Don’t You Wish You Were a Gish ? (Film Flashes 1916)

Film Flashes (1916)

The Wit and Humor of a Nation in Pictures

Don’t You Wish You Were a Gish ?


Dorothy Gish was trying on a stunning summer hat before the cheval glass. Lillian Gish was serenely embroidering a front of a crepe-de-chine negligee. She loves to embroider — and after a while she gets all the tablecloths and the centerpieces and the doilies and the napkins and dresser scarfs in the house done and falls back on her clothes.

Lillian Gish embroidering 1916

Every once in awhile she glanced admiringly at Dorothy, who was prancing back and forth in front of the mirror, as every girl does who is trying on a nifty new hat. It wasn’t her hat, either. All the reason why she should covet it.


“Doesn’t that hat look nice on Dorothy?” said Lillian calmly. “I suppose I might just as well say good-by to it right now. It would be a shame not to give it to her when she looks so well in it. That girl has no sense of property rights, anyhow.


She’ll let me do all the shopping, and then try on my things and look so well in them that I haven’t the heart not to give them to her.”

“You darling!” shrilled Dorothy. “Will you really give it to me? You are a duck!”

“We humor that girl too much,” said Mrs. Gish, the mother of these two screen stars. “Dorothy, this is the last time Lillian is going to give you anything of hers. Do you hear?”

“Yes, sweetheart,” smiled Dorothy; “I hear. And I won’t ask for another thing—only—that veil really ought to go with the hat, don’t you think, Lillian?”


“Take the veil,” assented Lillian, threading her needle with more silk, and everybody laughed at the notion of gay little Dorothy Gish really doing that.

Mother and Dorothy

“You know, mother and Lillian spoil me to death,” said Dorothy, airily settling the veil on her pretty head. “They are the grandest mother and sister a girl ever had, and I wouldn’t trade them off for a million dollars. Lillian, could I just borrow that new pair of white suede pumps you got yesterday? I’ll take good care of them, and I won’t ask you to give them to me.”


Lillian Gish nodded her head and waited to see Dorothy emerge with the new shoes. She sighed indulgently when at last her sister was arrayed for the afternoon. She had selected the choicest of Lillian’s garments and danced happily about the room, with her fingertips airily waving as she waited for compliments.

Dorothy Gish cca 1930 - by Nell Dorr
Nell Dorr (1893-1988); Dorothy Gish; ca. 1930’s; Gelatin silver print; Amon Carter Museum of American Art; Fort Worth, Texas; Bequest of Nell Dorr; P1990.45.239

“Honest, mother, dear,” she said, “this is the last time I’ll ever ask Lillian for anything. Only—she has such lovely taste in clothes, and I hate to shop, and she doesn’t mind it at all. And you must admit that her clothes look nice on me, don’t they?”

Lillian Gish and Mother (Mary Robinson McConnell)
Lillian Gish and Mother (Mary Robinson McConnell)

It had to be admitted. And Lillian and her mother exchanged humorously resigned glances and kissed Dorothy good-by as she tripped merrily out to her friends with whom she was to drive. You can see from this that when the Gish sisters are at home, they are just like all the rest of us. They wear their sister’s clothes and borrow their mother’s best perfume and sneak out the best handkerchiefs when they are in a hurry, hoping to get them back before they are found out. Just like other girls, for all they are famous screen stars. The world of publicity has small place inside the Gish home, that is covered over with roses and bordered with flowers and full of sunshine and good nature and love.


It is Lillian who shares her mother’s love of housekeeping. When she has spare time, she spends it puttering around the bungalow, trying new recipes—just like other home-loving girls—running over new music, embroidering and digging out the bureau drawers, exactly as any girl would do. Dorothy is the planner of the pair. She knows exactly how she wants her gowns made and what she expects for dinner. But she leaves it to Lillian to execute her plans. They have never appeared together in a picture, because each is a star and must therefore play in separate pictures.

Film Flashes (1916)

Film flashes : the wit and humor of a nation in pictures
Film flashes : the wit and humor of a nation in pictures

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