How I Broke Into The Movies ~ Written By Olive Borden

Olive Borden


Written by Olive Borden in 1927

When I was sixteen I began to realize that somewhere in the direction of the setting sun lay a city where marvels of fame, wealth, and success were obtainable if one could only find the key. One day I said to mother, "Let's go to Hollywood. I'll be able to find work in the motion pictures and then we'll have a cunning little bungalow with loads of flowers and maybe a Ford." My mother is, luckily, the type of person who believes in allowing her child to follow whatever career she desires, providing it is constructive. Therefore, within a short time, our little family boarded the train for that mysterious and alluring city of Hollywood. We arrived on Tuesday. On Thursday I had not only made the rounds of the studios asking for a chance to before the clicking cameras but had been engaged in a small part at Christie Studios. For three days all went well and then I was informed by the director that I had better try something besides pictures. That night I went home to mother and wept with my first tears of disappointment and discouragement. The discouragement was short-lived, however, and I awoke the next morning as full of determination as ever. Then followed weary weeks of being told "Nothing today, I'm sorry" at the various casting offices. Naturally with no work obtainable and the ordinary necessities of life demanding attention, the bank account dwindled at an alarming rate. So a council of war was called and mother and myself took stock of our possessions.

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Olive Borden Tom Mix
With Tom Mix in The Yankee Senor

After several hours of consultation we determined to find some sort of remunerative business and simply tide over the period until another chance arose. Accordingly a small candy store near the University of California Southern Branch, was leased and donning a dainty apron I stood behind the counter and sold lollipops to hungry students. But lollipops are expensive and students have little money, so after six months we found that most of our transactions were down in red inks in the books. This blow, which was hard at first, proved to be the waving of a magic wand over my careers. A fairy prince in the guise of a casting director stood with outstretched hand at a comedy studio. For several months I played in comedies, and several small parts in dramatic productions followed. But I was never given a great chance until I was given a part in "The Yankee Senor" in support of Tom Mix. About this time John Ford, the director of "The Iron Horse", was casting for his next epic of the screen, "3 Bad Men" and Mr. Winfield R. Sheehan, general manager, selected me for the leading role opposite George O'Brien. In this picture I played with such seasoned troupers as J. Farrell MacDonald, Frank Campeau, Tom Santschi, and Alex Francis. A long term contract, and now, every time I want to feel real serious I buy a lollipop. It makes me feel like Hamlet soliloquizing over the skull in the graveyard.

Olive Borden Sibbie Borden
With her mother Sibbie

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