Carmelita Geraghty: The Original Jordan Baker

Carmelita Geraghty (1901-1966) was the daughter of screenwriter Tom Geraghty, whose credits included things like Douglas Fairbanks’ ‘Til the Clouds Roll By (1919) and The Mollycoddle (1920). Originally a script girl, her career as an actress began with a supporting role in an independent melodrama called Jealous Husbands (1923). Geraghty was to appear in 95 films over the next dozen years.

In 1924, Geraghty was made a WAMPAS Baby Star, which gave her career more juice. Among the films of this period, she appeared in the early Alfred Hitchcock film The Pleasure Garden (1925), and the original production of The Great Gatsby (1926) as Jordan Baker. She also appeared in three interesting shorts starring boxer Jack Dempsey and Esther Ralston in 1924.

In addition to feature length dramas, she appeared in lots of comedy shorts. Her first was Trouble Brewing (1924) with Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy, and Smith’s Uncle (1926) with Raymond McKee. In 1928 and 1929 she appeared in 13 Mack Sennett shorts with the likes of Billy Bevan, Dot Farley, Vernon Dent, Daphne Pollard, and Johnny Burke. Her sound films included Fifty Million Frenchmen (1931) with Olsen and Johnson, and westerns like Rogue of the Rio Grande (1930) and The Texas Ranger (1931).

In 1934, she married screenwriter Carey Wilson, and she only made a couple of films after that. But she remained surrounded by the film industry — surrounded by screenwriters, in fact! Her dad’s last screenwriting credit was in 1939, for the Gracie Fields film Shipyard Sally. Wilson worked on 112 films through 1952, including most of the Andy Hardy films. And her two brothers were also screenwriters. Maurice Geraghty started out writing westerns for Republic in 1935, produced the Falcon films for RKO from 1942 to 1945, then returned to screenwriting. In the ’50s he wrote mostly for TV westerns. His last original credit was for a 1964 Addams Family episode! Gerald Geraghty started out writing intertitles in the late ’20s, and then much like his brother, wrote for B movie westerns. He amassed nearly 100 screen credits, his last being a 1956 episode of Frontier Doctor.

Carmelita herself spent her last three decades pursuing painting as a vocation, and was preparing a show for a gallery at the time of her death in 1966.

For more on silent film and classic comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube