Bebe’s Special Cocktail
She played “The Girl” opposite Harold Lloyd’s “The Boy.” Once, while staying in a hotel in Chicago, her jewelry was stolen. None other than Al Capone put out the word that the jewelry should be returned forthwith. It was. She spent five days in jail for speeding. Her next film was titled The Speed Girl.
Texas-born Bebe Daniels made her motion picture debut at the age of nine playing Dorothy in the 1910 Selig Polyscope version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She was only 14 when she started working with Harold Lloyd, though you would never believe it seeing the two together on the screen. She displays an unusual self-confidence and almost worldly maturity for a teenager. She became the perfect foil for Lloyd’s screwy antics. Lloyd was eight years her senior, but that did not stop a budding romance between the two. They shared a love of dancing and won numerous celebrity contests together, once beating out Wallace and Dorothy Reid and Gloria Swanson and Wallace Berry. They were inseparable, but she had ambitions to play in something besides knockabout comedies. When Cecile B. DeMille approached her to join him at Famous Players Studios, she was more than flattered, but she told him she must wait for her current contract to expire. She didn’t want to leave Lloyd in the lurch; she certainly owned him that much. She was also in love with him. Harold was in love, too, but was not ready for the responsibility of marriage. So, Bebe moved on.
She made a number of films with DeMille, including Male and Female, Why Change Your Wife, and The Affairs of Anatol where Bebe plays Satan Synne, the “wickedest woman in New York.” The cast included Wallace Reid and Gloria Swanson, both of whom she and Lloyd had beaten in the dance contest.
Today, if she is remembered for anything, it is her role in the Busby Berkeley extravaganza 42nd Street with Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers, and Ruby Keeler. But did you know she played Ruth in the original Maltese Falcon (1931)? Did you know there was a version before the now famous one with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor? She would also play opposite the likes of Rudolph Valentino, John Barrymore, and Randolph Scott before retiring from Hollywood and moving to London with her husband Ben Lyons, whom she had married in 1930. They remained in London throughout the blitz to broadcast their immensely popular BBC radio sitcom, Hi, Gang! After such a career, Bebe Daniels deserves something special. Not knowing her potation of choice (or if she even had one) we present:
Bebe’s Special Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
2 dashes Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
1 Egg White
3-5 drops Angostura Bitters
Combine first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake to emulsify the egg. Add ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add 3-5 drops of Angostura bitters to the top of the drink. For more about using raw eggs in drinks see the post on the Clover Club Cocktail and the How to Mix Drinks page.
Bebe Daniels died in 1971, aged seventy. She still had all the dance trophies she had won with Harold Lloyd.