Silent Film Stars

Violet Mersereau – photos and quotes

Violet Mersereau

“I think they are marvelous – the pictures. When one stops to think, they are the most wonderful thing in the world….Yes, the way that people, who never could, and probably never will be able to, leave one place, are able to know, just by the pictures, how beautiful our world is, is wonderful in itself. And double so is the fact that countless thousands are looking at the same picture from ocean to ocean and almost from pole to pole.” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet & Claire Mersereau

“My sister Claire and I have been on the stage since she was seven and I nine years of age. Previous to our first professional appearance we had taken part in entertainments at Sunday school and many of our friends had said to mother: ‘You should put your little girls on the stage.’ Of course mother only laughed at that time, for she had not the faintest idea then of allowing us to adopt a professional career. But the troubles come, and one never knows what is going to happen. My father died, and then mother realized that something had to be done. She recalled what friends had advised some time before. At that time, my sister Claire was like a tiny doll, with very big, blue eyes and light hair that curled all over her head. Maxine Elliott saw her and engaged her to play in ‘Her Own Way.’ At the same time, I was engaged by Margaret Anglin. There was another little girl in the same company, and her mother took care of us both, as my own mother traveled with Claire. The mother of the little girl in our company was very sweet and kind to me, but, after the play, when we would come home and climb into bed, and the lights were turned out, I used to lie awake and wonder and think and wonder, and sometimes became very, very homesick.” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet Mersereau

 

Violet Mercereau“Shortly after the time I mention, Maxine Elliott decided to take her play to London. So mother and Claire crossed the water, while I was sent to school. But it was only for a few months. Just as soon as my mother and sister returned from England, I was engaged by a stock company to play child-parts – boys and girls – which I did for the summer….When I closed with Miss Anglin’s company, I made a beginning in Motion Pictures. But I was at an awkward age. They either wanted tiny girls or big ones – I was neither. So mother dressed me up to look as old as possible. The director of the Nestor Company said, however, that as long as I could ride and swim so well, I would be all right for ingenue leads. But, no matter what the part was – the most awful vampire, or the biggest part in the picture – I wanted to play it. When the director informed me that it was impossible – that I was ‘only a kid’ – I was highly indignant and thought the man was utterly devoid of common horse-sense. But I did have some very pretty parts.” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet Mersereau 1914“It was the original David Horsley studio. I had been playing child parts on the stage, and mother thought it might be a good idea to try pictures as an experiment. We came over, and they were just casting a picture, but there was no role young enough for me. Mother and I insisted that I could make up old enough for an ingenue, and as it was not so easy to get players then as it is now, they told me to come back next day and show how grown up I could be….We came back the next day. Mother had lengthened my skirts, and they bothered me. I never had had them below my knees before, and I kept holding them up so they wouldn’t flop around my legs. The director sort of grinned, but guessed I’d do. Then they let me look over the scenario, and I discovered that the big part was a vampire, and wanted to play that. ‘You’re lucky to get in at all,’ the director said. Well, we let it go at that.”Violet Mersereau 

Source: John Dolber (1917)

Photo: 1914

 

Violet Mersereau“But mother wouldn’t hear of me giving up the stage for the pictures permanently. So, during the regular theatrical season, I would go with some company, and in the summer sign up with some picture concern. I am rather glad of  her decision now, for it enabled me to visit London with ‘Rebeccah of Sunnybrook Farm.’ I was understudy to Rebeccah at the time. But later, I starred in the piece in New York and all through the United States. When my season closed, I was engaged by the Famous Players Company to play the title role in ‘The Spitfire.’ Then I signed up with Universal. You see, I had been with them the summer before I left to play Rebeccah. And now I am in the pictures so deeply that I will not let the thought of the stage even creep in, although I shall never regret my stage career. I made so many friends, you you know, and I receive so many letters asking me if this isn’t the same Violet Mersereau…” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet Mersereau

“On the stage the most important thing is the speaking voice. Of course it helps wonderfully if one is beautiful. But, should one be beautiful and have an awful voice, that ends it. Then, again, one can let the gladness, or the sorrow, come into the voice. Of course the expression counts, but the stage could be in utter darkness, and still the audience would be held by the voice or voices on the stage. On the screen, on the other hand, it is one’s expression, one’s appearance, one’s mannerisms that count. I believe one has to feel a great deal keener for the screen, so that a thought will come into one’s being and make itself felt until it creeps into the eyes. It always used to take me a couple of weeks, after I had closed my stage season, to get back to the ways of the pictures – to make myself realize that my voice would not be heard.” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet Mersereau“As to my methods, I think one should remember each new sensation or emotion and lock it up within one’s self until called upon to portray that emotion. Also, take the different people you meet. There are some you will not even allow yourself to like, and others, again, who possess such wonderful personalities that you are drawn to them and value their friendship more than you can ever tell. It makes me happier to have people truly like me. I try awfully hard to be genuine, and I like other people to be the same.” — Violet Mersereau

Source: Allan Douglas Brodie (1915)

 

Violet Mersereau

 

"The Little Terror" (1917) Bizarre Los Angeles

The Little Terror (1917)

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