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After "Flaming Youth," Nation-wide Tour


Flaming Youth became an immediate phenomenon upon its release, due in part to the fact that nobody knew how to react to it. Reviews of the film were mixed, though Colleen's reviews were generally positive. Helen Klumph wrote:"'She who flaps last flaps best,' is the verdict of exhibitors in the East who are watching Colleen Moore in Flaming Youth coin money for them. The success of this picture is phenomenal, inasmuch as it followed a long, long trail of mediocre and tawdry productions detailing the sins of us wild young people. And it is a success that marks definitely the course that First National will take in selecting future vehicles for Miss Moore.

"'As long as you played sweet, wistful young girls you were just one more leading woman.' the exhibitors reason with her, 'but since you have played Pat in Flaming Youth you are a sensation. Don't be foolish and change from the type of part that has made you.'"

Colleen Moore Portrait by Evans of L.A.

Showing Colleen's pre-Dutchboy bob.


That was advice that her husband took to heart, and it was key to her continued success. The movie was a sensation, the new "type" she portrayed was in sudden demand, and the public would remain fascinated for years to come.

Following the release of the film, the newlyweds moved into a new home together at 530 Rossmore Avenue for $50,000. Thereafter they left on a much-ballyhooed honeymoon, though in fact it was more a working vacation to promote Flaming Youth. For John it was more a triumphal tour to celebrate the success of Flaming Youth. He had first noticed Colleen's photograph working for First National, had been introduced to her by Marshall Nielan, and had no doubt campaigned for her among the executives at First National, working to convince then that her employment would be an asset to the company. In his eyes, and probably in the eyes of the company executives, the move to offer her a contract had been a wise investment; she had become an overnight sensation, enjoyed a new-found celebrity of a sort that had only ever existed before in Hollywood.

Even before they left on their trip, which was to have it's culmination at a gathering of First National execs in New York, Colleen's next film was on it's way east, as reported in the New York Times. "The First Print of The Daughter of Mother McGinn, with Colleen Moore, has reached New York from Los Angeles and the production is now being edited." The film's name was changed to Through the Dark by the time of its release.

They traveled east by train, stopped along the way at various cities with First National exchanges. The November 27th Atlanta Constitution wrote that they were to arrive at Terminal Station and be greeted by a committee of welcome headed by Mrs. Alonzo Richardson (president, Atlanta Better Films Committee) and a host of friends including Mr. and Mrs. Sig Samuels, Mr. and Mrs. Willard C. Patterson and C.R. Beacham, local branch manager of Associated First National Pictures. There would be a lunch and Colleen would be a guest of the Metropolitan theater and appear during the afternoon and night performance.

In a column called "Right off the Reel,” by Eleanor Very (from an unidentified and undated clipping in the Colleen Moore Scrapbooks) it was noted that Colleen Moore made a "Flying Visit" to Boston. She was the guest of honor at a lunch given for her at the Copley-Plaza by the local First National people. “Tom Spry, general manager of the local First National exchange, did the honors, and in addition to the charming guest of honor, called for speeches from N. H. Gordon, head of the Gordon chain of theaters, E. A. Eschman, one of the executives of the company, and John McCormick, who is Miss Moore’s husband, not the tenor.”

John is reported as stating that Warner Fabian would write another story expressly for Miss Moore’s use, to be called Sailor’s Wives, though that never happened. Already, plans were being made for her next film, which would bank on the name she had created for herself as a flapper. Before long, they were back in Hollywood and back at work. The December 16th New York World reported: "Colleen Moore, movie actress, and her husband John Emmett McCormick, film company representatives, go honeymooning through Atlanta, where they were playmates years ago.” A few days later (December 19) they were in Minneapolis, as reported in the Minneapolis Tribune: "They were guests of Messer’s Finkelstein and Ruben. In the afternoon there was a screening of Flaming Youth for club women, introduced by Colleen Moore so that they could see what a nice woman she is. They had just arrived from Grand Rapids, MI, where they were picking out furniture for their new 10-room home." They stayed eleven hours before continuing on.

The big day was on December 22nd, as reported in the New York Motion Picture News:
“Seventy-five representatives of the press and members of the industry gathered around a festive luncheon board at the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday,

"Flaming Youth," by John Held Jr.

The title Flaming Youth would linger in the popular imagination as a phrase for sexual adventerousness for years, as seen here in the John Held Jr. illustration, Flaming Youth, from 1932. As with the "flapper" and Colleen Moore, illustrator Held came to be associated with the era, and advertising for Colleen's films would utilize Held-like artwork.
December 11th, to meet and do honor to Colleen Moore, the dainty star of Flaming Youth. It was a Flaming Youth Luncheon from the start, when two bobbed-haired beauties, pajama clad a la Pat Frentiss in the picture, served monogrammed cigarettes, to the end of Miss Moore’s little speech to the gathering.

"Harry Reichenbach acted as toastmaster and Richard A Rowland, general manager of First National, Toasted the toastmaster. H. O. Schwalbe gave the theatre man’s opinion of Colleen Moore and stated that the screen would always be waiting for such pictures as Flaming Youth. John McCormick, the husband of the star, and western representative of First National, told her how, as a publicity man, he was told to deliver the goods and he delivered—Miss Moore.

"Mr. and Mrs. McCormick left New York later in the week and will arrive in their new home in California in time for Christmas.”
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