Jane Liddell

Pretty Jane Liddell was at first glance a starlet that wanted some fame and fortune from Tinsel Town. And that she did get, but not in the way one would expect – her fame has nothing to do with her movies (her career is pretty slim), and her fortunes came around in a very unusual way. Let’s learn more about her!


Jane Anne Liddell was born on July 28, 1927, somewhere in Missouri, to Grace Webber and Thomas Liddell. Before Jane, the Liddells had had a son who died the same day he was born in 1921. Thomas was a store manager. Jane spent her earliest years living around Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska. The family moved to Neola, Iowa, where Grace’s family was from, in 1929.

Jane grew up in Iowa, before the family moved to Oakland, California in the late 1930s. Jane still held her relations from Neola close to her heart (especially her aunt), and was often visiting them or they were visiting her in California. Jane was interested in the performing arts, and did some minor acting work in local workshops and plays. Ann attended high school in Oakland.

By coincidence, just after graduating from high school, Jane met, purely socially, actress Ann Sheridan via some mutual friends. Ann liked the plucky girl and, upon hearing that she wanted to become an actress, was more than happy to help her, and introduced her to producer Howard Welsch. Welsch also liked the girl, gave her a chance to appear in one of his movies. This is how her career started!


Jane’s first movie was Woman on the Run, a Ann Sheridan film noir. It may be a low budget affair, but it’s a very stylish, slick movie. Dennis O’Keefe plays a painter who witnesses a murder, then he becomes a target for the killer himself. He tries to evade him, but can he? Excellent location shooting in San Francisco combined with a tense story and a gallery of first class, offbeat characters make this one a minor gem. Jane’s friend Ann Sheridam plays O’Keefe’s former wife who doesn’t believe him at first, and there are also solid turns by Robert Keith, Frank Qualen and Ross Elliott.

her second movie was Rogue River, a nifty outdoor movie about the conflicts that arise between members of an extended family in a small Oregon lumber town. The movie might be thin on the dramatics (altough the story isn’t half bad), but it’s very impressive visually and a treat for the eyes. Shot on location, is features the Pacific west as it once was, and there are some good actors to show their skills – Leslie Fenton, Rory Calhoun, Peter Graves.

Then came a seminal 1950s movie which perfectly encapsulates the decades attitudes towards what movies should be – The Blue Veil . A tearjerker shot in the best, most expensive vein, this is a very touching, emotional but highly unrealistic movie. As I said, typical 50s, which preferred to live in a American dream style bubble. But moving this aside, the movie does have it’s man and strong merits. Jane Wyman stars as a war widow who seeks employment as a nanny after her baby dies shortly after the delivery. The movie then follows her life as she selflessly helps parents rear their children. Overall, this is an excellent movie and people remember and cry over it decades after watching – it’s a true monument to it’s dramatic genius. And many, many great actors appear in it – Jane, Charles Loughton, Joan Blondell, Agnes Moorehead, Audrey Totter, Richard Carlson and so on.

Then came the breezy, cute 50s musicals, Small Town Girl and How to Marry a Millionaire. As somebody once wrote, super fun fluff! The stories are usually paper thin, but the sets, the costumes, the actors, the music, the overall vibe are all magical and anyone who had not watched it should definitely do it! And oh the cast is simply delicious – Ann Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Bill Powell, Cameron Mitchell and so on.

Jane’s last movie came in 1956, a family western drama, Westward Ho, the Wagons!. Since this is a Walt Disney production, we know what to expect (wink). The movie was tailor made for Disney star Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett to big acclaim in the eponymous TV series. A string of movies were made to capitalize on his success. This use-case usually does not end particularly well for the movie quality, although here it’s a surprisingly well made movie. In fact it’s like two separate films spliced together, the better for a two part extravaganza on TV. To quote a reviewer: “The first half hour is an enjoyable but relatively routine wagon trail tale, involving a boy must run from hostile Indians on foot. when the train arrives in Fort Laramie and no further big battles occur. In fact, this is where the movie takes off dramatically, promoting the sort of racial tolerance and mutual acceptance so essential to the Disney vision.” Parker plays a doctor who helps all people, regardless of their ethnicity. While the movie doesn’t flow as it should, it’s a very nice film with a positive message and goo production values.

That was it from Jane!


When she first came to Hollywood, in 1948, Jane was seen with Forrest Tucker, who was separated but not divorced from his wife, Sandra Jolley. In the end Forrest and Sandra reconciled and Jane was out.

And then, in November 1948, Jane married Charles Bernhard, a very wealthy British producer and businessman. This could have been just another rich man marrying a pretty starlet scenario, but actually it was not. Bernhardt was told by his doctors that he was terminally ill and would be dead in a matter of months, and he wanted to marry a pretty young girl before his demise. A bit on the egoistical side, but anyone can understand this – he knew he was going to die, and wanted certain things to happen before that. When you look at it, ff the other party consents, than it’s two mature individuals having a mutually beneficial relationship and that’s all fine. Jane was there on hand, and she would be left a wealthy widow, and said yes to his proposal. So far so good. However, the drama beings after Bernhardt died in 1949. Namely, in his will he disinherited Jane, claiming that she refused to act on the spousal duties, like setting up a mutual home, and that she deserves nothing from his estate. Jane sued his estate to get her share. There was much legal drama going back and forth (I will not go into this).

So what really happened? Nobody knows, and here is my take on the situation – and it doesn’t look so good for Jane. It seems she wanted to have her cake and eat it too – namely, get married to a rich guy who would die soon and leave her a wealthy widow and then refuse to give him what was expected from a wife. While I cannot know exactly what happened, and it is possible that the two had a deal that Bernhard tried to change (perhaps he told her she doesn’t have to do anything and took it back which would change this narrative a lot), I would venture to say that Jane married for money and then tried to kept Bernhardt at arms length. I repeat, we cannot know for sure what happened and Jane could potentially be a victim, but by the looks of it, I would rather say that she chickened out when it was time to take things next level (living together, keeping home, taking care of each other). This is her right, for sure, but if that is the case, act like a normal person, annul the marriage and ask for nothing and just move on with your life. It didn’t work out and that’s fine. Especially if the guy is dying, as it seems that Bernhard died quite bitter at his wife for this unexpected turn of events. Just is just my take on the situation, and people can disagree with me, but it was not a happy period for Jane at all.

Anyway there was much drama over the property division, and Jane fought tooth and nail to get her share of the inheritance. In the end she got some money, and in fact funded herself a comfy life in the upper echelons of Los Angeles society. Now begins the dramatic life of Jane Liddell, the social butterfly that hosted tons of parties and dated a large number of men. Was is a cool life? Perhaps. Truth to be told, Jane now depended no no man, could do what she wanted, did not have to marry if she did not want to, and was a free agent. So many women, then and now, have no idea what this entails, nor how it feels, which is sad. You can choose what you want, of course – getting married, staying single, whatever – but having the freedom to choose is an incredible thing, something denied to women for many, many centuries. So, in a way, Jane got what she wanted, perhaps not in a most glittering and stress-free way, but it was here. Plus she did not have to work, and slowly her movie output diminished. And now, for a chronology of her beaus:

In the early 1950s, Jane dated Bill Walsh, a former beau of Ruth Roman, for a long time. She also dated another Bill, Bill Bishop, around that time. Afterwards she was seen with Robert North, a radio actor who played Alice Faye‘s brother in her radio show. He was followed by Joe Pasternak, a famous producer who seemingly dated so many pretty women in Hollywood.

Jane then took with Freddie de Cordova, a colorful fellow is there ever was one. A producer and director of some reputee, he was rumored to be gay and still living with his mother in his 40s. Jane was seen with Jeff Chandler, but then ditched him for the handsome Lance Fuller in 1954. That same year, she ditched Fuller for Bob Stack, a socialite actor.

In 1955, her man of the day was British actor Maxwell Reed, former hubby of Joan Collins. In 1957, she was feted by Mario Ferrari, of the prestigious family, who zapped her around Hollywood in a fancy car. This was a pretty serious relationship, but I think his family in the end said no to the prospect of Jane being a wedded member, and it broke. She recuperated by dating another aristocratic face, Baron Gottfried Von Hohenburg. Him living in Germany and she in Los Angeles put a hamper on the proceedings, and they also broke up.

in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jane dated Ken Scott, an agent, and David Hedison. By 1966, she was evolved with the famous comedian, Phil Silvers, who was once married to starlet Jo-Carroll Dennison.

In the late 1960s, she dated Gerry Huffaker and Charles Darke. Jane then falls of the newspaper radar. It seems that she continued living in California, and later in the 1970s married a certain Mr. Dragge, about whom I could find to concrete information. Most probably she and Dragge divorced in the 1990s.

Jane Liddell died on November 18, 2009, in Los Angeles, California.

Aileen Covington

Aileen Covington

Aileen Covington was one of many young, beautiful girls with some dancing skills that landed in Hollywood, and hoped for the best, only to be thwarted in their career by matrimonial events. Long after her Hollywood career was cut, she became a very respected sports writer. Let’s learn more about her!


Aileen Bernice (Birney) Covington was born on September 16, 1906, in Ruston, Louisiana, to Wilis Covington and Mattie Russ. She was the third of five children – her siblings were Edwin Netwon (born on June 6, 1902), Yolanda Frances (born on February 8, 1905), Harold Alexander (June 23, 1908), and Richard Marvin (August 15, 1911). Her father was a salesman who sold a variety of things during the span of his professional life, including monuments and newspapers.

Aileen’s maternal family, the Russ’, were one of the oldest and well respected families int he city – her grandfather was R. E. Russ, for whom the town of was named, Mr. Russ having given much of the land on which the city stands. This connection made Aileen something akin to a socialite/debutante. Aileen grew up happily in Ruston, and discovered pretty early she had a knack for dancing and performing. The family were devout Baptists and attended Lincoln parish church.

Alieen attended Ruston high school and Louisiana tech in her hometown. After graduating, she left for Texas, where she worked as a secretary and stenographer for an influential lawyer. With her innate talent for dancing and willing to work on it, Aileen paid to train under some of the best dance teachers to be secured in Texas. She eventually entered a national dancing contest, won it, met some right people and pretty soon she landed in Hollywood!

 And that’s how it started!


Aileen appeared in only four movies, all in uncredited roles, mostly in the chorus. The first one was Lady by Choice, an interesting Carole Lombard movie where she plays a fan dancer who teams up with a crusty old woman, played by Flora Robson, to up the quality of both of their lives. Carole is young and pretty and on her way up, and Floria is much older but with plenty of life experience, but also a nasty alcohol habit. It’s great to see a female team in movies, where women take center stage, and where the main objective isn’t necessarily men, but to get control over your own life choices. While this is a charming, breezy comedy in a nutshell, it’s still intriguing and has plenty of very good actors.

