Today is the birthday of Shirley Mason (Leonie Flugrath, 1900-1979). The youngest of a trio of movie acting sisters (the others ere Viola Dana and Edna Flugrath), her screen career coincided with the years of her own youth and the heyday of silent pictures (1910-1929). Though successful at the time, most of these are long forgotten dramas and adaptations of literature, including Treasure Island (in which she played the boy Jim, 1920), Little Miss Smiles (1922), and My Husbands Wives (1924). When silent films died, she made a brief stab at vaudeville, but unlike her sister Viola, who had a great deal of stage experience, Mason had only ever acted for the movies, and couldn’t make a go of vaud. Besides, vaudeville too was on its way out, and she was well set up as the wife of movie director Sidney Lanfield.Her period of retirement was to last 50 years!
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc