Thursday, April 18, 2013

Carol Holloway, Not Just a Pretty Face

Going along through old copies of Photoplay and Motion Picture (as you do) and I'm stopped in my tracks by the most beautiful woman:  Carol Holloway.  I instantly dropped everything and started digging.

[Motion Picture, October 1914, image courtesy the MHDL]

(C'mon, with a photo like that, wouldn't you want to know more about her?)

Carol Holloway (sometimes billed as "Halloway") was born in MA in 1892, and entered stock theatre early, which took her across the US.  She began filming one-reel shorts for many different studios, most notably the "Billy Van Deusen" series of comedies for American Film ("Flying A") starring John Sheehan and John Steppling.  Eventually she moved away from comedies to specialize in westerns and rugged outdoorsy cliffhangers; after Vitagraph (home of our favorite smokestack), where she made a number of films with William Duncan, she was teamed with Antonio Moreno in serials with names like "Perils of Thunder Mountain" and "The Iron Test". The latter was where she suffered the Perils of Serial Filming:

A knock-out blow! That what Carol Holloway, the Vitagraph star, received at the hands of Craven [actor Barney Furey] in the thirteenth episode of "The Iron Test".  Craven misjudged the distance of the blow he was supposed to deliver lightly in a scrimmage with the heroine...[t]he blow deprived the Vitagraph star of consciousness for several minutes. [Photo-Play Journal, Feb 1919]

EDITED TO ADD:  Speaking of perils...just came across this -- from Motion Picture, May 1917:

However, lest you think she was a delicate flower: Carol was a tough cookie, both on- and off-screen:

Do you think Carol Holloway of "Beauty" [the comedy division of American for which she worked] comedy fame is afraid of a hold-up man?  I guess not.  The other night, while on her way home with her mother, a footpad tried to snatch her mother's handbag.  At this point the celebrated beauty...took a smash at the brigand, who took to his heels with much gusto.  But he did not get the handbag.  [The Deseret News, Jun 3, 1916]

[photo courtesy]

Her busiest and best time was in the Teens, although she did seem weary at times of the repetitive nature of serial work.  Even with a bright and happy facade, her words betray her, in this interview with Elizabeth Peltret for Motion Picture ["When the Celluloid Clock Strikes Twelve", Feb 1919]:

People don't realize how much work there is to the making of a serial...[i]f there is an almost inaccessible location within three hundred miles of the studio, you can trust the director of a serial company to find it.  [M]y dear, I've climbed every rock that anybody in the State has ever heard of!
I like the adventures we meet doing serials...and the chance they give me to be always outdoors.  Still, I realize that by impersonating the same girl every day for six months, I don't have as many opportunities to strike twelve as I would if my parts were a little more varied...

She also seemed highly aware of where she fell on the motion picture food chain:

"Yes," she remarked, "my future is all before me -- I hope.  Perhaps some day I will be famous."
"What do you mean, will be?" I asked.
She laughed.  "My dear, I have no illusions; I'm not now.  Professionally I'm just about striking nine on a clock that strikes twelve."

Carol never truly "struck twelve", as she put it; in the Twenties, she starred opposite Hoot Gibson and Tom Mix in a few westerns, and turned up in minor roles in pictures like Beau Brummel with John Barrymore and The Saphead with Buster Keaton, but by the Thirties had devolved into bit parts, largely uncredited.  Her resume stops in 1940 when, as both her IMDb and Find A Grave pages state, she retired and "was never heard from again".  

Wherever she went, I hope she was happy -- and didn't have to climb anything.  She died January 3, 1979.

[photo courtesy Find A Grave]

1 comment:

FlickChick said...

Thanks for that nice profile. I had never heard of her and it is always nice of you to give some of these forgotten stars a shout out.