Monday, July 25, 2016

Maybelline discovers "Miss Typical America" Eleanor Fisher in 1938

Here is an example of how the Hollywood Studio/Star System worked in the 1930's.  Paramount Studio's promoted True Confession, a 1937 screwball comedy film starring Carole LombardFred MacMurray, and John Barrymore, by running a "Miss Typical America" contest in a Maybelline advertisement.  The winner, Eleanor Fisher is given a small part in the film and the big teen story is splashed in True Confession magazine.

Eleanor Fisher, now Miss True Confession as well as Miss Typical America has not only become a Maybelline Model, she has a chance of becoming a Movie Star.
Eleanor Fisher and Fred MacMurray in a publicity shot for True Confessions magazine, promoting themselves, the film,  Paramount Studios, Carole Lombard and director Wesley Ruggles, which is a what it's all about in Hollywood.
This article in True Confessions Magazine, promotes make-up artist Max Factor, transforming Eleanor Fisher, from a simple school girl into a glamorous actress ready for her closeup with Carole Lombard.

Lombard's career had been flying high since the release of Twentieth Century in 1934, which had begun her friendship with Barrymore. Although Barrymore, by 1937, had become an uncontrollable alcoholic and his career was severely fumbling, Lombard personally requested him for the role of Charley Jasper.

 Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer... See full summary »

This poster was painted by the famous Pin-Up artist Zoe Mozart, who's work was known for being glamorous and sexy, it was perfect for ad campaigns for cosmetics such as Maybelline and for Hollywood films. In 1937 Zoe was hired by Paramount Pictures to create this poster for   
Cover also painted by Zoe Mozart.  Carole Lombard appeared in the February 1938 True Confessions Magazine, which came out at the same time as the film was being shown at neighborhood movie houses.

In the end, the film was not a great success and Eleanor Fisher went back to being anonymous.  However the Hollywood Studio-Star System was great as far as publicity was concerned. Maybelline sold truck loads of mascara, the Stars added more luster to their famous names and Paramount continued to be an ever expanding movie factory. So I guess in this instance, I can't say anything bad about The System, because there's actually no such thing as bad publicity... Why?...
because it's still PUBLICITY.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy 45th Birthday "GREAT LASH" mascara

Maybelline debuted its "Great Lash Mascara" in 1971. It is still recognized by it's Pink and Green Chartreuse packaging inspired by Lilly Pulitzer's vibrant hues and prints. It's been a staple on drugstores shelves and in cosmetic bags ever since. It has been reported that a "Great Lash Maybelline Mascara," is sold every 1.2 seconds. 

Called the protein Mascara "Great Lash" builds rich, full body onto lashes. Marketing people asked Maybelline Company researchers in 1970,  to come up with a Mascara to thicken and lengthen lashes better than anything on the market and would be easy to apply.  "Great Lash" was that product.            

Surveys taken by Maybelline's marketing team at the time indicated consumers didn't consider Maybelline products fashionable, still using the original "Eye" logo.  Updating product colors changed customer perceptions. Especially the teen market.

 The Lilly Pulitzer Brand was popular with high society. Because Pulitzer was close friends with Jackie Kennedy, her designs crowned her "The Queen of Prep." And, "Flower Power."

From the inspiration and dedication of Tom Lyle Williams to the the Merchandiser of Maybelline's new owners,  Schering Plough in 1971, Maybelline's "Great Lash" has remained an all time favorite Mascara for the last 45 years.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Maybelline model, Natalie Moorhead introduces sophistication in the 1930s

Cold as ice, Vampish Natalie Moorhead ended the Roaring 20's with pure sophistication and skyrocketed   Maybelline advertisements to a new artistic level.

Statuesque, platinum-blond American actress Natalie Moorhead entered films in 1929; by the end of the next year, she had nearly a dozen movies to her credit. Moorhead was most effectively cast in vampish roles, notably her turn as one of the suspects in The Thin Man (1934).

