Note: Mary Mallory is taking this week off, so I’m running a post from several years ago.
Los Angeles in 1923 was a bustling, growing, optimistic place. The town recognized all sorts of interesting people and topics, saluting them with their own days. There were Raisin Day, Prune Day, Father-and-Son Day, Fireless Cooker Day, and many others that year. Dec. 3, 1923 was Mary Pickford Day, which unfortunately coincided with Golden Rule Day. Per the Dec. 4, 1923, Los Angeles Times, only a few Golden Rule observations occurred.
One of the largest crowds ever, from 15,000 to 50,000 people crowded Pershing Square to see Los Angeles Mayor Cryer, R. W. Pridham, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Frank Wiggins, secretary of the Chamber, honor Miss Pickford. Attending with her were her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, her mother, Charlotte Pickford, and her niece, Gwynne Pickford. A jazz band offered music, and Disabled Veterans of World War I sent a color guard. The mayor made a speech saluting the actress, calling her “Our Mary,” and “Queen of the Queens of the Movies.” Douglas Fairbanks told the crowd, “This is Mary Pickford Day to you but for me every day is Mary Pickford Day.”
Pickford tried to use a megaphone when giving her speech, but few heard her words. She warned against too many film aspirants flocking to Los Angeles. She stated that “…I would ask the boys and girls who go to the studios to be prepared to work for five years, if necessary, before reaching stardom, and that if they should fail, to be prepared to take up some other career.” She also felt girls should be accompanied by their mothers.
Chamber of Commerce records estimated that “10,000 young men and women, less than legal age, come to this city every month to seek jobs in pictures, and of course only a small part of them have any talents, or, if so, have the good fortune in the struggle to find places, for the directors are deluged with applications.”
Pickford also regretted that city officials and motion picture industry executives did not better understand each other and work together, a state which still somewhat exists to this day. If both worked together, they would create more jobs, and make filming in the city an easier proposition for producers. This would help boost employment, as well as revenues for all types of businesses large and small throughout the city.