Her second movie was one of Spencer Tracy’s early works, Marie Galante. it’s an okay thriller/esnionage movie where the titual Marie Galante is a songstress that gets mixed up with some wrong people and ends up in the Panama canal and everyone thinks she’s a spy. But is she? Who is the real spy? it’s up for the straitlaced US doctor, played by Tracy, to find out. The plot sound a bit cliche, but it’s always interesting to watch Spence, and his leading lady is the French mademoiselle Ketti Gallian here, a curiosity in itself, a very talented stage performer that never quite made it as a movie actress.

Next up were Gold Diggers of 1935. a typical George White movie, full of pretty girls dancing and with little to no plot. but the totally loony characters make this a treat for all 30s musical fans, especially since this is Busby Berkeley. As one reviewer noted: The large cast is all attuned to the nonsensical merriment. Preppy Dick Powell is in excellent good voice as the hotel employee wooing rich girl Gloria Stuart, who only has to look lovely for the cameras. Alice Brady is properly shrill & strident as a miserly millionaire insistent on getting her own way in all things. Hugh Herbert is delightful as a daffy fellow interested only in his collection of snuff boxes. Hilarious Adolphe Menjou steals his every scene as a penniless Russian impresario who is obviously slightly crazed. Bold & brassy, the marvelous Glenda Farrell gets to play the only true gold digger in the film. Frank McHugh is Brady’s son, desperate to enjoy a forbidden romance. Grant Mitchell oozes unctuous charm as the somewhat smarmy hotel manager.

Aileen’s last movie was The Girl Friend. This movie is a typical B class comedies with the lesser known gents like Ann Sothern and Jack Haley, but these folks were gold! The story is very simple: it’s a burlesque pastiche of how shows get produced and move from local barns to the big time, just put in some Napoleon (yeah, you heard that right!), and plenty of zany character and you got yourself a deal!

That’s it from Aileen!


Aileen’s private life didn’t make the papers until she married Irving Lippmann on July 8, 1935. Here is a funny story how they tried to hide their marriage:

— Blowouts blew up the secrecy surrounding Hollywood’s latest elope- merit today The elopers were Aileen Covington actress and Irving Lippman winner of an award for photography at the California Pacific International Exposition at San Diego They were married at Agua Caliente Mexico in the early morning hours With an 11 a m call to answer at Columbia :Studios they started back by automobile. At Oceanside they had a tire blowout and at San Clemente another The mishaps made them three hours late on the set To “square” themselves with Director Eddie Buzzell they had to disclose the elope1 inent Lippman and Miss Covington met a month ago

Now something about Irving Isidore Lippmann. He was born on November 8, 1906 in Edendale, California, to Samuel and Celia Lippman. He had two older brothers, Nathaniel and Morris, and four sisters, Esther, Rae, Sophie and Lee and a younger brother who was a stillbirth. He grew up in California and became an assistant cameraman for Fatty Arbuckle productions when he was 16 years old in 1922. After being an assistant cameraman at Paramount he up ended as a cinematographer on TV shows like The Love Boat but is best known for his imaginative and prolific work as a unit stills photographer at Columbia Pictures, especially on Frank Capra films Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Lost Horizon. He was also a very prolific glamoru photographer, photographing major stars like Claudette Colbert, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Arthur.

The couple settled in Los Angeles, California, and Aileen gave up her movie work to become a housewife and support her husband in his career. WW2 started in 1939, and Lippman was drafted into the US Army and opened a Pictorial Service in Paris. He reached the rank of captain when he was discharged in 1946. Aileen was hardly idle during the war. She worked together as V riveting team in the Lockheed-Vega aircraft plant, helping turn out B-lTs and P-38’s. There she met and befriended Ruth St. Denis, one of the pioneers of dance and a major 20th century dance icon.

Sadly, after he returned from the war, the marriage started to disintegrate and they were divorced in 1947/48. Lippman would marry Charlotte S. Gluckman in 1960, but that marriage also ended in divorce. He died at the ripe of age of 100 on November 15, 2006.

After her divorce, Aileen was looking for ways to earn a living. Her acting career long gone, she turned to her long time passions – golf and writing. Pretty soon she became a well respected sports writer, writing for local Californian newspapers and doing a weekly column. She became a very prominent member of the local golf set and made a solid living with her writings, making Aileen one of the few women in the 1950s who lived of sports writings. Really interesting!

Aileen married her second husband, Ewing Wilson Richardson, on July 16, 1949. Ewing was a oil supply salesman but was more prominent as a pro golfer. He was born on March 14, 1915, in Ryan, Oklahoma, to Robert Richardson and Bertha Conolly. He lived in Harris, Texas, before moving to Los Angeles. He was married once before, to Gail Foster, but tragically she died in the mid 1940s, They had a daughter, Elizabeth E., born in 1940.

The Richardsons lived in Los Angeles and enjoyed a happy marriage. Both were passionate about golf, played often, and spent many joyful days on the golf course.

Ewin Richardson died on June 30, 1981. Aileen continued living in California, enjoying her golden years.

Aileen Covington died on November 30, 1996, in Los Angeles, California.

Frances Ramsden

Frances Ramsden was a stunningly beautiful, unique looking Conover model who toiled in Hollywood in supporting roles until a big name (director Preston Sturges), singled her out to become his muse and appear in his movie. It didn’t catapult Frances towards the stars, but changed her life. Let’s learn more about her!


Frances Ramsden Morison was born on March 18, 1920, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only child of Norman Webster Morison and Frances Louise Ramsden. Norman was a musician based in New York. Cambridge was Florence’s home town, and the couple lived with her parents. Florence and Norman separated soon after Frances’ birth, with Normal mostly living on the East Coast, and Frances and Florence continuing to live in Cambridge for a time.

Judging by some newspaper articles, Frances and her mom moved to Boston to be with the rest of Florence’s family, and Frances became a Boston society girl, active in the local social life. Her father remarried in 1928 to, and lived in New Yersey.  Frances was reared in an Episcopal convent, and at 15 she had determined to become a nun but a wise mother superior persuaded her to consider carefully first. After graduating from convent school, Frances studied music, French and English literature at Harvard’s extension school. After graduation, she decided to make her own way in the big city, and moved to New York. There she was noticed by a beauty scout who advised her to become a model, which she did.

In just a few short months, Frances became a wildly popular Conover model, so much that New York columnists were pushing for her to end up in Hollywood. Here is a newspaper snippet: “You’re overlooking a bet by not testing Frances Ramsden, model. She’s a perfect Russian type, and a natural beauty for the screen.” She often went to Los Angeles to take part in fashion shows, and during one such sojourn, she was nabbed by 20th Century-Fox. where they saw her as a Rosalind Russell look alike. She was signed by the studio, and of the went!  


Frances appeared in only three movies, two of them were uncredited from 1944 and one female leading role in 1947.

Kismet was France’s first role. What to say, this is the incredible movie that puts Marlene Dietrich into ancient costume, and Ronald Colman plays a king of beggars! When I first read this synopsis, I could not believe my eyes, but here we are. While the movie is far from a classic, it’s still a fun romp with enjoyable performances and stunning costumes and set design. And the supporting cast is uniformly excellent, with talents like Harry Davenport, Florence Bates, Hugh Herbert, Hobart Cavanaugh and so on. The weak link, like in many other such movies, is a handsome but very wooden male lead – here is’t James Craig, and you forget the guy as soon as you see him. Especially when Ronnie Colman is in the same flick!

Frances’ second movie was another oriental extravaganza, Lost in a Harem. This time we have a straight comedy, with Abbott and Costello instead of Ronnie Colman and Marlene Dietrich (what a switch, ay?). If you prefer their brand of comedy, these movies really are golden. We also have another wooden actor int he lead, John Conte, and the always alluring Marilyn Maxwell as the leading lady. The story is an endearing bit of silliness (making the rightful heir to the throne a heir, instead of his despotic uncle), as always with these gents, but you don’t watch these kinds of movies for the story!

Frances got her five minutes of acting fame in The Sin of Harold Diddlebock. The movie sounds absolutely mesmerizing, for more reasons than one. First, it’s a comeback for the great silent comedian, Harold Lloyd. Lloyd was as popular as Chaplin in the 1920s, but had retired in the 1930s and was inactive for ten years when Preston Sturges coached him to return to films. Secondly, it’s a very imaginative as a continuation of Lloyd’s greatest movie, The Freshman. What happens to the freshman hero after his golden days? He becomes a salary worker with tons of bureaucratic responsibilities! He has been in love with a succession for sisters from the same family for 23 years, and his life is in a rut. Then he gets fired, and decided to have an adventure of his life! The script is vintage Preston Sturges, satire and a totally anarchic sense of comedy, with Harold Lloyd doing his old school but very nice tricks! Frances plays the feminine lead, the youngest sister, whom Harold has secretly been in love with. While not the best Sturges, it’s a very unusual, out of the box comedy and I think it will work for a portion of the viewers. Sadly, the movie wasn’t a success, and it was the last movie for Harold, for Preston and for Frances. So sad! it seems people like the movie today, and it’s a hidden gem.

That was it from Frances!


Truly and really, Frances is one of the most unique, unusual looking, beautiful women I have seen, and writing this blog for almost 10 years, I have seen plenty of them! it is no wonder she attracted all manner of very yummy, interesting men! Read on and judge for yourself, but her array of beaus is truly astounding! Frances married her first husband, Gosta Walter Oscarsson, a Swedish born musician, in 1941. Gosta was born in 1907, making him a bit older than Frances. He attended Julliard and, much liker her father, lived a free wheeling musician’s lifestyle. Matrimony and such a life don’t mesh very well, and it came as no surprise that the marriage was very short lived and dissolved in 1942.

Frances wasted no time in finding a new swain, and married for the second time just a few short months later, in 1943. Frances second husband was a colorful type of a character. With a mouthful name of Paul Emile de Lachaud de Loqueyssie, he was a French aristocrat, born in 1909. He lived for a time in London, and married the socialite Cyrena Bruce Shaw in 1939, but they divorced in 1941. The couple was based in Los Angeles, and Frances was hoping for a screen career, but it seems that her blue blooded hubby was not keen on working, and in the end Frances had to support him. Paul was also s overtly passionate man who even once slashed her clothes in a fit of anger. Hardly a marriage made in heaven. Then a magical thing happened, Frances fell in love with a very special man, and this put the final dent in the already fractured marriage.

