Brooklyn-born silent screen star Clara Bow was known as “The Brooklyn Bonfire” and “The ‘IT’ Girl.” What is IT? “Self-confidence and indifference as to whether you are pleasing or not and something in you that gives the impression that you are not at all cold,” explained Elinor Glyn, whose novel was the basis for the 1927 film “IT” that made Clara Bow a sex symbol.
In this scene from the film, Bow is a shop girl who goes on a first date with her boss to Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park. It’s fun to watch old-fashioned “date rides” like the Human Roulette Wheel and the Barrel of Love help them get acquainted. When the couple try the slide, “Mr. Waltham” jauntily wraps his legs around her and she asks him to hold her tight. But when he drives her home and tries to kiss her goodnight, she slaps his face and says “So you’re one of those minute men. The minute you know a girl, you think you can kiss her!”
Our favorite real-life quote from Clara Bow: “I’m a curiosity in Hollywood. I’m a big freak, because I’m myself!” And here’s a delicious bit of trivia from Matt Kennedy, the longtime executive secretary of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, who was born in 1905, the same year as Clara Bowtinelli: As a teenager, the future IT Girl sliced hot dog rolls for Nathan’s!
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