20 DECEMBER 1940, Page 13


SIR,—Your reviewer accuses Mr. Alan Hodge and myself of making " a dogmatic denial of the well-established historical fact that Clara Bow was the It ' girl." He is being a little slapdash. We wrote: "' It' meant being slinky and mysterious. . . . In the 'thirties ` It' gave place to Oomph,' a more vigorous sex-appeal—Clara Bow, the 'temperamental red-haired comedienne, was really an Oomph,' not an It,' girl." The scholarly point we were making was that Hollywood advertised Clara Bow as an " It " girl, in disregard of the agreed meaning of the word as patiently explained by its inventor, Miss Elinor Glyn, on several occasions, e.g., in It and Other Stories (1927), ch. I, p. 20. Some years later Ann Sheridan, when the abused concept " It " had gone a little stale, was advertised by her producers as " The Oomph GirL" " Oomph " was a Hollywood word for what Clara Bow had really had ; whereas " It " was what Clara Bow's predecessor, Theda Bara, had really had—though Holly- wood (not yet knowing about " It ") had described it as "Vampish Allure." I hope this is all now plain to week-enders and post-week-

Gelmfston, Near Brixham, S. Devon.