Scrapbook - memories of helen




Fan Memories



Helen's Pets - Little Known Facts


Helen loved dogs and had many dogs in her lifetime.  It seems that her favorite breed was Yorkshire Terriers.   Helen had a favorite dog,  named "Doodle", also a Yorkshire Terrier. The dog shown below was "Hoot Mon". This photo was taken in 1935.

Helen and one of her dogs

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Interview (from 1970)


When asked about what was her favorite movie, Helen replied, "I think it would be 'His Girl Friday' which was a remake of 'The Front Page'. I saw it not too long ago and it still stands up. It was such a good play written by Hecht and MacArthur."


When asked about who was her favorite leading man, Helen replied, "That's a hard one because I worked with so many. I was in two pictures with Cary Grant but we never had a scene together. However, I managed to be on the set to watch him even when I wasn't working. He was and is a real charmer."


When asked about her fondest memory of those days in the movies, Helen replied, "Impossible to answer. There are too many fond memories. Working with the wonderful Marie Dressler...Lionel Barrymore. Meeting Katharine Hepburn when she first came to Hollywood and having her tell me I was much too "skinny" when she was the most slim person I'd ever seen...but on her it looked good."

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Fan Memories

January 29th, 2004Daryl,


Just found your site for the first time.

I've been a fan and collector of Helen Mack for some years.  I have a number of unusual stills, primarily from her 3 Merian C. Cooper films ("Son Of Kong", "Blind Adventure" and "She") as well as some studio portraits (I had some of them posted at the King Kong tribute site for awhile), and a few pressbooks.  I'm guessing we probably compete against each other for new stills and things on eBay!! 

I've also been endeavoring to compile all of her films (or at least the surviving ones) on vhs, although to date I've only managed to find about 16 of them out of the 45 or so I know of (I've also learned that some of the 1920s stuff is considered "lost").

You might try checking out some movie magazines of the 1930s, there are several with extraordinarily nice photos of Helen (albeit usually tinted pictures), if I get a chance I'll type up a list of those that I know about (I've also got a want-list going, they tend to sell pretty high).

It's great to meet another fan, especially one serious enough to start a web page!  Drop me a line some time, it would be nice to talk to a knowledgeable person...

-Jeff Cook

March 20th, 2004

In 1970, John Firca wrote a fan letter to Helen Mack. She responded with a letter (see the copy on the "Deleted Scenes" page). Recently John was located by a friend of mine, Ann Gallon. Of course this was quite amazing, as it has been 34 years since that letter was written and that Ann got lucky on her first try. The following is an excerpt from John's e-mail to me. I hope you enjoy it.

Hello Daryl Curtis,

This e-mail is sent in response to your inquiry about John Firca. Yes I am the same John Firca who wrote to Helen Mack and whose letter you have now posted on your web site. I am sorry not to have answered you in the first instance but I did not find Ann Gallon's name on Helen's site and therefore did not know she was your associate.

I began collecting autographs of early film stars when I was a teenager about 15-19 years old. I realized that so many of my favorite silent and early talkie stars were yet alive and attempted to located them. Many were difficult to find - as was Helen Mack.  I would go to the library and  spend hours looking through old New York Times index searching for clues as to their whereabouts  or utilized a host of other reference materials. There was no internet then and it was quite an adventure.  As you say, most of these stars were forgotten, yet in their time they were major actors and actresses.  My teen years was a time when National Directory Assistance was free and I would constantly call it to pursue another  lead. So Ann Gallon turned the tables on me when she tracked me down and I got a taste of  how it feels to be on the receiving end! Thank you Ann! You did a good job!  

Once I contacted a cemetery to obtain the address of actress May Allison from the silent era.  Her late husband died in the 1920's and was editor of Photoplay  magazine. The cemetery told me she owned the plot and gave me her address and I contacted information who gave the telephone number. I always had to use ingenuity to find people. It was all quite interesting and educational.  I had mostly wonderful responses. I think that being a teenager helped too!

