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#118 The IT Girl, Clara Bow


Clara Bow and Gary Cooper (ages 22 and 26 respectively)

Clara Bow was born in Brooklyn, New York City on July 29, 1905 to Robert and Sarah (nee Gordon)  Bow.   She was the third child born to them, at her uncle’s, a Methodist minister, house at 697 Bergen Street; their  first two girls, Alene and Emily, dying shortly after birth.  The parents expected the same of her, so they never registered her birth.

We have rectified her chart to 8:20 AM giving her a 18 Virgo Ascendant that is called a “diamond in the rough,”   alluding to her working-class background and strong Brooklyn accent of which she was ashamed; she had little formal school beyond grammar school , though Mr. Stenn notes that she was a solid B+ student, but spoke mainly in Brooklyn slang calling herself “Jes a woikin’ goil”.

Her father has a sketchy work history, it was said “he lacked drive” and was a “tart man” ¹who  moved his family all around the borough, from Carroll Park and Bergen Street to Bay Ridge and 73rd and even out of Sheepshead Bay and Flatbush  most of these areas very rural and scarcely populated, a major reason chosen because of their remoteness from  Spanish flu epidemic.  Mainly though, she grew up on 160 Sands Street that was then the  Brooklyn equivalent of the Bowery.

 

 

fame and fortune

The advertisement from Brewster Publications “Motion Picture Classics” that Clara answered.

Her temperament type is a rather off bucket with a very strong Saturn handle highlighting her industriousness and ambition.  She was enthralled by Fatty Arbuckle and Mary Pickford and wanted to make pictures, but her mother disapproved saying that they were all “who ers”,  and Clara hid her dream.  Her sixth grade school teacher thought she had talent and nurtured it helping her get parts in several school plays and then at sixteen in 1921, she entered the “Fame and Fortune Contest” sponsored by a Brooklyn company called Brewster Publications,. The top prize, a “place in pictures” hiding her entry from her suspicious mother.

She won, having spent hours imitating Pickford in front of the mirror, by the time she was twenty-two all the rage.  F. Scott Fitzgerald would write

“She was the girl of the year, the “It” girl, the girl for whose services every studio was in violent competition.  She was the real thing, someone to stir every pulse in the nation”

with her heart shaped face, and thick wavy auburn hair (dyed flaming orange-red) . Yet beyond the Silver Screen, she had a hard time fitting in with the Hollywood scene, always snidely being called “the girl from Brooklyn.”  ²

Janus 5 on Clara Bow.

                                  Mapping IT

The chart is from Janus 5, the latest update.  The previous version, released at Christmas,  was not this good.  It still has some flaws, but at $225.00 for those on Windows, it’s not a bad deal.  Of course Walter Pullen has Astrologica for free, but with its Mickey Mouse VGA Graphics, that’s about its worth.

                                                And now our main feature….Miss Clara Bow

Miss Bow has few trines in her chart, and their absence is notable.  Her major trine is from Mercury in the twelfth house to Uranus in its essential lord, Capricorn in the fourth, where unfortunately Uranus, totally opposite to where it should be, at the mid-heaven, is now afflicted.  It gets worse.  Her Moon is exalted in Cancer and it too has a reverse polarity, the humpty dumpty aspect of these planets is striking and their point focus at Mercury in the twelfth exasperating.

Saturn though, in the sixth house of hard work, straightens some of this out, giving Uranus a sextilian strength and a supporting trine to the mid-heaven — Miss Bow will work hard for fame and with Saturn opposing her Mercury, it will come from being “mute.”

Saturn in Pisces is not very welcome either, but manages as it is trine Neptune, that planet of the shimmering screen, in the Tenth and the preponderance in the latter house, tells us that Bow was very ambitious and the Sun in the eleventh, does suggest very well liked.  But then there is that Saturn…again that hard taskmaster  We know that Saturn and Neptune are the rulers for avant garde art form of film, and that it often stands in the horoscope for a girl’s father,  but it is also rules sex and drugs and things bacchanal.  For Miss Bow that was to prove ominous particularly with her father, and while he did not pawn her off to the peep shows, Hollywood would prove to be the ultimate white slaver and make miss Bow the first sex goddess.

That was not what Miss Bow was aiming for when auditioning in front of Mary Pickford, she was hoping to be another ingenue, but the Gish sisters had cornered that racket, and with her looks and magnetic allure, she roped the role of femme fatale all on her own and indeed, while Fitzgerald called her the ultimate flapper, she really was the first Hollywood Sex Symbol, and when she left, shortly after filming the above film “Call her savage” she left a gaping hole in Twinkle Town’s armour.  But the  city on the celluloid hill never misses a step and soon found a platinum blonde replacement, this time from Kansas City called Harlean Harlow to fill her shoes and have the same speech problem.

Alas Miss Harlow did not far as well as Miss Bow who rode off into the Capricornian sunset with her own hero, Rex Bell, and finding happiness in another Capricornian abode — the Nevadan desert ranching cattle.³


Footnotes:

  1. David Stenn, Clara Bow:  Runnin’ Wild, Cooper Square Press, c. 2000.
    1. A “tart man” is another name for a barker who entice men to enter a whore house or peep show.
    2. Originally edited, in 1988 by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
  2. Laini Giles, The It Girl and Me, self-published c. 2017 Sepia Stories Publishing.  A fictionalized version of Miss Bow that despite its fantasy, has few good quotes.
  3. Rex E. Bills, The Rulership Book, Tempe, Arizona: The American Federation of Astrologers c. 1971.
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