And now for the reason Frances entered movie history annals – Preston Sturges. Her perhaps most meaningful relationship up until now. Like her former hubby, Sturges was a very colorful character. A brilliant satiric, director and producer, he was a true original, and never has anyone made movies quite like him since. While his output is quite modest compared to some other titans of Hollywood, but his touch and style were a major influence of many filmmakers to come.

And now we come to the part of how Frances met Preston! Taken from a contemporary article:

Mias Ramsden, a beautiful Conover model without previous dramatic experience, took a screen test under the guidance of Director-Writer Preston Sturges, Not a nerve In her lovely body quivered. Calmly the made the test, delivered her action, recited her lines. Quietly the walked off the sound stage, took one smiling look backward and toppled over In a dead faint. I suddenly realized what I had been doing,” she said later. Regaining her senses, Miss Ramsden almost fainted again when Informed she was owner of s movie contract and had been selected to make her debut as Harold Lloyd’s leading lady In Mad Wednesday.” The picture is finished now and will be distributed shortly by RKO Radio. In It Miss Ramsden wins audience acclaim. In the company of such scene stealers at Comedian Lloyd, Jimmy Conlln, a histrionic-minded lion and a bearded woman. Frances Ramsden, with dark good looks and wistful appeal, It t New England Yankee, born In Cambridge, Matt. She never studied drama, raver joined a Little Theater group, never even took part In a school play. She came to Hollywood on a vacation, met Sturges, took a screen test. Then Frances Ramsden fainted and Fame revived her.

Here is a more detailed description of the activities:

They first met when Frances, a former Conover model, was visiting in town. Jacques Thery, the writer, took her to lunch at Paramount, where they joined Sturges’ round table. At that, time the director made the first reference to her interesting face. That was as far as it went. Frances married Paul de Lo-queyssie, a writer, soon afterward, but as “a bored housewife” she couldn’t forget the director who’d said she had an interesting face. She gave him a ring. 4 Test Passed Up Sturges hadn’t forgotten her, either. “It’s certainly taken you a long while to get around for that test,” he remarked. Test? The following week, with pounding heart, Frances stopped by to arrange final details. But when the time came she developed cold feet. “In New York I had known so many eager kids with talent,” she said, “and I thought, “Who am I to aspire to be an actress?’ So I passed up the test.” Later she and De Loqueyssle were divorced and Frank Orsatti, Frances’ agent, obtained a small part for her in “Flamingo Road” on Broadway. She celebrated what she supposed would be her farewell to the Coast by dining with Thery, her friend, at the Players which Sturges happens to own. He is also one of its best customers.’ “So this is the young lady who runs away from screen tests!” Frances heard a booming voice behind, her Sturges’. He added that she had an interesting face and that, now he had his own company,” there might be something for her to do with itf Reading Wins Tart A month later Frances sat in his office (she had abandoned the New York trip) and waited. They had been conversing about ! this and that ‘when Sturges j picked up a script, apparently by chance, and handed it to her. “Read something of this foe me,” he said, offhandedly. It was Miss Otis’ big scene, a dramatic one but Frances did not know that. She read it with “complete ease,” then looked up to find, she says, tears in the eyes of the author and of Caroline, his secretary.

Of course this was not the whole truth, Frances was picking stardom in Hollywood for a longer time, but the point is; Preston was smitten by Frances and they hooked up very soon. She reminded him a great deal of Colleen Moore, for whom Preston had originally written the movie back in 1933. They shared a certain whimsical, elfish quality that Preston could not find in any other women. They were very serious for a few years, and I was sure they would marry, but for complex reasons, they never did. While I quite like Sturges, I can assume he was hardly the most pleasing and mellow man to live with, and he had a messy martial history (married three times already). Also, at this time, Frances had her own hairstyle, nicked “spaniel bob”. Here is an article about it:

Here comes the “spaniel bob” girls! Is the short hair style going out? Could be after Frances Ramsden making a debut in “Mad Wednesday” is seen in a distinctively different shoulder-length bob with soft eyebrow bangs. Her friends have given it the name, her trademark in the film colony.

Frances and Preston dated from 1945 until about 1949, and were a social staple of the town. They were seen everywhere, and it seems Frances knew everyone that was worth knowing. However, in 1949 a major spat happened and Frances left for New York to forget the heartache. She and Preston saw each other occasionally since then, but broke up for good by the time the year was out. Frances lived for a time with Liz Whitney, and was good friends with fellow model Bobo Rockfeller.

Frances married to an unknown guy in 1950, not long after her bust with Preston (a Band aid marriage perhaps?), but was divorced by 1951, and it seems that the split was quite nasty. Frances falls of the newspaper radar, but then, sometime in the mid 1950s, Frances met and married an Egyptian millionaire, Adel Sabit. If her previous swains were colorful, then Sabit must take a special place in that pantheon. Just listen to his life story!

Here is Adel’s biography, taken from Telegraph web site:

ADEL SABIT, who has died in Cairo aged 82, was a courtier of the late King Farouk of Egypt; having survived the upheavals of revolution, he spent the latter part of his life chronicling the glamour of a bygone era.

“I well remember,” he wrote in A King Betrayed, his nostalgic memoir of life with the ill-starred monarch, “the obsequiousness of elderly pashas, including an ex-Prime Minister, when, after a large lunch, the King knocked their fezzes off their heads with well-aimed tomatoes and cucumbers.”

Through his mother, Sabit was a second cousin of King Farouk, and from boyhood this kinship admitted him to the inner circles of the royal family, their sumptuous entertainments and their grandiose palaces. Yet the relationship was not close enough for him to be considered a member of the royal family when revolution came in 1952; most of the other royals were sent into exile, while their property was seized by the Nasser regime.

His distance from the king enabled Sabit to make a more critical evaluation of Farouk than someone more closely attached to him would have found possible. “Farouk,” he wrote, “was the victim of an endless series of betrayals until, in the end, he betrayed himself.” He was dismayed when the indolent Farouk simply shrugged off the monarchy, choosing a luxurious exile in Italy rather than putting up a fight when his position was undermined by Nasser’s Free Officers’ movement.

Adel Mahmoud Sabit was born in 1919, the son of Mahmoud Sabit Pasha, and Fatima Sabit, who was a cousin of Farouk’s mother, Queen Nazly.

Mahmoud Pasha was the chamberlain to King Fuad (Farouk’s father and predecessor), and later Egypt’s ambassador to Iran under King Farouk. Adel was educated at a French Jesuit school, but he had English nannies and spoke and wrote an elegant, patrician English.

Sabit spent his childhood summers running wild with the children of the royal family. In response to Queen Nazly’s wishes that her children have companions their own age, Adel Sabit and his sister were among the first children to be invited to play with the young Farouk and his sisters, four sheltered, doll-like creatures.

After graduating from Cairo University he was employed as a government censor at the English-language Egyptian Gazette and the French La Bourse Egyptienne, a position he held throughout the Second World War.

As a young man, Sabit was in and out of favour at Farouk’s court. He was twice banished from the palace over trifling matters, yet at the height of his fortunes he served as a domestic intelligence adviser to Farouk, and later, while not yet 30, as chief of the king’s household. His final assignment for Farouk, in 1949, was to facilitate a secret plan to engage German officers to rebuild the shattered Egyptian army after the Palestine war in 1948.

Sabit was able to find his feet in Nasser’s Egypt in a way that the more prominent royals could not. His elegant house opposite the American embassy in central Cairo was not confiscated, and he quickly ingratiated himself with the new regime.

He refused Nasser’s offer of the position of chief information officer of the newly formed Arab League, instead receiving Nasser’s blessing to found an English-language political weekly, which existed for many years without official interference.

Frances and Adel moved to Cairo, enjoywed a swank life for a time, and had a a son Mahmoud Cherif, born in 1960. However, tough times were coming for the family. In 1961, Sabit and several others were arrested on charges of espionage and conspiring to restore the old regime. A mock trial was held, and He was sentenced to six months in prison. Frances and their son Mahmoud managed to leave Egypt on an American passport, while Sabit escaped to Libya by using forged papers and by hiding in the boot of a car belonging to a German friend, a journalist.

The family settled in Germany, where they spent the next 10 years. Afterwards they lived around Europe. This nomadic lifestyle didn’t’ sit well with Frances, and she and Sabit divorced in about 1975. Sabit returned to Egypt, where he conducted a lively social life and wrote books on Nasser, on Farouk, and on the Arab League. Frances returned to live in the US, to California, where she spent the rest of her days, working as a writer. Her son was living with his father in Cairo, and Frances maintained strong ties with him. She was also very active in the local Islamic Society.

Also, in the 1980s, Frances moved to Corona Del Mar, and changed some of her long standing political views. Disillusioned with Ronald Reagan, she told the newspapers, “I was a Republican until I switched only two weeks ago, I had been a Republican all of my life, but I got tired of what was happening. Fear of a nuclear war and massive defense spending motivated me to switch parties. Also, I’m an old Bostonian who believes that when you make a commitment to something you go and do it. In other words, I believe that you put your money where your mouth is.” Frances moved to San Jacinto in the 90s.

Frances Ramdsen died on September 16, 2000, in San Jacinto, California.

Aileen Haley

Aileen Haley

Aileen Haley was a pretty model that tried for an acting career, and ended up, like most models, in the uncredited roster. Perhaps with some perseverance she could have jumped to something slightly more, but marriage, family and an active social life awaited her and Hollywood was suddenly out. Let’s learn more about her!


Aileen Haley was born on March 25, 1917 in Sioux City, Iowa, to Ralph Jandt Haley and Gladys Isabel Murdy. Her father, a member of a wealthy family, was college educated and worked as a general secretary for a large firm. She had two sisters, an older one, Janice, born on January 16, 1916, and a younger one, Ruth born on February 10, 1920, who unfortunately died just a year later in 1921.

Aileen grew up in Sioux City, and attended Bryant school and North junior there. By 1930 the family had moved permanently to Beverly Hills, to live with their paternal grandfather, Arthur Haley. Ralph got a managerial job as a company. It was there that Alieen caught the acting bug, and wished to become an actress. After graduating from high school, Aileen took up modelling and became a very sought after model quite quickly. Then she got married…. And read the rest in the private life section.


Alieen appeared in only seven movies. Her first movie was,  a Marx brothers movie (minus Zeppo, he already left the gang by then). What to say, this is the typical later Marx movies, with a thin plot and usually non descriptive male romance lead (Tony Martin, a great singer but pretty low-key actor), but the brothers, as always, are a hoot! While this is not their best, it’s a solid comedic effort with plenty of laughs and some pretty nifty music, courtesy of Harpo of course!

