Around the world, Hollywood was a magical place in the eyes  of  those struggling during the Great Depression. Tasmania was no different. In 1933 the following article appeared in a Hobart publication.  Starstruck young people sent in their photographs and vital statistics and dared to dream.

Source – The Voice, June 17 1933

In the world wide competition, Australian winners were to receive a contract for an appearance in a movie to be called, ‘Search for Beauty’, transport to Hollywood, and a salary of  $50 per week for a minimum of five weeks.

And what did Paramount stand to gain? Well, untold publicity for the film, which  was purposely named after the contest. Clever eh?

Tasmania’s female  winner was Launceston’s Lilian Mason;


The young man whose dream of Hollywood came a step closer was James Boad, also of Launceston. That must have created a bit of north-south angst.  I wonder whether  James was one of THE  Boag’s …the beer brewing family?

Hollywood aspirant Mr James Boag.

Mr James Boag

Lilian and James sailed for Melbourne in the Loongana on July 21, to take part in the Australia wide finals. (Examiner July 22 1033)

Off to seek fame and fortune,

Bass Strait vessel The Loongana

The pair underwent screen tests in Melbourne. According to Paramount; ‘A committee of seven of the most important production minds in Hollywood will view the screen tests.‘  The seven judges listed were all men of course, and included Cecil B. DeMille.


Sadly, it was not our Tasmanians. However, the State could ‘sort of’  claim the winning woman as their own, because she had been born at 139 King Street in Sandy Bay, a prestigious suburb of Hobart. Her name was Gwen Munro.  No doubt Tassie apple juice and cows’ milk contributed to  Gwen’s perfect complexion

Oh my word, what a resume! It’s doubtful whether anyone  stood the remotest  chance against her.

And yes she had the looks as well.

I’m afraid the movie was panned. New York Times film critic A.D.S. wrote. ‘Search for Beauty is the film Paramount manufactured as the climax of an international exploitation stunt in which thirty young men and women from various parts of the world received a free trip to Hollywood and an opportunity to get into one picture. The result is a tribute to the studio’s ingenuity, but a less than thrilling tidbit for the man in the street.   😨 (Source – Wikipedia)

To be fair, I doubt whether any entrants felt exploited and no doubt Lilian Mason and James Boag enjoyed their trip to Melbourne and all the excitement.

Following the main opening credits the contest winners were acknowledged, though not individually.


After her brief appearance in Search for Beauty, Gwen returned home (as did the male winner) She went on to feature in three Australian made movies;

Gwen Munro's film list.

Filmography – Gwen Munro


If you would like to watch Search for Beauty, CLICK HERE.




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