Wednesday, November 18, 2020

MGM, Louie B. Mayer, and the Star Factory is very much part of The Maybelline Story


My Grandfather, Andrew Mac Donald, known as Mac at MGM started his career in 1915 at Metro Pictures and when Metro joined Goldwyn and Mayer he continued working in the construction department and went on to oversee 7 departments altogether.  Upon his retirement in 1968, MGM gave him this beautiful pin and a gold watch for his lifetime service. He was a Motion Picture and Special Effects Pioneer for over 55 years.

Mac, shown in his white overalls, ran the construction department at MGM. His crew was responsible for building every set and sound stage at the Studio. He was closely connected with Louie B. Mayer and was known for always coming in under budget, after Cedric Gibbons, MGM's Art Directer, gave him the set designs to be used for a picture. I'm very proud of My MGM roots and love this amazing piece of Film Industry History. 
My Great uncle Tom Lyle Williams, founder of the Maybelline Company in 1915 also had a history with MGM and Louie B. Mayer.

Louis B. Mayer, the Godfather of The Hollywood Star System, created Super Stars out of starlets. But not without the help of Tom Lyle Williams and Maybelline.

The star system was the method of creating, promoting and exploiting movie stars in Classical Hollywood cinema.

MGM was one of the most powerful and most prestigious of all the major motion picture studios.

Studios would select promising young actresses and glamorise and create personas for them, often inventing new names and even new backgrounds.

Louis B. Mayer, the most powerful , highest paid man in Hollywood, created the Hollywood myth, "that anything is possible, regardless of class or money."  He didn't want real life scandals to tarnish that dream, and diminish his audiences. 

The star system put an emphasis on the image rather than the acting. Women were expected to behave like ladies, and were never to leave the house without makeup and stylish clothes.

Part of creating the ideal image of emerging stars, was to promote them in Maybelline ads,

Jean Harlow on the cover of Picture Play, would also appear in a Maybelline ad inside the magazine.

Tom Lyle Williams kept his private life hidden from public scrutiny, to protect Maybelline's image.  However, he was as big, if not bigger, than any Hollywood Studio head and like Louis B. Mayer,  created Super Stars, by  grooming and promoting them in Maybelline advertisements.  

Jean Harlow, illustrated in a Maybelline ad, appeared in all the popular gossip, Hollywood movie magazines, in the early 1930s.

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