Aileen Haley 2

Then came a so-so Charles Boyer-Margaret Sullavan romantic movie. Maggie plays a lady that turns out to be much more progressive than old-fashioned Charlie expected, and problems abound. typical old Hollywood, with some mildly offensive moments, but it’s still charming and nice to look at. Then came , an okay Bob Hope musical. I love Vera Zorina so I have an unfair bias towards this movie, but generally it’s not bad at all and has some pretty fun quips delivered by Hope. Next up, , a well received Rita Hayworth-Victor Mature musical biopic about songwriter Paul Dresser and his colorful life. Set in the gilded age, it features stunning costumes, good music and a solid cast. While Vic Mature is nobody’s idea of a top notch actor, he did have a gritty masculine quality that lent itself well to many movie she was in. And Rita is always a delight!

Grand Central Murder , a witty murder mystery with Van Helfin, was next. While this is a typical murder mystery as far as the plot goes, the outstanding cast, made out of MGM stalwarts (Virginia Grey, Stephen McNally, Samuel S. Hinds, Connie Gilchrist, Tom Conway and Millard Mitchell), and a sharp script make this a minor classic of the genre. And seeing young Van Helfin, playing the detective, before he ascended to the stars, is very interesting. Patricia Dane plays the unlikable victim, you cna read her profile on this blog.

Aileen then appeared in a string of musicals. is an Nelson Eddy/Jeannette McDonald pairing. While their movies can be a bit over the top dramatic, with cliche stories, the Jeannette and Nelson are truly a one of a kind in terms of movie pairings, their real life love easily translating into incredible rapport on screen. This one in particular was not that well received by their fans, and ended up being their last collaboration. The other musicals were: , , , , and . There are all high quality MGM musicals, straight from the golden age! Aileen was really happy to be a part of such a momentous, important time in movie history.

Alieen appeared in two non musical movies, , a touching WW2 drama about a pilot who becomes a guardian angel – with Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne and Van Johnson, and , a strange little William Powell movie with him being a former GI who tires to change his lifestyle since returning from WW1. He does unusual things, like crash high society weddings, falls in love with a debutante and spends time making and losing fortunes. The cast is very good – Powell., Esther Williams, Angela Lansbury, but the movie feels disjointed and never really comes together. But still, an interesting idea nonetheless!

Thatw as all from Aileen!


Aileen married, on August 11, 1936, in Hollywood, aged only 19, to Harwood Hall. Now this is an interesting story. Harwood was the son of the wealthy and affluent Edward and Beulah Hall of Los Angeles, direct descendants of Alexander Hamilton. The family lived in Schenectady, New York in 1920 and Portland, Oregon in 1930, before settling in Los Angeles in the early 1930s. For fun Harwood was working as a studio technician with RKO. His parents were against the union and there was much friction in the Hall family and some heavy words were said

After their rebellious marriage, Aileen and Harwood moved to Boston, where he, due to his familial connections, had accepted a position with the General Electric company. Sadly, it just didn’t click. Aileen didn’t like living in Boston and was homesick for Los Angeles, and wanted to continue her movie career, which didn’t quite impress her husband. After some tiffing, going left right and much drama, Aileen left Harwood and returned to LA. They divorced not long after, in 1938/39. Aileen continued living in her grandmother’s house, along with her sister and other members of her extended family. Persuaded by her family, she became co-ed at U. C. L. A. and worked as an Earl Carroll girl on the side. However, she succumbed to an M-G-M offer.

Aileen resumes her bachelor girl life and seeked out dating opportunities. She was often seen with young actor Tom Brown, but he proved to be only a short sojourn before a long and serious relationship with director Edward Buzzell. They started dating in 1940, and soon were pretty serious about each other. The funny thing is that Buzzell was so slight the papers joked he came to Aileen’s belt buckle when they were together!

Aileen Haley 3

Buzzell, a former vaudeville pro who became a director, producer, songwriter and actor, was a very talented and multifaceted man, but was also over 20 years older than Aileen and I somehow see a problem here. It seems that Aileen opted for marriage and family, and Buzzell was less into it. He was already married twice previously (the first was to actress Ona Munson), and not keen on getting married again anytime soon. Alieen stuck in the relationship with a hope that Eddie would change his mind and ask her to marry hum, but by 1942, it became clear to her that perhaps he wasn’t the husband material she was hoping for. Enter Private Lawrence Harper of Tulsa, Oklahoma. he swept her of her feet in a matter of days, and asked her to marry him.

Aileen was married at the Chapman Park wedding chapel to Lieut. Lawrence Harper of the U. S. Army in 1943. During the was, Aileen was a very active member of the U.S.O. Entertainment Corp, travelling around the country to sell war bonds and taking endless cheesecake pictures. After the war was over, Alice gave up her career to live in Tulsa with her husband. Coincidentally, another young actress shared the same fate, of leaving Hollywood to become a Tulsa social matron – Peggy Dow. Here is the story:

Two of the most promising stars of Hollywood, snatched from the movies by romance, are today among the leaders of oil-rich society here. Back in the 1940s, Aileen Haley, a hyacinth-eyed beauty was being groomed by M-G-M for feature roles. Pcggy Dow, in the same studio, co-starred seven pictures at Universal International and attended dramatic school with Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Hugh O’Brian, Scott Brady, and Jeff Chandler. A tall, blond Army major, Lawrence Harper, wooed and won Aileen. The wealthy Waller Helmerich III decided Peggy’s career would be that of his wife the night he met her. They were wed five years later. Today Mr. and Mrs. Harper and Mr. and Mrs. Helmerich are among the handsomest and most popular couples in Tulsa society. While Harper is not as rich as multimillionaire Helmerich , he and his brother, Gene, run a thriving business in sell-inc oil equipment, a ranch in Colorado, and a company plane.

Alieen and  were very prominent social figures in Tulsa. Aileen was chairman of Tulsa’s most dazzling 1960 .social event, the Philharmonic’s Cinderella Ball. Guests came from New York, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The theme was a “festive Roman holiday”; the guest of honor was Princess Mariella Borghese of Rome. The Harper’s had four children: daughters Sally, Michael and Melissa, and a son, Dana.

Aileen Haley 4

Aileen thus lived in Tulsa until her 1962 separation from Harper (for unknown reasons). Ailleen moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1964. Her husband stayed behind in Tulsa, and they lived like that for the time being. This changed when Aileen met and fell in love with Andrew A. Kucher. She divorced Harper (after being separated for about seven or eight years), and married Kucher in 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kucher was born on March 20, 1898, in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was married once before, to Margaret Hartley, and had a daughter, also named Margaret, born in 1923. He was an engineer by trade and held the rights to several patents. Aileen and Andrew lived happily in Arizona after that, enjoying their golden years.

Andrew Kutcher died in 1978. In the 1980s Aileen developed Alzheimer’s disease and was cared by a caretaker at home.

Aileen Harper Kucher died on April 1, 1986, at her home in Mountain Shadows, Arizona.

Margaret McChrystal

Margaret McChrystal

Margraet McChrstal was a high society girl that got bitten by the acting bug and longed to become an actress long before she actually entered the gates of Hollywood. Sadly, Let’s learn more about her!


Margaret Grace McChrystal was born on April 2, 1915, in Los Angeles, California, only child of Marcus McChrystal and Grace Shuster. It literary seems that her father was a wealthy heir, since had no occupation listed in either the 1910s, 1920s nor 1930 census. This is the first time I have seen this, and whoa! Marcus and Grace married in 1909, and lived for a time with Grace’s dad in New York before settling in California a bit before Margaret was born.

Margaret grew up in an affluent, happy family in Santa Monica. She was an active member of local high society, and made the social columns by attending tea parties, celebrations and weddings (along with her parents). Both she and her mother belonged to the prestigious Beverly Hills Women’s Club, where she often modeled clothes and took an active role in charity events. Maggie attended and graduated from the prestigious Westlake school for girls in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she took up dancing and acting as hobbies, and developed a passion for the performing arts. However, her parents wanted her to attend college and get a degree (which is very admirable).

Since it was her father’s alma mater (as he was born in the state), Margaret attended University of Utah. She studied for two years, was a member of a sorority, but in the end did not graduate there. She opted to return to Los Angeles, where she attended University of Southern California, to study music and drama to finally become what she wanted to be for a long time – an actress. She was signed with a studio and there she went!


Margaret appeared in only two movies, at least according to IMDB. She was uncredited in all of her roles.

Her foray into movie was in the movie Roberta. Roberta goes down in history as the first pairing of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, but even without the eternal musical duo, it’s a finely made, entertaining film. The story is flimsy and light (an American jazz player and his friend are trying to impress a Russian princess and a fake countess), but that’s in sync with the material at hand.  Irene Dunne is, as always, a grand dame with a great voice. Enjoyable fare, if nothing especially thrilling, but a good old school musical.

Then came Dante’s Inferno, a powerful Spencer Tracy drama, sadly today most notable for being a showcase for the dancing skills of young Rita Hayworth. It’s a scalding look at capitalism. Tracy plays a character who ruthlessly works his way up from carnival barker to owner to mogul, not caring who he hurts along the way. Tracy was always great in this kind of beggar-to-mogul roles, as he had the hard edge of a businessman, but also that original wilderness that never leaves him, no matter how much money he earns along the way. Claire Trevor plays his wife, and a roster of excellent character actors are also here – Alan Dinehard, Henry Walthall, Willard Robertson and so on.

While IMDB does not list it, Maggie appeared in at least one more movie, Garden of the moon. This one looks interesting, and I love it when character actors (Pat O’Brien) play leading roles in movies, you know the movie is a bit more substance than the usual fare. The Garden of the moon is a fancy nightclub in Hollywood that is run by Pat O’Brien, who is excellent as a ruthless boss. He treats everyone with contempt and likes nothing more than to take advantage of everybody he deals with. His publicity agent, played by Margaret Lindsay, is a very attractive lady with a go-getter outlook on life. When their headliner is injured, she books an unknown band–Don Vincente and His Orchestra (played by the IMHO wooden John Payne). Margaret falls for Don and, thereafter, has a conflict of interest. This is a lively, very fast moving musical, very nicely done. Too bad it’s forgotten today.

That’s it from Maggie!