I first saw Helen Mack in "Son of Kong" (of  course!) but later found her delightful in other films.  I decided to write her but had no idea where she was living.  After some research I discovered that she had last married radio producer Tom McAvity in 1942 (I believe that the date may have been 1940 - D.C.) and that she had a son from that marriage. (From her first marriage to Charles Irwin, FOX West Coast Theatre executive in 1935, she also had a son.)

In addition , from my notes at the time, I determined she was living in New York City , looked her up in the Manhattan telephone directory and found her listed under McAvity.  I telephoned her and had a receptive and friendly chat. It was a typical fan-to-star conversation in which I expressed my admiration etc. She was quite impressed that I was only 18 years old at the time. She was a pleasure to talk to and most gracious.  I explained that I had a music sheet from her film, "College Rhythm", with her picture on it and asked if she would autograph it for me. She agreed. I sent it to her and she signed it and answered my questions in the letter you now possess.  The date of that letter is JUNE, 1970.  Later, Lanny Ross, who also appeared in the film, signed it also.  Helen said she would try to find a  photo for me but I never heard from her again. I was preparing to leave New Jersey for college in North Carolina and am sad to say that is all the contact I had with Helen Mack.

 I am now 52 years old and have been sorting through things and thus in 2002 I sold the letter you possess.  My kids are not interested in these old stars  and I thought the letter would end up in the hands of a collector who would cherish it and give it new life. I am happy its journey brought it to you.  I am happy too that the questions I asked Helen Mack has historical value and is being used to pay tribute to her on your wonderful website.

Nothing could make me happier than seeing the work you have accomplished honor her. I am certain her family is excited as well.  My college background is history and I am impressed with what you have accomplished.  If you wish a copy of the autographed music sheet that Helen signed, send me your address and I will go to Kinkos and color copy it for you.  I am living here in New Jersey yet. If you need any further information please contact me. Good luck in your work and thank you for your efforts. I know that Helen Mack would be proud of you too!  

John Firca

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March 29th, 2004

From our former across-the-street neighbor and friend, Art Ronnie, a movie publicist, book collector (15,000 now) and author - in response to my email query on HM.       ~ Ann Gallon

About Helen Mack: yes, I remember her well.  It is amazing what your friend, Daryl curtis, has put together on her.  I have no insight and nothing to offer regarding it.  I just remember her.  I particularly remember her as Marge in radio's "Myrt and Marge" in 1941.  She was a tiny little thing.


Site below is to Art's book listed on - Counterfeit Hero, the life of Fritz Dusquesne     


April 22nd, 2004


Thank you so much for your response and I will indeed watch for the movies you mentioned.

Over the years (I am 55) I have watched Helen Mack in a number of movies most of which seemed to me to be inferior vehicles for someone with her talent and beauty (screen presence?).
I suppose that's how the "studio system" worked.
I felt that she deserved better roles.
As to my interest in Helen Mack....This is something I am unable to adequately explain.......whether it was beauty.....or talent......or that certain something that makes a movie star of some people and is lacking in others.........I was always glued to the screen whenever one of her movies was on TV........I watched the credits at the end to identify the cast and found Miss Mack's name....
Since the Internet and came into existence it has been much easier to fill in the blank spaces for so many movies I have seen.
Your site, which was an IMDB referral, has been so very helpful in this process and I would like to thank you once again for all your hard work!
Of course you have my permission to use any part of my comments if you feel they may be of some benefit.
Chandler Huston
La Porte, Texas


The following obituary is from the Los Angeles Times. It's amazing how much information they get wrong. The things that I picked out that are in error include:

  1. States that she was in nearly 30 films - should be 38

  2. Very limited description of her radio career

  3. Have the title for the Broadway play incorrect - should be "The Mating Dance", not "The Matinee Dance"

  4. The play was on Broadway in 1965, not the '70's

Note: click on the picture above to open the PDF file!

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