCATION AND BUYER’S PREFERENCE FOR DELIVERY.

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Maplecroft Neighbors: Lizzie on French Street

(Recycled post – originally published in July, 2008) 

Here’s a question I’ve pondered from time to time: Of those French Street and nearby neighbors, who might have visited Lizzie Borden that last year of her life? Weak and not recovered from her gall bladder operation, who went a-calling? No mystery in finding out who lived nearby; more difficult is assessing which neighbors would have visited her. One can only speculate. Here’s a scan from my 1926 and 1927 Fall River City Directories. Let’s take a peek at a sampling of those neighbors

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Directly across the street from Lizzie at 309 French was Mrs. Emma Lake. Her son, Arthur Lake praised Lizzie in Joyce Williams’ Casebook, but there had been a property dispute between Lizzie and Mrs. Lake after Lizzie acquired half a lot adjacent and wanting it for an open park. It would seem Lizzie and Mrs. Lake ended their friendship on ugly terms. Perhaps Arthur was never made aware of that dispute.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the east would be at 328 French Street, shown above. The 1926 Directory shows this house as apartments with Edwin Belcher a tenant and school teacher Harriet E. Henry (listed in the Directory as “Hervey”). By the time of printing of the 1927 Directory, Edwin Belcher is no longer a tenant. This property was purchased in 1925 by Harriet and then sold to Charles C. Cook, Lizzie’s business manager, in trust for Lizzie about 7 months before Lizzie’s death. That particular transaction would end up being reviewed by the State Supreme Court, but we’ll skip the details for now. This property is alternately referred to as the Henry House or the Davenport House (a previous owner and relation to Harriet). Note: The rod iron spiked fencing separating the properties was installed by Lizzie.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the west, 324 French, would be John T. Swift. Swift was the lawyer Alice Russell, her conscious weighing heavily, first told of the dress burning incident. Had Swift not advised Alice to tell it to District Attorney Hosea Knowlton, we would not even know who Lizzie Borden was 115 years later. Shown here left to right is the Swift house, Maplecroft, and the Henry/Davenport house. Photo taken in 1998.

The next house east is 344 French where the widow Mrs. Isabella Hooper lived. Perhaps she and Lizzie visited? Exterior re-hab has been going on for years with this house and it looks much better in 2007. This photo was taken in 2005. Across the street and slightly east from Maplecroft, this structure existed in 1926 but I’m unable to locate the number from the 1926 or 1927 Directory. It is now a commercial property and often referred to as the “Baker” lot. Lizzie bequeathed to Charles Cook “my so-called Baker lot on French Street across from where I live.” I took this photo in 1999.

At the southeast corner of French and Belmont was John Summerfield Brayton, Jr., a BC&C (Big Cheese & Connected) whose crowing bird annoyed Lizzie and made her nervous over a quarter century before she died. Did John and Mary Brayton visit Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At 257 French was Everett M. Cook, Vice President of BMC Durfee Trust Company. Another BC&C, like so many on French Street. At 243 French was Elizabeth J. McWhirr, widow of Robert A. McWhirr, who may have been related to the great McWhirr department store. Did she go a-calling on Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At the southeast corner of French & June at 421 June was Marion Jennings – the daughter of attorney Andrew Jennings. It’s safe to say she did not call upon Lizzie. It’s further safe to say Marion had no knowledge of what lay inside an old hip bath covered with a tarp up in the attic of this house. Most likely, neither did Lizzie.

ON ROCK STREET:

Carrie L. Borden is listed in 1926 at 492 Rock Street, but in 1927, only her sister Anna H. Borden. These ladies went on the Grand Tour with Lizzie in 1890. It is my educated guess that they were the two sisters that spoke in confidence to author Edmund Pearson when he was writing his long, first essay on the Borden case in Studies in Murder. It’s highly doubtful these ladies went a-calling to Miss Lizbeth of Maplecroft.

At 618 Rock was Jerome C. Borden, son of Cook Borden and Grace Hartley Howe’s uncle, and strong supporter of Lizzie in 1892-93. Jerome succeeded Andrew as President of Union Bank, but it’s doubtful Jerome ever presented his calling card at Maplecroft during Lizzie’s last year. While most genetic threads were woven tightly, some weaves became irreparably tattered.