There was many inaccuracies written about Margaret when she came to Hollywood. Of course, some of it was made for publicity, the other just seems pure ignorance. In the first category, we have the rumor that Margaret was a Parisian haute couture model. Not true, she never modeled professionally before and did not live in Paris. In the second category, they called her, a born and bred Angeleno, a Salt Lake City girl. Also wrong, she only studied there and was not a native by any chance. However she was good friends with a native Salt Lake City girl, Poppy Wilde, who came to Hollywood at the same time as her. Maggie was mostly featured in the papers as a model, wearing top designer clothes. Her poise and class is very much visible in the pics, and you understand why she was such a sought after mannequin.

Margaret married Lester Matthews in 1940. Lester was born Arthur Lester Matthews on June 6, 1900, in Nottingham, England, UK. Married at 22 to Cicely Walper, he fathering a son with her. He found some success as a leading man in British films from 1931 through 1934. He divorced Cicely and married actress Anne Grey. He moved to Los Angeles with Grey, hoping for some fame and fortune. By 1938, He and Grey divorced, her carer fizzled, but Lester had more luck.  At first, his roles were substantial, but by 1939 he was playing supporting roles, often as British travel agents, bankers, solicitors, company clerks and military officers. When you look at it, he actually appeared in some of the biggest adventure classics of the 1930s:  The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Werewolf of London (1935) and The Three Musketeers (1939). However, as we noted, he ended up a reliable character actor and never gained fame he perhaps deserved. Active in films, radio and television, he had a long career until his 1968 retirement.

Maggie gave up her career for good to concentrate on family life. Their son Mark Ian Matthews was born on October 19, 1940. The couple lived in Los Angeles for a time, but the marriage did not last, and they divorced in the late 1940s. Lester remarried to his first wife, Cicely, and died on June 7, 1975 in Los Angeles, California.

Margaret married her second husband, Alfred Wintrode, in March 1953. Alfred Henry Wintrode was born on January 9, 1911, in Los Angeles, to Edward Wintrode and Elizabeth Shortridge. Tragically, his father died from accidental electrical burns one month after Alfred was born, and his mother remarried to Joseph Morrish in 1912. Elizabeth and Joseph had three more children, Gail, Mary and Margaret. Alfred grew up in Santa Clara, and went on to become a nursery salesman after graduating from high school.

Wintrode was married twice before and his third marriage proved to be the charm. There are erroneous reports on the internet that Maggie and Arthur were parents to Ian and Matthew Wintroide – it seems that they had no children, and Alfred adopted her son. They lived happily in Los Angeles, Maggie long retired from showbiz, and Wintroide owning and operating his own shop.

Alfred died on September 19, 1964 in Los Angeles, California.

Sadly, Margaret died just a two months later, on November 11, 1964, in Los Angeles, California.

Julie Cabanne

Daughter of the very prolific silent movie director, Christy Cabanne, Julie Cabanne was in the thick of Tinsel almost from the very beginning, and it seemed only natural that she wanted to become an actress. Sadly, her dad was relegated to low budget westerns by the time Julie’s time rolled along, and could not miraculously help his daughter get a career. Julie tried on her own merits, and gave up acting after a few valiant tries to raise a family.


Julia Gooden Cabanne was born on April 16, 1915, in Los Angeles, California to Christy Cabanne and Vivien Lyle Montrose. Her father was a Hollywood producer and director (more about him the private life section), and her mother was a vaudeville actress and costume designer. Christy’s family, the Cabannes, were an old and prominent St. Louis, Missouri, family. Julia was the middle of three daughters, her older sister was Vivien, born on October 22, 1913, and her younger sister was Virginia, was born on July 23, 1918.

As far as I can tell, Julie’s dad had an affair with silent actress Millicent Fisher while he was still married to Vivien. Millicent became pregnant and gave birth to Julie’s half brother, William, on July 18, 1920. Vivien found out and divorced Christy in March 1921. He married Millicent the moment he was free. Christy and Millicent had another child, a daughter, Audrey, born on March 11, 1923.

Julie and her siblings grew up in Los Angeles, adjacent to Hollywood, and Julie was involved with many showbiz personalities from early childhood. It was no surprise that she wanted to become an actress, but her mother forbade her any serious acting before she got her education done. Julie complied, and only after graduating from high school, enrolled into Fox Film Stock Players at Movietone City. There Julie and other hopefuls received expert coaching In the finer points of acting and also presented stage plays. This is how her career started.


Penny allegedly started her career in a Spanish language movie, Asegure a su mujer. It was made in the US, and, according to author Harry Waldman, this was the first Hollywood film adapted from a South American literary work. It’s a musical comedy with Conchita Montenegro in the leading role. Sadly it’s a forgotten movie today with no reviews, but let’s assume it has that ding that many of the early 30s musicals had.

Penny then became a proper chorus girl, and appeared in George White’s 1935 Scandals, as one reviewer wrote, “This buoyant Fox extravaganza turns out to be a fascinating backstage recreation of a Broadway revue and the process of putting on a lavish show, enriched by some tuneful and highly uproarious numbers.” Yep, you know the drill – story almost non existent, character thin but pretty looking, and plenty of dancing, singing and the alike. Enjoy in some Alice Faye, Eleanor Powell, Lyda Roberti and Arline Judge magic!

Next up, more of the same with Song and Dance Man, adaptation of a George Cohan play, with Claire Trevor playing the leading role. Claire’s character has a dance partner who liked to drink and gamble too much, but then she catapults to the stars with the help of another man, and drama ensures. There are plenty of really good character actors here (Paul Kelly, Ruth Donnelly, Michael Whalen, Margaret Dumont), but sadly the movie seems to be completely forgotten today.

And here we come to the much profiled Girls’ Dormitory, , an insipid drama-romance about a (gasp) girls dormitory, with Simone Simon in the lead. Tyrone Power was a secondary male character, so the movie is notable today if nothing else that as one of Tyrone’s earliest forays into the seventh art. As most movies featuring young, nubile girls, the film aims to shock but of course is more boring than anything. But one of the reasons to watch it is Herbert Marshall! Oh man! He was the epitome of class and charm back then and love him anytime he appears in any movie.

Then, Julie appeared in a Sonja Henie movie. I never tried to hide the fact that I dislike Sonja Henie movies. Sonja, while very cute with her round face and quite a capable skater, was, IMHO, quite  a talent-less actress and mostly made extremely simplistic movies without  a hint of intelligence. Thus, anything I say about One in a Million won’t sound kind, so I’ll just skip it. Tons of other chorus girls appeared in the movie, so I’l sure we will be seeing it elsewhere.

Julie’s last movie was In Old Chicago, and this one wasn’t too shabby. A typical old school movie of quality, it boasts a very effective love triangle in the form of Tyrone Power, Alice Faye and Don Ameche, and an intriguing story based of the great San Francisco fire of 1871. Pair that with good production values and sturdy film making, and we have a winner!

That was it from Julie!


Julie came from a showbiz family, and a Hollywood connected showbiz family at that. Julie’s dad Christy Cabanne was a vaudeville artists from St. Louis who jumped into the movie business when pictures were just getting under way and became close director with D. W. Griffith. He has been making pictures ever since but Julie is the first one of the old St. Louis family to act in movies. Cabanne was allegedly not a good director, simply a competent one, and his career skidded by the advent of sound. He was mostly doing low budget westerns and was far from the A class by the mid 1930s. Julie was mostly on her own from then on, as Christy probably pulled some string but could not do much more.

Julie was a very good looking girl, so much that a journalist harped on about her beauty in his column when she came to Hollywood:

Julie Cabanne, is rather tall, of deep brunette coloring with straight black hair which she wears parted smoothly over the ears and knotted low upon the neck. She had a serene but earnest air until, catching glimpse of friends and relatives around her, at last she did smile. Then deep dimples showed in her cheeks and her face became radiant.

Here is a beauty hint that Julie gave to her readers:

Massage will do much to enhance the beauty of your hair. Massage the nerve center Just In front of the ear with an outward rotary motion until a tingling sensation Is noticeable. A firm massage with the finger lips at the nape of the neck stimulates circulation and. relieves tenseness.

Also, publicity gimmicks! To raise her profile, various snippets were inserted into papers across the US. Example:

This was voted as the best answer to any question. Chorine Julie Cabanne is responsible for it. Question: What is your pet aversion? Answer: People who crackle cellophane wrappers in picture shows. 

What I also assume was a publicity gimmick was the fact that the papers claimed that Julie spoke fluent Chinese. Allegedly, Julie spent two years in China where she learned the language. I somehow highly doubt this, but hey, it’s not like I can completely rule that out so it theoretically could be possible.

However, the all the gimmicks did nothing for her career, and in 1936 Julie decided to stop and take a hard, long look at her current situation. She was young, true, but going nowhere. She decided to get more tutoring before making a return to the movie world. She went on studying voice and dramatics for two years, until 1938. That year, she had planned to re-launched her career at Universal with a role in “The Rage of Paris,” Danielle Darrieux’s first American picture with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Sadly, she made only one movie before dropping her career altogether.

But at least her romantic life was sedate and steady. Julie met another “younger generation of a illustrations family” club member, Carlyle Blackwell Jr, while they were making a movie together. They married in 1939. Here are the details of their marriage:

With the marriage tomorrow of Miss Julie Cabanne and Carlyle Blackwell Jr., two of Hollywood’s pioneer film families, will be united. The bride-to-be is the daughter of Christy Cabanne, early day director, while Blackwell is the son of the former picture star. The ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Congregational Church with Rev. James Lash officiating. Leo Carrillo will be best man and Miss Marian Weldon maid of honor. It was five years ago that the young couple met. while appearing in a picture together. She is 23 and he is 25. Miss Cabanne completed a picture at 20th Century-Fox yesterday so they will be able to leave immediately after the wedding on a motor honeymoon to San Francisco and Yosemite

Carlyle Blackwell Jr. was born on May 22, 1913 in Glendale, California, to Carlyle Blackwell and Ruth Hartman. His older sister Carol was born in 1912. His father was a famous actor, who made his debut with Vitagraph in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1910) and quiet popular as a romantic lead, progressing from one- and two-reelers to feature films by 1914. He was hugely popular, and in 1921 went on a European tour and opted to remain in England for the remainder of the decade, which turned out to be a good career move. He played a myriad of roles in the British silents, including Sherlock Holmes and Bulldog Drummond. He retained his popularity until the arrival of sound, which abruptly ended his career. He divorced Ruth in 1923, when he was already living in London, and she and the children returned to the US.

Carlyle grew up in Los Angeles, and began his career on the stage in stock companies. His father arranged him a meeting with Cecil B. DeMille. DeMille liked what he saw, and pulled further string for Carlyle to begin a career in the film industry. His first role was in DeMille’s “This Day and Age” (1933). Never achieving a matinee idol status, Carlyle nonetheless became a respected supporting actor appearing in over 45 features. He was already a seasoned player by the time he met Julie during a movie shoot.

