It’s not every day that you get to hear a first-hand account of what political conventions used to be like when a floor fight an expected part of the proceedings. On today’s show, Leonard spoke to Diana Serra Cary, who had been a child star in Hollywood during the Silent Era. Now 93, she was hired by the Democrats as a kind of mascot to appear alongside Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the 1924 Convention. Hear her describe the chaotic scene on the floor that she saw, far different from the carefully choreographed events we see today.
Diana Serra Cary, who is believed to be the last remaining major film star from Hollywood’s silent era and is the subject of the documentary “Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room,” joins us along with the film’s director, Vera Iwerebor. Peggy-Jean Montgomery was a hugely popular Hollywood star, earning $1,500,000 a year by the age of 6. But by the age of 11 her money had been stolen and squandered by her family. Six decades later, she reinvented herself as Diana Serra Cary, a film historian and advocate for laws protecting child performers. "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room" is screening at MOMA September 5-9.