Digging through an old box of my family heirlooms, among the family photos, bible, and a few pieces of 1930s sheet music, I discovered this small collection of photographs of 1920s movie stars. Unfortunately, they are all badly damaged from mold, and many are heavily stained.
Fortunately, using the magic of computers, I was able to restore some of them to something resembling their original glory. With a combination of the GIMP to clean up the damage and Picasa to restore the original warm sepia tones, here they are. I must say, the hair was difficult to fix. It’s no professional fix, but I think they look pretty decent, if I’m to toot my own horn.
Interestingly, all these personalities were among those that failed to make the transition to talking pictures in the late 1920s and into the 1930s, all the ladies had outright quit acting by 1930, while Fairbanks held on a little longer, but never made as much of a hit in talkies as in the silents. Mary Miles Minter left acting in 1923 after the scandal surrounding the murder of director William Desmond Taylor. Also interesting to note, all these actors, besides Minter, were among the first stars to place their hand and footprints in the forecourt at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a tradition which allegedly started when Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in the wet cement there.
From left to right, top to bottom, you see Douglas Fairbanks, whom I actually fixed up long before the others, and the photo was in much better shape to begin with, Mary Miles Minter, Constance Talmadge (her hair was really a devil to clean up), and Norma Talmadge. If I had to guess, I’d say that all these photographs date to around 1920.