Tom Lyle must have seen Natalie Moorhead's potential to target a more mature, sophisticated woman, who by 1935, had been wearing Maybelline for nearly 20 years.  His brilliance as the King of Advertising was to cover the market with every single type of persona developing in the movies, especially after sound was born by the end of the 1920's.  Moorhead, in her films, represented a beautiful, ultra sexy mature woman who knew what she wanted and she wanted Maybelline.
Click here to see Natalie Moorhead's photo's and you will see what Tom Lyle saw in this seductive, calculating actress!

Read more about Tom Lyle Williams and The Maybelline Company in The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beauty and the Dirt review of The Maybelline Story

The Maybelline Story starts out with fire and ends with fire and the fierce love Evelyn had for the two brothers burned in her until her untimely death in 1978. 

This sounds more like a movie than a real life story, but I guess all the best stories are based on truth. I knew about Mabel and her coal dust and petroleum jelly mix that was the inspiration for mascara. That is where the name Maybelline came from but for all the family drama that ensued well that is now in a book that looks like a must read to me.

Book Synopsis:
One of the first Maybelline posters

In 1915 sister Mabel Williams burned her lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed what she called ‘a secret of the harem’—mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and applying it to her lashes and brows.Mabel’s simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle’s imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business, one that remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor. Throughout the twentieth century, the Maybelline company inflated, collapsed, endured, and thrived in tandem with the nation’s upheavals—as did the family that nurtured it.

Tom Lyle Williams—to avoid unwanted scrutiny of his private life—cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and ran his empire from the shadows. Now, after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the life of an American entrepreneur, a man forced to remain behind a mask—using his sister-in-law Evelyn Boecher—to be his front.

Stories of the-great-man-and-how-he-did-it serve as a traditional mainstay of biographies, but with the strong women’s book-buying market, a resurgence of interest in memoirs that focus on relationships more than a single man and his accomplishments are more likely to be discussed in women’s book groups. The Maybelline Story combines the best of both approaches: a man whose vision rocketed him to success along with the woman held in his orbit.

Tom Lyle and his siblings

 Evelyn, her son Bill, Sharrie and Tom Lyle)

In the way that Rhett Butler ignored the criticism of his peers to carve his own destiny, Tom Lyle Williams shares similar grit and daring. But Rhett without Scarlet wouldn’t be much of a story. Evelyn Williams provides the energy of an antagonist. Like Scarlet, we sometimes hate her and want to shake her, but sometimes, we must admit that we hold a grudging respect; we get a kick out of her and even occasionally, love her for her guts and tenacity, and certainly because she carved out a life for herself and insisted on having a voice, even if she was a fly in the ointment for others.

The Maybelline story provides other kinds of classic literary satisfaction. We are especially fascinated to slip vicariously into the lives of the rich and privileged yet cheer for the underdog who overcomes obstacles to astound doubters with his success. We are enthralled with the historical sweep of events whose repercussions live on to the present, all elements of The Maybelline Story—which reads like a juicy novel, but is in fact a family memoir, distilled from nine hundred pages of family accounts from the 1920’s to present.

An engrossing and captivating saga that spans four generations and reveals the humanity, the glamour, and the seedy underside of a family intoxicated by the quest for power, wealth, and physical perfection. It is a fascinating and inspiring tale of ambition, luck, greed, secrecy—and surprisingly, above all, love and forgiveness, a tale both epic and intimate, alive with the clash, the hustle, the music, and dance of American enterprise.
Sharrie Williams: The Maybelline Story is one I am buying now.
Click here for more beauty

Monday, July 4, 2016

Maybelline's Yankee Doodle Dandy Girl, Joan Leslie, stars with James Cagney, in 1942 all time favorite 4th of July film

       Maybelline Joan Leslie, endorses Maybelline 

James Cagney and Joan Leslie, in 
Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) is one of Hollywood's greatest, grandest and slickest musicals. The nostalgic, shamelessly-patriotic, entertaining film also supported the war effort as it paid tribute in its mostly fictional story to a popular Irish/American entertainer and the grand American gentleman of the theatre in the early 20th century.

click video to see a trailer of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

James Cagney, spent several weeks touring the US, entertaining troops with vaudeville routines and scenes from Yankee Doodle Dandy

James Cagney with Joan Leslie, Lobby Card. In September 1942, Cagney, was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Joan Leslie has a star on the Hollywood

 Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Maybelline Story reads like the best fiction but with real characters and plots that take us on an American dream wild ride.

