Original ad for The Leopard Lady from Motion Picture News, 1928.

Over on Rupert's Facebook page, I got a note from another silent-era-obsessed researcher named JL Barnett, who sent me this - MAGNIFICENT - image of Rupert with actor Charlie Gemora, about whom I knew very little.

The film was The Leopard Lady, one of a series of pictures Rupert made with Cecil B. DeMille between 1925 and 1928 - along with Hell's Highroad, The Yankee Clipper, Three Faces East, The Country Doctor, Walking Back and Silence.

Rupert Julian with actor Charlie Gemora (in monkey suit) on the set of The Leopard Lady, c1928. From Charlie's personal archive, courtesy of his family and JL Barnett.

Sadly, it's another of the many lost films of the silent era - some of which, I'm told, were used in Hollywood to help ignite fires on set in subsequent films like Gone With The Wind, as the old stock was easily flammable!

As I've probably mentioned before, it's a real shame we don't have colour photos of Rupert in his daily dress for work, as described by De Mille's secretary - they sound spectacular!

I wish you could see Rupert Julian (he directed Phantom Of The Opera and a number of other big pictures). He is such a dainty dresser. Wears pretty ties of delicate pink and sometimes a brilliantly colored silk scarf draped around his neck, etc. I don’t think he is effeminate - not at all - but just dresses crazy. He is also quite affectionate, providing one gave him just a little bit of leeway. We are pretty good friends and he knows that I won’t tolerate any funny business.
— - Valeria Belletti, Diary of a Hollywood Secretary

Charlie Gemora, Alan Hale & Jacqueline Logan in The Leopard Lady, 1928.

Charlie sounds like a fascinating character - a sculptor, painter, actor and makeup artist, he was also involved with Rupert as a sculptor on Phantom of the Opera in 1925.

Rupert gave him his first work as an actor in a feature film, in the gorilla costume seen here; but his career in Hollywood continued until his death in 1961, and included work with Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Hope and Crosby and working on countless features like Witness for the ProsecutionAround the World in Eighty Days, The Ten Commandments, and Double Indemnity - often uncredited, in the makeup department. (He also made a surprising number of appearances in ape costumes over that lengthy career.)

Our friend JL Barnett has made a documentary about Charlie Gemora's life and work, which I've yet to watch myself but I'm looking forward to viewing very soon - but if you'd like to know more, check it out here!