Friday Photos: Hollywood Celebrates Christmas

Hollywood pioneer Mary Pickford, makes Christmas official, 1920's.

Hollywood pioneer Mary Pickford makes Christmas official, 1920s.

During Hollywood’s Golden Age, the studios took thousands of photos of their stars celebrating Christmas. In this way, Hollywood—though founded by poor immigrant Jews—let America know that it and the heartland were aligned.

Seraphic Secret — Karen and I — are Orthodox Jews. We observe the Sabbath and eat only kosher food. Our lives and values are dictated by the Written and Oral Torah. But we enjoy and honor Christmas, and we shudder at every postmodern assault on this most Christian of holidays. We want America to remain a Judeo-Christian country, for without G-d, individual liberty vanishes, replaced by an all-powerful centralized state and a cult of personality.

Here’s a sample of Hollywood and Christmas as it used to be.

Silent star Marceline Day hangs her stocking for Santa, 1920's.

Silent star Marceline Day hangs her stocking for Santa, 1920s.

 

Myrna Loy, before gaining “Thin Man” fame, feeds one of Santa's reindeer, 1920's.

Myrna Loy, before gaining “Thin Man” fame, feeds one of Santa’s reindeer, 1920s.

 

Colleen Moore, the Hollywood flapper who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald, sings Christmas Carols, 1930's.

Colleen Moore, the Hollywood flapper who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald, sings Christmas carols, 1930s.

 

A very young Carole Lombard poses with Christmas gifts.

A very young Carole Lombard poses with Christmas gifts, 1920s.

The great Anna May Wong was the first Asian female star. I strongly recommend the silent classic “Piccadilly” (1929) to get a sense of her genius.

The great Anna May Wong was the first Asian female star. I strongly recommend the silent classic Piccadilly (1929) to get a sense of her genius.

 

Jean Harlow tragically passed away at the tender age of 26, but she left a legacy of brilliant performances. Check out Red Dust (1932) and the brilliant screwball comedy Bombshell, (1933).

Although Jean Harlow tragically passed away at the tender age of 26, she left a legacy of brilliant performances. Check out the steamy Red Dust (1932) with Clark Gable and the brilliant screwball comedy Bombshell (1933).

 

Mitzi Gaynor shows off her, um, Christmas tree. Check out those high-waisted Capri pants, 1950's.

Mitzi Gaynor shows off her… um… Christmas tree, 1950s. Check out those high-waisted Capri pants.

 

Elizabeth Taylor converted to Judaism when she married Mike Todd. But she never hesitated to celebrate Christmas.

Elizabeth Taylor converted to Judaism when she married Mike Todd. But she never hesitated to celebrate Christmas.

Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and meaningful Shabbat.

To all our cherished Christian friends, a very merry Christmas.

And — oh yeah — here’s the perfect Christmas gift, guaranteed to lift your spirits.

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22 Comments

  1. David Foster
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

     ”I have been in meetings where smart and talented people with whom I work have characterized whole states as “nothing but trash hillbillies.””
    See my post <a href=”http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/32937.html”>The Phobia<s) That May Destroy America</a> for an analysis of this syndrome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      David:

      Thanks so much for the superb link.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. maya
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Saw this article and thought of you - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2252171/On-brink-fame-Rare-black-white-photographs-capture-fresh-faced-starlets-Hollywoods-leading-ladies.html
     

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Maya:

      Great photos. Thanks so much.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. sennacherib
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    As a rather poor christian, I always liked this time of the year for the obvious reasons. Perhaps as you get older you gain an appreciation of the deeper meaning. Who knows? Anyway Merry Christmas Robert to you and yours and may G-d watch over Israel, especially now in it’s grave peril.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      sennacherib:

      Thanks so much for the kind note and for your support of Israel.

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      • sennacherib
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

        Your welcome. I’ve supported Israel for a long time, nothing like a good dose of plague to change your views.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Nickie Clifford
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Robert,
     
    I don’t believe there’s anything contrary about you and your wife being supportive of Christmas anymore than I believe it odd that U.S. Christian’s are openly supportive of Israel and Judaism.  In fact, it seems to me to be a natural extension of a mutually sympatico moral framework through which we view the world.  The nonsensical politically-correct drive to secularize the U.S. has been appalling to more than just the new brand of “Born Again” Christian.  Those of us who are of a more moderate denomination are also watching with distaste as the P.C. police attempt to ascribe their parameters upon society.  There seems to be a lack of common-sense and an attitude of shrill insistance upon the ‘letter of the law’.  You’re correct Robert, when you say this is a Judeo-Christian country, and Bill O’Reilly was also correct when he pointed out that the manner in which Christmas is celebrated in public areas in this country is more a matter of tradition rather than circumscribing religion upon anyone.  Those who fail to recognize this and insist upon our saying ’Happy Holidays’ rather than ‘Merry Christmas’ appear as priggish and unreasonable martinets.     

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Nickie:
      You’d be surprised how many Jews are suspicious of the Christian-Jewish alliance in America. Mostly it’s secular Jews whose real religion is the Democrat party. Jews who are observant and Conservative understand and appreciate the friendship.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Bill Brandt
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures Robert

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Bill:
      I just love old Hollywood photos and have collected thousands of them.

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  6. DrCarol
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    A couple of weeks ago I played with my pipe band for the start of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” 5K race held in the real life town that is believed to be the inspiration for the movie.  We stood on George Bailey Bridge and played a 20 minute concert, then performed “Scotland the Brave” over and over and over again as over 3000 runners went past.  Finished up by marching back across the bridge playing the Marine Hymn.
    It was a magical evening.  Just before the race started the sky filled with interlocking V’s of Canada geese going south for the winter.
    I did wonder why the race didn’t start at the sound of a bell and not a gun  :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Barry
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      A performance of Scotland The Brave is never to be missed. But, where exactly is George Bailey Bridge…?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Barry
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just found out. Must be a cute place.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      DrCarol:
      I’m anxiously waiting for you to come to LA with your pipes!

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  7. Larry
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Wow! A very young Carole Lombard. I’m frequently impressed by the photos you’re able to dig up, Robert.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      This photo of Lombard looks like it was taken when she was still working as a bit player.

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  8. Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    In this way, Hollywood—though founded by poor immigrant Jews—let America know that it and the heartland were aligned.
     
    That’s the key line in today’s social/cultural divide. Once upon a time, middle America — a place where most people lived in small towns and cities, practiced religion and observed their personal liberties — was the heartland (stress heart) of this nation. Now the coasts — dominated by millions and millions of city-dwellers who rely on the government for… well, just about everything — look at middle America as fly-over country and Hollywood spends its time berating middle America for “clinging to its guns and bibles”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Prophet Joe:

      Hollywood’s contempt for so-called fly-over country is pathological. I have been in meetings where smart and talented people with whom I work have characterized whole states as “nothing but trash hillbillies.” It is depressing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Barry
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        May be they are not so smart. Merely the product of privilege and education. The privilege being that they live and work in the United States.

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        • Robert J. Avrech
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          Barry:

          Take my word for it, these are smart/clever people. But they lack wisdom.

          I will take wisdom over smarts any day of the week.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Barry
            Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            Robert:
             
            This is all part of the same package.

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