Talk:Clara Bow

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date of birth?[edit]

Can anyone confirm her date of birth? Her death certificate says 1907,but IMDb says 1905. --Jeremy Butler 11:20, 24 June 2006 (UTC) her was born oct 2

The 1910 census says she is 4, 1920 says age 14 (born 1905). 1930 Census says 23.[1]

So in 1910, she is born in 1906 ; in 1920, she is born in 1906 (according to you, 1905) and in 1930, she is born in 1907? Which year is it? Hotwine8 03:25, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

The census forms aren't filled out on the same date each time around. It could be that in 1910 and 1920, the forms were filled out in August (after her birthdate), but in 1930, they were filled out in June (before her birthdate. Thus, 4, 14, and 23, but still born in 1906. (There's no mathematical way that anyone born in 1905 could have been 14 at any time in 1920 studerby 21:43, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Yet the article still has 1905 as her year of birth. Hotwine8 22:58, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Her date of birth was probably 1907. She gave 1905 as Her date of birth in the 1920’s for the same reason that teenagers today lie about their age. She wanted to be able to work. She wanted to be considered, legally, an adult.

The dates for her birth and death were all messy, so I put the dates shown on her death certificate, which seem to be the most reliable source so far. It should be noted, though, that the russian wiki shows her birth date as 1906 and they are featured. Anyone understands russian, to see what is their source? --Presto K. (talk) 05:54, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Her biographer Stenn states she was born in 1905, and that when Clara was in her late 30's she began subtracting two years off her age. Stenn is an extremely reliable source, so I would trust that. I think it is far more likely that she was born in 1905 than 1907, per her school records, psychiatric records, family knowledge and such, all of which Stenn was given access to. Working underage wasn't nearly the big deal in 1921 that it is today; in fact, it was quite common, especially among actresses and other entertainers. Clara would have had no reason to lie about her age being 16 instead of 14 when she was trying to break into the business.Milky-jo (talk) 10:30, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Census 1910 and 1920, both recorded in spring, verifies 1905 to be her birth-year.Parrotistic (talk) 13:15, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

The Budd Schulburg quote[edit]

Schulberg's "Low Life" quote about Clara Bow has to be taken with a considerable amount of salt. I've read Moving Pictures and get the feeling that Schulberg was a snob, stressing the flaws of others to make himself look bigger, and finally showing that he was better, more creative and had risen farther than his father, Budd Schulberg Sr. --Saxophobia 01:20, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Schulberg's quote is actually incomplete. It was only partially quoted in Stenn's biography of Bow because he had already established Budd Schulberg as sympathetic to Bow. The complete quote is about Hollywood society's total ostracism of Bow, not his personal opinion of her. I have included the complete quote because it is clearer. Milky-jo (talk) 08:00, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Schulberg felt his father B.P. was not properly recognized for his role in motion pictures industry. In "Moving Pictures" (1980) he shamelessly uses Clara Bow as a vehicle to prove it.Parrotistic (talk) 13:33, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

IMDB Biography as reference[edit]

For the sake of reliability, I think the items referencing the IMDB Bio should be replaced with more substantial sources, such as Basigner's Silent Stars or other such sources. The only reason I think the IMDB Bio is not the most reliable source is that their method of verifying the data that goes up on their site is probably not as rigorous as others.
Asatruer 23:39, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I concur. I took them out. Clarityfiend (talk) 04:43, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

The Clara Bow Page as point of reference[edit]

There is useful information on The Clara Bow Page, but also a lot of dead links, and the pages don't appear to be active at all. It would be great to have some active reference point to know what is happening on preservation and availability fronts. For my part, I've been able to access many of her available films via Amazon, eBay, and YouTube, sometimes with widely varying quality among them. If someone knows of more active sources for this kind of material, it would be great to see it added to the External Sites list. Bkengland (talk) 18:01, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Fleet's In book[edit]