At 451 Rock Street was the formidable Elizabeth Hitchcock Brayton, whose nephew, having inherited this stately granite beauty, donated it to the Fall River Historical Society in 1935.

Actually, the 400 thru 700 blocks of Rock Street in 1927 reads like a Who’s Who of Fall River. However, after Lizzie died, Fall River had about one good year remaining before its economy and stratified society would fade and dissolve like so much smoke drift from the iconic mill chimineys that marked its once great prominence and vitality.

BACK TO FRENCH STREET

The interesting thing about French Street is that at #96 French Street, just west of Rock Street, we find Gertrude M. Baker, long time English teacher at BMC Durfee High School. ( The 1927 Fall River High School Yearbook, “The Durfee Record”, is dedicated to Gertrude Baker). Gertrude owned a summer house on the beach in Linekin, East Boothbay, Maine. She was a friend of a later friend of Lizzie’s, Miss Helen Leighton (we’ll get to her in a moment) but the important thing is through this thread that bound, Miss Baker was a founder and Treasurer of the Fall River Animal Rescue League from 1914-1930. It seems more a gratuitous gesture for service rendered than one steeped in a personal friendship that Lizzie left Gertrude $1,000 in her Will. Miss Baker never married and when she died she left her money to her close friend, Helen Leighton, along with her beach house in Linekin. Lucky Helen.

Helen Leighton struck half of the mother lode upon Lizzie’s death being one of two primary legatees. Seven years younger than Lizzie, Miss Leighton graduated from nursing school in Fall River a month before Lizzie went to Trial for the double hatchet homicide. Helen had been nurse and companion to Eudora Borden Dean, daughter of that very wealthy Captain of Fall River Industry, Jefferson Borden. Smart Helen. In 1913, she had successfully solicited money from Lizzie to start the Fall River Animal Rescue League of which she became its President. Clever Helen. She moved to Boston in 1919 and Lizzie visited her there, taking in galleries and the theatre. She moved to Brookline, MA. in 1924, and when she died in 1947, newspapers reporting on the Borden case were found stuffed inside the walls of the Linekin beach house.

So there they are: Gertrude, Helen, and Lizzie – they could have all three been sisters judging by how they looked in these photographs. It’s anyone’s guess as to who introduced who to whom in this three-some, a constellation in orbit around Lizzie’s moon. These dames were really out of the same mold. Same hair styles, same glasses, same kind of dresses. I can almost visualize them at the Animal Rescue League Board of Directors meeting or even taking their time walking through some museum in Boston or New York. Not exactly your party-hardy type broads. Uh uh. But oh so very proper, yes indeed. Decorum, decorum, decorum. All were proper spinsters who loved animals. None ever married or had children of their own to enrich their lives, to nurture, to enjoy, to love, and who would return that love.

Grace Hartley Howe hit the other half of the mother lode, inheriting half of Lizzie’s half of Maplecroft, furniture, jewelry, books, carpets, personal effects, etc. Grace’s grandfather was Cook Borden, a brother of Abraham, Andrew’s father. In 1926, Grace and her husband Louis are in the 1926 Directory as having a residence at 636 Rock Street, but in 1927 Grace is living at 464 Locust. Louis McHenry Howe was chief advisor and political strategist to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt but lived in the White House, visiting his family at their Westport residence in Horseneck Beach. (Louis would die in 10 years and be buried at Oak Grove with FDR attending his funeral.) But here we see Grace was literally in walking distance to Lizzie in 1926 and 1927, and surely she must have visited her. I have long believed Grace was called by the Reverend Cleveland of the Church of Ascension and was at Maplecroft when Lizzie died. She would have been, after Emma, the next and, literally, nearest of kin. Ten years after Lizzie’s death, two years after the final probate of Lizzie’s Will, and one year after her husband died, Grace was appointed Postmistress of Fall River by President Roosevelt.

Of these three women, Gertrude, Helen and Grace, two (Helen and Grace) gave newspaper interviews in the week after Lizzie died. One other woman, definitely not neighbor nor friend of Lizzie’s when she died, also gave an interview – Nance O’Neil. Nance met Lizzie in 1904. By 1927, Nance had successfully transitioned from the stage to motion pictures. In the newspaper interview she remarked on Lizzie’s kindness, refinement, and intelligence, downplaying their relationship and characterizing it as “ships passing in the night.” She was not named in Lizzie’s Will. Nance lived long enough to have read several books on Lizzie published prior to 1965. Her ashes are entombed with her husband, Alfred Hickman at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.

