is it so hard for us to truly imagine the lives of the silent-era stars? Is
it because we don’t hear them speak? … Thanks to Sarah Baker, the
silent-era speaks, and with much grace, wit and
charm, in Lucky Stars.” –
Allison Anders, filmmaker
"There can never be a Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell love team again."-
Janet Gaynor, 1970
From their first iconic pairing in 7th Heaven (1927)
and in eleven films that followed, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell created an
unparalleled cinematic romance. Their partnership was so utterly complete that
in the minds and hearts of their adoring public, they were as one. Even though
both enjoyed successful solo careers-Janet Gaynor won the first Best Actress
Oscar and played Vicki Lester in the original A Star Is Born (1937) and
Charles Farrell enjoyed a successful television career, playing Vern Albright
on My Little Margie-their work as a team stood out. Even decades after
their onscreen partnership ended, any mention of Gaynor in the press merited
a mention of Farrell, and vice-versa.
Behind the camera, Gaynor and Farrell carried on a secret romance
that lasted from their first meeting in 1926 until Gaynor's first marriage in
1929. Supporting and encouraging each other's lives beyond Hollywood, they were
able to maintain a mellow friendship that lasted their entire lives.
Drawing upon previously unpublished interviews with Charles
Farrell and Janet Gaynor, formal interviews with family and friends who knew
them best, and meticulous archival research, author Sarah Baker details the fascinating
behind the scenes story of the greatest romantic team of all time. The book includes
a detailed filmography and is lavishly illustrated with over 100 photographs,
many from Charles Farrell's estate. Includes a foreword by director Allison Anders
(Grace of My Heart, Things Behind the Sun).
Sarah Baker's first foray into classic film was a seven-year
labor of love-a documentary film about silent film star Olive Thomas. Over the
course of her research, Baker located ten of Thomas' twenty films-all of which
had been considered lost. The resulting documentary, Olive Thomas: Everybody's
Sweetheart, executive produced by Hugh Hefner, was released to DVD (2004)
along with Thomas' film The Flapper -the first time this film had been
available to the public since 1920. She is currently in production for another
documentary, Blues Man: The Life and Times of Sean Costello.
Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) was a highly regarded leading ingénue of the
1920s-1930s. Though often remembered as a waif, Gaynor’s characters were
tough and resourceful. Gaynor won the first Best Actress Oscar in 1929
for her performances in 7th Heaven (1927), Sunrise (1927)
and Street Angel (1928). She received further critical acclaim for
her performance as Vicki Lester in the original A Star Is Born (1937).
In 1939, Gaynor left her Hollywood career behind to marry famous movie
fashion designer Adrian. The rest of Gaynor’s life was devoted to fashion,
painting, and theatre.
Farrell (1900-1990) was one of the most popular
matinee idols of the 1920s-1930s. He created a new brand of hero, one who
was brawny and virile as well as tender and naïve. Like Janet Gaynor, Farrell
passed the “mic test” with flying colors and made a successful transition
from silent film to talking pictures. After his film career ended in 1941,
Farrell served with distinction in WWII and made a successful comeback as
Vern Albright on TV’s “My Little Margie.” Farrell was also famous for founding
the Palm Springs Racquet Club, a resort that put Palm Springs on the map
as the “Playground of the Stars."