Searching for Ursula ‘in the Movies’

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Academy logoSince I wrote the last post, I have corresponded by e-mail with a reference librarian at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the “Academy Awards” organization). I was disappointed to learn that she found in her sources neither a movie called “Maui” filmed in the late 1920s or early 1930s, nor a mention of Ursula.

Of course, I have searched the movie database for Ursula (and Claire, her middle name) Cheshire, and come up blank. This makes sense, even if Ursula was “in the movies.” The librarian told me: Continue Reading →

Was Ursula in the Movies?

If you’re new to Mystery Dancer, welcome! The best place to start is at the beginning and go from there.

Ursula Cheshire in 1926

Ursula in 1926, a couple of years before her time in Hawaii

Ursula had originally planned to go back to Hawaii and her job as a typing instructor at the Honolulu Business College after a month’s visit in California. But something made her change her mind. Maybe she decided teaching was not for her, or perhaps she enjoyed being back home among her friends, mother and other relatives so much that she chose not to return to the Islands. Or perhaps the lure of Hollywood was too strong to ignore.

By 1929, the year Ursula returned to Los Angeles, California, the movie business was in full swing. The economic downturn that started that October did not initially affect the film industry. With 20 Hollywood studios in operation by the end of that decade, an average of 800 films were released per year and the demand for movies was stronger than ever, according to AMC Filmsite. Continue Reading →

Ursula’s Hawaiian Adventure


This gallery contains 5 photos.

I just ordered a hardcover book called Hollywood to Honolulu, The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company. I can’t wait to see the photographs and read about the ships Continue Reading →

Hawaiian Teaser

S.S. City of Honolulu

Ursula and her friend traveled to Hawaii aboard the S.S. “City of Honolulu” in January 1928



On Saturday, January 14, 1928 in Los Angeles, Ursula and her friend Elizabeth Everhardy boarded the S.S. City of Honolulu, bound for a Hawaiian holiday. I look forward to telling you more about Ursula’s trip, but unfortunately, my schedule has been so busy that I haven’t had as much time to devote to her story as I would like! Please stay tuned.

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Ursula Honored at Friend’s Party

LA Times article on Everhardy luncheon

The “Los Angeles Times” reports on a luncheon thrown by Ursula’s friend Elizabeth Everyhardy (March 27, 1927)

The next news we have of Ursula since her singing on KFWB radio comes from the “Society” column in the March 27, 1927 issue of the Los Angeles Times. Apparently, Ursula was a guest of honor at a luncheon and bridge party given by “Mrs. and Miss Everhardy,” who were longtime friends of the Cheshires. The first mention I found of them in my research was when Ursula’s parents attended a party at their house in February 1909. In June 1916 when Ursula was 14 years old, she was among about “fifty or more of the younger set” who were invited to a surprise dance party for her friend Elizabeth (“Miss Everhardy”).

Sixty-four people were invited to the 1927 luncheon, described as “one of the lovely affairs of the month.” Ursula’s mother, Clara, assisted the hostesses with the party, which included prizes for card games.

Light on fact checking, the news article noted that Ursula had “just returned from several years in Paris, France, where she has been studying voice culture…” As we know, Ursula did study voice culture, but it was in Southern France, and she was abroad just from May 1924 through June 1925, possibly returning to Paris briefly in 1926 to appear in divorce court.

Held at the Elks lodge in Los Angeles, the Everhardys’ event featured lovely décor:

“A spring motif was charmingly carried out in the table decorations, and the tall blue tapers were tied with fluffy bows of yellow tulle, following out a blue and gold color motif, while the place cards were hand-painted sketches of spring maids in all the dainty French colorings.”

Elks Temple 99

The Elks lodge where Ursula attended her friend’s party

Constructed just two years earlier, the Elks’ Art Deco building was later transformed into a luxurious hotel, the Park Plaza, which, according to its website, still stands but is used “exclusively for events and filming.”

Until next time…