The February, 1951 issue of Guideposts magazine featuring Louis B. Mayer and his article, “The Echo.”
“A simple rule, but to me it has been a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night.”
Louis B. Mayer in His Own Words
Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that just in time for my great-uncle’s 130th birthday, he reached out to ensure his own words could be heard, instead of merely the volumes that have been written about him, true and otherwise, since his death in 1957.
Two days ago, and completely out of the blue, I was contacted by Brett Leveridge of Guideposts magazine offering to share with me the inspirational article L.B. wrote for the February 1951 issue. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Guideposts was established by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (most notably the author of The Power of Positive Thinking and If You Think You Can You Can) in 1945 to provide inspiration to the returned servicemen of WWII but found, instead, that their most avid readers were women, especially in the midwest and south. Although they initially missed their target audience, nearly 70 years later, Guideposts is still going strong – as is Dr. Peale’s positive thinking message.
As you can imagine, I was stunned and delighted and when I told Brett that the next day would be Louis’ birthday, he was shocked. So I am thrilled to share this article with you, as well as the front cover of that very issue. But first, some context because you may find this story a bit over-sweet but it is important to note that for my great-uncle, his mother represented the very pinnacle, not only of womanhood, but of love. And of course, in Jewish culture, the mother of the family is the young child’s steward into higher ideals, and certainly in his generation, the mother’s role would have been deliberately focused on the religious directive to “Know Him in all your ways,” meaning to also see God in the mundane and every day life.
Tragically, L.B.’s mother would never see his success: Sarah Mayer died in Saint John, New Brunswick from complications of gall bladder surgery in October, 1913. Her death was his greatest sadness.
It is well known that Louis B. Mayer had no more than an elementary school education, so we can assume that these words below were dictated to his secretary Ida Koverman and she polished the final article and the magazine’s editor did the rest. Or, he may even had worked with one of MGM’s greatest writing talents to take his childhood experience, his thoughts about how it had shaped his life and his desire to share his story as a guiding principle for anyone willing to listen and learn.
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