“I Feel The Need for Speed!”-Bebe Daniels, Movie Star-Diva-Viva-Vixen-Vamp. Convict/Wife/Native Texan

Make a Wish Sailor Lance

Good Luck With That!

(Please read the ‘Author’s Note’ at the very end of this post.)

Perfection in every way

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Then we have these two Naval idiots:

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Speed Girl was so Speedy

Speed Girl name was Bebe

Speed Girl hailed from Texas

She showed them how reckless

A Girl can become

If Dallas she’s from

Speed Girl was a Diva

She gave ’em th’ fevah

Speed Girl was a charmer

Forget not your armor

Speed Girl no deceiver

She made men believe her

In Cali She landed

There She got stranded

Speed Girl was a-speedin’

She had a good reason

Speed Girl go fast

Knows life don’t last

Judge Cox passed his sentence

Ten days of repentance

For driving while blind

Is this such a crime?

He then brought her roses

Which kind of exposes

Judge Cox reveled in the publicity of the Daniels case, and presented Bebe with this bouquet of roses upon her release from nine days in jail, insisting that a photographer record the event. Daniels appears apprehensive.

His Judgment decreed

Was lame and weak-kneed

Speed Girl did her Time

But She did not mind,

“Twelve Men had decided

“I was guilty and chided.”

20-year-old Daniels in her actual jail cell with her booking number around her neck

“Jail’s not so bad”

She said never sad

“But jail is no joke”

“Don’t think me misspoke”

Yet cooties were none”

“So I missed all that fun”

Daniels wrung publicity from the incident―fans sent her flowers, Santa Ana businesses sent furniture and gourmet meals to her cell, and Abe Lyman and his Orchestra arrived from the famed Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles to serenade Bebe in her jail cell.

Then Swifter than Taylor

She captured her jailer

She said “Life is for livin’

“And enjoyin’ the women”

Jailer was smitten

By Love Bug he’s bitten

Daniels is being booked by longtime jailer Theo “Budge” Lacy Jr into the Orange County Jail

Speed Girl was so vexy

And ever so sexy

Speed Girl was not greedy

Just a bit needy

She craved little things

Like big diamond rings

She lived her life lustful

Never distrustful

Some found her naïve

They couldn’t conceive

A Girl full of moxie

And so Goddamn foxy

Speed Girl was a Grand One

She lived with Abandon

Speed Girl was Audacious

But never Fallacious

Speed Girl was Real Beauty

And also a Movie

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And Wow!

Was She Groovy!

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Added Value:

Bebe Daniels Tribute~That’s You Baby~1929-Hal Kemp Orchestra

Video Credit: preservationhall01

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Tribute to Bebe Daniels

Credit for Video: Shabannie

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Mini Bebe Bio:

Bebe Daniels already had toured as an actor by the age of four in a stage production of “Richard III”. She had her first leading role at the age of seven and started her film career shortly after this in movies for Imperial, Pathe and others.

At 14 she was already a film veteran, and was enlisted by Hal Roach to star as Harold Lloyd’s leading lady in his “Lonesome Luke” shorts, distributed by Pathe. Lloyd fell hard for Bebe and seriously considered marrying her, but her drive to pursue a film career along with her sense of independence clashed with Lloyd’s Victorian definition of a wife.

The two eventually broke up but would remain lifelong friends. Bebe was sought out for stardom by Cecil B. DeMille, who literally pestered her into signing with Paramount. Unlike many actors, the arrival of sound posed no problem for her; she had a beautiful singing voice and became a major musical star, with such hits as Rio Rita (1929) and 42nd Street (1933).

In 1930 she married Ben Lyon, with whom she went to England in the mid-’30s, where she became a successful West End stage star. She and her husband also had their own radio show in London, and became the most popular radio team in the country–especially during World War II, when they refused to return to the US and stayed in London, broadcasting even during the worst of the “blitz”.

Bebe Trivia:

Her movie The Speed Girl (1921) was made to capitalize on her ten-day jail sentence for multiple speeding tickets. The movie’s poster shows her walking out of a jail cell.

While making a personal appearance at a Chicago hotel, several thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry was stolen from Daniels’ hotel room. A longtime fan of Daniels, gangster Al Capone heard about this and put out the word that whoever stole the jewelry had 24 hours to return it “or else”. The jewelry was returned the next day.

Bebe Personal Quotes:

“Believe me, jail is no joke. Still it isn’t as terrible as I anticipated. I’m not surrounded by murderers and bandits. Why, there aren’t any cooties, even. I thought all jails had ’em.”

