Henceforth and forever cave women, belles of the jungle and all classes of lovely ladies who wear leopard skin lingerie and neglect to patronize a Fifth Avenue bootmaker are banished from the repertory of Clara Kimball Young. The star of "The Savage Woman" has said it, and said it so emphatically that there is not the slightest reason to believe she will ever change her mind--until the latest styles in Parisian footwear are de rigueur on the burning sands of central Africa and fashion taboos bare feet in that section.
Seated at a large flat-topped mahogany desk in the center of the Clara Kimball Young Picture Company office and dressed in a French horizon blue suit of military cut and a chic turban to match, the lady of the luminous eyes who is numbered among the Select stars hung up the telephone after a series of explicit injunctions as to the making of several costumes needed in her next picture and answered an inquiry about her latest release with the declaration:
"No more barefoot parts for mine!"
"You didn't enjoy this getting-near-to-nature experience then, Miss Young?"
"Quite the contrary! I had thought it would be good fun to discard the conventional articles of civilized attire for a rug kimono and roam the desert sands of climb nimbly from limb to limb of the banyan tree, clad in innocence and the glad smile of the humorist. I know better now. Palm Canyon, with the mercury registering one hundred and fourteen degrees and no shade, is no place to run about in your bare feet and pretend you were born to the sport."
"That was the impression you gave in the picture."
"It's kind of you to say so, but if I succeeded in disguising my real feelings it was one of the most difficult pieces of acting I've ever done in my life. You remember this scene?"
Miss Young pointed to a large photograph standing against the wall, showing her as the heroine of "The Savage Woman."
"You look very happy and very much at your ease."
"I was never so uncomfortable in my life. The heat was terrible. I waded through that brook in the hopes it would cool me off a little, and the water was almost hot. Then I stepped on a stone and bruised my foot. I wanted to sit down on the sand and examine the bruise, but I didn't I stood up for the same reason the boy stood on the burning deck--it was too hot to sit down. Then, the snakes. The place is full of rattlers."
"Did you step on any?"
"No; I'm not afraid of snakes. But I prefer to have my boots on when we meet."
"The place where the African scenes were made is called Palm Canyon, you say?"
"Yes. It is full of palm trees, and no one knows how they got there. We lost a number of monkeys and parrots while the scenes were being taken. One of theses days the palm trees will be full of monkey and parrots."
"And no one will know how they got there."
"Except the readers of the Moving Picture World."
Before the representative of that repository of exclusive information could frame a suitable reply, the interviewee shifted the location from California to Washington, but continued her remarks on snakes:
"Speaking of snakes, there was one member of the tribe that made me register sudden and honest-to-goodness surprise and terror. It was at Seattle, Wash. Being a dry state and in a state of dryness I entered a restaurant with a party of friends, after one of my speeches during my recruiting tour through the Northwest this summer, and ordered a lemonade. While I was sipping it I happened to glance at a small palm near my elbow and there was a little green snake, hanging over the side of the pot."
"Was this after your fourth or your fifth lemonade?"
"It was during my first."
"They must make them strong in Seattle. What did you do, after registering fright?"
"Following the regular business of the scene, by demanding of the entire party if they all saw the same thing I did. Fortunately for my peace of mind and the reputation of the great state of Washington for the enforcement of their liquor laws they did. But what is the use of having liquor laws if they are unable to keep the snakes away?"
Before the representative of the M.P.W. could fully grasp the far-reaching and deplorable condition set before his mental vision Clara Kimball Young had changed her subject but not the location by calling his attention to some photographs which she picked up from the desk.
"Here I am, swearing in my first naval recruit. Fine looking chap, isn't he? This other picture shows a guard of honor consisting of sailors and yeomenettes. These girls wear a uniform, carry regular rifles and have been trained to use them like regular soldiers. My trip included Portland, Tacoma, Spokane and other cities in the Northwest, before coming to New York."
[Picture omitted, with caption: Clara Kimball Young Swearing in Naval Recruits]
"When do you intend to return to California?"
"The first of September. Work on my new picture will commence as soon as I arrive. It is called "The Road Through the Dark," and was written by Ethel Watts Mulford. I play a French girl who is supposed to be a German spy, but who in reality is spying for France. It is a war story, of course. I haven't played in one since my old Vitagraph days . . . Excuse me, a moment."
The interview was interrupted while Clara Kimball Young discussed a business matter with her manager, Harry I. Garson. Her views were stated quickly and confidently. The artistic side of her nature has not prevented the actress from cultivating the practical things of life. When she was ready to resume the conversation it was the interviewer who changed the subject this time.
"How do you like the idea of taking down the barrier between the artist and the public, Miss Young, and coming in close contact with the men and women who have learned to know and admire you on the screen?"
"You mean by making speeches in public--I think it is an excellent thing from every point of view. The artist learns things that way. Quite a change, isn't it, from the Augustin Daly law. His actors, you know, were not allowed to walk on Broadway. If they wished to pass along that famous thoroughfare they were obliged to take a cab. That may have been good theatrical law in the old days. Moving picture stars can profit more by letting their admirers see them in the flesh and hear their voices. Besides, as I said before, we learn things from them. I'm a believer in the old hug-and-kiss finish, and so is the public."
"How did you find that out?"
"By asking my audiences whenever I got the chance."
Last revised July 7, 2002