WAMPAS BABY STARS
Between 1922 and 1934 the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers, elected 13 starlets, or ‘WAMPAS Baby Stars’. As Photoplay Magazine noted in 1925, “the selection was made, not on what the girls have done in the past, but on their prospects for the future. They are all beginners whose latent talent and beauty have attracted the attention of the men who acquaint the outside world with the personalities of filmland's capital.”
The WAMPAS Constitution affirmed that each WAMPAS member should feel an “ever-present consciousness of his responsibility to the profession he publicizes, the industry he represents and to the public whose tendencies, thoughts and impulses he is such a factor in forming and directing”. With this in mind, the girls were given new identities, then presented to the world at the annual ‘WAMPAS Frolic’, where their all American beauty could be celebrated and idealised.
Although Joan Crawford, Mary Astor, and Fay Wray became Hollywood hits, most Baby Stars were not destined for stardom. Of the 143 girls, most were unable to pursue careers in the ‘talkies’ and rapidly disappeared from public consciousness. Today, their images remain lost in Hollywood archives.