Before She Hacked Off Her Locks: A Sonnet Impression of Colleen Moore from 1922

Colleen Moore is intimately associated with the bob haircut but don’t forget that for the first years of her career, she was all curls all the time.

I found this little bit of poetry in a 1922 issue of Photoplay and since I know a lot of you, myself included, love our Colleen, I thought I would share it. So, here is the extremely bucolic Sonnet Impression of Colleen Moore:

Spring sunlight on a bed of daffodils,
Arbutus, hiding in a shady spot,
The haze-hung mystery of far-off hills.
The wide-eyed blue of the forget-me-not.
An Irish song, half-wistful, half-enticing,
A song that many weary souls have sung —
A wee child’s birthday cake, with colored icing. . .
Eve’s laughter — when the world was very young.
The shyness of an antelope that grazes,
Beside the crystal magic of a brook;
A mind that dares to penetrate, that gazes
Down vistas where some mortals dare not look.
The fine, elusive fragrance of old lace.
Held close beside a pansy’s roguish face.

–Margaret Sangster

I am dying to know what Ms. Sangster thought of Flaming Youth, released just one year later. Shyness of an antelope? Old lace? Yeah…

Incidentally, Moore herself found the curls to be an enormous pain and was delighted to chop them off. Her memoirs are a kick and highly recommended too.


  1. Jeff Codori

    From “Colleen Moore: A Biography of the Silent Film Star,” page 121. Also a great read, but I wrote it, so I’m biased: “Patricia (Frentiss, Colleen’s character in ‘Flaming Youth’) was a modern woman, and modern women wore short, modern hair styles. So Colleen began her transformation with her hair. The story she told was that she and her mother—who was once reported saying Colleen would never be allowed to bob her hair—had chopped off her long hair in a fashion inspired by one of Colleen’s China dolls. With that act, the famous Colleen Moore pageboy bob was born, launching countless bobs around the world.
    “The truth is a little more complicated. Colleen’s hair was already getting short. She had admitted to wearing a faux bob hairstyle, with the bulk of her hair rolled up in back, under shorter cut hair. When she signed with First National, the role of Patricia Frentiss was in the contract. When she cut her hair, it was not a desperate act to get the part but to look right for the role. In fact, the July Boston Traveler had reported that Colleen had bobbed her hair earlier for comfort in ‘The Huntress.’ That part required her to wear a wig with long braids. For ‘Flaming Youth,’ she cut it shorter still. It was not yet the Dutchboy bob for which Colleen would later become famous, but it was not very far in her future.”
    “This week saw the beginning of production of Flaming Youth, a photo play which promises to mark an epoch for its type.” —”Work is begun on Flaming Youth,” Oakland Tribune, August 12, 1923, page W-2.

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