If anyone can provide more info on the Fleet's In book Bow wrote the introduction for, please add it ASAP as the anti-image police are about to claim another victim. 23skidoo 21:22, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Considering that fair use images should be used sparingly and with strong justification as per Wikipedia's policies, it seems to me that adding an image with a rationale that states in part that it can be used for a future article about the book, along with a very brief mention (rather than discussion) in the Clara Bow article, is putting the cart before the horse. It's a superb image and one that would be fairly rare, I would think, but it looks like the aim has been to add the image and then tailor the text accordingly so that it fits, and this is not in the spirit of fair use, which allows for genuine uses (ie the image of Bow herself seems to have been accepted as fair use). Every time fair use is stretched beyond our definition, it puts all other examples of fair use into jeopardy. It's also unfortunate that you are using wording such as "anti-image police" claiming "another victim" to describe other editors who are acting in line with our policies. If the fair use is genuine and compelling it should be easy to establish. You seem to be confirming how slim the fair use claim really is. Rossrs 01:52, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Football team?[edit]

It seems like this false rumor should be dealt with on this page. Many people, like myself, have heard the rumor and came to wikipedia to see if there was any information on it.

Snopes has a good page, that could be used as a reference.

MightyAtom (talk) 06:24, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "TCM" :
    • [ Clara Bow and the USC Football Team<!-- Bot generated title -->]
    • TCM Film Guide, 31
    • TCM Film Guide, ''Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era'', Chronicle Books, San Francisco, California, 2006

DumZiBoT (talk) 14:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Early life[edit]

Reliable information on Bow's early life is extremely scant. In fact there are only two sources I would really trust:

The first is the series of articles written by Adela Rogers St. John, which appeared in the spring 1928 issues of Motion Picture Magazine. St. John had befriended Clara after being assigned to write an article about her, and got her to open up about her early years, practically the only time Clara ever did so.

The second is the meticulously researched biography written by David Stenn.

Of all the early Hollywood legends, Clara is by far the most misremembered. There are a huge number of apocryphal and/or negative tales of her; Stenn tried his best to prove or disprove as many of them as possible, but they still exist, especially on the internet.

I have removed those statements which were either proven wrong or have absolutely no documentation behind them. Milky-jo (talk) 11:42, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I think there may be some doubt as to the references in the captions on the pictures on the Fame and Fortune Contest with the footnote citing the Pittsburgh Press of February 6 1924. The article in the paper is a movie question and answer column which does not use any pictures. The formal photo on the left was taken AFTER CB had won the Fame and Fortune Contest. I believe it was one of three that the photographer had taken for Brewster Publications to publicize CB as the winner. I am not sure where the the photo on the right with her hand on hip comes from. However, I have read at several sources that the photos she took to enter the contest were done by a cheap photographer, and were in her description "terrible." She brought the photos down to the Brewster Publications office personally, and the receptionist who took them wrote on the bottom of one of the "terrible" pictures 'called in person - very pretty'. The photo cited in the article doesn't look terrible, and doesn't have this inscription, so I suspect it was not the one entered in the contest.Scmckinney2002 (talk) 23:28, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I suggest we put in a question-mark: left(?) for the "sweet thing" shot and right(?) for the "saucy" version, until further. The quote is central and is probably more trustworthy than later takes: Bow had a hard time even getting her pics taken = happy. Plus: Thinking "outside the box" to deliver what she wanted, which in my view, is Bow in a nutshell. Not to mention the true nature of the relationship between Bow and her father. I also recently bought "motion picture classic" first issue of 1922. You maybe already got it? Parrotistic (talk) 10:38, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

I have done a bit more checking, and I would at the least separate the caption from the pictures, as the images have nothing to do with the photos CB's father paid for. The photos shown were done by Nicholas Muray, and I believe CB only sat for him once, after winning the contest. The photo on the left in referenced in David Stenn's biography, and the one on the right is viewable at the George Eastman House archive, stamped with 'Muray Associates'. and fits the Stenn description of the photo Brewster used, with CB hooking her thumb under her Tam hat. If wikipedia strives for accuracy, the caption does not fit the pictures. CB's quote in the Pittsburgh Press article may have been a sanitized version of the "terrible pictures" story that Stenn also detailed in his biography. Scmckinney2002 (talk) 17:47, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Fine. The pics got to go and the story is too anecdotal to survive as plain text. At least until the 100% true pics could be retrieved. The "terrible picture" quote is from Rogers St. Johns three-part "Clara Bow - my life" article series, published by Photoplay in early 1928. The piece origins from an interview of late 1927. Se link on page. In Stenn's book, page 16, he uses "terrible", but stops short of backing it, unless he refers to the "motion picture classic" 1/1922, which I expect to get a copy of soon. Parrotistic (talk) 23:41, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Hair color[edit]

