“With Every Good Wish For A Right Merrie Christmas”–Little Holiday Greetings From The Silent Era

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? Somehow, time is still humming along. I’ve been keeping busy lately with cookie baking, making Christmas-y crafts, and of course getting a few Christmas cards sent out in time.

Very long line in plaza 600 x 400 Blank Template - Imgflip
Judging by the lines at the post office this year, I was just in the nick of time.

Which reminds me (great segue, eh?) did you know that back in the day actors used to place little Christmas greetings in the trade magazines? I’m guessing these were placed by publicity folks and meant as little “thank yous” to exhibitors, distributors and other people in the industry for a prosperous year–nothing wrong with fostering a little goodwill. They might be as simple as the words “Yuletide Greetings” along with the actor’s name, but some included a portrait or a small holiday-themed illustration. What’s also interesting is how most of these “cards” were placed in the December 24th-25th issues, or published around New Year’s. (The early 20th century U.S. didn’t generally have the weeks-long Christmas hype of today.)

I think these little greetings are pretty endearing, so let’s check out some examples! Here’s what a typical bunch looked like (you can click to see larger images, or right-click to bring them up in their own tab):

Camera!, December 24, 1921.

Gotta get a closeup of Baby Peggy! Aw Diana, don’t we miss her:

Even animal stars could get in on the fun:

Camera!, December 24, 1921.

Here’s a nice cluster of famous faces:

Moving Picture World, December 31, 1921.

Many big stars of course included their portraits in their festive messages, such as this collection from a 1924 Wid’s Weekly. There’s Adolphe again:

When I think “festive,” I think Eric von Stroheim–he included that Christmas scene in Greed and everything!

Here’s a few from Moving Picture World, January 1, 1927–love that blue ink:

It wasn’t just stars that placed these ads–directors did too:

Moving Picture World, December 25, 1920

So did the business side of the industry:

Moving Picture World, December 25, 1920.

Don’t forget the advertising departments–don’t you love the top image?

Exhibitor’s Herald, December 1919.

Even songwriters and organists who made their livings making music for the movies!

Exhibitor’s Herald, December 24, 1927.

And of course you could find Christmas cheer in publications like Talking Machine World too (December 15, 1923):

Lastly, here’s a pretty image courtesy of one of my favorite vintage publications:

These were small gestures, but I’m guessing they contributed towards Hollywoodland’s perception of more close-knit, laid-back community.

Alright, I’m off to bake more cookies–several dozen simply isn’t enough. Enjoy the images, everyone!

6 thoughts on ““With Every Good Wish For A Right Merrie Christmas”–Little Holiday Greetings From The Silent Era

  1. Charming post, reminding us of times past – times that belonged to our grandparents. The marvel of our times is we can revisit the past and believe for an hour that the clock has stopped. We today can experience time travel whenever the mood beckons. Last night I watched Sherlock Jr., courtesy of Youtube. Many laughs from Buster and a look-see at his father, Joe.

    A very merry Christmas to YOU and to all of the rest of us who relish silent films and are held spellbound by the silent clowns and gods and goddesses of long ago. .

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