This is a fantastic article out of the January 1915 Photoplay Magazine. They are some thoughts looking into the new year by some silent film players. I especially like Mary Fuller’s list. It’s funny that just a few years ago, when I first found this article, I didn’t know many of these names! There is now just one in this article that I don’t recall the name.
Sowing Next Year’s Crop
The Good Resolutions of the Photoplayers
Also, Some Others, Not So Good
Like the poor, New Year’s resolutions are always with us. Sometimes they are made in January, again in June, and occasionally in September. Always they are made under the stress of intention to change the face of the world. Everybody makes them at some time or other. But since movie actors are the most facilely expressive people in the world, they are perhaps the most frequent makers of resolutions. There are of course photoplayers who never will indulge in the human luxury of make-over decisions. But the majority of the players have five-reel resolves, all wool and guaranteed to last at least until the second day of the first month of the New Year.
Mary Fuller, who is one of the best little makers of resolutions in the game, says that it’s a pernicious habit, but that she can’t break herself of it. She has made thirteen resolves for next year, but she’ll tell only twelve. She says it’s unlucky to tell the thirteenth. The twelve run: under the preface:
My resolutions, I think, are good ones and helpful to others as well as to myself. At least, they are the result of some observation and experience and are worthy to be tried. Here they are:
- Conserve your health, for that is the keystone of the arch. Deal judiciously with that wonderful mechanism nature has given to you. Be gentle with yourself and not full of violent harshness and grindings. Remember that some one else is constantly getting an impression of you and from you.
- Select for yourself. Eliminate the non-essentials. Take hold of your own problems. Live your life as you think it ought to be, not as it happens along. Judge what your life should be from the standpoint of broad views and high ideals. Let not the securing of your own ends be the sum total of your existence. Remember your struggling brother beside you.
- Do not fall into the groove, the routine. Preserve your interest in each thing you do. Preserve your buoyancy, resiliency. Don’t dwell heavily on the trivial thought. In other words, don’t let the “dwell” be longer than the thought; don’t spend your substance on anything unworthy of it.
- Dare to be brave in life. “None but the brave deserve the fair” means after all that only those who dare deserve the fair things of life, honor, esteem, success.
- In so far as you can, surround yourself with the beautiful, artistic, the clean, whether it be but a flower or a picture. The mind is open to subtle influences.
- Don’t let your balance be disturbed by little things. Be proof against the waves of trivialities. Stand your ground; but be magnanimous.
- Have faith in yourself and understanding therein. This does not mean egotism nor yet trusting entirely to luck or to the inspiration of the moment, but to foster inherent strength and resist bad forces both without and within.
- Do not grumble. It never does any good, and only wastes energy and time which might be expended in remedying the matter which has gone out of joint. Often our difficulties are just obstacles which take a little extra pushing, a little higher effort, to land us above them.
- Keeping your mind open to the music of the plodding little tasks and the weary little minutes will fill the hours with the beauty of life. In greatest epic songs many simple little cadences are repeated.
- Don’t be a wastrel of yourself, of time, of money. The wastrel pays the heaviest price for folly. The sluggard never wins success.
- Do not be over-impatient, for the big things will come to you as you grow ready for them. Do your best and trust in providence. Happiness is an empire of our own building or of our own destroying.
- Work when you work, and play when you play.
Aren’t those some weighty resolves for
little Mary Fuller, who thrusts her hands in her pockets when she looks out across the screens as the Dolly of the Dailies pictures?
Mabel Trunelle, another Edison star, thinks that she makes New Year’s resolutions, but that she must also break them speedily. “I generally look back on the past year with a guilty conscience,” she acknowledges, “for the things I’ve left undone. And so the best I may resolve is to make the most of the coming year and to avoid the mistakes of the past.” Not bad, is it?
Herbert Prior’s attitude toward the coming of the New Year is even abrupt. “I have ended the making of New Years’ resolutions,” he announces. “I found that I never kept them.”
Away out in California Eddie Lyons of the Christie Comedy company has already pasted up this set of rules:
“I will not drink (too much).
“I will not smoke (all the time).
“I will not lose my tempter (too often).
“I will not owe my tailor (too long).
“I will not speak ill of others (too strongly).
“I will not break any of these resolutions (too soon).”
Lee Moran of the same company, inspired by Eddie’s efforts, has also gone on record to this effect:
“On New Year’s morning I will swear (I have sworn before). I will place articles of temptation before me and see whether I am strong enough to resist them. In the course of an hour or two I shall know if I am strong enough to resist them. I will not burden my mind with unnecessary things longer than necessary. I resolve to proceed on the same delightful way. Moderations are better than resolutions.