I think Lizzie was probably always ladylike and refined and masked her inner angst and depression when in public. We know she let that mask down with Miss Leighton, who, after Lizzie’s death, commented so definitively on Lizzie’s loneliness and depression in her later years. The Roaring Twenties, shorter skirts, bobbed hair, Lindberg racing across the Atlantic through the skies while she, Lizzie never did anything in a hurry. The “Flapper Age” must have come on like gangbusters and not suited her at all, much like the sexual liberation of the 1970’s to the Born Again Christians. No, I don’t think Lizzie liked the changing times. She was nervous and depressed enough and now all this fast living. (Mammy to Scarlett: “It ain’t fittin’, it just ain’t fittin’).

I can envision her, in her last year of life, sitting on her window box seat in her summer bedroom in Maplecroft. More alone and isolated than ever with only a tiny few who ever came a-calling. Dressed in a stylish lounging gown, too weak to go up and down the stairs every day, she would have spent much time wistfully looking at the houses below and at the young people coming and going. Perhaps a young man honking the horn of his tricked out Model T Ford for his girlfriend to come out. Twenty Three Skid-doo. I envision one of Lizzie’s dogs in her lap feeling the gentle strokes of her hand as she remembers a quieter time of proper deportment. The era of when ladies were ladies and conducted themselves accordingly was gone forever. Stroke…….Sigh……Stroke.

No wonder our “Lizbeth of Maplecroft” preferred Dickens and Trollup over F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sources:

1926 & 1927 Fall River City Directory

Unveiled: Miss Helen Leighton by Leonard Rebello, Lizzie Borden Quarterly, October 2000, Vol VII, #4.

1927 BMC Durfee H.S. Yearbook.

Last Will and Testament of Lizzie Andrew Borden.

Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence, Fall River Historical Society.

Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage, vol. 2, by William C. Young, 1975.

Lizzie Borden- Past and Present, Leonard Rebello, Alzack Press, 1999.

Conversations with Robert Dube, owner, at 306 French Street, August 3 & 5, 2007.

 

Lizzie Borden Ponderables

Have you ever wondered why:

Winnie French was so adamant to testify on behalf of Grace Howe & Helen Leighton at the Probate Hearing against Charles Cook’s claim of ownership of the Henry House?

Orrin Gardner had so little tribute in ink when he died, although it was highly deserved?

What specifically Bailey Borden sold of Lizzie & Emma’s possession in his Fall River store acquired from Hamilton Gardner?

Why there was so little reporting of Lizzie writing a blank check to Ernest Terry as she lay dying on her last day of life?  (All those people at the bank knew.)

Why Charles Cook parked his car in Lizzie’s garage and then charged the heating to her estate?

Why Ernest Terry went to work for Charles Cook after Lizzie died?

Why Grace Howe, with a keen eye for antiques, left so much of it?

Why so many of Lizzie’s good books ended up with Marian Reilly?

Well, I hope to have answers to some of this to post later.

Back home and much to catch up with.

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Note:   Some people wonder the same thing as stated in this comment I received from “Norman Pound”:

“Inquisitive thirst comes on strong as I wait for your book and/or screenplay! This theatrical passage is evidence that it is impossible to endure another year without the pleasure of your literary talent and aptitude for investigation collected in manuscript form. Us Lizzie lovers await, chatting numerously, “When Phaye? When?””

The answer is:  “I don’t do things in a hurry.”   ;)

There’s much to wonder about in the Lizzie Borden case, whether at its core or on the periphery.  Here’s just a few things:

Have you ever wondered if Lizzie knew Nance O’Neil had married Alfred Devereaux Hickman in 1916, becoming his second wife?   (A widower for only one year, his first wife died in 1915).

And, have you ever wondered if Lizzie went to any of those movies Nance O’Neil was in?  She certainly lived long enough to read, if not actually see, Nance’s transition from the theatre to the silent screen and then in speaking roles.

