Biographer Lara Gabrielle joined me to talk about all things Marion Davies.
Marion Davies started her career on the stage and had already made her first film when she met publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst. He fell in love with her and went about making her a top star. She worked at M-G-M for many years and starred in several silent films before making a successful transition to sound. After a move to Warner Bros., Marion eventually retired from the screen. For many years, she was underrated and even outright dismissed by critics. Many of her films have finally become available and along with the new biography by Lara Gabrielle, audiences will discover or re-discover the woman behind the headlines. Marion will also be the "Star of the Month" on Turner Classic Movies for January 2023.
This recipe comes from the 1930s cookbook "125 Recipes of Famous Movie Stars".
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
6 canned peach halves & syrup
6 round pieces of bread
Place 6 canned peach halves in flat dish, cover with peach syrup from can and heat in moderate oven. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and dip the rounds of six large slices of bread into this mixture. Brown the bread in pan with hot butter same as you would when making French toast. Brown on both sides and arrange the slices on six warmed plates. Remove peach halves from their hot syrup, drain and place half a peach on each slice of bread. Cover peach with whipped cream and trim with chopped nuts and sliced dates.
Lara Gabrielle is a writer and film historian. Her new book Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies was recently released from UC Press. She writes book reviews, festival coverage, and pieces on the history, theory and culture of film on her blog Backlots. You can find the book on Amazon or at Larry Edmund's Bookshop in Hollywood.
The Final Product
We decided to go with sourdough since it is popular in San Francisco! It soaked up a lot of the milk and gave the bread a very soft, creamy texture which actually DID wind up feeling a little bit like shortcake. This was easy to make and we could easily imagine Marion whipping this up for a late night snack after a night of performing in the Ziegfeld Follies. A HUGE thank you to my friends Paula and Michael for letting us film this in their spacious kitchen.
There are several Marion Davies movies on DVD, Blu ray and on Turner Classic Movies!
If you never been to Hearst Castle, it is a fascinating place to visit and see where Marion Davies and Hearst lived and entertained the top stars in Hollywood. If you live in Los Angeles or happen to be in town, please consider visiting the Annenberg Community Beach House, which is the site of Marion's former beach front mansion. The guest house is still standing and the tours are free! It is also very affordable to swim in the historic pool, but reservations are required.
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Here are the many ways you can see Marion Davies movies.
-Marion Davies will be "Star of the Month" for January 2023 on Turner Classic Movies
-There will be a birthday celebration on Sunday, January 29th from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Marion Davies Guest House.
-There will be a retrospective of Marion Davies films from February 4th - 26th at the
The UCLA Film & TV Archive inside the Hammer Museum.
-Lara Gabrielle will present a Marion Davies film at the 2023 Kansas Silent Film Festival in February 2023. The schedule will be announced soon.
-Silent film historian Ben Model has also put several of Marion's films on DVD through his Undercrank Productions.