by Marilyn Slater
In 1924 at a New Year’s Day party at the Los Angeles apartment of the Denver playboy, Courtland Dines where our Mabel and her good friend Edna Purviance were guests: a horrific incident accrued. Dines was shot and wounded by Mabel’s chauffer, Horace Greer in either a defense of Mabel’s honor or as Horace Greer’s defense attorney said it was in self-defiance. Diner recovered and returned to his family in Denver. The charges against Greer were dropped when Dines refused to press charges and would not testify. And Greer was returned to the authorities in San Francisco where it seems he was an escaped criminal by the name of Joseph Kelly alias Horace Greer.
This incident permanently damaged Mabel in the eyes of her public as it was the second shooting of one of her friends within the span of two short years. William Desmond Taylor had been shot in February of 1922 again both Mabel and Edna had been friends with the Paramount director. Mabel had visited Taylor just a few hours before his death and Edna was his next door neighbor and had knocked on his door seeing the light on at his apartment when she had returned home later. Taylor’s murder has never been officially identified. Now in 1924 both movies showing Mabel Normand and Edna Purviance were barred by order of the state censorship boards across the county. Mabel had been unwell and this exacerbated the health problems she was having, 1924 was not a good year for Mabel personally or professionally.
In looking into the facts surrounding this 1924 shooting I found a newspaper photo of Horace Greer alias Joseph Kelly. This is the first picture I have found of him and thought I would share it with you.