Elinor Troy

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Considered the first Amazon glamour chorine, Elinor Troy, the 6’2” statuesque stunner with raven hair and dark eyes, truly was a knockout. Yet, she hardly remembered today and not for her slim achievements in the movie making area but her very colorful private life.

EARLY LIFE

Elinor Edmonston was born on September 15, 1916 in Washington DC, to Eric Edmonston and Elsie Ashly. She was the oldest of three children: her younger brother Eric Jr. was born in 1917, and her younger sister Ruth in 1920.

Little is known about Elinor’s childhood, except that she grew up in Washington DC, and finished only the first two grades of high school. Allegedly she left Washington with the sole purpose of appearing in Busby Berkeley production. The man saw her, liked what he saw and signed her right away.

CAREER

Elinor first appeared in a movie from 1937, Meet the Boy Friend. There is nothing worthwhile to mention about this late 1930s comedy – all the usual elements are here, including a moronic script, little known actors and pedestrian direction. Those movies are hardly worth watching today, with so many more worthwhile films on the stack!

ElinorTroy8Elinor’s next comedy, Nothing Sacred, is a gem in her filmography. A seminal comedy with Carole Lombard, the queen of all comediennes and the indomitable Frederic March, it possesses a fast moving, brutal but very effective humor native to the decade. The story is a satire at its best, dealing with how the media distorts facts and pushes towards sensationalism at every chance. As one review on IMDB wrote: “The writing cuts to the bone, exposing hypocrisy in all its forms. The film is as fresh today, and is as relevant to the culture, as it was when it was made.” Also watch out for a great supporting cast (Walter Connolly, Margaret Hamilton, Sig Ruman). They don’t get much better than this!

Kiss the Boys Goodbye is a completely forgotten Mary Martin musical. Martin was truly one of the actresses that were tops in the theater but never managed to arouse the same level of excitement in movies.

The Fleet’s In is a movie that boasts an incredible cast (William Holden, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Hutton – all of them went on to make bigger and better things) but everything else if sub par. Worth watching if only to see all of these luminaries in one place (that never happened again!).

The Falcon Takes Over is a movie that tries and to some degree, manages to mix opposite genres. We al know who Falcon is – the suave, charming ElinorTroy10Casanova solving crimes between his caviar and champagne. Yet, the story is taken from a Raymond Chandler book, “Farewell my lovely.” We all know that Chandler wrote gritty, dark, turgid stories full of flawed men, alcohol, murder and lethal dames. So, how do the two mix and match? The sophisticated Falcon and the working man Phillip Marlowe (to put it mildly)? However, the movie surprises and manages to mix and match the two genres not brilliantly but well enough to make it work.

Lady of Burlesque is certainly a more worthwhile movie, today considered a solid 1940s comedy. It deals with a touchy theme, the world of burlesque – and the murders that happen within. Considering Hollywood’s try to be as snow pure and happy go lucky as it gets (the reason I am not a big MGM fan!), this is quite a bold move, to make a movie about strippers. Here we directly see the innovative way writers an directors fought the production code that, at its most valiant tries, turned serious movies into predictable, black and white mushes with little grey undertones. Despite dealing with an unsavory world of sleazy men and nude women, the movie masterfully sweeps by without touching anything that could taint it. The script is witty and elegant, the direction in firm and masterful, and the girls give decent portrayals. Barbara Stanwyck, in the leading role, truly was one of the biggest talent of the golden age of Hollywood (and interestingly, she is an actress I don’t personally like but admire). As one reviewer on IMDB wrote: “The result was a movie that captured the seedy, underworld-edged world of burlesque without actually causing censors to yank it from distribution.”

Let’s Face It was once a risky Broadway play, but guess what happened when Hollywood got his hands on it? Yep,a watered down comedy. While it does slightly retain some of the edge of the original play, it’s “too little, too late”. If you put the serious artistic pretensions aside, it’s still a well crafted musical comedy with a solid cast – Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Eve Arden. Bob and Betty are a fine couple with good chemistry, too bad they never made more movies. Music by Cole Porter is also a big plus.

ElinorTroy2One can watch Atlantic City if nothing than for the superb vaudeville/musical sequences. Where else can you see Louis Armstrong and his band on film, or a pre-fame Dorothy Dangridge doing her stuff? As typical for a musical, these sequences take precedence over the story and the leads. I personally dislike these type of musicals for this same reason, as story and characters are king in my book, but to each his own!

Lost in a Harem is the best movie Abbott and Costello did for MGM. The studio (about which I have wildly differing opinions about, but that’s a topic for a long discussion!) was based more on saccharine sweet musicals and comedy teams like the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello always fell into the backwater hole for them. This is obvious in the movies – they often stuff it with various bandleaders and their bands (this was not supposed to be a musical!) to give it a bigger appeal, and tone down the Abbott and Costello. Despite this, it’s a okay comedy, with some great sequences and a very oily bad guy (Douglas Dumberville).

