A Man of Few Demerits: Cecil B. DeMille at PMC

October 21, 2010

The iconic Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille graces the cover of the fall Widener Magazine and is featured in a lead article I wrote.   I very much enjoyed digging through the archives in Widener’s Wolfgram Library, scouring the Pennsylvania Military College records in search of DeMille’s footprints.

One of the most intriguing items I found that we didn’t have room to print is the record of a demerit DeMille earned on Sept. 26, 1896, for missing an assembly.  I searched through all of the books for his time here from 1896-98 and he was rarely cited.   That’s probably why he finished fourth in his class one year.  Below is a scan of the “List of Cadets Undergoing Punishment.”  DeMille’s name is fourth from the top (you can click on the image to enlarge it.)

I started the article with well-known references to DeMille, including the classic line by Gloria Swanson summoning DeMille at the end Sunset Boulevard.   The final three minutes of the movie is on Youtube.com, a clip including her famous words.  If you haven’t seen the Billy Wilder film, it’s an all-time classic I highly recommend.  It also includes a cameo of DeMille playing himself.  — Sam Starnes, Editor


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