“Twelve men decided I was guilty of a breach of the law and here I am behind the bars, taking my medicine like a law-abiding person. Jail isn’t as bad as I thought. The most terrifying part was just the thought of being surrounded on all sides by murderers and thieves and various and sundry sorts of criminals.”

“That feeling has left me now, for I find everybody, even the other inmates, are just as nice and considerate as they can be. As to the courtesies of Sheriff Jackson and Jailor Lacy I have only the highest praise.”

“One of my first visitors this morning was Justice Cox, who sentenced me for speeding. He brought me a beautiful bouquet of roses. I have the greatest possible admiration for him because he did only his duty in sending me here.”

Credit: IMDb

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0199841/bio?ref_=nm_ql_1

Credit for Jail Related Photos and text below:

Orange County Sheriff’s Museum & Education Center

Below is the story for anyone interested.

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Orange County’s jailhouse in 1921 entertained probably its most famous “guest” ever, when the youthful actress Bebe Daniels tangled with the county’s notorious anti-speeding crusader, Judge John Belshazzar Cox.

Cox was a barber, not a lawyer, and was a bicyclist, not an auto driver—but as the sole Justice Court judge (justice of the peace) in largely rural Orange County, Cox pretty much set the rules, especially when it came to speeders. He fined anybody traveling down “his” country roads at more than 35 miles an hour (the legal speed maximum), and he jailed anybody convicted of traveling over 50. Bebe Daniels, meanwhile, was a high-spirited Hollywood glamour girl, just turned 20 years old, who owned a swift Marmon roadster, which resulted in a bad driving record, and had an indulgent uncle who this time couldn’t help her out.

Not another car was in sight on the gravel road nearing Santa Ana from Hollywood on February 11, 1921. Accompanying Bebe on this motoring adventure were here gentleman friend of the moment, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey,* and Bebe’s devoted mother Phyllis. Some years later, Bebe wrote her recollections for her biographer.

“One of the things I enjoyed most, when I wasn’t making films, was speeding. I had a fast car which, in the twenties, did over 70 miles an hour—quite a speed in those days; and I was constantly being caught by speed cops for driving too fast. Not that I ever had an accident or hurt anyone. But all I had to do when I got a ticket for speeding was to call up my Uncle Jack who was an important newspaper man and ‘in’ very well with the Los Angeles police department.”

Trouble was, this time, Daniels had crossed the border into Orange County. “The speedometer ticked up to seventy-two miles an hour, a crazy speed in the twenties,” Daniels recalled. “Then suddenly I heard a siren, and two motor-cycle policemen roared up alongside and flagged me down. The usual ticket followed.” Her explanation was that her Marmon’s radiator was overheating, and she was rushing to a repair shop in San Juan Capistrano.

So Bebe telephoned Uncle Jack. “Where are you?,” he inquired.

“Orange County.”

“Baby, you’re in the wrong county.”

“I asked him what he meant. He told me that Judge Cox, who was the judge of Orange County, put everyone in jail who drove over 50. He had even put an admiral of the American Navy in jail. Quite undaunted, I said, ‘Well, you can fix it, can’t you, Uncle Jack?’”

This time, the “fix” was not in, and on March 28 Daniels found herself on trial in Santa Ana’s old stone courthouse, where John Belshazzar Cox often boasted that his “court knows no royal blood.” The Cox system produced as much as $24,000 a year in fines, and the judge once flogged a man in court for wife-beating; personally shaved vagrants’ heads before putting them on the chain gang; and was said to have married nearly 10,000 couples in everything from autos to airplanes. Cox, a tippler, occasionally dozed off during attorneys’ closing arguments, and he thoroughly enjoyed publicity.

As Bebe and her entourage climbed the courthouse steps that March day, 1,500 onlookers gathered to get a glimpse of her. In court, the two motorcycle cops, one of them “county motorcycle officer” Vernon “Shorty” Myers (or Meyers), were called to testify, and illustrated their case on a blackboard, presenting their stopwatches to the elderly male jurors for inspection.

The case had generated worldwide publicity for Santa Ana, for Daniels, and for the Cox court. Daniels’s lawyer, W. I. Gilbert, lamented that “this poor little girl who has been subjected to so much” deserved the court’s leniency. Daniels later recalled: “As Judge Cox listened to the evidence, he was looking at me with a smile, and I smiled back at him. I continued smiling at him when I was called to the witness stand, thinking he would let me off with a warning and a fine. At that time I was working for Paramount film studios and they had already sent a thousand dollars to the Court to pay any fine. So I was not in the least bit worried; but Judge Cox’s smile proved to be very deceptive.”

