24 March 2015

A recognition for your zeal and enthusiasm

On 12 April 1926, Clara Bow signed her first contract with Paramount earning $750 per week. After the immediate success of "Mantrap" released in July of that same year, Bow's contract was renewed into a five-year deal and her weekly salary more than doubled to $1,700 (it would eventually rise to $4,000 per week in the last year). Her roles in the 1927 hits "It" and "Wings" made Bow Paramount's number one star and biggest box-office draw, and as a reward the studio decided to give her a salary raise in August 1928, earlier than was agreed upon in their contract. Bow was to receive $2,837 per week, becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood (several sources, including Imdb, say that Bow earned as much as $35,000 per week, but that is today's equivalent of her actual salary). Shown below is the 1928 contract which informed Bow of her salary raise and why she deserved it: 

Image courtesy of profiles in history

Transcript:

August 15, 1928

Miss Clara Bow,
Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Miss Bow:

This is to inform you that we have decided to commence payment to you of salary at the rate of $2837.00 per week, the salary set forth in our agreement with you dated August 16, 1926, as the salary payable to you during the next option period thereof, on August 16, 1928, instead of on October 11, 1928, which is the date of the commencement of said next option period.

Our purpose of granting you the additional compensation herein provided, beyond the compensation provided for by our said agreement with you is to give you substantial recognition for your zeal and enthusiasm in the service of the company.

It is understood  and agreed between us that the agreement dated August 16, 1926, between you and this Corporation, is in all respects ratified and confirmed, and that the inducements hereby held out are not intended to vary the terms of the said agreement, and when accepted by you shall be considered further and additional consideration for all your undertakings contained in the said agreement of August 16, 1926.

Kindly sign under the word "Accepted" below and return this letter for our files, retaining the enclosed duplicate original. 

Yours very truly,
PARAMOUNT FAMOUS LASKY CORPORATION
BY: (signed J.J. Gain)
Executive Manager

ACCEPTED:
(signed Clara Bow)

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