A long time ago, in a universe far, far away, in a place called Hollywood, the movie studios and the actors who were under contract to them, celebrated their love of America, and enthusiastically indulged in overt displays of patriotism.
A long time ago, in a universe far, far away, in a place called Hollywood, the engines of entertainment genius that were the movie studios, and the actors who were under contract to them, celebrated their love of America, and enthusiastically indulged in overt displays of patriotism.
L.B. Mayer (b. Lazar Meir) of MGM, a pioneer of the motion-picture industry, and the man who invented the star system, adopted July 4th as his birthday. Scores of Hollywood historians get all snarky about Mayer’s birthday, claiming that he conveniently changed his birthday in order to cash in on a public identification with America.
What these historians fail to recognize is that Mayer probably did not know the date of his birth.
The photos seem to be from another planet, or at least a parrallel universe.
It was not so long ago that Hollywood was institutionally patriotic. Studio photos always included an Independence Day shot, frequently an innocent piece of cheesecake. Because what’s more American than igniting fireworks while wearing a bathing suit.
L.B. Mayer of MGM did not know his birthday—common for Jews born in the Pale of Settlement—and so the powerful studio chief symbolically adopted July 4 as his own and threw America and himself a huge birthday party on the studio lot. Everyone was expected to attend. Only Greta Garbo, the great narcissist, refused to attend.
Here’s a sample of studio shots celebrating America’s birth.