Let's have lunch with the ultimate silent screen vamp!
Theda Bara began her career on the stage and rose to fame in the silent era as one of the screen's first sex symbols. She was known as the ultimate screen "vamp" or vampire who threatened to drain the vitality from unsuspecting men. Famous film roles included "Cleopatra", "Carmen" and "Salome". Theda Bara made 40 films from 1914 to 1926 and sadly only four of them survive today. The rest were sadly lost when a Fox film vault caught fire in 1937. Over a century later, her image remains seared in the public conscience.
The recipe comes from Photoplay Magazine, February 1916 issue page 139. The article "Sandwiches a la Movie" is by Lillian Blackstone.
Two slices of toast
Sliced sweet pickles
One one of the slices of toast you put a layer of the minced ham and on this is sprinkled a little mayonnaise dressing. Then you put a few of the pimentos on this--enough to suite your taste--and then some more of the mayonnaise. Then put a few pieces of the pickle on all of this. Another piece of toast and the sandwich is made. Serve warm.
Our guest Joan Craig had Theda make this sandwich for her with Wonder Bread from the local Wonder Bread factory in Beverly Hills. She also used Deviled Ham and sliced the sandwich diagonally and into quarters.
Angie Schneider is a board member of The Hollywood Heritage Museum and collects memorabilia on Mary Pickford and Theda Bara. She blogs at “Tinsel and Stars" and is currently writing a cookbook on the recipes of Pickfair.
Joan Craig is the author of "Theda Bara, My Mentor: Under the Wing of Hollywood's First Femme Fatale".
The Final Result
This sandwich is easy to make, but don't let it sit out too long, as the mayo will make the bread soggy.
You CAN find "A Fool There Was" and "The Unchastened Woman" on DVD.
Thank you again to Angie Schneider and Tracey Goessel for letting us take a look at these incredible pieces of Theda Bara memorabilia.
If you want to learn more, check out the documentary "Theda Bara: The Woman with the Hungry Eyes" from 2006 by Hugh Munro Neely and Andie Hicks.
We also recommend the book "Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara" by Eve Golden. It is in stock at Larry Edmund' s Bookstore in Hollywood.
Collage by artist Cherie Savoie Tintary.
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