Was she a natural redhead? --Crackthewhip775 (talk) 22:53, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Her hair was naturally auburn colored. Her hairdresser, Daisy DeVoe, used to bleach it slightly, then apply henna to make it flaming red. Milky-jo (talk) 00:26, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Myth Bias Facts The Rape[edit]

David Stenn is good but not a saint. He comes from drama ( Writing Hill Street Blues, making Girl27 etc.) and "Running Wild" got a lot of it. Apart from the good facts. A good drama needs villains and CB´s father is perfect, against CB´s well documented affection for him and Morella/Epstein´s portray in their CB biography from 1976. CB´s father is so savagely made to nothing in the opening pages, that I almost get the feeling he invented Brooklyn. And so it continues until the moment when all the unaccounted claims will be true. Robert Bow the villain raped his poor victim daughter. Now this is a very serious accusation who calls for strongest possible verification. CB was committed herself to the Institute of Living for her nerve-wrecking Insomnia. General psychotherapy was part of the treatment. DS from p.264; "...she described two events suppressed since adolescence". Her mother´s prostitution was the first. (Hardly suppressed, already in 1930 she told the press.("The new movie magazine"(p.40))) The second was her father raping her. DS from p.265; "Betrayed by a parent once again she interpreted reality once again, accepting incestuous rape as her father´s expression of affection"; And here is some naughty mind reading by DS; "He did it for me she told herself. He did it because he loves me" DS got CB´s son´s approval to access CB´s medical records and he writes; p.354; "Robert Bow raped her: Institute of living records do not state conclusively whether Clara acknowledge this. It may be that she told Rex(husband), who informed doctors. Since Clara never mentioned it to Dr. Von Hagen, this sequence seems most likely" CB never acknowledge rape. DS claims he knows about doctors who achive valuable facts from believable persons without properly recording it. The rape claim lacks proper verification and must be deleted. Stovelsten 00:42, 22 June 2009 (UTC) unsigned comment added by Stovelsten (talkcontribs) 04:11, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Myth Bias Fact Early life July 2009[edit]

Bow was born in a tenement in Brooklyn, New York, the only surviving child of a dysfunctional family afflicted with mental illness, poverty, and physical and emotional abuse. 1. Did the proposed family dysfunction kill the other kids? 2. None in Clara's childhood home was inflicted with “mental illness”, her mother was diagnosed with “psychosis due to epilepsy”[DS], which is a neurological specialty, known to produce mental disturbances of Sarah´s type. Typical she didn't remember that she threaten to cut Claras throat. 3. Physical abuse. Who was biting who and why? Verifications! Clara have said that her mother never hit or slapped her [ME]. Clara spank her own kids when they hid unwanted food and told them they where lucky she wasn't her dad [DS]. Robert Bow was obviously the “spanker” but hardly an abuser. If his spanking of Clara had a traumatic dimension she would hardly refer to him when correcting her sons. Besides, ”My father is the only person I care for, really”[ML] Clara declares 1928.

She was the third child of Robert Bow and Sarah Gordon; the first two, also daughters, died within days of their births. Bow was born during a severe heat wave, and Bow's mother, hoping that she and her third child would die from the heat, did not bother to call a doctor or get a birth certificate. 1. The heat wave in NY 1905 was terrible according to newspapers from that time. However. It broke the July 21 a week before Claras birth. 2. Sarah was almost mad from apprehension and fear, at the prospect of losing another child and maybe die herself as the doctor have warned [ML]. I think they just forgot about the birth-certificate or maybe felt having one meant bad luck... 3. If Sarah didn't want Clara even if they survived the delivery she could have been put up for adoption. 4. Who knows about Sarah´s hopes and wishes in July 1905?

Bow did not cry after she was born so her grandmother thought her to be dead and tried to make sure of it by shaking her, but miraculously, the baby awoke. 1. Clara says her delivery was difficult and it took hours of nursing her before she stabilized [ML].

Suffering from severe neglect throughout her childhood, she was often filthy, hungry, and ill-clothed, for which other girls teased and bullied her; instead, Bow became a tomboy and ran the streets with neighborhood boys. 1. Sick Sarah was far from an Curling mother, and Claras appearance reflected that. 2. But why should a filthy girl be less bullied by boys than of her own gender? 3. Clara was always a tomboy. She never was interested in girls “sissy” games. Sports, stunts and gang-fighting with the boys was her pleasure [ML]. Much later she became the no.1 flapper...