Julie gave up on her career to focus on her growing family. Her son, Garrett, was born on November 7, 1941, and her daughter, Pamela Ann, was born on May 5, 1944. The family lived happily in Los Angeles. Carlyle gave up acting in 1947, and opened his own portrait studio where he worked as a photographer. Since Carlyle had plenty of experience as a model from his early days, the work came easily to him. The Blackwells were active donators to charity and often attended the local Episcopal church.

Julie never remarried, and lived the rest of her life quietly in California. Sadly, her son Garrett died in 2008.

Julia Blackwell died on November 6, 2010, in Los Angeles, California.

Penny Gill

Pretty and perky Penny Gill was a chorine who laded in Hollywood, and tried her hand at a variety of things, from dancing in movies, to radio work, and ultimately vaudeville. It was in vaudeville that she met her future husband, married him, and left her movie carer behind to follow him performing around the country. Let’s learn more about her!


Penny Gill was born Margaret Jeanette Gellatly, on February 16, 1918, in New Haven, Connecticut, of Scottish descent. The family moved to New York City in the 1920s, and ultimately settled in Brooklyn. Penny was brought up in the Sheepshead Bay section and attended P. S. 206 elementary school and James Madison High School. She started to do dance work while a schoolgirl, and after graduation did chorus work with Earl Carroll’s “Sketch Book” and “Anything Goes”, both in 1935. Her Brooklyn residence was at 365 Ocean Ave.

Since movie scout often attend Broadway shows to catch a whiff of any new talent, it was just a matter of time before somebody notices a perky, pretty girl like Penny. A scout noticed her, and whisked her off to Tinsel town in late 1935. She was signed to a contract, and her career in movies started!


žPenny, per the IMDB, appeared in only three movies. The first movie was College Holiday,  a pleasant enough romp with an impressive cast – Jack BennyGeorge Burns and Gracie AllenMary Boland and Martha Raye among others. All in all, this is another one of the endless college campus movies of the early 1930s. Nothing to yell about, but not the worst either. The theme is actually pretty shocking (eugenics expriment) and this peculiarity is interesting if nothing than for seeing the Bing Crosby wannabe, Lanny Ross, who had a brief career and never managed to live up to his potential.

Penny’s second movie was Zaza, a little known George Cukor movie. While not his best by a long shot, it’s not his worst either – despite the story being a typical Camille rip off (married aristocrat loving a dance hall girl) he has very capable leads (Claudette Colbert and George Marshall) and even better supporting cast (Constance Collier, Bert Lahr, Helen Westley).

The third movie was Song of the Islands, a colorful Betty Grable musical set on a island paradise. If you like them with paper thin but cute stories, plenty of singing and dancing, and a fake exotic locale, then you have some tot he right place! Her leading man this time is the beefy Victor Mature, who was no great actor but had a certain masculine charm that was hard to resist. As always in old Hollywood. there is a roster of fabulous supporting actors – Jackie Oakie, Thomas Mitchell, Harry Barbier, Lillian Porter and so on.

A newspaper article mentions two more movies that Penny allegedly appeared in (which IMDB does not list), but since IMDB is often only partially correct, this could be very much true. The movies are Follow your heart and Champagne Waltz. Both are musical showcases for relatively obscure opera singers (at least today, they were obviously big stars back then) – Marion Talley and Gladys Swartouth, and both movies are hardly remembered today. But still, it’s always nice to watch these ladies, as very good singers, sing in movies – pure delight for the ears! The stories, as typical, are thin and non-interesting, but the supporting cast is always grand and there is a little bit of that old Hollywood magic!

Another potential movie for Penny is Waikiki wedding, a Bing Crosby/Martha Raye/Bob Burns musical. As you can see by Martha and Bob’s name up int the lights, it’s a musical comedy more than a romance, and with a pretty solid story about a PR man who’s trying to get people to go to his company’s resort on an exotic island, and hatches a scheme to make an award game and send the winner tot he island. The winner is the alluring Shirley Ross, she is not amused by the stunt, and all the fun begins! This one is a pretty solid efford and has plenty of belly laughs. And Martha and Bob are a hoot as always.

That was it from Penny!


Except her work as a chorus girl in movies, Penny also worked as a radio actress – she was Jack Oakie’s dumb secretary “Miss Penny” on his radio broadcasts. Penny was also branded as a local expert for exotic dances, and got some minor publicity for this. Here is an article about her provess:

If a hula heaven is anything like Penny Gill makes it seem, this cribbler. ‘ for one, is “ready to thumb his way to the beach at Waikikl ” Miss Gill, be it known is an interpreter of dance moods specializing in Hawaiian moods. Dressed appropriately, just a mite on the scanty side in shredded cellophane, she is a revelation in sultry pulchritude. “Really, it”s quite remarkable the way boys and girls make love m Hawaii,” she confided backstage at the Towers Theatre, where her lush beauty and undulating movements. are on view this ween. ‘They show interest in one an other by dancing instead of courting. They speak in descriptive rhythmic movements of their hands and heads and bodies. wont you think that’s much more effective than dull conversation?’ “You mean the Hawaiian girls don’t have much to say. . . . They sort of let their torsoes speak for them?” “Yes. and they’re beautiful, too . . .” “Er . . ., ah . . .. you mean the movement or the girls r asked this interviewer hesitantly, in an effort to conceal a lively curiosity. “Both, she beamed. “What s the fare to … I mean how do they converse romantically without talking. After all “Well, this descriptive movement would say: You with me, let s be sweethearts,’ ” Miss Gill explained, extending her right arm and point ing her index finger in this direction, bending her left arm and indicating her heart with the other index linger, and placing her left leg beg, pardon, limb, forward. “You mean, you and me . . “Oh, I’m speaking figuratively,” Miss Gill laughed, “You said it!” murmured this blushing interviewer. And then I raise my arms over my head and form a triangle with my hands to represent a church,” the vivacious dancer went on, illustrating just what she intended to convey. “And then I sway my nips to represent the rolling surf. Like this . . .” Miss Gill swayed with smooth, rippling dexterity. The dance, it developed, is known as “Hula Heaven” and Miss Gill learned it in Honolulu while vacationing from Hollywood. She was very much impressed with its significance as who wouldn’t be and danced the little descriptive number in Waikiki Wedding, a film in which she appeared with Bing Crosby.

Penny+s career took a back seat to her love life. She met, fell and love and married her first husband, Edward Yale Stanley in about 1938. Edward was born on February 5, 1902, in Woodbine, New Jersey, to Charles Stanley and Emma Stanley, the oldest of six children (his younger siblings were William, Ollie, Ruth, Violet and Leonard). He went into vaudeville while still a very young man, and was a veteran by the time he married Penny. He passed the US several times over, and acted in literary hundreds of shows. He only made one movie, Stanley&Ginger, in 1929, and was not really interested in being a movie star.

For instance, here is an example of the stuff Eddie did:

 Eddie Stanley, an old favorite who needs no introduction to Vancouverites, and his company scored a hit with their hilarious comedy act, entitled “Fifth Column of Laughs.”

Right after they married, Eddie continued touring, and Penny could not keep both her contract and follow her husband around. She had to choose, and she chose her hubby, and her movie career was effectively over. But the fun for Penny and Eddie had just begun! As WW2 started in 1939, not long after they married, Eddie did war bond shows, to help the morale of the people, and was asked by the US government to help with the overseas efforts. Thus, Eddie toured England extensively from 1944 until 1947. Penny followed her husband and even performer with him often. They return to the US in about early 1948.

Eddie gave up live performing on the stage after the war, and switched his talents to TV and radio. For a time he had his own TV show, and then became a radio producer. After a very active life of constant touring around, he and Penny settled in Los Angeles for good. Their daughter Linda Mae Stanley was born on January 12, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. The Stanleys lived in California, with Eddie active in the showbiz world and Penny retired from movies.

Eddie Stanley died in 1972. Penny remarried twice, first to a Mr. Paul, then a Mr. Weiner, but both marriages were dissolved. She moved to Glendale at some point, and enjoyed her golden years there.

Penny Margaret Gill died on May 26, 1998, in Glendale, California.

Sunny Vickers

Beautiful New York model, Sunny Vickers was a perfect girl next door type which was so popular in Hollywood in the 1940s. Fresh faced, nice, and with a healthy dose of , alas she came to Hollywood when the demand for such types was slowly waning, and her career, despite a promising start, never belted out. She got married very quickly and left movies. Sadly, her story does not end in a happy tone. Let’s find out more about her.


Beverly Jane Vickers was born on December 24, 1928, in Alleghey, Pennsylvania, to Edwin Vickers and Pauline Barrie. Her older sister was Barrie Claudine, born in 1927. Hr father worked as a clerk in an electric company. She was nicknamed Sunny from early childhood, due to her sunny disposition.

Her parents separated when Beverly was just a baby, and she and her sister went to live with Pauline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Beverly grew up there and attended elementary and high school. Due to her beautiful visage, Sunny became known as a true Pittsburgh pretty, and after graduating from high school, started modeling in New York. Soon she was caught by the showbiz bug, and wanted to become an actress.

Except modeling, Sunny became a hatcheck girl at Ciro’s, a famous joint for the wealthy and famous. It seems she really wanted a career in showbiz, and being so close to the altar seemed a good idea. In 1949, Sunny moved to Miami and became a concessionaire at the Famous Door club, and later joining up with the Winnie Hoveler line in Jacksonville.

After her little Floria sojourn, she was back in New York, and this time some luck stuck. After a talent scout saw her, she was given a term contract by Columbia Pictures, and in a very unusual fashion. While Sunny previous professional acting experience, she was signed as the result of a screen test which was allegedly really grand. She studied for several weeks with drama Coach Benno Schneider before being given her first assignment, and of the went!  


Sunny made five movies in 1951, and that was her whole movie output. Four of those were uncredited, and one was a low budget western (insert a gasp emoji here!).

Sunny’s first movie was Gasoline Alley, a light but nice comedy about two brothers that go into the restaurant business, and it follows their daily family life. Originally a comic, this seems to be one of those old Hollywood charming comedies that are rarely, if ever, made today, with a sweet juvenile cast – Scotty Beckett, Jimmy Lyndon, Susan Morrow and so on. Sunny met her future husband while making the movie, so this ended up a very important one for her life in general.