From the Midwest through Chicago and Hollywood, we follow a path strewn with scandals, jealousies, triangles and betrayals. Throw in arson, a still-unsolved murder and even the Feds and Mafia and you have an exciting and bumpy journey that leaves more than one casualty in its wake. And Maybelline was along for the ride. 

The characters seem larger-than-life yet somehow remain vulnerable and sympathetic This is a family that continually grasped at the shiny ring only to discover that it might be no more than their own reflections staring back, sometimes accusingly, in the mirror. 

The legacy is in good hands with Ms. Williams. She's a true storyteller and writes with passion and candor while bluntly sharing her own resolve to rise above her 

family's lifelong mantra of money, beauty and the search for perfection. It's a critical but tender tale of redemption that displays an understanding, compassion and love for her family. She never gave up on her dream to tell this story and literally braved fire and fury to share it with the world. It's a book that you really can't put down, a true page-turner and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 

You'll never look at a Maybelline ad again without feeling a tug of empathy for these characters and the struggles and determination of one man's effort to capture beauty on a brush and change forever the color palette of the world.

Monday, June 13, 2016






I love reading books. Some books are good, some great, but ONLY a couple of them are exceptional like the book "The Maybelline Story". This is really a MUST to read. You will be smitten by this book, it is fabulous! You will be instantly transferred to the last century of Hollywood glamour and beauty, but also you will be witnessing the hard work of the founder of iconic Maybelline - Tom Lyle and his family.

      When I started to read this book, I forgot about the world around me. I was just reading and reading. I couldn't put the book down. Tom Lyle, founder of Maybelline was a remarkable person, businessman from the very early age.He saw opportunities everywhere. He wasn't afraid of any challenges. He had a driving force and strong belief that hard work would lead to success.    And his finely tuned instincts paid off.

      In the book I learned about "harem secret". What is it? The core business of the Maybelline brand. You will found out, when you will read the book.

      I like the company philosophy that every woman deserves to look her best. Every marketing guru should "learn" about newspaper headline "Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic", where a coincidence is more than years of planned marketing. This book can easily be valuable marketing textbook. Who is Miss Maybelline? It is Evelyn B. Williams. Independent, strong and confident woman with style, muse of Tom Lyle.


  1. 1)Never say never
  2. 2)Glamour is just civilized sex.
  3. 3)Eating canned spaghetti, can be act of patriotism. 
  4. 4)The most important, that "Feelings have to be hidden and a smile should be your umbrella" by Evelyn Williams aka Miss Maybelline

What an exciting family saga, full of hard work, pain, intrigues, disappointments but also joy, glamour and fortune with shocking and unexpected end. I already can see a great movie in the future about it! And Sharrie you are a very talented writer. If you are interested to buy the book, you can do it at: Book is sold out at most bookstores, I had hard time  buying it!

         By Marietta Spiska

If you have any questions, inquiries, please contact us at

Monday, June 6, 2016

Maybelline cousin, Caitlin Hewes, signs contract to play professional Ice Hockey overseas in Europe

Berisoff, Hewes Continue Careers in Europe.