One of Bow's only childhood friends, a boy named Johnny, was severely burned and died in her arms when she was nine years old. 1. “A boy named Johnny” is more what Clara could remember of his name. “I think his name was Johnny”[ML]. 2. Unsure about her only childhood friends name? How about a surname? Traumatic memory loss? Clara says she was sick for weeks [ML].

Years later, she would make herself cry at will on a movie set by asking the band to play the lullaby "Rock-a-bye Baby". 1. One aspect of Claras trademark was her ability to instantly break out into tears. The script or the directors word was enough. This fact must carefully be established before bringing up possible misleading events. Having a certain background music during a take helped the entire set to get in the right mode.

She said it reminded her of Johnny because that was the song Johnny's mother would sing to help him fall asleep. 1. Clara also referred to Johnny as “the little fellow”[ML].

Clara's mother was an occasional prostitute who suffered from mental illness and epilepsy. Clara's father, Robert Bow, was rarely present and may have had a mental impairment. Whenever he returned home, he was verbally and physically abusive to both wife and daughter. 1. Again; Sarah suffered from epilepsy which inflicted on her mental life. 2. Why was Robert often gone? Maybe he had another woman? Other kids? Maybe he was bisexual who needed to spend time with his gay lover? How should anyone know? He might have suffered from “mental impairment”, but this is Wikipedia, verifications please! 3. Abusive Robert. Again. Who stood in the doorway and witnessed the Bows family reunions? Verifications!

She almost never spoke of the trauma of her early years, unwilling to exploit them for publicity. 1. Clara was 22yrs old 1927 when she exposed her childhood or rather lack of childhood for journalist Adele st. Johns, which resulted in “My life”[ML] trilogy publicized early 1928 in Photo Play Magazine. 1930 she made it understood her mother was a prostitute.

[MyLife] article series in Photo Play Magazine 1928 Issue Feb,Mar & Apr. Story told to Adele st Johns late 1927. Http://
[DavidStenn] book “running wild” 1988. [Morella/Epstein] book “The It girl” 1976 Stovelsten 00:40, 22 June 2009 (UTC) Stovelsten 11:05, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Urban Myths football rumor[edit]

Elderly distinguished citizens with wives and kids can't be expected to go on record about what they did or did not as wild youngsters in the 1920s. If a myth can't be killed, let it be. Suggests deletion. Stovelsten 12:29, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Stovelsten —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stovelsten (talkcontribs)

Dorothy Parker quote attribution[edit]

I'm trying to source Dorothy Parker's quote, "It, hell; she had Those." The current snopes source doesn't mention it at all. It looks like it came from this review in the November 26, 1927 issue, but the actual article is available only to subscribers. Anybody able to get a peek to confirm it? Clarityfiend (talk) 02:16, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Corrected, and see the discussion here. John M Baker (talk) 21:00, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

"Biggest hit SO FAR"???!![edit]

What is the "so far" in "biggest hit so far" under "The Plastic Age was Bow's final effort for Preferred Pictures and her biggest hit so far" supposed to mean?

That a woman dead for half a century can STILL make a bigger hit?

No, it means it was her biggest hit of 1925, so far. Obviously. Troll. Šįgńęd, Thē Åñøńōmóüß Ôńė — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

That wasn't trolling. It was a legitimate question, and the line can be worded better, as in "...biggest hit until then." Maybe I'll change it. Boneyard90 (talk) 22:00, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

I was trying to call attention to his question, albeit in a very unorthodox fashion. At first I thought it was a strange question, until I looked at said sentence in the article and started to agree with the guy. Sorry for the drama! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Paradigm shift - Clara Bow's upbringing childhood & parents.[edit]