Her second movie was A Yank in Korea, where Sunny actually plays an important, although minimal screen time character. Sadly, this is a dry, uninteresting propaganda movie that shows to its dedicated viewers that the US had to send troops to Korea, to save the world from the communists! Of course, it’s terribly outdated and boring today… Everything is black and white and not thrilling in the least. Lon McAllister plays the all American boy that ends up a soldier… Sunny plays the girl that is his primary reason for enlistment (to impress her, you see). She appears only in a few brief scenes, but hey, it was something! 

Guess what? Kay then appeared in… A low budget western! Durango Kid is the main character, and the story… Who knows or who cares? Ridin’ the Outlaw Trail is the movie. Okay, I know I’m a bit severe,but as anyone knows, I don’t really like western as a genre and the low budget variety just exacerbates all the reasons I don’t like it at all… 

Never Trust a Gambler is a crime movie, a mediocre one, with nothing special to recommend it, but still well made and sturdy and worth watching is one likes the genre. Dane Clark plays a gambler on the run from the police for murder, and Cathy O’Donnell is his wife. What tick little ticker lacks in a true noir atmosphere to make it a minor classic. 

Sunny’s last movie was Saturday’s Hero, a somehow 50-style jaded view on college football. Ye, even back then it was  a racket and young men destroyed their bodies to make it in the savage sports world. When I say 50s style I mean it- while it does pack a heavy punch and doesn’t shy away from showing the dark side of sports, it’s still a 50s production, still somehow unrealistic and not wholly without a Hollywood sheen. Hard to describe but I think anyone who has watched 50s movies knows the feel. John Derek, a pretty boy who never became a top star, mostly due to his somewhat wooden acting style, plays the athlete, and Donna Reed is his wealthy paramour. However, there are treats to be found – winning turns by veteran actors Sidney Blackmer (fabulous as Derek’s ruthless benefactor), and Alexander Knox, a top notch character actor, playing a literature teacher. Watch for them, if nothing else. 

That was it from Sunny! 


When Sunny came to Hollywood in 1950, Scott Brady was showing her the town, but he was busy with a lot of other dates so it didn’t grow into anything permanent. In cca September 1950, Sunny started dating Scotty Beckett, former child star who had a bit of a touch time transitioning to adult roles. Things progressed very fast, and Sunny became pregnant in early 1951. Marriage was imminent now – they wed in Phoenix, Arizona on June 27, 1951 and their son, Scotty Jr., was born Nov. 6, 1951 in Los Angeles.

Scotty was born on October 4, 1929, in Oakland, California, to Ralph Beckett and Ruth Slavan. His older brother James was born in 1919. He was a natural for performing, and was noted by a scout when he was entertaining his father and other patient in a local hospital. Sadly, his father died in 1933, and Scotty, to help the family budget, started a successful juvenile movie career. Hal Roach signed him up for his “Our Gang” series in 1934. He appeared in 15 “Our Gang” shorts, including “Hi Neighbor!”, “Mike Fright”, “The Lucky Corner”, and “Mama’s Little Pirate”. Beckett left Roach in 1935 to do features for the major studios, among them “Dante’s Inferno” (1935), “Anthony Adverse” (1936), “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1936), “Conquest” (1937), “Marie Antoinette” (1938), “King’s Row” (1942), and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” (1944). The pinnacle of his career was playing young Al Jolson in “The Jolson Story” (1946). Already on cusp of manhood by then, Scotty could not quite find a niche for him in Hollywood by the 1950s. He was married once before, to a tennis pro, Bevely Baker, but they divorced within a year.

Sunny gave up her career to devote to her new family. Sadly, the marriage turned sour pretty soon. Scotty was a volatile personality, prone to mis-mashes with the law. While he was young, his extensive experience with Hollywood made him jaded beyond his years, and much more jaded than Sunny. Living with him was probably very difficult, especially for a sanguine, happy-go-lucky girl like Sunny. Also, Scotty liked to pop pills and drink. Sunny picked up the trait, and began drinking to cope with the challenging home situation.

Scotty was relatively sedate for the first few years of the marriage, enjoying fatherhood, but his career continued to wane and so did his mental health. Beckett was arrested in 1954 on a bad check charge and three years’ probation imposed the same year for carrying a concealed weapon. Sunny’s alcoholism worsened, and she was treated by a string of doctors in California.

Things only went from bad to worse. Scotty was (again) arrested Feb. 11, 1957, at the U. S. -Mexico border crossing near San Diego on suspicion of possessing dangerous drugs. He told officers he was a student at the University of Southern California end had bought the stimulant pills for his wife in Mexico on a Mexican doctor’s prescription. The authorities imprisoned him and Sunny for four months without a trial. 

This totally busted their shaky marriage, and they separated and as soon as she could, Sunny filed for divorce and seeker custody of their son. The divorce drama had just started – during the proceedings, Sunny was put into a state hospital by her family, in a try to treat her alcoholism, but she left the facility by her own accord before the treatment was done. Scotty found out and tried to get custody:

Permanent custody of his 5-year-old son is demanded by Scotty Beckett, 28, former film ‘actor, in a cross- complaint for divorce which charges that his wife, sunny Vickers, 29, one-time screen actress, is now an escapee from a State hospital. Beckett asked that his wife’s rights to visit the child, Scott Jr., be limited to times when she is not under the influence of liquor. Shortly after the wife filed the original suit under her legal name of Beverly Beckett last Aug. 12 she was given temporary custody of her son and Beckett was ordered to con tribute $50 a month toward the child’s support But Beckett informed the court in the cross-suit that the boy is now with him 

What a sad story… Unfortunately, it was not over. Scotty ended up in the hospital on September 20, 19158, from an overdose of barbiturates. In 1959 he was caught drunk driving, and in 1964 he was jailed after hitting his stepdaughter on her head with a crutch. A very troubled man, he died on May 10, 1968 from an alleged barbiturate overdose, but legend has it he was beat up so bad he died from the aftereffects.

Little is known about Sunny’s life after their divorce. It seems that she married once more, to a Mr. Williams, but they were divorced in the mid 1960s. Sadly, Sun’y alcoholism continued to run rampart, and before long, it was too late for her.

Sunny Vickers, died on November 27, 1968, (just months after Scotty died) in Los Angeles. One can only imagine how difficult it was for Scotty Jr., to lose both of his parents so close in time-frame and at such young ages. I hope he recuperated and went on to have a healthy and happy life.

Marie DeForrest

Marie Deforest was a nice looking dancer who got into movies as a chorus girl, and decided to tackle the notoriously difficult task of trying to make it as a serious actress. She did not succeed, but married a legendary character actor and led a happy life. Let’s learn more about her!


Marie Alice Davis was born on November 11, 1913, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mr. Davis and Ethel DeForest. I could not find the name of her father, but what we do know is that he died not long after Marie was born, and remarried to Russell Clark Douglas on September 6, 1915, in Leavenworth, Kansas. Russell, a chandelier maker by trade, was married previously and had a daughter, Leona Ruth, born on April 20, 1907. Russell, Ethel and Marie lived in Kansas City.

Marie grew up and was schooled in Kansas City, and there she discovered she had a knack for the performing arts, especially dancing. In about 1925, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Marie started to dance on a professional basis. Pretty soon she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a chorus girl in the musical entertainment circuit. This is how she landed in Hollywood in the mid 1930s.


Marie obviously appeared in a myriad of movies, but IMDB lists only 6, so let’s go with hem! The first was The Bride of Frankenstein, a classical sequel to a classical movie everyone knows, Frankenstein. Technically very progressive for it’s time, with incredible and very imaginative set and costume design, and a string of top notch British actors (Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Elsa Lancaster, Valerie Hobson), this is classic Hollywood as it’s best, at least in the horror movie stakes. Literary the world of horror movies were changed forever with the Frankenstein serial. While the later movies left much to be desired, this was pure gold! I think we all know the story and the main characters, so no need to write in depth about them. Marie played a small ballerina roles, and she got to show her dancing skills.

Marie’s second movie was Love Me Forever, a sadly forgotten Grace Moore weepie about a gambler who gives everything to help the woman he loves, a budding opera songstress (played by Moore) succeed in the world of classical music. While it does sound a bit overtly dramatic, the cast has some very good actors (Leo Carillo as the lead, which is a rarity, Louis Alberni, Douglass Dumbrille, Thurston Hall and others). I have actually never seen Grace Moore in a movie and am curious to see if the had that something the camera loves or was she just another singer turned actress without the spark.

Boy, was Marie’s next movie a weird one – Lash of the Penitentes. The name says it all, it’s a semi-documentary movie about flagellants, just with a murder mystery thrown in for good measure. Yep, real footage of flagellants is displayed in the movie, and whoa Nelly, what can I say about this? Marie even plays the leading female role. Marie’s next movie was luckily more lightweight fare, Mountain Music. Leading role – Martha Raye and Bob Burns. You can probably guess where this is going. There are hillbillies, mistaken identities, G men, singing and dancing and a whole lot of misunderstandings. The story isn’t even that important when you have plenty of comedic gangs by both Martha and Bob. If these types of comedy are your cup of tee, consume by all means, if not avoid. A similarly dim-witted but endearing movie was Marie’s next, Tropic Holiday. We just have more high caliber stars (Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland), but Martha Raye and Bob Burns are there too! As usual, the story isn’t a oiece of art (A Hollywood screenwriter looking for inspiration for his next film goes to Mexico, where he runs into a beautiful Mexican girl who sets her sights on him), but it’s okay enough for the theme at hand.

Marie’s last movie was Artists and Models Abroad, a Jack Benny comedy hitting most of the right notes – plenty of pretty girls, song and dance, and a solid cast – except Benny we have Joan Bennett, Mary Boland (she’s a hoot!), Montey Woolley, Fritz Feld, Joyce Compton and others. The story, as you can guess by now, is secondary to all the other shenanigans, but so to be on the safe side – Benny and his troupe are stranded in Paris, he meets rich heiress Joan Bennett, but thinks she ‘s broke, and all kind of funny things happen. Nice, breezy, not a shabby choice for enjoyment watching. Marie plays a member of the troupe.

That was it from Marie!


 Marie’s favorite actor and co-star was Bing Crosby, whom she thought of as the “most natural” of all the actors. Marie loved to be on water, and used famous Johnson “Sea Horse” outboard motor for daily excursions. Marie’s Hollywood career was very much frustrating and slow moving, as was the career of countless starlets. The press noted:

Marie DeForrest progressed to the spot of specially dancer but it has taken her three and a half y-ears to get a real speaking part. She hasn’t any solution for bucking the talent scouts’ indifference ‘Tve been in show business and- movies a long time but 1 still don’t know what it lakes beside luck Tins is the best break I’ve bad SO far”

This is a common enough story in Tinsel town, and I respect enormously anyone who tried this. Succeed or fail, all effort is rewarded, perhaps not the way a person expects, but some other mysterious ways… And for Marie it did, in a different way than one can assume.

