Daily Mail

Golden age of Lollywood

- Richard Jolley, Preston, Lancs.

QUESTION Who was the highest paid actor in the golden age of Hollywood?

Top of the Hollywood tree in the early part of the ‘golden’ era were Charlie Chaplin and Mary pickford.

Chaplin’s Little Tramp was a cultural phenomenon. Lookalike contests were held in cinemas, amusement parks and at charity events; there was all manner of merchandis­ing, from miniature statues to costumes; and comic strips and songs were written about him.

A journalist for Motion picture magazine wrote that ‘Chapliniti­s’ had spread across America. When Chaplin contracted for one year with Essanay film studios in 1915, he made headlines for earning $1,250 (£1,000) a week, equivalent to more than £30,000 today, with a $10,000 (£8,000) signing bonus.

After making 14 films for Essanay, the savvy Chaplin upped his price: $10,000 (£8,000) a week, $150,000 (£125,000) signing bonus, and a cut of his films’ profits.

He received offers from Universal, Fox and Vitagraph, but it was Mutual Film Corporatio­n that met all his demands — worth more than £16.5 million a year in today’s money.

Aged 26, Chaplin became one of the highest-paid people in the world.

Studio boss John R. Freuler explained: ‘We can afford to pay Mr Chaplin this large sum annually because the public wants Chaplin and will pay for him.’

Mary pickford, America’s Sweetheart, was equally shrewd about her star power. In 1916, she signed a $10,000-a-week contract with Adolph Zukor’s Famous players - Lasky company ( later paramount). She also received half of her films’ profits, with a guarantee of $1 million, and control over production.

Despite the Great Depression, Hollywood’s brightest stars continued to make big bucks. In 1937, the top earners were Gary Cooper on $370,000, equivalent to £5.8 million today; then Mae West £5.1 million; Ronald Colman £4 million; Fredric March £3.8 million; Fred Astaire £3.3 million and Katharine Hepburn £3.2 million.

QUESTION What is stochastic terrorism?

THIS is a new phrase used by academics, police and politician­s to describe how ideologica­lly driven speech, often through social media, increases the likelihood that certain people or groups of people will violently and unpredicta­bly attack the targets of vicious claims.

Stochastic means random, while in this context, terrorism refers to violence motivated by ideology.

The idea is that dehumanisi­ng and vilifying rhetoric doesn’t explicitly order someone to carry out an act of violence against a particular group, but a person (a ‘lone wolf’) who is feeling threatened is motivated to do so.

It exploits one of our strongest and most complicate­d emotions: disgust. Classic examples were the Nazis dehumanisi­ng Jewish people as ‘vermin’ and colonialis­ts dismissing indigenous people as ‘savages’.

Mrs A. S. Ratcliffe, Oxford.

QUESTION Was blood doping once legal in some sports?

BLooD doping wasn’t made illegal in internatio­nal sport until 1985.

Administer­ing oxygenated blood to athletes was developed by sports scientists in the 1960s and 1970s. A key driver in its developmen­t was the 1968 Mexico City olympics, where physiologi­sts recognised the difficulty of getting sufficient oxygen to muscle tissue in the rarefied air at a 1.5 mile-high altitude.

Red blood cell transfusio­ns for people suffering from trauma or anaemia increase the amount of oxygen. It was realised that giving oxygenated blood to healthy athletes would enhance their performanc­e in endurance sport.

The process was simple. Two pints of blood were withdrawn from an athlete at least six weeks before a race. The red cells were then separated and frozen. The athlete’s body would naturally replace this blood. Just before the race, the frozen red cells were thawed and reinfused into the athlete to elevate the red cell count temporaril­y.

The system was developed by Swedish scientists for their own athletes. In 1972, Bjorn Ekblom at the Institute of physiology of performanc­e in Stockholm showed that test subjects saw a 25 per cent increase in stamina after a transfusio­n.

Finnish long- distance runner Lasse Viren famously won double gold medals on the track in 5,000m and 10,000m at the 1972 and 1976 olympics. He never achieved such times before or after.

Allegation­s of blood doping dogged Viren, who always denied them, claiming altitude training and reindeer milk were the keys to his enhanced performanc­e.

Some of his teammates did confess to blood doping, most notably Kaarlo Maaninka, who won silver in the 10,000m and bronze in the 5,000m at the 1980 olympics. He was not sanctioned because he had not broken any rules at that point. The anti-doping effort of the time was focused on amphetamin­es and anabolic steroids.

The Los Angeles olympics in 1984 was the turning point, after there was extensive use of blood transfusio­ns, including by several members of the successful U.S. cycling team. The Internatio­nal olympic Committee (IoC) had enough and banned blood doping in 1985.

In the 1990s, more efficient forms of blood doping were developed using geneticall­y engineered erythropoi­etin (Epo), a protein that promotes elevated red blood cell production. It is illegal but notoriousl­y difficult to detect because, unlike with a transfusio­n, the number of red blood cells increases gradually. Dr Ian Smith, Cambridge.

IS THERE a question to which you want to know the answer? Or do you know the answer to a question here? Write to: Charles Legge, Answers To Correspond­ents, Daily Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY; or email charles.legge@dailymail.co.uk. A selection is published, but we’re unable to enter into individual correspond­ence.

 ?? ?? Highest-paid actress: Mary Pickford
Highest-paid actress: Mary Pickford

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