Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and by Anthony Slide

By Anthony Slide

Extras, bit gamers, and stand-ins were part of the movie nearly from its notion. On a private and a pro point, their tales are advised in Hollywood Unknowns, the 1st heritage dedicated to extras from the silent period during the present.

Hollywood Unknowns discusses the connection of the additional to the megastar, the lowly place during which extras have been held, the bad operating stipulations and wages, and the sexual exploitation of a number of the hardworking girls striving for a spot in Hollywood society. notwithstanding often nameless, many are pointed out through identify and, for maybe the 1st time, obtain equivalent billing with the celebrities. And Hollywood Unknowns doesn't put out of your mind the bit avid gamers, stand-ins, and doubles, who paintings along the extras dealing with the various comparable privations. star extras, silent stars who ended their days as extras, or participants of assorted ethnic groups--all achieve a deserved luster in acclaimed movie author Anthony Slide's prose. Chapters rfile the lives and paintings of extras from the Nineties to the current. Slide additionally treats such topics because the Hollywood Studio membership, important Casting, the extras in well known literature, and the efforts at unionization during the display Actors Guild from the Thirties onwards.

Slide chronicles occasions corresponding to John Barrymore's jogging off set in the midst of the day so the extras might earn one other day's wages, and Cecil B. DeMille's masterful organizing of casts of millions in movies reminiscent of Cleopatra. via own interviews, oral histories, and using newly on hand archival fabric, Slide unearths in Hollywood Unknowns the tale of the lads, ladies, or even animals that accomplished the scenes at the silver screen.

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The piece does not mention two prominent and very different literary figures who enjoyed early careers at Essanay: gossip columnist Louella Parsons, who worked there as a story editor at the beginning of her career, and novelist Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980). In the early 1970s, Ms. Porter recalled for me that she was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune when she visited the Essanay Studios, “just an awful-looking place,” in search of a story. Finding two rows of people lined up before a large door, she pushed into one of the lines and moved along with it.

S. Simon was the head of several oil companies and worth many millions of dollars. By 1937, his fortune had gone, and he was working as an extra in Paramount’s Souls at Sea. an entire family by a producer made for stability and harmony. ”7 What was true in the 1910s was also the norm in the 1920s. ” Joy’s sister was leading lady/star Leatrice Joy. One very active extra was Mrs. Trebaol, whose thirteen children worked as extras, too. She might also have drawn her husband into studio service had he not disappeared some years earlier.

We had to go to makeup. We had to do our hair over. They plucked all my eyebrows out—and they never did come back. ”24 48 / T H E 1 9 2 0 S Pauline Wagner’s first role was in the 1929 production of So This Is College. With no other work at MGM forthcoming, Wagner went to Universal, where she appeared in Westerns. When she returned to MGM, she discovered a batch of checks waiting for her. The studio was unaware that she had gone over to Universal on her own, and it was still paying her under the original contract.

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