With the great stars of yesteryear you enjoy two great things; fame and romance. And, in the end you may find happiness. This story revolves around love; the perfect autograph.
In 1929, when this world came crashing down, Hollywood suddenly found its voice. While sound men were locked in tiny rooms, barely able to breathe and in serious physical danger, the budding young actresses were little better off, unhappily locked inside sound stages hastily redesigned from silent film lots. In the first musical ever made, Anita Page and Bessie Love constantly fell victim to the heat. The stifling heat seared through them as they worked long hours battling with the many technicians to make the early Talkie, “Broadway Melody” succeed. Fainting spells were the norm, and discomfort an understatement. The studios were in such a rush to produce hits before the opposition got a foothold that they often ignored the safety of their stars for the dream of box office glory.
Thus did “Broadway Melody” succeed, and HOW! Anita Page the silent screen star joined the new elite. the actors who could talk, and sing and dance. Fan letters poured in from all around the world. More than 10 000 letters arrived weekly for Miss Page. Even the notorious, Il Duce would write her unceasingly with his bold declarations of amour. However, when Anita sang the smash hit, “You Were Meant For Me,” she wasn’t singing for him, but for her legions of fans across America.
And although Anita Page made 34 films opposite legends like Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Buster Keaton and John Gilbert, she surprisingly retired in 1934 after only nine wonderful years in tinsel town. Despite this, the grand dame still lives within driving distance of the studios where she first made her name. A lively legend, she showed that she could still strut her stuff when she made movie appearances both in 1996, and in the 1998’s, “Hollywood Mortuary” under the direction of her great friend, actor/director Randal Malone.
What makes this story come to life is that nearly 70 years later a grand romance lingers in other people’s lives due to Anita. For there lives a young woman, who was also born in Flushing, New York; a pretty woman who looks much like Anita did in the 1930s. This woman, Kathryn, was wooed and won by the man she loves; a dashing romantic who bought for her, the diamond wedding and engagement rings from Anita’s 1934 marriage to Herb Nacio Brown. On bended knee, he proposed, and Kathryn accepted. They are now happily wed with so much Hollywood history.
Earlier this year, Kathryn flew to LA to enjoy her first meeting with the great lady. She enjoyed her time with Anita immensely and was sorry when the few moments they spent together came to an end.
I have included examples of Anita Page’s signature in two photos that Anita signed for me. The second photo shows Anita with her great friend, Randal Malone and the brilliant child actress, Margaret O’Brien.
POSTSCRIPT: THIS WAS THE THIRD ARTICLE I WROTE AND WAS WRITTEN WITH THE HELP OF THE LOVELY KATHRYN MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE.
THIS LOVELY NEW MOTHER, NOW HAS THE FINEST COLLECTION OF MEMORABILIA PERTAINING TO ANITA PAGE ON THE PLANET. UNFORTUNATELY KATHRYN WAS ROBBED EARLY IN 2005 AND SOME OF THE WONDERFUL JEWELLERY SHE HAD RECEIVED FROM ANITA WERE STOLEN, POSSIBLY FOREVER, AS THE THIEVES WILL PROBABLY MELT DOWN THESE PIECES IN SEARCH OF A QUICK BUCK.
THE PHOTOS BELOW WERE SIGNED FOR ME BY THE WONDERFUL Miss ANITA PAGE, Miss MARGARET O'BRIEN AND ANITA'S GREAT FRIEND RANDAL MALONE. I THANK ALL THESE FINE ACTORS FOR THEIR GENEROSITY AND FOR THEIR TIME.