Miss Joyce talks of things in general and in particular of her tiny daughter, Alice.
By Frederick James Smith
[Omitted, Photo of Alice Joyce in front of a house, holding her daughter Alice. Caption: Alice Joyce and her baby daughter, Alice Joyce Moore.]
WHAT do you think of the screen as a career for a girl?" I asked in an inspired moment. Inspirations like this come rarely on a hot summer day, even if you are close to the sea with a pretty girl sitting before you in a charming little bathing suit.
Alice Joyce laughed and kicked one sunburned foot skyward.
I repeated my question impressively.
But Miss Joyce merely giggled, seized the aforementioned foot and placed one sandy toe gracefully in her mouth.
Of course, this was Alice Joyce Moore, Jr., aged twenty months. I say this to allay the anxiety of apprehensive movie fans.
Alice Joyce Moore, Sr., has some interesting thoughts on the subject of work for women in general--and Alice Jr., in particular.
"I could never be dependent," said Alice, Senior. "Never--I believe every woman should have some work in life. I feel that I must earn my pocket money. I could never see a gown in a Fifth Avenue shop window and then hurry home to ask the lord of the manor for the wherewithal to buy it.
"No, indeed. I must earn my own money. I want Alice to be self-supporting, too."
"Are you planning a screen career for her?" I asked..
"I don't think she will be a picture actress," replied Miss Joyce. "The stars say other things are in store for her. But, if she does decide to follow me, I shall help her in every way. The screen and the stage offer no more dangers to a young woman than any other business. It all depends upon the girl herself.
"But I do not want her to be a stage child. I shudder every time we use a typical theatrical kiddie in a photoplay. They're wise beyond their years, precocious, old in everything but age. Poor children, they lose out on their share of childhood. Instead of living in the kiddie's world of dreams and make-believe, they're dragged from studio to studio by thoughtless, money seeking mothers."
I reminded Miss Joyce of her remark anent [sic] the stars' prophecy for Alice, Jr.
"They say that she will be a great musician," explained the star quite seriously. "Probably a violinist. I hope so, for I dearly love music. Besides, it is a profession away from all commercialism."
Miss Joyce believes that one's name has a vital part in bringing about success or failure. It all depends upon the sound vibrations, or something like that, said the star, who further remarked that, in order to get Alice's vibrations just right, a middle name had been omitted. She's just plain Alice.
Mamma Alice Joyce is an interesting student of the motion picture. "I'm not a great actress," she says frankly. "I realize all that. I'm at my best in simple, direct roles--roles that avoid over-emotionalism. I believe that's the serious fault of screen acting. Either one over-acts or under-acts, according to the director's or one's own lack of discrimination--or both."
Miss Joyce glanced at herself in her little vanity case mirror--and smiled. "I'm distinctly not a tailor made girl, neither am I a clinging vine." she said. "I've never been able to understand just why I seem always to be cast for the leader of a band of crooks, counterfeiters, moonshiners or occasionally detectives. Take my part of Mary Turner in 'Within the Law,' for instance. I am not a leader. I can readily assimilate the ideas and suggestions of others, but I couldn't march ahead.
I want little Alice to understand her limitations if she becomes an actress. Perhaps she will have all the things I lack.
Little Alice didn't seem exactly worried about the future at the moment. She was doing a doubtful Charlie Chaplin walk across the bathing beach.
"What type of role do I like?" continued Mama Joyce adjusting her parasol at just the right angle to permit observation of Baby Alice. "Not a sex analysis. I detest that. Not a colorless ingenue. I can't do that silly sort of thing. I like a part that provides some depth or shading of character. I'm woman enough to like a role with an opportunity to dress. I guess most of all I like photoplays with distinct atmosphere."
Miss Joyce says she detests the conventional screen star. "They simply play themselves--with now and then a moment of over-acting, called the 'big scene." Perhaps that's why I love Mae Marsh. She lives a part."
Miss Joyce has all the beauty that brought her from art model to movie star with the Kalem company back in the screen's palmy days. Her personality is yielding and gentle. You would half expect her to be an old-fashioned girl.
[Omitted, picture of Joyce with chin in hand, with caption: A recent portrait of Alice Joyce by Campbell Studio. Also a picture of her at her dressing table, caption: Miss Joyce has mastered the difficult art of make-up. Here she is seen in her dressing room adding the final touches to her toilet.]
But she isn't. No Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire is Miss Joyce. She is frank in analyzing herself. There is no make-believe about her. "I like the open country pretty well." she explained. "But not deeply. I like to take a walk in the woods sometimes. But not alone. I'm not fond of solitude. I love to go about in the evenings. The theater, the cabaret, the midnight city life quite appeal to me. Not every night, of course, because one couldn't do it and keep up with the strenuous studio life.
"Only a little while back I lapsed into the habit of remaining at home each night. The studio days seemed so hard. I let things slip. And I became morose. I wept if any one as much as looked at me. So I decided that I wasn't built for solitude."
All of which may surprise the Joyce fans who have worshipped her as a simple country lassie since she used to play mountaineer girls opposite Carlyle Blackwell in the old Kalem days.
The Joyce career has more of a touch of romance than is usual even in the movie world of romance. Alice Joyce was born in Kansas City in the late '80s, her father, John Joyce, being a smelter worker. The young woman received her education in a convent at Annandale, Md., and, when financial conditions at home became pressing, she came to New York to earn her living. Miss Joyce's first position was that of a telephone operator in the Gramercy exchange. Her unusual type of beauty began to attract attention and she came to pose for artists. It was but a step from art model to the picture studio. Back in those days the director demanded daring as well as prettiness. Alice Joyce passed the test--and the days of struggle as a 'phone girl became memories.
I attempted to shake hands with Alice, Jr., at parting. But the future violin virtuoso wept--loud and lustily.
Perhaps she had the right idea about interviewers.
She kicked the sand. "Wow-ow!" she shrieked, with the accent on the first syllable.
I intend to ask her later just what she meant by that remark.