Silent Movie Dinner Party: If You Could Dine with Anyone from the Silent Era, Who Would You Invite?

Here’s a fun little exercise. Many people dream of meeting their favorite entertainers in their prime so let’s indulge ourselves. You’re having a dinner party and you can invite anybody who worked in silent movies. Who makes the cut?

Two ground rules:

  1. They have to have already passed on, no living people. After all, this is a dream.
  2. They have to have at least one silent film to their credit as actor, writer, producers, marketing director, something.

That’s it!

My list is not so much based on films that I love but how much I think I will enjoy the conversation. My guests are people who either strike me as interesting conversationalists or have had experiences that I would love to hear about. Of course, you may base your guest list on anything you like.

For example, you can invite people likely to engage in bread-based acrobatics.

My silent era dinner party guest list in alphabetical order:

Enid Bennett

Viola Dana

Cecil B. DeMille

Alice Guy

Leatrice Joy

Nazimova

Hal Roach

Conrad Veidt

Lois Weber

Before anyone asks, yes I am aware that I left off Ivan Mosjoukine. I adore the man to pieces but he was a total ESFP and his idea of fun was to play football on the Champs-Γ‰lysΓ©es at midnight after consuming considerable amounts of alcohol. I mean, you do you, Vanya, but I go in for quieter activities.

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21 Replies to “Silent Movie Dinner Party: If You Could Dine with Anyone from the Silent Era, Who Would You Invite?”

  1. Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Carmel Myers, Corinne Griffith, Norma Shearer, Cecil B. DeMille, Marian Nixon, and Reginald Denny!

  2. Lovely choice up above. Oh, to pick that mind over a meal.

    I’d love as dinner companions Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks, Milton Sills and Enid Bennett eating their dinners somewhere along with their film crews at an improvised trestle table on location πŸ˜‰

  3. Yes, a fun question! Difficult to choose and leave people out.

    Mary Pickford
    Douglas Fairbanks
    Bebe Daniels
    Harry Langdon
    Bessie Love
    Adolph Zukor
    Frances Marion
    Harold Lloyd
    Priscilla Bonner

  4. Corinne Griffith … loved her childhood reminiscences in ‘Papa’s Delicate Condition.’ And Charles Farrell, who grew up two towns over from me.

  5. My fantasy dinner party:

    Rudolph Valentino – Because duh I’d love to talk to him
    Milton Sills – ditto and he was a smartie pants hunk of a man
    Clara Bow – I am sure she was fun to talk to, also smart
    Rex Ingram – a fascinating artist
    Mary Pickford – Again, smart, funny and I would love to talk producing with her
    Frances Marion – a fabulous writer, artist and local SF native
    June Mathis – a woman of power and art, interesting skew on life and spiritualism, would have loved to yak with her.
    Dorothy Gish – Dorothy seemed like such fun, opposite of Lillian
    George O’Brien – Another hunk, local SF boy would love to talk with

  6. Lon Chaney Sr
    Victor Sjostrom
    Buster Keaton
    Clara Bow
    Fritz Lang
    Douglas Fairbanks Sr
    H.B. Warner
    Louise Brooks

    I would also invite the Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies and Thomas Edison, because without them, cinema as we know it would most likely have never even come about.

  7. Louise Brooks. Okay, It would be nice to have Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Lon Chaney Sr. to dinner, but if I am honest, I’d want Louise to myself! πŸ™‚

  8. I would choose Valentino just so I could stare at him. Next would be the really important ones – Clara Bow, Anita Loos (writer, but of silents so I’m including her), Carole Lombard and Constance Talmadge. I think these gals would have no qualms in dishing the dirt and I’d love to know all the fun, naughty things that happened. Mary Pickford would be too regal and never stoop so low, nor would Lillian Gish. Nope, it would have to be these rascally babes, with maybe Bebe Daniels thrown in for extra fun. Rudy could leave once the hen party started!

  9. Just one more pair from me that would definitely be great supper companions: Mabel Normand and Minnie Devereaux. That could turn into quite the interesting gab-fest πŸ˜€

  10. I have leased Pickfair for a year (Doug and Mary are on an extended European vacation). Big dinner party,Pickfair has room. I’ve invited couples and a trio. 1. Me and George O’Brien.(hands off, he’s mine) 2. Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille 3. Clara Bow and Elmo Lincoln 4.Mack and Mabel 5.Marion Davies and Hearst 6. Theda Bara and Lon Chaney 7. Valentino, Nazimova, and Natacha Rambova. THIS sounds like the best, most interesting dinner party ever!

  11. I’d love to have a good, quiet chat with Arthur Edmund Carewe. It just seems like he’d have so much to say on all sorts of interesting topics… I’d especially like to hear about his experiences trying to get roles and what it was like being on set, and how he feels about his career. If I get to have a peek at any of his long-lost films that would be an extra-sweet bonus!! (After all, it’s a dream, I can have anything I want, lol)

  12. William Boyd
    Leatrice Joy
    Pola Negri
    Cecil B. DeMille
    Raymond Griffith
    Rudolph Valentino
    Sue Carol
    Mary Pickford

    I would thoroughly enjoy such an evening!

  13. I’d pick Rudolph Valentino, Conrad Veidt, Mary Pickford, Marie Dressler, Gloria Swanson, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, and Lon Chaney. To me this is going to be one interesting evening because all of them seem to be so different from each other.

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