And – as to those movies – here’s an interesting tidbit:

John B. Colton (1889–1946),  was a New York dramatist whose plays include Nine Pine Street (1933), based on the Borden murder case.  (He also co-wrote Rain (1922), based on a Somerset Maugham story).   But here’s the thing – Colton co-wrote “Call of the Flesh”, a film featuring Nance O’Neil released August 16, 1930.  And less than 3 years later on April 27, 1933, Nine Pine Street premiered at the Longacre Theatre and starred Lillian Gish as “Effie Holden.”  It played for 28 performances and closed in mid May, 1933.  Do you wonder if  Colton spoke to Nance about Lizzie Borden and was thereby inspired to write Nine Pine Street?  Something to ponder.

Here’s what was going on around that time:

February 18, 1933 New York Magazine article on LMH “the mysterious alter ego of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
March 24, 1933 4th & Final Probate Court acctg. filed by Cook on Lizzie’s Will – period Nov. 28, 1932 thru March 3, 1933.
March 3, 1933 Grace Hartley Howe & Helen Leighton sign 4th & Final Account of Probate.
March 4, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. president.
April 13, 1933 Emma’s estate sells Maplecroft.                                        (LR561)
April 27, 1933 The play: Nine Pine Street opens on Broadway at Longacre Theatre starring Lillian Gish as Lizzie Borden.

And here’s something else I have always wondered about:

Why didn’t Abby have Bridget fix eggs on that August 4, 1892 Thursday morning instead of the 5 day old cold mutton and mutton soup?  After all, Uncle John Morse had picked them up from Frederick Eddy at Andrew’s farm in Swansea just the evening before and brought them back per Andrew’s request.  Those eggs were most likely in the kitchen pantry Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  I wonder if Abby asked Andrew what he wanted for breakfast and suggested the eggs.  I wonder if Andrew, with both testeronic and assertive dominance said: “No.  I’ll be selling those eggs.  Serve the mutton.  Waste not, want not.”   If so, one cannot help but wince and sigh yet again for poor Abby.

Too bad Lizzie didn’t get up earlier.  Abby might have asked her what she wanted for BREAKFAST instead of (according to Lizzie’s Inquest Testimony) what she wanted for dinner, i.e., the noon day meal.  I wonder if Lizzie would have stomped her foot and said: “Mutton?!!  No!!! I want eggs!”

Just a few things to wonder about.  There’s more, but I’m out of time and American Idol is on with the results of the next four to get booted off.

Hmmm, something to ponder.

 

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Some Glimpses of Lizzie’s View of The 1900’s

(Recycled from July 21, 2008)

Lizzie Borden was fond of shopping and the theater in New York City. If she was on Twenty-Third Street in August of 1901, the video below is typical of what she would have seen. With the advent of Edison’s “moving pictures” films such as these were taken at many thoroughfares in popular cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. Queen Victoria had died in January of 1901 and only two weeks after this film, President William McKinley would be shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

Marc Dimon of the Fall River Herald News wrote a cute piece today regarding downtown Fall River. I liked his idea of “preserving” it as it is now. LOL! But it did bring me to mind of what Fall River was like “in Lizzie’s day” as illustrated by these postcards.

Working girls in the mill.

A family takes time out for some fun in their store.

A fancy hearse.

1918 Mary Whittum, 106 Hunter St. Fall River, Mass.” Shelves at left are cans of corn, salmon, Van Camps Evaporated Milk, boxes of Ideal Not-A-Seed Raisins, Zinc covered jars of Heideman Pickles and containers of Euclid Brand Sardines. Signs in the upper right are hanging boxes labeled ‘Ice Cream’ and ‘Nabisco Crackers’ with another sign saying in part- ‘Serve with ice cream.’

1914 Burritt & Chamberlin Drugs Store- 623 Locust St.

1914 – Peckham Dairy 104 Barrett Street at the corner of Peckham Street. Milk bottles can be seen in numbered compartments on the left. There appears to be metal pans, pails and dippers on the right. On the middle shelf is a framed certificate with the heading ‘Dairy & Food Department’ which was likely issued either by the City of Fall River or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The circular symbol on the certificate may well be the city’s motto- ‘We’ll Try.’

Gifford’s Jewelry Store – note clerk at left eyeballing shopper.

Rioux Tailors, 85 Purchase St. Fall River, Mass. 1912.

Popular custom of the times was to have a postcard made of your home. This one on Rock Street shows the Central Congregational Church in the background.

1906 “Mrs. “Borden’s home Highland Ave. F.R.,” it shows, we sitting on her sofa in the parlor of her home. There were quite a few Borden families residing in the Highlands. This is definitely not Lizzie. But take note of the painting over the sofa. Another popular print of “The Village Elms” which is the picture above the sofa at 92 Second Street in the crime scene photos.


