The Clara Bow/Sarah Greene Connection

What do silent movie star Clara Bow, and ex-Blue Peter and Saturday Superstore presenter Sarah Greene have in common?  The answer, of course, is that they are both the subjects of urban myths in which they are said to have pleasured an entire sports team in one sitting.  Clara Bow, it is claimed, was known to entertain at home the University of Southern California football team, including a young Marion Morrison, or John Wayne to you and me.  Sarah Greene, meanwhile, is a legendary figure at Hull University, where freshers are shown the groove in the halls snooker table where the incident involving Greene and the entire rugby team is said to have taken place.

Now, despite being featured in Kenneth Anger’s seminal book Hollywood Babylon, the Bow incident in all likelihood never occurred, and anything remotely similar involving Sarah Greene is definitely a LIE and DID NOT HAPPEN and I AM IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT IT DID (although interestingly it is mentioned on her Wikipedia page).  

This raises the interesting question, why did a false story about a figure from Hollywood’s early days, most likely originating in a scandalous gossip mag, re-emerge so many years later across the Atlantic, besmirching the reputation of a lovable children’s TV presenter, albeit one with a slightly naughty glint in her eye.  Were there any interim stages of the myth?  Did it at one point, perhaps, feature Fanny Craddock and the Twickenham Branch of the Cucumber and Courgette Growers Society?  Has it since mutated again, to feature a young up-and-coming starlet (or Jordan)?  

A subtle linking factor is that in both versions of the story, it is specifically a university sports team that is involved.  Is it perhaps a story that spreads from university to university, each one finding an unfortunate figure amongst their past alumni to take on the ‘Clara’ role?

Does anybody know of any other variations on this story?  I am curious.  In a scholarly disinterested way, obviously.


6 Responses to “The Clara Bow/Sarah Greene Connection”

  1. I have it on very good authority (an eye witness) that the Sarah Greene incident did indeed happen.

  2. There are many who claim to have witnessed the event (enough to fill a rugby pitch, almost). No one ever says they joined in though.

  3. Well unless you went first you wouldn’t would you……

  4. If it meant I’d win an argument…

  5. Yes, it’s done the rounds in various guises. Marc Almond is another subject (though variants suggest it was animals he was pleasuring).

    Snopes, the go-to site for urban myth debunking, mentions a couple of the variants here and here.

  6. I was the poor unfortunate bastard who had to lie on his back and actually verify the Sarah Greene graffiti on that billiard table.

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