I have been i connection with a cousin to Clara Bow, now 86yrs old. She have provided me with very interesting and highly believable info - her father and grandma lived downstairs the Bows at 33 Prospect Place (see Google maps) around 1920. With her help I've backtracked info, generally provided by David Stenn who more then anyone else is guilty to the 'rag to rich' take on Clara's life and career, and found it just simply is a lie. Clara was middle-class in an middle-class area. She never lived in no slum. She didn't drop out of school at 13, she went Bay Ridge High for girls and wanted to be a gymnastic instructor. In an early article, signed by Clara, published in Boston Daily Globe on March, 1924, she says her cousin, and downstairs neighbor, the 'half-mile' US-champ in 1913 and 1914 coached her to win five noble medals on the 'cinder track'. Census 1920 verifies Clara's claim. Stenn's book (1988) is generally held as very well researched and his claims is broadly accepted in academic circles. Much of what Stenn claims is probably correct, but once you understand that he his first loyalty is not to some fair-minded truth but a populist nonsense. Stenn is an unreliable source, and if his claims cannot be verified by another source they must be dropped.Parrotistic (talk) 22:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Stenn is a reliable source. There is no policy that requires a book published by a reputable publisher to be substantiated by a second source. The 1920 Census may confirm that Bow lived at 33 Prospect Place, but it certainly would say nothing about where she went to high school. If you have a citation for the 1924 article, then that should be included and the possible discrepancy with Stenn's account noted.Sylvain1972 (talk) 21:02, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Your first line tells me you are not going to make an U-turn in this matter easily, and neither would I. Apart from that Bow, on frequent occasions, mentioned her high school years at Bay Ridge High, Brooklyn Daily Eagle does too: "Students await Clara Bow film...interested in return to movies of former Bay Ridge High pupil"[1] and "...Clara Bow, Bay Ridge's gift to cinema city..."[2]. Stenn is too good a researcher not to know of this, not a chance, but as it opens the door - from the publishers standpoint - to Bow's true middle-class identity, he rather leaves 1919-1921 unaccounted for. What it means to have a national athletic champion as a cousin downstairs? Journalists running in and out? From Bow's own article, published in Boston Daily Globe on March 23, 1924: "Homer Baker the champion half-mile, who happens to be my cousin was my first trainer and under his guidance I won five medals when I was at high-school". Stenn's status as an academic will not survive internet-age and all the countless historical databases it unleashes. It's really uncontroversial don't you think?
Well, it certainly sounds like there is enough to establish that she went to Bay Ridge High school in that case. But I don't think that discredits his whole account of her childhood, necessarily. It's quite a leap to suggest that he fabricated that (and indeed, his whole book) just based on one discrepancy. You can have an awful childhood and still make the high school swim team. And I can't remember and don't have the book in front of me, but I seem to recall he mentions 33 Prosect Place at one point. Sylvain1972 (talk) 20:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 21, 1932
  2. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 5, 1937
If you have the article, a scan of it would be very helpful. But I would like to point out that a lot of movie stars then and now lied about their childhoods. I'm researching another silent movie star and have encountered dozens of lies about her schooling, the awards she allegedly received, even her parentage. The anecdotes of an unnamed, unsourced 86-year-old woman and a copy of a PR article meant to show Clara as a bright student before becoming an actress is, unfortunately, not solid proof of anything. Yet if there is a 1924 news article available online and can be properly sourced, there is really no reason not to add the information. And while I share with you (and others) concerns about Stenn's biography -- many of the footnotes were dead ends, a couple of the sources listed were nonexistent -- sources on Wikipedia don't require a second source to confirm what the first source said. Of course it's problematic, but it is always problematic to try to verify anything in a celebrity's life. Clockster (talk) 09:38, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Clara's article in Boston Daily Globe of 1924-03-23:

Yes. We must be truly careful and perhaps first-hand sourcing is the only robust way to deal with this. My 86y old source have provided me photos from her family album. In her letter to me of February 19 2012: "It is too bad that so much negative information abounds re: Clara’s family. Prospect Heights was a very nice neighborhood, not a slum. The word tenement merely meant a rental, in an apartment building having several apartments. Today, most people think of a tenement as a poor rundown neighborhood. 33 Prospect Place was called a tenement in the 1910’s-1920’s, meaning a rental apt., but it was in a very nice neighborhood, near the beautiful Prospect Park as it was in my father’s and my day. Even today, it is not a poor neighborhood." CB cousin on Bow's ancestry: "As to Clara’s ancestry, I think the biographer must have been considering her Gordon family maternal ancestry, possibly of Irish ancestry, of which I have no knowledge. As to Clara’s paternal Bow and Gaylor ancestry, I have tracked Clara’s great great grandfather Philip Gaylor b. ca 1780 to Palatine, Montgomery Co. N.Y., where he resided and was a member of a Lutheran church. This is an area where German Palatines settled about 1720’s. Philip Gaylor and his wife Margaret moved to Albany, NY., where they both died. Clara’s Bow ancestry is proven back to Elijah Bow born circa 1768 in Connecticut, whose wife was born in Rhode Island. I tracked the Bow line back to the 1660’s in Connecticut, but my proofs are not rock solid. Since the Bows are not my line, I did not put a lot of effort into proving it. Anyone living in 1660’s in CT, likely did come from England." Also Clara's old cousin have a personal letter from Clara to her father Homer Baker in her possession which I hope to get a copy of in the future. My 86y old contact says she feels frail and thou she really wants to provide the Wiki community with data she asked me to be patient with her. May I ask which other stars background you are checking up? Parrotistic (talk) 21:22, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Let me suggest an edit[edit]

It says she is a recipient of the George Eastman award. Wouldn't it be better to say she is a posthumous recipient of the award? She was dead when she recieved it, anyway.

Good Lord...[edit]

This article is really irritating. I've come here a few times to read it and just gave up. It is informative, when it's not fawning over the subject, but it is too riddled with quotes, reviews, pictures and other needless stuff. Do we really need to know what Clara Bow thought about every thing? There are lengthy quotes from her about nearly every subject except the moon landing. The only reason that's not here is because she died before it happened! I cut down a lot of the content, mainly just the needless headers for each and every film the woman appeared in. I could be giving people too much credit, but most readers are not so stupid that they have to be walked through every year of a subject's career with a different section. Similar content can be blended together under one header - it's not that confusing! I also think the reviews from her films should be listed on the film articles, not bulleted throughout her biography. An overview of how the film was received is probably sufficient in a biography. I also don't get the bolded quote headers so I removed them. They make no sense and look terribly fan magazine-y. I also removed someone's attempt to center all text towards the bottom (external links, reference section). That was just dumb and looked funky. I've seen no other articles that do this and I have no idea why we should start with this one. I'm sure whomever worked on this labor of love will be pissed but you should really be writing for the layman here. There's just way too much going on here and believe me, it's irritating to wade through. A blog or a fansite might be a better avenue to present all that. (talk) 09:19, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for starting on the cleanup task. A lot of work to do yet! Binksternet (talk) 15:28, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Time at the Institute of Living[edit]

At the very bottom of that subsection, it says "In the permanent exhibition, "Myths, Minds and Medicine", the Institute addresses malpractice issues of the past, including lobotomy, which peaked in 1949, and "crude electroconvulsive therapy".[128] Was that put there to indicate that she received those treatments? It is highly likely that she did, but either way that almost seems like an ad to get people to go to some psych exhibit. If anyone has any input that would be great because I am debating whether or not to delete it. Alvesik (talk) 20:51, 27 December 2012 (UTC)Alvesik

Date of Birth[edit]

The plaque at her grave shows her date of birth as 1907, not 1905 (see I see this is discuesed above, but I can't see any mention of it in the article. I think the article should explain this discrepancy. (talk) 20:10, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Thomas Edison and the motion picture camera[edit]

The statement "The inventor of the motion picture camera, Thomas Edison" is misleading. It is arguably true that Edison's company may have produced the first practical cine camera, but he did not so much 'invent' as adapt, improve on existing designs. Edison was a great self-promoter and took credit for many 'inventions' that were in fact 'improvements', while at the same time putting out negative propaganda regarding any earlier or competing technologies. This is particularly true of his feud with Tesla over power transmission systems. America has raised Edison to the status of demi-god, but if you care to scratch the surface of his career and set aside the hype, you will find a very different story from the generally accepted one which is based largely on his own propaganda.