STORRS, Conn. – Two former members of the UConn women’s ice hockey team signed contracts to play professionally in the Elite Women’s Hockey League overseas in Europe. Forward Brittany Berisoff (Kelowna, B.C.) and defenseman Caitlin Hewes (Stillwater, Minn.) both committed to the Planegg Penguins and will be living and training in Munich, Germany.
“We are proud of Brittany and Caitlin signing professional contracts.  They deserve this opportunity and will follow in the footsteps of other alumni who have played in Europe,” head coach Chris MacKenzie said.
The Europe-bound duo, who helped UConn to its first winning record since 2009 last season, both say this will be a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
“I’m most excited about how much I am going to learn throughout the year. I have already learned so much living in the U.S. these past four years so I can’t wait to see what Germany has in store for me,” Berisoff said, “I’m also very excited to start this next chapter with Caitlin because we played together at UConn for four years, so to be able to continue our careers and play professionally together is pretty special.”
Hewes, who captained the Huskies in the 2015-16 season, says she is most excited to not really experience life in another country,
 I think living day to day life in another culture will be a really enlightening experience,” she said.  “We also get one weekend off a month from games, which we will then have the opportunity to travel to different countries throughout Europe.  I'm really excited by the prospect of seeing all these places, especially since I've never been outside of North America.

While both former Huskies are excited for this next chapter, Berisoff and Hewes both agreed that professional careers were not in their sights until recently.
“I didn't really consider playing professionally, especially abroad,” said Hewes, “to be honest, I wasn't really aware it was an option until later in my college career.  I had heard of a few players who made the decision and they seemed like they had incredible experiences so I decided to consider it more seriously.”
Growing up, Berisoff noticed that opportunities to play professionally for women are not as common as they are for men and did not even consider the option until later in her UConn career.
“I started to realize that my hockey career was slowly coming to an end,” she said, “I decided to take this next step because I know multiple people who have played professionally abroad and they had an unreal experience, so I knew that it was the right decision to make for me.”
The recent UConn graduates stated how their experiences as student-athletes at UConn have really helped them become independent and prepared them to take this next step.
“I think that my career at Uconn prepared me for this by making me really independent and comfortable with living further away from home,” said Hewes, “the high intensity of hockey I've been playing and work ethic that Uconn has instilled in me has prepared me for any challenges I may face.”
“I went to prep-school away from home and went to University across the continent. I know that there will be hard times but they are worth it because there will also be many great times. I’m confident that UConn has prepared me for this next step because I have had to become very diligent, hardworking, and independent on and off the ice,” Berisoff said.  
Berisoff and Hewes will report for a two week training camp in Northern Italy scheduled to begin on August 27, 2016.

Caitlin Hewes, Great grandmother, on her father's side, was Maybelline's namesake Mabel Williams. Mabel, inspired her brother Tom Lyle Williams to concoct and market a simple formula called Lash-Brow-Ine, in 1915, under "Maybel Laboratories." 

In 1917, Tom Lyle renamed Lash-Brow-Ine,  Maybelline, in honor of his sister Mabel, who gave him the idea.

 Mabel Williams 1915

Mabel Williams-Hewes holding baby Joyce, along side her husband Chet Hewes with their children Shirley and Tommy.  1934

 (Tommy Hewes son,) David and his wife Karen
(Caitlin's parents.)

Congratulations Caitlin, on your great accomplishment. You honor the entire Maybelline family.  All your cousins are cheering for you to keep up the good work. I'm sure your Great grandparents and grandparents and smiling down on you from Heaven. Just remember, you come from a long line of Champions, it's in your DNA!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Maybelline a pioneer in Advertising, the first to use "Before and After" imegery

Armed with market savvy, an eye for beauty and a penchant for perfection, Tom Lyle continued to experiment boldly, introducing what would become one of the most familiar and effective ploys in advertising: “before and after” imagery. This captured the imagination of women everywhere, creating a need that he filled by placing striking cosmetic displays in dime and drug stores across America. Soon the name Maybelline came to represent more than just mascara—it meant beauty, sex appeal and self-confidence, indispensable tools for every woman’s success—however she defined it.
Read more about Tom Lyle Williams and The Maybelline Company in my book, The Maybelline Story.

Monday, May 23, 2016

MGM Studio founded in 1924 in Culver City Californa. Here's a bit of Hollywood History from my family archives

Newly formed MGM, 1924. From my grandfather's archives. 
Buster Keaton, Hardy Rapst, Irving Thalberg, (Head of Production,) Nick Schende, Natale Talmadge, (Mrs. Buster Keaton.) Louie B. Mayer, Eddie Mannix, (general manager and head of publicity,) Hunt Stomberg, (Producer.)

