Uploaded on Jul 6, 2011
Victor 18594 - 09-27-1919 Peaked on US Music Charts At # 3 in 1919. Fox Trot
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra with Harry MacDonough & Billy Murray
Theda Bara - (July 29, 1885 -- April 13, 1955), born Theodosia Burr Goodman, was an American silent film actress - one of the most popular of her era, and one of cinema's earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname "The Vamp" (short for vampire). The term "vamp" soon became a popular slang term for a sexually predatory woman. Bara, Valeska Suratt, and Musidora popularized the vamp persona in the early years of silent film and spawned imitators like Virginia Pearson, Rosemary Theby, Louise Glaum, Nita Naldi and Pola Negri. Theodosia Burr Goodman was born in the Avondale section of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Theda Bara made more than 40 films between 1914 and 1926, but complete prints of only six still exist. Most were produced by William Fox, beginning with A Fool There Was (1915) and ending with The Lure of Ambition (1919). The phenomenal success of A Fool There Was gave William Fox the money to found Fox Film Corporation, while the ensuing films ensured the studio's success.
At the height of her fame, Bara was making $4,000 per week. She was one of the most popular movie stars, ranking behind only Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.
Bara's best-known roles were as the "vamp", although she attempted to avoid typecasting by playing wholesome heroines in films such as Under Two Flags and Her Double Life. She also appeared as Juliet in a version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Although Bara took her craft seriously, she was too successful as an exotic "wanton woman" to develop a more versatile career.
Most of Bara's early films were shot on the East Coast, primarily at the Fox Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Bara lived with her family in New York City during this time. The rise of Hollywood as the center of the American film industry forced her to relocate to Los Angeles to film the epic Cleopatra (1917), which became one of Bara's biggest hits. No known prints of Cleopatra exist today, but numerous photographs of Bara in costume as the Queen of the Nile have survived.
Between 1915 and 1919, Bara was Fox studio's biggest star but, tired of being typecast as a vamp, she allowed her five-year contract with Fox to expire. Her final Fox film was The Lure of Ambition (1919). Her career suffered without Fox studio's support, and she did not make another film until The Unchastened Woman (1925) for Chadwick Pictures Corporation. Bara retired after making only one more film, the short comedy Madame Mystery (1926), made for Hal Roach, in which she parodied her vamp image.
About 1920, Bara had her portrait painted by the young Chicago portrait painter Theodore Lukits (1897--1992). The whereabouts of the portrait are unknown.
Theda Bara is most famous for having a higher percentage of lost films than any other actor with a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame. A 1937 fire at Fox's nitrate film storage vaults in New Jersey destroyed most of that studio's silent films. Out of her 40 films, only a few remain completely intact: The Stain (1914), A Fool There Was (1915), East Lynne (1916), The Unchastened Woman (1925), and 2 short comedies for Hal Roach. In addition to these, a few of her films remain in fragments including Cleopatra (just a few seconds of footage), a clip thought to be from The Soul of Buddha, and a few other unidentified clips featured in a French documentary, Theda Bara et William Fox (2001). Most of the clips can be seen in the documentary The Woman with the Hungry Eyes (2006).
Bara is also one of the most famous completely silent stars - she was never filmed in sound, lost or otherwise. She appeared on Cecil B. DeMille's Lux Radio Theatre in 1936 in a broadcast version of The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Bara died of stomach cancer in 1955 in Los Angeles, California, and was interred as Theda Bara Brabin in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Her death certificate incorrectly listed her birthdate as July 22, 1892.
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra was very successful from 1917 to 1921, reaching its peak popularity around 1919-1920, with the Victor Talking Machine Company issuing new Smith recordings almost every month. The labels on many Smith records have the phrase "for dancing" or "dance music." It recorded fox trots, one-steps, and waltzes, a few featuring a vocal refrain contributed by a Victor studio singer. Although musicians varied, generally eight instruments were used in the band, a combination of violin (Smith was a violinist), viola, piano, cello, trombone, cornet, drums.