Old Movie Days Recalled – By Mary Middleton (Chicago Tribune – 1963)

Chicago Tribune – Tuesday, January 8, 1963 Page 25

Old Movie Days Recalled

Lillian Gish Feted at Luncheon

By Mary Middleton

“Lillian Gish, she’s my dish!” chanted the parrot Mrs. Solomon B. Smith took to Mrs. Homer P. Hargrave’s luncheon for the actress yesterday. “I lived with a parrot for 20 years,” Miss Gish exclaimed. “We named it John – and it laid an egg!”

Lillian Gish and her parrot

Mrs. Smith’s parrot wasn’t real; it was a mechanical bird with a tape recorder in its base which also told listeners that Miss Gish is starring in “A Passage to India,” opening Friday in the Goodman theater. The play’s setting was inspiration for the curried chicken luncheon, for the Indian airlines ticket folders that were guests’ place cards, for the poster of the Taj Mahal which was hung in the little foyer of the Hargraves’ apartment, and for the Chinese fortune cookies that opened to reveal predictions of Miss Gish’s performance in Chicago.

Way Down East - filming the "Ice Floe Scene" (Lillian Gish)
Way Down East – filming the “Ice Floe Scene” (Lillian Gish)

Stars of the Silent Era

There were some reflections on the old days of movie making – after all, the hostess is the former Colleen Moore of silent movie fame and Miss Gish’s career spans most of this century and includes a role in the 1915 film “Birth of a Nation.”

Charming petite, and twinkling, Miss Gish related some of the dangers of movie making in the old days – “We wouldn’t have thought it fair to have doubles. Five people lost their lives when we made ‘Way Down East,’ it was so cold. But movies were more fun then,” Miss Gish went on. “Now it’s a business. Movies made more money then, too – ‘Birth of a Nation’ made more than 100 million dollars – and those films built all the big movie palaces in Hollywood.”

Colleen Moore and Lillian Gish '60s
Colleen Moore and Lillian Gish ’60s

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) 08 Jan 1963, Tue Page 25 - N

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