Cars in books, March 1983

From the paperback “Mary Pickford”, a Star book, published by W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd. in 1975: In the spring of 1925 a plot to kidnap Mary Pickford was uncovered, thanks to one of the four conspirators telling the police in advance. The plan called for sandbagging the chauffeur of the two-seated custom-built Rolls-Royce roadster in which Mary Pickford rode to and from the studio, blindfolding and gagging the actress, and taking her to a hide-out in the Santa Monica Mountains, and then demanding $100,000 as ransom. The four men also hoped to capture child-star Jacky Coogan, also E. L. Doheny the Third, of the oil and banking family, and Pola Negri.

The police, even knowing these plans, had to catch the kidnappers in the act, and so followed them for weeks before they made a move. Mary Pickford was asked to keep to her regular schedule of going to and from work, and her stand-in, serving as a decoy, took frequent rides in the Rolls-Royce, whose design Douglas Fairbanks had borrowed from the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII. A bodyguard was added to the set of “Little Annie Roonie”, and Mary and Douglas armed themselves with a .45 Colt each. Finally apprehended, without kidnapping anybody, the three men were sentenced to from 10 to 50 years at San Quentin.