Flashback: When Hollywood Celebrated Christmas

Mary Pickford helps Hollywood celebrate Christmas, 1920s.

Mary Pickford helps Hollywood celebrate Christmas, 1920s.

There was a time when Hollywood openly and joyously celebrated Christmas. Now, among the Hollywood elite, the greeting I hear is “Happy Holidays.”

Look, we at Seraphic Secret are Orthodox Jews. This is not our holiday.

But we want our Christian friends to celebrate Christmas. The politically correct Happy Holidays shtick is another nail in the coffin of American culture; another instance where a minority of obnoxious liberals bully the larger culture into secular nothingness.

American Christianity is a unique force for good in world history. It is not the Christianity of Europe that is poisoned with genocidal Jew-hatred.

Hollywood used to celebrate Christmas using every tool in the cinematic playbook.

Before she achieved fame and immortality in King Kong (1933), Fay Wray was a struggling starlet. In this studio shot, she hangs a Christmas wreath c/1925. Her memoir On the Other Hand is one of the best I have ever read.

 

Myrna Loy with either Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, or Blitzen, 1920s. Confession: all reindeer look alike to me.

 

Silent star Clara Bow, 1920s.

Silent star Clara Bow, 1920s. A great pantomime actress, the coming of sound terrified her and she retired at age 32.

 

Anita Page, a huge star in the 1920s, turned down a marriage proposal from Benito Mussolini.

Anita Page, a huge star in the 1920s, turned down a marriage proposal from Benito Mussolini.

 

Carole Lombard, before she became a star. This photo is probably from the early 1930s.

AnnaMay Carole Lombard, before she became a star. This photo is probably from the late 1920s.

 

Anna May Wong was the first American-Chinese movie star.

Anna May Wong was the first American-Chinese movie star. Her career stretched from 1919 to 1960. One of her best roles is in Shanghai Express, where she plays opposite Marlene Dietrich.

 

Jean Harlow, a hugely talented actress, died at the age of 26, cutting short a brilliant career.

Jean Harlow, a hugely talented actress, died at the age of 26, cutting short a brilliant career.

 

Marceline Day was also a star of the silent era.

Marceline Day was also a star of the silent era.  She started as a Mack Sennett bathing beauty in 1924, but retired in 1932 when she found herself consigned to B westerns. One of her very best films is Captain Salvation, 1927, a lovely film with a strong Christian message.

 

Unlike many Hollywood stars, Joan Crawford enjoyed posing for still photos. This Christmas photo is notable for its lovely simplicity.

 

Shirley Temple is featured in a Christmas photo that has a blessedly religious overtone. 

 

Rita Hayworth celebrates Christmas in eye scorching color.

 

Christmas parade along Hollywood Boulevard, 1940s.

Christmas parade along Hollywood Boulevard, 1940s.

Karen and I, grateful to Christian America for the countless blessings of liberty, wish all our Christian friends a Merry Christmas.

This entry was posted in Anita Page, Anna May Wong, Carole Lombard, Christianity, Christmas, Clara Bow, Fay Wray, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Hollywood Still Photography, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Marceline Day, Mary Pickford, Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I realize this may be a little late for more frequent writers, but the use of “Happy Holidays” is significantly older than the mere one-holiday reference, “Merry Christmas.” Of course, Irving Berlin wrote it in 1941 for the movie “Holiday Inn” released in 1942, sung by Bing Crosby. While its probable use to promote secularism dates back to the 1970s when the increasingly socialist Boomers were in their self-assured 20s, the term, which typically referred to the confluence of holidays, dates back further.

    Checking Google’s NGRAM viewer, https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=happy+holidays%2Cmerry+christmas&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=17&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chappy%20holidays%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cmerry%20christmas%3B%2Cc0 going back to 1800, shows that “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” were frequently coincident in usage, but “HH” appeared more often in American English literature usage than “MC”.

    Notice that something very interesting happened between 1806 and 1813 when “HH” appeared exclusively; no “MC”. Then, in 1822, “MC” started appearing again with “HH” coming back in to play in 1824. From then, “HH” appeared more frequently all the way to the 2000 graph cutoff.

    If you want to make the case for secularism or even socialism all the way back to the early 1800s, go for it. Dickens was a provably rampaging bleeding-heart, arguably a socialist, and possibly a demonstrable SJW by today’s terms, but that was then, not now. Current terminology back-fitted two centuries may not work so well. But, to quote another master, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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  2. Michael Kennedy
    Posted December 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    It wasn’t just Christmas that Hollywood used to celebrate. It was also America.

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  3. GetThereJustAsSoon
    Posted December 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Avrech,

    Thank you for the poignant remarks concerning what has happened, in part, to the observance and celebration of one of the most holiest times in the Christian Church year. I’m glad to see that just as President Trump is resolute in support of Israel he is, as well, just so in desiring that persons be able to celebrate Christmas without apologies.

    After the manner of Psalm 103:1 (103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.), I wish all a Blessed Christmas. Also, note that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has invited Christians to come to Israel next Christmas and, who knows, he might even give a guided tour. (This via Powerline: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/12/from-jerusalem-merry-christmas.php )

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    • Barry
      Posted December 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      All good, straight ahead thinking.

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  4. Barry
    Posted December 24, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    An unusual testament to everything we should value, and did.

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