Edison's strength was not so much as an inventor, but in sales, marketing and PR. The number of undeservedly flattering biographies in print, is testament to the enduring effect of his manipulation and re-writing of history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Daveayerstdavies (talkcontribs) 12:23, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

I have removed the sentence as Edison's opinion is irrelevant in this context. In the future, you can do this yourself and explain your actions in an edit summary or on the talk page if you think others will question the removal. As for the rest of your statement, I'm pretty sure most Americans don't think about Edison all that much let alone think he's a demi-god. We reserve demi-god status for people like Kim Kardashian, not old timey nerds like Edison. Pinkadelica 14:41, 1 January 2013 (UTC)


I have added the NPOV tag as this article appears to have been written severely slanted to being glowingly positive of Bow. As just one example I can with a quick search find endless sources saying her accent was indeed an issue when films went to sound. Also there are sever issue with language "her chum, Jane Mansfield." Everything negative seems to be whitewashed or left out. Every quote from a review is a glowing over the top statement. (talk) 17:09, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

It is easy enough to make such small changes. There is no problem so large that it cannot be addressed without a neutrality tag. Binksternet (talk) 15:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

A consensus discussion is requested[edit]

The editor User:Mr. Granger made what I thought was an excessive number of changes to the article, specifically deletions of material, without having first discussed them here. I have reverted those changes, and have requested of Mr. Granger that he make his case for them here. I have also pointed him to WP:BRD, and specifically to the proscription against restoring his changes until he has a consensus to do so; the article should remain in the staus quo ante while discussion is ongoing. I await Mr. Granger's explanation of how he thinks his changes improve the article. BMK (talk) 21:07, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I think the article as it currently stands is excessively detailed and quote-filled at the expense of readability. I don't want to have a debate about it, though, so I'll leave it to others to do as they see fit. —Mr. Granger (talk · contribs) 22:32, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Corbis images link[edit]

External links used to have a link to a page with one photo of Bow. I removed it. As just one photo of no particular note it did not seem very useful, and since the page in question was trying to sell reprint rights to the image it was an unnecessary commercial link. On top of that, Corbis is notorious for claiming copyrights on images it does not and cannot own, which is copyfraud and illegal. While copyright is a complicated topic, based upon the year of the image it is quite doubtful there is any valid copyright still existing on that image, and Wikipedia should not implicitly endorse the claims of this company, especially when no real benefit is gained from linking to it. DreamGuy (talk) 20:53, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

A Silent Star[edit]

Bow was essentially a star of silent movies. Her first talkie was The Wild Party (1929), some 2yrs after the advent of sound. (Only small theatres without sound would have bothered with silents from 1930 onwards.) She was only in her late 20s when dropped. I'd seen in a docco from the 70s that asserted that she had a fairly non-melodious speaking voice and that was why she, and a lot of other silent stars, were dropped by the studios. (talk) 02:05, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

And what is this comment in aid of? BMK (talk) 02:08, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Birth name claim[edit]

Many publications and web pages claim that she was originally named "Clara Bowtinelli". Nathan's Famous claims that "Nathan hired a redheaded teenager named Clara Bowtinelli" in 1921 to work at the original Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, Brooklyn, in 1921, and "she was discovered" while working at Nathan's, "and went on to become Clara Bow ... ." Nathan's has printed this on probably a million paper placemats, with a 1916-2016 timeline, celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2016.

Given her father's and grandfather's surname "Bow" carved into their gravestones, "Bowtinelli" is unlikely to be her birth name. This looks like an urban legend, told and re-told without checking. "Clara Bowtinelli" could be an alias she briefly used, someone else's name, or total fiction. It might deserve checking for a reliable report. (It's harder to clarify or disprove this kind of claim, unless it is traced to an admitted lie or an obvious misunderstanding, so actual debunking, though worthy, seems unlikely. If it's simply unconfirmed, it is less worthy to mention the claim only to say that it could not be verified despite significant effort.) -A876 (talk) 21:22, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Since a Nathan's placemat doesn't qualify as a reliable source, it wouldn't be added to the article on that basis anyway. What are the "many publications and web pages" that have made the claim? Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:16, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

1) I mentioned the 2016 placemats to indicate how widely the claim is publicized. I can't source accuracy for claim, but it's easy to source that the claim is widely made. The rest of my comment questioned the surname and asked for a reliable report.

2) Maybe Google "Clara Bowtinelli". Maybe look at some of the 312 hits.