4th of July Parade – 1918

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1913 – Mr. Hawkins Grocery Store on South Main

And of course the alluring Nance O’Neil

 

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Little Known Tidbit: Nance O’Neil and John Gilbert

(Recycled post)

Nance O’Neil, the “ships in the night” friend of Lizzie Borden, had a starring role in the film that destroyed the career of silent screen idol John Gilbert.

Here’s the background on the film:

His Glorious Night, also known as Breath of Scandal has gone down in history as having more or less single-handedly caused the downfall of silent-screen matinee idol John Gilbert, whose ardent declarations of “I love you, I love you” to an overly inert Catherine Dale Owen were parodied twenty-odd years later in MGM’s otherwise highly apocryphal Singing in the Rain (1952). Owen, from the Broadway stage, plays Princess Orsolini, who refuses an arranged marriage in favor of dallying with Kovacs (Gilbert), a dashing cavalry officer. But on the advice of her mother (stage luminary Nance O’Neil), the princess reluctantly informs Kovacs that she cannot love the offspring of a peasant. In revenge, the latter indulges in a bit of blackmail, but true love wins out in the end. Rumors to the contrary, the problem was not with Gilbert’s voice but with screenwriter Willard Mack’s overly florid dialogue, which might have been fine as subtitles but sounded downright embarrassing to audiences when spoken by a cast suffering from the stilted direction of a microphone-conscious Lionel Barrymore.” -Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

Gilbert’s voice sounded high-pitched and effeminate in a film where he was supposed to be a romantic swashbuckler. Audiences laughed at him upon hearing his voice at different places in the film and his career as a romantic leading man ended forever. Although Gilbert continued to make several more films over the next 5 years, he never again was the box office star he had once been. Click here for more.

Nance O’Neil was a formidable presence on stage and in films. She had transitioned from the stage to the silent film era and on to the “talkies” with her powerful voice, making over two dozen more films in her career after 1929. Only a handful of her contemporary stage actresses would transition from stage to silents to talkies as she did.

Nance, who died in 1965, would have lived long enough to have seen three foreign film remakes of “His Glorious Night” as well as the 1960 American re-make by Michael Curtiz.

During the Depression years, while many actors had no work, Nance earned her living with these films playing with all the greats – as well as many of the future greats – like Barbara Stanwyck, Lawrence Olivier, Bonita Granville, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, to name a few. Career longevity in an industry that sees so many “stars” flicker bright but burn out quickly, surely must have earned her respect among her peers.

But back in 1929, it was our dear old Nance who, literally, had a role in that little piece of theatrical history when John Gilbert met his cinematic demise.

And that, my friends, is a Little Known Tidbit about Nance O’Neil. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Nance O'Neil

 

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Nance O’Neil at the Birdcage Theater

A replica of the 1880’s Birdcage Theatre (Tombstone, AZ) was built in Ghost Town of Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California in 1954.  I can remember seeing these pictures hung in the exterior lobby when I was a teenager.  It wasn’t until 1969 that I became aware of who actress Nance O’Neil was and her relatively brief friendship with Lizzie Borden.

These pictures have hung at the Birdcage Theatre for 57 years.

Steve Martin performed in theatrical comedies there during his early career – his photo at the top left.

The following image is of Nance O’Neil taken from a group photo which follows.  The brief little write up below her photograph makes no mention of her connection to Lizzie Borden.

The above photo of Nance O’Neil can be seen middle left of the image below.

Nance O’Neil had a relatively brief friendship with Lizzie.  Their friendship ended about time Emma moved out – resulting in Lizzie have perceiving a grevious “double betrayal”.  Once betrayed, Lizzie was not known to make amends.

This image has nothing to do with this post other than to show off my 8-1/2 month old grandson, Prometheus Dimetri Musselman.  (Yes, you read that right.)  🙂

More of my posts on Nance O’Neil can be found at these links. .

https://phayemuss.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/michael-jackson-and-nance-oneil-25-feet-of-separation/

 https://phayemuss.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/lysistrata-lizzie-to-you/

 https://phayemuss.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/little-known-tidbit-nance-oneil-and-john-gilbert/

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Nance O'Neil, TV, Theatre & Film