Hard-luck girl Juanita Hansen starred opposite both William S. Hart and Tom Mix, and was at one time or another a contract actress for both Mack Sennett and D.W. Griffith. Yet, it was as a contender to the throne of serial queen Pearl White that she earned her small measure of fame. Hansen went into films straight out of high school, first as a bit player then as a member of Sennett's famed coterie of Bathing Beauties. A small supporting role in The Martyrs of the Alamo (1915), supervised by Griffith, and a desire to escape slapstick comedy led to appearances opposite William S. Hart in The Poppy Girl's Husband (1919) and Tom Mix in Rough Riding Romance (1919). Stardom finally arrived when Colonel William N. Selig cast her as imperiled Princess Elyata in The Lost City (1920), a 15-chapter serial. Its popularity earned her a berth with the top serial-maker of the day, Pathé, which was searching for a replacement for the retiring Pearl White.
Pathé starred the blonde looker in The Phantom Foe (1920), a 15-chapter serial created by the same team that had elevated Pearl White to fame: producer/writer/director George B. Seitz, writer/director Bertram Millhouser, and writer Frank Leon Smith. Also present were White's best-remembered foe, Warner Oland, and her stunt-double, Joe Cuny. Success was practically guaranteed and Hansen was immediately ushered into The Yellow Arm (1921), again opposite Oland and with Millhouser returning as director. All was not well, however, and Hansen was reportedly looking visibly ill and fatigued. Cocaine addiction was taking a toll. Pathé unceremoniously cancelled her contract.