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Big star in New Martinsville
August 19, 2008 - Jody Murphy
Checking out the West Virginia History website, I noticed that Aug. 20 is a red-letter day in New Martinsville social history.
In 1925 Hollywood star Gloria Swanson spent some time in town to film portions of the picture "Stage Struck."
The movie was a light comedy, parts of which were shot on location in New Martinsville. Swanson was a major silent film star and her arrvial and stay in Wetzel county was big news.
Gov. Howard Gore even drove in to meet and dine with Swanson.
Swanson was a HUGE star in the 19-teens and 20s. By 1934, however, her career had fanned. She made only one one film between 1934 and 1950, before her career was revived by "Sunset Blvd."
In "Sunset Blvd." Swanson - starring opposite William Holden - plays Norma Desmond, a caricuture of herself. The film - one my favorites from the genre - contains a number of memorable movie lines that are oft-quoted in other movies and cartoons (Bugs Bunny).
The movie earned wide accolades for Swanson and resurrected her career as she did a number of television roles.
In 1925 Swanson was still big news. Even moreso in the small town of New Martinsville, W.Va.
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Pictures of filming the 1925 film Stage Struck in New Martinsville