Where the Bee Sucks…

The old movie publicists like Nottage and Reichenbach were very clever in creating false back stories for their clients; exotic lifestyles, estranged family members, passions for couture were the foundations for many of these extravagant biographies. Perhaps the most amusing was when fiction became fact in the case of Clara Kimble Smith, whom Harry Reichenbach had falsely reported as being a great lover of bees.

Harry claimed that she spent hours visiting beehives, used beeswax to moisturise her skin and enjoyed studying bees from an anthropological angle. Clara was then asked if she would become patron to the U.S. Honeymakers Consortium, a position which someone who had such a love of bees could hardly refuse. On one of her first engagements for the consortium, Clara was stung, and as she was allergic to bee stings, fell into anaphylactic shock. She was rushed to hospital and had to spend 24 hours under observation only to be released with a swelling on her face so hideous, that the studio had to cancel another day’s shoot. Harry found himself in such deep water, not only with the Consortium who had to deal with the embarrassment of the situation, but also the studio, who charged him for the loss of two days of shooting.