Thus it was that Bebe Daniels became the first woman to be convicted of speeding in largely agricultural Orange County, and the sentence was 10 days in the old stone jail. It probably did not help her cause when she commented to a reporter: “I suppose if you live in a small town you get like that. I bet 56.25 mph sounds awfully fast if you’ve never driven anything faster than a plow.”** Nonetheless, she deemed Cox “a nice, fatherly old gentleman,” and he summoned photographers to take pictures of the two of them together.

The judge ordered Bebe to report to jail on April 16, enabling her to complete the filming of “The Affairs of Anatol” for Paramount. The judge allowed Phyllis Daniels to reside with Bebe in her daughter’s cell. On Bebe’s arrival at jail, John Belshazzar Cox greeted her with: “I hope you will be very comfortable.”

And certainly she was. The cell was filled with floral arrangements, and had been tastefully redecorated and furnished by Santa Ana furniture magnate William H. Spurgeon. (Which generated so much additional publicity that Spurgeon re-created Bebe’s jail cell in his front window—complete with painted-on cell bars!) Santa Ana residents were quick to make the visiting Hollywood star feel welcome, bringing her fresh oranges and lemons, bon-bons with her initials swirled on each piece, and a Victrola with 150 phonograph records. Her Hollywood friends visited as well, and her guest book eventually showed 792 names—88 a day!

Bebe would recall: “The jailer [Theo ‘Budge’ Lacy Jr.] and his wife were sweet people. The jailer’s wife allowed mother and me to use her private bathroom. . . . back in our cell, breakfast was served . . . coffee, grapefruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, hot rolls—anything we wanted—brought in from the restaurant by an impeccable waiter dressed in a morning suit.” “Sadie,” a bootlegger, asked and received permission to tidy up the famous actress’s cell every day. One afternoon, Abe Lyman and his Cocoanut Grove Orchestra from Bebe’s favorite Los Angeles nightclub set up their instruments on the jailhouse lawn and serenaded her with the “Rose Room Tango,” which she had danced at “the Grove” with Rudolph Valentino. We cannot know what the 63 other female inmates who came and went during Daniels’s stay might have thought of these unusual courtesies.

After a day of well-wishers, reading, watching the clock, and exercising by grasping her cell bars and pulling herself up, the waiter, now in full evening dress (tails, white tie), brought filet mignon, fried chicken, fish and lobster, and sometimes caviar! After dinner, jailer Lacy—“getting more confused and tired looking every day” from the extra activity and duties—allowed Bebe and Phyllis to visit a park across the street, as long as they were back for lights-out at 10.

Despite amenities, Bebe later wrote that “each night, I had the recurring feeling of how awful it was to be locked in a cell . . . I shall never forget the ominous sound of locks being turned and iron gates clanking behind me, and the sound of my cell door being locked on my mother and myself. I was really very miserable. It was a terrible feeling to be locked in one room, even though it was beautifully decorated and my mother was with me. However, I was so furious with Judge Cox that I would not allow myself to cry.”

Bebe Daniels’s sentence finally ended—with one day off for good behavior. Again, Judge Cox presented her with flowers (and summoned a photographer). The Daniels case had inspired a story about Cox in the Saturday Evening Post, and a song, “The Judge Cox Blues,” which Bebe performed at a benefit in Fullerton.

Daniels attested to her biographer that she never sped again—except in a quickie movie after her release, “The Speed Girl,” based on her nine days in jail. The publicity said: “Here is a six-cylinder, one-hundred and twenty, fun-powered record-breaking comedy with Bebe at the wheel. The brakes are off—Slip her into high—Now step on it!”

Fifty years later, when asked by her biographer to list any “particular aversion,” she offered two: “Spiders and motor cops.”

Bebe never forgot.

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Author’s Note:

This post came to me in a dream.

Please allow me to explain:

Last night I kept having this recurring dream about a folder I had ‘attached’ to one of my recent posts. The name of the folder was ‘Speed.’

I kept clicking away trying to get it open. Never have I attached a folder to a post. Was baffled as to why it was even there.

Never got it open.

Woke up.

Did a Google search for “Speed Woman.”

(There must always be a woman; nothing in my life ever happens without the involvement of same)

Google led me to ‘Bebe The Speed Girl’.

Rest is, as they say: “Blogging History”

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Love is a Gun

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