The story is laid out in a fiction anthology. Coney Island Wonder Stories: Tales of the City of Fire, edited by Robert J Howe and John Ordover, Wildside Press. 2005. Disclaimer: "This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, or events are fictitious or are used in a fictitious way. Any resemblances to actual people, places, or events are purely coincidental." Story 10, "Nathan's Famous", (c)1993, Paul Levinson, pages 86-91. Only pages 87-90 appear in Google Books preview. It looks like an interview with a time traveler. The mentions of "Clara Bowtinelli" and Archibald Leach (Cary Grant) are on page 90. Did Paul Levinson make them up, or did he incorporate hearsay into his fiction?

Going forward, nonfiction Nathan's Famous: The First 100 Years of America's Favorite Frankfurter Company, by William Handwerker (2016) mentions the same two names. The grandson of Nathan Handwerker, he says his father Murray Handwerker wrote text (quoted there) mentioning "Clara Bowtinelli".

The same copy as the placemat is in Nathan's 2016 annual report.

A much older source, Poughkeepsie Journal, March 13, 1966, page 16C, mentions Clara Bow. Story "Nathan's to Note 50 Years, Serve 200 Millionth Hot Dog": "One of its early counter girls, incidentally, was an Italian teenager from Brooklyn who later changed her name to Clara Bow."

IMDB says "She worked at a hot dog stand on Coney Island as a teenager, run by a man named Nathan Handwerker, who later founded Nathan's Franks. However, contrary to legend, she was not discovered there."

Numerous articles and books retell variations of the story. Even serious journals and TV.

New York Times obituary for Nathan Handwerker says "To help his wife serve at the counters, Mr. Handwerker hired pretty girls, one of whom later went to Hollywood, where she changed her Italian name to Clara Bow."

Google "Clara Bow" Handwerker. The Nathan's story (but not "Bowtinelli") is even on her Find a Grave page.

Google "Clara Bow" "Nathan's Famous".

Bowtinelli seems made up. I can't find real people with that name. It is only mentioned with Clara, no other first name. One page calls her "Clara Gordon Bowtinelli" (but does not mention Nathan's). Many real people are named Bottinelli; not as many Botinelli. (One page actually mentions "Clara Botinelli" at Nathan's.) -A876 (talk) 06:21, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

I suggest you read WP:Reliable sources. Nothing you've cited qualifies as a source that we would cite. Even the NY Times article is only quoting family lore as part of an obituary of someone else, and is clearly not based on a factual source - the use of "incidentally" is a good clue ("by the way, here's a good story...") Find a serious biography of Bow, or a serious academic study of the history of Nathans, and maybe you've got something. What you have now is simply a good story spread via folkways & the internet. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:56, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

You have gotten it wrong twice now. I did not ask anyone to add anything, cited or not. (If I thought the story was substantiated (and true), I would have simply added it, with citations.) I mentioned the Times as an example of someone who "picked up" the story, [probably without bothering to check it, an embarrassment even if only in the obits section]. I know what I have. I did not ask for direction. (And who is this "we"?)

I just stated some facts. (Here, on the talk page.) •The story is out there, pretty big. (Go check it yourself.) •It's told and retold, 50+ years now. •A superficial examination (family gravestones) suggests that it is false, in which case it is either a motivated lie (marketing "hype") or an accidental lie (error or fantasy) which was picked up as marketing hype. •It's a little hard to prove or disprove. (Nathan's people and others tell one story (with variations), and she is dead.)

If someone else encounters this story, maybe, seeing this comment, they will hesitate and not just add it to the article based on printed hearsay, which I have shown reason to doubt. (Hooray for me.)

Determination of fact needs more investigation. (I will not investigate this any further.)

IF the story turns out to be true (and established in reliable sources), then it would obviously be significant biographical information, which must be added to the article.

IF the story is disproved in reliable sources, a further decision is needed: Is this false story "big enough" to deserve mention (and debunking) in this article? (Did some normally reliable sources fall for it? (Does that make it a case study?)) Does it perhaps deserve its own article ("Clara Bowtinelli myth")? I know, Wikipedia IS NOT (yawn) a lot of things, including I have no opinion on whether the story can be "reliably" proved or disproved. (I am mildly curious as to the answer (and ramifications).) If the story really is a widespread falsehood, I have no opinion on whether it is "noteworthy" or "encyclopedic". -A876 (talk) 06:23, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

The purpose of the talk page is to discuss improving the article. If you're just chit-chatting about Clara Bow, please do it elsewhere. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:51, 24 October 2017 (UTC)