“They were testing girls for a flapper-bit and they gave me a cigarette to smoke. It choked me and I blew smoke out of my nose and my mouth — and I guess my ears, too — and I did it so badly they wouldn’t let me be the flapper.” — Betty Bronson in an article published in her home town paper, the Trenton Evening Times in 1924.
Though she did not get the role of a flapper at that time, in 1924, Bronson beat out over 100 other females for the title role in Peter Pan. She was 17-years-old.
“It is funny how quickly one becomes accustomed to studio life. I recall vividly how strange it all was to me when I was chosen to play the lead in ‘Peter Pan.’ The studio seemed too large, and all the terms were so technical and confusing. It seemed like a wonderful land, with magic on every hand. I didn’t have any idea about makeup, at first, and it worried me terribly. I had heard how heavily one must paint up for pictures. I didn’t like that, but I decided I must do it. I started in with the greasepaint and other things, and made an awful daub of it. After I got all through, I looked in the mirror at the general effect – and I didn’t know myself, and I am sure that most of the people who recognize me in pictures now wouldn’t have known me in that makeup. I confess that I shed a few tears over the whole thing, and just then, Jim Collins, the makeup expert at the Paramount studio, came to my dressing room to see how I was getting along, for I had told him just a wee fib and had said I knew how to put on makeup. He laughed when he saw me, and then said, ‘You poor kid, why didn’t you tell me?’ The he was awfully nice, and I took off all the daub I had on, and he explained to me that you really use very light makeup in pictures nowadays – just enough so that the glare of the Klieg lights doesn’t make your face look entirely blanched white. It seems funny, that I didn’t know all these things then – they are simple.” — Betty Bronson
Companionate Marriage (1928). With Alec B. Francis.