Miriam Nesbitt of the Edison has made eight resolutions for guiding stars. They are:
- To conquer my intense aversion to the great unwashed with whom I travel during rush hours, to realize that in poor districts ill smelling cars packed in humanity will always exist until the rest of us make conditions better for the toiler.
- To guard against impatience when I am tired, for mistakes which try me may be caused by fatigue on the other fellow’s part.
- To do what I can to help war victims, but not to be distressed or constantly depressed by the situation here or abroad.
- To try to reply to all my fans’ letters.
- To keep my ideals and, if possible, to raise the standard of them.
- To live on less than I earn.
- To be optimistic, but not aggressively so.
- To let those I love know it and to keep those I dislike from knowing it.
The Essanay stars, Francis X. Bushman, Ruth Stonehouse, and Beverly Bayne, have all resolved. Bushman never makes additional New Years’ resolutions, but he has one stock resolve, “to be worthy of the friendship of all my friends,” he says, “and to fulfill their expectations of me.” Nor does Beverly Bayne make new resolves. “What’s the use of waiting till a special day?” she asks. “The sooner you do a thing, the better.” Ruth Stonehouse has just one word “Smile” for a resolve, but she explains it further. “Not the fatuous smile that follows a well-cooked meal, not the easy smile of indolence, but the brisk, hearty smile of friendship is the one to be sought and found. I want to meet everything and everybody with a smile. I want to feel a comrade of the world where we are all here to help each other over the rough places. The smile is the sunshine that drives off the shadows. I want to see the good in everyone. Characters are like plants. If the bad points are set under the light, they will flourish like weeds. If they are kept dark, they will die. I would like to be the careful gardener. My one resolution is therefore, Smile.”
Clara Kimball Young has no resolutions, but a philosophy. “I never make any resolutions,” she declares, “for then I don’t have to break them.” But Lottie Briscoe has made ten that she herself calls “impossible.” They run:
- I will answer all my correspondence.
- I will not buy more than one new dress each week nor more than one new hat every two weeks.
- I will not regret that the motion picture camera does not register color.
- I will not forget to do a half hour’s physical exercise every morning before my bath.
- I will write two pages of my diary every night before I go to bed.
- I will never grumble at Philadelphia and wish I were in New York.
- I will never argue with my director.
- I will never read what Photoplay says about me, but will keep up my subscription.
- I will get married if I have to lasso
man to do it or use a halter to lead him to the altar in 1915.
10. I will refuse any increase of salary offered.
Frank Farrington, who plays Braine in “The Million Dollar Mystery,” has a New Year’s ambition, “to make the world happier as I portray human emotions on the screen.” Farrington evidently desires to depart from villainous parts.
Maurice Costello wants “to make next year more successful than last — if possible.” Sidney Bracy is going “to strive by good work in pictures to repay in some measure my thousands of friends through the country for the appreciation they have given my attempts at portrayal of character.” As the butler of the Million Dollar Mystery Bracy has become one of the most talked of film actors in the world. “If my work improves,” he continues, “it will be to the credit of the friends who urge me to endeavor.”
Mae Hotely, comedienne of the Lubin company, has resolved not to break the speed laws of 1915, not to beat any more husbands, “as my fists make no impression on solid ivory,” she insists, “not to go up in another airship until the next time, to answer all love letters, and to do all the good she can (otherwise) in all the way she can.”
Such a galaxy of resolutions deserves to win some lasting measure of success in their keeping. If they’re all to be kept, it begins to look bad for the movies. Such characters as the actors would become are altogether too good to be true.
Following this article is a very pessimistic poem about resolutions.
With apologies to the photoplayers whose New Year resol-utions are set forth in in the foregoing article
Each year we vow to begin anew
And live a life so good and true
That there’ll be no doubt of e’erlasting life
After this world’s battle and noisy strife.
We swear we’ll do this, and we won’t do that
And we make many bets—two or three for a hat,
We swear to quit smoking—we’ll drink never more,
And old Dad will quit swearing—to that he swore.
We will lead lives of virtue—no harm will we do
To our fellows and neighbors and all who are true.
Yes, we’ll even forgive those who treated us mean
Such deeds as we’ll do never were seen.
But alas and alack—as the days quickly fade,
we forget the resolves we so willingly made.
We sigh and are sorry and lay down our pen,
And wait till next New Year’s to do it again.