Friday, August 26, 2005

Colleen's Castle

Every man's home may be his castle but
one Hollywood actress actually built her own!
Colleen Moore made movies with the likes of
Clara Bow to Antonio Moreno from the silent
era in 1916 to the talkie, "Scarlet Letter," in 1934.
She wrote her autobiography in 1968, Silent Star:
Colleen Moore (Doubleday, New York).
These stories are from her book,
pages 231 to 245:
(From The Museum of Science and Industry
"The idea for my own fairy castle--a miniature fairy castle--came not from [William Randolph] Hearst [and his Castle] but from my father, though my doll house has the same feeling about it as San Simeon. When Hedda Hopper [actress turned gossip columnist] first saw it, she turned to me and said, 'It's plain to see you've been to the Hearst ranch.' "
They hired Horace Jackson (First National Studio
set designer) to draw up the architectural plans.
The Castle eventually stood twelve feet at the
tallest tower and was nine feet square.
They consulted with Harold Grieve as the decorator.
He named the period furniture as "Early Fairie."
One of my favorite stories was when she took a
brass chandelier that Moore wasn't happy with.
A jeweler in Beverly Hills, Mr. Crouch, took her
"handkerchief filled with [Moore's] jewels" to
replace the beads on it.
He took everything but "a six-carat
pear-shaped diamond."
(You can see-barely!-the chandelier at
The Prince's Bedroom also has an interesting story:
"I took an ermine skin to a taxidermist and asked him to turn it into a bearskin rug, head and all. He said he could make the bear's head, but not with the mouth open, because he couldn't think of anyway to duplicate the bear's teeth in miniature (this was before the age of plastic). When I went to pick up the rug, I was astonished to see the bear's mouth yawning wide and filled with white, wicked-looking teeth. The taxidermist beamed at me, 'I caught a little mouse and used his teeth.'"
Well . . . that's one way of getting
rid of the little buggers!


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