Rare Footage of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald From the 1920s

The writer F. Scott Fitzger­ald and his flam­boy­ant wife Zel­da are often remem­bered as the embod­i­ment of the boom and bust that con­vulsed Amer­i­ca in the peri­od between the two world wars.

Like char­ac­ters in The Great Gats­by, Scott and Zel­da lived lives of wild aban­don in the Roar­ing Twen­ties, rid­ing on top of taxi cabs and splash­ing in the Plaza Hotel foun­tain. Scott was inspired and prod­ded along in his dis­si­pa­tion by the noto­ri­ous­ly eccen­tric Zel­da. As Ring Lard­ner once put it, “Mr. Fitzger­ald is a nov­el­ist and Mrs. Fitzger­ald is a nov­el­ty.”

But by the time the stock mar­ket crashed in 1929, so too had the Fitzger­alds. Scot­t’s drink­ing caught up with him, and Zel­da’s eccen­tric­i­ty evolved into schiz­o­phre­nia. Their sad down­fall is cap­tured in Fitzger­ald’s 1930 sto­ry, “Baby­lon Revis­it­ed.” Zel­da would live the rest of her life in men­tal insti­tu­tions while Scott spent his final years in Hol­ly­wood, strug­gling to pay for her treat­ment and try­ing to recap­ture his lost glo­ry. Their daugh­ter, Scot­tie, was raised by oth­er peo­ple.

In this video we catch a few glimpses of the Fitzger­alds in their hey­day, before the par­ty came to an end. The film clips are fun to watch but the YouTube video on which they are col­lect­ed should per­haps be tak­en with a grain of salt. We’re not sure, for exam­ple, that the clip pur­port­ing to show Zel­da being “very live­ly in a street” is actu­al­ly of her. It appears to show some­one else. And one of the cap­tions claims that Fitzger­ald is pic­tured writ­ing The Great Gats­by, but accord­ing to the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na’s Fitzger­ald Web site, the sen­tence he is writ­ing on paper is: “Every­body has been pre­dict­ing a bad end for the flap­per, but I don’t think there is any­thing to wor­ry about.”

Relat­ed con­tent:

Win­ter Dreams: F. Scott Fitzger­ald’s Life Remem­bered in a Fine Film

F. Scott Fitzger­ald Recites From Shake­speare’s Oth­el­lo and John Mase­field­’s ‘On Grow­ing Old’

Find F. Scott Fitzger­ald’s works in our col­lec­tions of Free eBooks and Free Audio Books

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