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Paramount Winners: 1925

Paramount Winners: 1925

May 25, 1925. Washington, D.C. "Winners, Paramount Motion Picture School." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.


History Lesson

This discussion is what I meant about Shorpy being a a teaching tool specializing in photography and American history. It's fun. Thanks again, Dave and Ken.

Bars and raciness

@DTNelson -- we went to bars in high school all the time, and that was in the '70s. There was one place where we thought the unofficial motto was "Be 14 -- and prove it!" In the days before they raised the drinking age and finally cracked down on DWI, it was not uncommon at all.

And although that looks like some sort of wool bathing get-up, just take a look at the silk shifts many young women wore then -- cut low, hemmed high, stockings rolled (the equivalent of letting stocking tops show today). It was a party time.

It's not the Fifties

I'm surprised at the surprise regarding "mores" of the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, the Lost Generation, the era of speakeasies, fast cars, loose morals, flappers, a stock market that just went higher and higher based on nothing in particular ... sounds a lot like these days. I think when people think of a straitlaced past they're thinking of the Fifties. Which was pretty much an anomalously straitlaced decade in a very tumultuous century.

That said, what IS she wearing?

Some names

Charles E. Rogers is probably better known as Buddy Rogers. He appeared in the movie "Wings" which won the first Academy Award for Best Picture (and was the only silent to win what would become known as the Oscar in that category). He later married Mary Pickford in 1937 and was married to her until her death in 1979.

Charles Brokaw was primarily a stage actor. There's an 11 year gap between his appearance in "Fascinating Youth" and his next movie role.

Walter Gross (or Goss as IMDB has it) changed his name to Roland Drew. He had quite an active career until about 1945 although most of the movies he was in were either not memorable or minor parts for him. He's probably best known for playing Prince Barin in "Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe".

John "Jack" Luden is described by IMDB as having one of the saddest stories in Hollywood. The child of a wealthy family (they made cough drops) he got some good early roles but by about 1929 he was seriously addicted to heroin. He made something of a comeback in the '30s doing westerns at Columbia but even that ended. He was eventually arrested and convicted for dealing heroin and writing bad checks and died in San Quentin at age 49.

In the case of Thelma Todd, while she was a talented comedienne (she's great with the Marx Brothers in "Monkey Business" and "Horsefeathers", and her shorts with Zasu Pitts and Patsy Kelly are sometimes seen on TCM and are great) it was the manner of her death - carbon monoxide poisoning - that was the source of most of her enduring fame. Suicide? Accident? Murder? No one really knows for sure.

I love old movies...

Walter Goss (not Gross) is better known as Roland Drew. Charles Brokaw was successful on Broadway. John (Jack) Luden is more infamous than famous - you can check out his IMDB bio. Thelda Kenvin was a beauty queen. I think it should be Lindsay La Verne (aka Sharon Lynn/e). Charles Rogers is better known as BUDDY Rogers! Thelma Todd died under mysterious circumstances - that was one of the first real Hollywood scandals.

Paramount Motion Picture School

According to an article in the July 21, 1925 New York Times, the Paramount Pictures School opened for its first class of students that month in Astoria, New York. The first class of students was Josephine Dunn, Robert Andrews, Greg Blackton, Charles Brokaw, Claud Buchanan, Walter J. Gross, John Luden, Ethelda Kenvin, Mona Palma, Lorraine Eason, Wilbur Dillon, Laverne Lindsay, Irving Hartley, Marian Ivy Harris, Harriet Krauth, Dorothy Nourse, Thelma Todd, and Charles E. Rogers.

The course lasted one year and those showing promise were to be offered contracts with Paramount Studios. The students appeared in the 1925 movie “Fascinating Youth.”

I’ve heard of Thelma Todd and Josephine Dunn; don’t know if any of the others made it big.

An earlier NY Times article says that the applications were done by district so these are probably the winners who applied at the Washington DC area.

1925 WAS a racy year

Tangential: My father was in high school from 1923 to 1927. Once, in telling me a story about some high school escapades, he mentioned that he and his friends used to frequent a speakeasy in Calumet City called "The Speedway."

"You went to a bar?!? In high school? They let you in?"

"It was illegal for anyone to go to a bar in the 20s. They let everyone in."

Bernice, is that you?

The only thing that surprises me here is that the girl on the left has not yet bobbed her hair. What a fun and exciting time to be a woman -- too bad they didn't know what was coming.

NSFW: The 1925 Edition

This picture has been carefully reviewed and found to be not safe for the 1925 workplace! Seriously, keep those jazz-babies coming!

Paramount Winners

What a shockingly fast crowd!

[I wonder if they need directions to the Krazy Kat. - Dave]


What in the world is the woman on the right wearing? Is she sporting some fashion trend of the time, or did she forget her skirt? That seems to be an awfully racy outfit for 1925.

[1925 was an awfully racy year! - Dave]

20's sensibilities

I'm very surprised to see the girl on the left not wearing a bra and such a tight top.

Considering the sensibilities of the 1920's I thought her showing so much of her shape was socially unacceptable!

[Might be a good time to read up on the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age. F. Scott Fitzgerald, anyone? - Dave]

Pretty Racy for 1925

Wow, the woman on the far left leaves very little to the imagination with that shirt. I'm surprised she could walk around in public like that at that time never mind pose for photos.

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