MGM and its legendary roaring lion logo was formed in April 1924, by theater magnate Marcus Loew, who orchestrated the merger of Metro Pictures Corp., Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions

Metro Pictures had the look, the style and the stars needed to attract a growing audience, but the little studio on Gower Street in Hollywood became too limited to meet it's growing needs.  In 1924 Goldwyn Pictures with its valuable studio property in Culver City was purchased and MGM was born.  Mayer and my grandfather, Andy Mac Donald, moved Metro's sets together in Andy's truck, to the new lot in Culver City.

 Mayer now the head of M.G.M. gave my grandfather the position of head of construction and eventually head of 7 MGM departments.  Metro Goldwyn Mayer's magnificent entrance on Washington Blvd.,  looked like a turret of a Castle.   The offices, shops, and main stages were up front on the main lot and the
other two back lots held street scenes, college malls, quaint village
squares, meadow, forest and even a jungle with a  man-made pool for the Tarzan.  The outlying studio ranches used for Westerns
were located in the San Fernando Valley and the nearby convenience of ocean, wild country and desert afforded a variety of natural settings.

M.G.M.'s now celebrated and polished films required only the
best in every department.  The Studio's level of expertise excelled over any other studio and became the quintessential glamour and star factory in Hollywood.

Louie B. Mayer ran the Studio like a boot camp.  If there were any slackers on a job, they were quickly fired. He demanded excellence and loyalty and under his rule, M.G.M. became the most authoritarian studio  in the industry.   He instituted an important break with the early movie tradition of allowing directors to serve as a overseers of the art... "Griffith style." 

 At M.G.M.  film making became an assembly line of departments each answerable to a producer,  each producer answerable to the head of production and the head of production answerable to Mayer.  M.G.M's. stars became nothing like the merry old player of the old days, insisting on their favorite directors, idea men and supporting players and actors were never allowed to choose their own properties.

Mayer's directors  directed,  his writers wrote and his actors acted. All separately.   Free spirits were no longer tolerated. Team
players and company men were the only people allowed to play ball with Mayer. 

My grandfather, Andy Mac Donald on the left with his men, on a set they constructed

As head of construction,  Andy was expected to respect Mayer's style rather than rely on his own.  Authority started at the top and worked down.  Andy's men took direction from him, he took direction from an art director and the art director took direction from the Mayer.

Economics ruled under Mayer's reign and there was no waste. Andy figured out a way to construct detachable sets that could be used over and over again. Walls, bookshelves, staircases etc. could be taken apart and put back together in different ways.  When they weren't in use they could be stored for future projects. Elaborate sets, especially exteriors were kept standing on the back lots and when a scene called for it, a whole town could be constructed quickly, or be reassembled to look like a new town.

 A facade of a Mediterranean Villa nestled in a grove of fake palm trees created the feeling of the Italian Renaissance and when the film was over it could be repainted and redecorated to give the impression of an entirely different part of the world.

Andy's innovative ways of constructing difficult sets and props

for "Ben Hur,"  M.G.M. 's first major picture after the merger, was
legendary and Mayer increased his salary to an all time high.

Natalie Talmadge and Buster Keaton
The 1920's were prosperous for most people in America, but for those with big positions at a major studio, it was unimaginable. Money was worth much more, because income tax and unions  were still a long way off and the price of homes and fancy cars was still reasonable.

Read more about Louie B. Mayer, MGM and my grandfather's 55 year career at the Studio in my book, The Maybelline Story. I know you'll find it hard to put down. 

My mother Pauline Mac Donald, was born in 1924, the year MGM moved to Culver City.  She grew up watching her father, Andy oversee every set built for every picture made at the Studio, including Gone with the With Wind and the Wizard of Oz in 1939.  You're going to love this memoir....

Culver City Celebrates it's 100 year Anniversary Sept 26 - Oct 1
Here's the details