29¢ Clara Bow
Silent Screen Stars
Issue Date: April 27, 1994
City: San Francisco, CA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Color: Red, black and bright violet
Billed as “The Hottest Jazz Baby in Films,” Clara Bow personified the vivacious, emancipated flapper of the 20s. Like the other stars of her day, she symbolized the romantic ideals of the nation, and young girls emulated her by copying her clothes, hairstyle, and seductive ways with men.
Born in a poor section of Brooklyn, New York, Bow entered a beauty contest at age 17 and won. Among the prizes was a Hollywood screen test and a bit part in the movie Beyond the Rainbow. Although her performance ended up on the cutting room floor, she persevered and within three years had become a successful actress.
In 1927 she played the lead in the box-office sensation It. Dubbed the “It Girl,” Bow rocketed to stardom, turning the innocent little pronoun ‘it’ into one of the most suggestive words in the English language. A huge success, the film was followed by other hits, including Wings (1927) - the first movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. Voted America’s most popular female star in 1929, she retired just four years later.