As for her private life – before getting married, Marie had been engaged twice. It was noted she was quite popular with the boys, and received numerous offers for dates and similar proposals. However, Marie knew very well what she wanted, and told it to the newspapers:

A girl who could have forty dates a week, if there were that many evenings in seven days, and who averages a marriage proposal every seven weeks, revealed today she’s going to stay a bachelor girl for “a long long time.” The young lady is Marie DeForest, 22, born in St. Louis, Mo., but who spent most of her Young life in Kansas City until she came here with her parents eight years ago. “When I get married I want it to be a one and only for keeps,” said Marie, one of the most sought after misses in town as a dining and dancing partner. She actually accepts no more than three dates a Week. “I want a life companion when I marry and they are difficult to find in a town where most of the people are in your own line of business,” she explained. Marie, an accomplished dancer before the camera, wouldn’t marry n actor. “Pretty soon it would not be bearable,” she added. “It would be question of always talking shop and you’d always be bored to death of fighting a battle. “Ii don’t want to even date an actor. They don’t seem natural to or course, they must have a certain amount of egotism, I guess, so that they can have faith in their own ability.” She spurned college boys, too. “They’re so young and kind of silly. I don’t like them at all”

It’s funny, but in the end, Marie Married an actor! Surprise surprise! Well, not really, this happens more often than you think! In 1941, Marie married Bernard Ofner, aka Barney Phillips, a very prosperous character actor. Here is a short bio, taken from Mayberry fandom page:

Bernard Philip Ofner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Harry Nathan Ofner, a commercial salesman for the leather industry, and Leona Frank Ofner, a naturalized citizen of German origin, who went by the nickname Lonnie. Phillips grew up and was educated in St. Louis, then moved to Los Angeles, California after graduating from college in 1935.

Interested in acting, he was able to get a small part in an independently-produced Grade B western called Black Aces in 1937, but his show business career then languished. Phillips enlisted in the US Army in July 1941 under his real name, serving in the signal corps during World War II.

Following the war, Phillips procured small parts in several films during 1949-1952, before getting a regular role on the NBC television version of Dragnet, as Sgt. Ed Jacobs. He also voiced the recurring role of Hamilton J. Finger, a police sergeant in Frank Sinatra’s radio program, Rocky Fortune, in 1953 and 1954. Thereafter he was a prolific character actor in both films and television series throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1959-1960 television season, Phillips portrayed police Lieutenant Geller in the syndicated crime drama, Johnny Midnight, starring Edmond O’Brien as a New York City actor-turned-private detective. The following season, Phillips appeared as another police lieutenant, named “Avery”, in seven episodes of the syndicated crime drama The Brothers Brannagan, starring Stephen Dunne and Mark Roberts. He also made several appearances on the original “The Twilight Zone ” (1960-1963), most notably as the three-eyed Venusian Haley the Bartender in “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?” (1961).

Phillips remained active in television during the 1970s.

The Ofners enjoyed a very happy marriage. They did not have any children, and lived in Los Angeles where Barney was a much sought after actor.

Barney died from dancer in 1982. Marie did not remarry, and opted to remain in California. She moved to Riverside at some point in the 1980s.

Marie Ofner died on her birthday, November 11, 1990, in Riverside, California.

Helen Deverell

Beautiful and with a fine voice, Helen Deverell achieved some fame on radio, but she wanted cinematic glory, and tried, for several times, to catch it in Tinsel town. Sadly, all her tries did not catapult her to stardom, and she retired after marrying in the late 1940s. Let’s learn more about her!


Helen Marie Murphy was born on December 25, 1913, (she’s a Christmas baby) in Chicago, Illinois, to William James Murphy and Florence Cooper. Her father was her first married to her mother’s older sister, Margaret, who sadly died in February 1910 after giving birth to his son, William, in 1908. William and Florence had five children: Margaret (born in 1912), Helen, Gordon (born in 1915), Florence (born in 1917) and Patricia (born in 1925). William was a machinist by trade.

The family moved from place to place, living in New Yersey just before Helen’s birth, and then moving to Los Angeles in the mid 1920s. Helen grew up in Los Angeles and attended school there. Helen developed a passion for acting while she was in high school, and right after graduation started working as a radio actress. She made some excursions to New York to audition for various studios, and by 1939, she was finally signed to a movie contract!


After appearing in some movie shorts, Helen made her movie debut in 1939 with Dancing Co-Ed, a run of the mill musical that is enlightened by two things – first, Lana Turner as a young, sweet and fresh ingenue, just beginning her career (yeah, the quality of Lana’s acting can be debated, but nobody can ever say she was boring or that the camera didn’t love her – quite the opposite, she was a natural born star with more charisma tan talent), the second, seeing two top clarinet players in the same movie – Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman! She story (about finding a replacement for a successful sister duo after one sis gets pregnant) is never important as much as the overall feel and the music, so this movie was be enjoyed from that regard.

Helen then only resurfaces in Hollywood in 194, with Pardon My Sarong, an Abbott and Costello comedy. What can I say, if you like them and their brand of funny, this is a good movie, if not, don’t watch. There are plenty of very nice looking actresses in it – Marie McDonald, Nan Wynn, Virginia Bruce, Lona Andre and so on. The comedic duo somehow end up on a luxury cruise on the tropics, hence the sarong name (and without Dorothy Lamour, the queen of sarongs).

Helen then appeared in two low budget westerns, and this is perhaps her sole claim to fame today. As you already well known, I don’t know much about such movies so I’ll just let them slide (their names are Boss of Hangtown Mesa and The Blocked Trail. Helen made one more movie then, Strictly in the Groove, a Ozzie Nelson comedy about him trying to keep his fledging band alive. As you can imagine, it’s not a deep and nuanced movie, but there are plenty of good music to hear, especially hot swing, and some of the supporting actors are comedic gold (Leon Errol, Frankilin Pangborn, Shemp Howard). Fleeting but enjoyable entertainment for sure!

Helen got married and took a hiatus from movie making, and returned to Hollywood after the war ended, in 1945. She signed up with Monogram, and appeared in one of their Charlie Chan movies, The Scarlet Clue. Chan was a legendary 1940s character, and people loved seeing him solving mysteries, but when the movie serial moved from 20th century fox to Monogram, the movies became more comedy. This one is no exception – who wants real mystery should probably seek some other movie, but there are plenty of nice funny moments, especially between Chan and his son and Chan and his chauffeur. The story is bare boned (Charlie discovers a scheme for the theft of government radar plans while investigating several murders.) but it works in the setting. Anyway, watch for the comedy!

Helen appeared in two more movies in 1946. The first, The Mysterious Mr. M , is a campy serial about an evil scientist known as “Mr. M.” uses a drug he has developed called “hypnotreme” to help steal submarine equipment. Federal agent Grant Farrell is dispatched to find the mysterious villain and stop his nefarious plans. What can I say, if people enjoy stuff like Flash Gordon, why not? Over the top, completely unrealistic, but catch this, Mr. M uses a very rudimentary form of GPS here, so the movie actually features something that will come into mainstream use about 60 years later! Revolutionary, in a small way!

Helen’s last movie was Abie’s Irish Rose, based on a Broadway play that was panned by the critics but lauded by the public and ran for 5 years straight! The reviews for this one was abysmal, so let’s assume that the critics were correct at some rate at least. The plot concerns a marriage between a clean cut Jewish boy and a pretty Irish girl. You can easily connect the dots on what happens next, the families are not impressed and mayhem is assured. Joanne Dru, who plays the pretty Irish lass, started her career here, and she managed to have a solid run in Hollywood, so as a stepping stone for her, this movie wasn’t too… Shabby. To bad it’s a piece of sentimental shuck with no depth not true emotional worth, but hey, at least legendary acting coach Michael Chekov is in it (and he made only a few movies).

That was all from Helen!


Helen was primarily a very successful radio actress, and got most of her fame from the medium. Here is an excerpt about the shows that Helen did:

“Continental Caprice, depicting the charm and romance of Europe in the old days, has been lengthened to 45 minutes tonight to tell a story of Christmas Eve in Vienna. A special cast has been chosen to enact the Christmas program, – Including Carol Stone, John’ Carroll and Helen Deverell. Velascos Hungarian Orchestra and Julius Klein, master of the cymbal, furnish the music. .

Little is known of Helen’s private life, as she didn’t cause much rippled in the newspapers. In 1943, she married George Cahan, who was then serving in the US army. George Middleton Cahan was born on may 24, 1919, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Louis B. Cahan and Ida Goldman, their only child. The family lived in Harrisburg for a short ime before returning to Philly, where George grew up and attended schools. In the 1930s, Cahan was a radio announcer-producer for national networks and several large stations in the East, including Stations WCAU, Philadelphia, and WHP, Harrisburg, for the Columbia Broadcasting System, and WFIL, Philadelphia, for NBC and Mutual While with CBS, he was named their special announcer for the Governor of Pennsylvania and later made several broadcasts from the Governor’s Mansion.

He enlisted in 1941, and after several months as an enlisted man in public relations and special services work, Capt. Cahan entered cadet training and receive his pilot’s wings and commission July 3, 1942, at Columbus, Miss. He was later transferred to the Troop Carried Command and ordered to New Guinea, where he was a Group Operations officer during several campaigns. When he returned to the States in March, 1944, Capt. Cahan was assigned to public relations work. He came to Stockton Field from a similar assignment at the Sixth Ferrying Group, Long Beach.

Helen followed her husband, around, and While in Stockton, the Cahans resided at 2135 Lakeside, Stockton. However, this was a typical wartime marriage, where the people involved don’t even know each other before getting married, and sadly but predictably it failed in 1945. Cahan would marry actress Alice Talton in 1950 and die on June 12, 1991.

Helen fell out of the newspaper radar, and we know why on May 1, 1947, she married to Tomas Gurza Bracho, and effectively left behind the world of Hollywood and acting to settle in her new home country – Mexico. Sadly there was not much I could find about Helen’s second husband. He was born on September 12, 1911, in Durango, Mexico, to Alberto Gurza and Carmen Ana Bracho, the fourth of seven children. He was a diplomat, and married once before to Maria Luisa Lacy.

I could not find any information about children. The couple lived in Mexico City and seemingly enjoyed a happy marriage. Bracho died on December 9,1965, from hemorrhaging related to a renal disease. Helen continued living in Mexico after Bracho died and only sporadically returned to the US (I assume).

Helen Bracho died in May 1991 in Mexico City, Mexico.