1937 berlin olympics, blossom room, cary grant, constance bennett, douglas fairbanks, douglas fairbanks jr, grauman's chinese theater, hindenburg airship, lady sylvia ashley, oscars, roosevelt hotel, the motion picture academy, topper
This time of year, I am reminded of the prestigious role Silky had in old Hollywood. Tonight the 85th annual Academy Awards will be aired. The Motion Picture Academy was founded, in part, by Douglas Fairbanks in 1929 to honor those in the newly budded motion picture industry. The first awards banquet was hosted by Fairbanks himself and held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, across from Grauman’s Chinese Theater where film actors still immortalize themselves in concrete today. The original ceremony lasted only fifteen minutes, with far fewer categories than the current show that airs for over two hours.
This week’s photograph shows Silky visiting her close friend Constance Bennett on the set of Topper. They are shown on the infamous log where the film’s ghost couple crashed their car, sending them to their untimely deaths. The film co-stars the dashing Cary Grant. Both women hold their beloved dogs on their laps and Sylvia can be seen with her black Scottish Terrier, Bobby, who was famous for urinating all over the Airship Hindenburg when Silky and Doug rode it home from the 1937 Berlin Olympics.
As Douglas Fairbanks’ third wife and widow, Silky attended the Oscars while Doug was alive in the late 1930s, and was awarded his Lifetime Achievement award in 1940 shortly after his death in 1939. His son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. accepted the statuette on Sylvia’s behalf as she was only two months into mourning.