See My Lawyer is a Ole and Chic comedy movie, their last. The plot is non existent, but the The Nat King Cole Trio and Carmen Amaya and her Troupe are more than enough reason to at least take a look at it.

Nob Hill is George Raft’s last leading role in a big production (he would fall into . It’s not a bad movie – whiel the plot is a rip of of several prior movies like Barbary Coast and Hello, Frisco, Hello, it serves as a well enough backdrop for character development. However, George gets a step down compared to his co star, the child actress Margaret O’Brien, and the same goes to his love interest, Joan Bennett.

Anchors Aweigh is a classical 1940s musical with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. You like colorful, fun, lightweight fare? Then don’t miss this one.

Of Human Bondage  is an adaptation of the famous Somerset Maugham novel, and sadly inferior to the better known 1938 version. Let’s be frank, Paul Henreid can’t hold a candle to the supremely talented Leslie Howard, and while Eleanor Parker is good enough as Mildred, but cannot top Bette Davis.

Health reasons made Elinor retire from movies after 1946.

PRIVATE LIFE

Elinor had a very colorful private life. My own opinion of her is that she was a fiery girl with an attitude who easily got mad and did stuff she later regretted. She was also more than a little bit silly, not the type to think about the future and lived for the moment, but a very positive and giddy person.

She hit the papers in 1934, when Busby Berkeley called her the girl with a perfect figure. On February 21, 1934, Elinor married Charles Carrara. Carrara was born in 1891 in Italy to Carlo Carrara and Agnes Cirgretti, making him quite a bit older than Elinor. The marriage was dissolved by 1936. Elinor went to live with her mom Elsie afterwards, who was by that time separated but not divorced from her dad Eric.

ElinorTroy6Her first real scandal came in 1937, and concerning crooner Jack Doyle, the singing boxed nicknamed “Irish Thush”. His affections the subject of a 2,000,000 love theft suit, brought on by his wife Judith Allen against prominent socialite Mrs. Delphine Dodge Cromwell Baker Godde. Elinor was literary the collateral, as she was mentioned in the lawsuit as Jack’s sometime companion, a fish bowl dancer. The guy sure went around! The suit stretched on and on, with massive newspaper coverage (don’t the media just love these kind of things?). Of course, Elinor issued the mandatory denial, saying she was a good friend of the Doyles and that they spent a few pleasant evening together (the three of them, of course). Then another girl, by the name of Jeanne Manet, also came forward as his escort of the year before.

During this whole mess, Elinor dated Frank Fay, the former husband of Barbara Stanwyck. However, she was far from finished with Doyle. Doyle did indeed divorce Allen in April 1938, but he never did marry Delphine. Elinor and he continued to date. In October 1938, she made headlines again when she knocked out Doyle after he failed to appear at a rendezvous. Sure enough, he had a date with Japanese beauty Michi Taka, and when Elinor saw them two together, wham! A photographer was conveniently present to see that the whole story went right to the papers… Later, she claimed they were engaged – he denied it. Yet, they made up and she even went with him to Ellis Island to assist him in obtaining permanent admission to the US.

In 1939, Elinor met the man who would end up begin her ticket to fame – Tommy Manville. What to say about this guy? Let this text speak for itself (taken from Wikipedia):

Thomas Franklyn Manville, Jr., universally known as Tommy Manville (April 9, 1894 – October 9, 1967), was a Manhattan socialite and heir to the Johns-Manville asbestos fortune. He was a celebrity in the mid 20th Century, by virtue of his large financial inheritance, and his 13 marriages to 11 women. This feat won him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, and made him the subject of much gossip.

ElinorTroy4In October 1939, he paid a chartered plane to bring Elinor to New York – she was the only passenger. Imagine the cost! For five days afterwards they went from club to club, then finally got into a tiff and separated. Elinor had to take a cab after Tommy left her hanging in a club! The reason could have been Hoot Gibson, the virile western star. Hoot was the man of the hour in late 1939, and send Elinor an orchid a day. What a romantic!

Yet, by early 1940, she was seen with Franchot Tone in Florida. By February, she was again enmared by Manville, and rumors flew the two will wed. That was hushes quickly, and Elinor bought a mansion in Washington for her mother (imagine, how much chorus girls make!). Next in line was George Jessel, who was dating Lois Andrews in parallel (he married Lois in the end so you go figure!). Elinor was allegedly quite smitten with the charming George, even trying to book him a deal with a very rich old broker. Didn’t help there. Owning to her colorful love life, Elinor gathered some notoriety as a girl who was engaged “instantly” to a man after their first date, and the press even chided her for it!

Dashing Lyle Talbot took over as the leading man in April 1940. In May 1940, Elinor was back in Hollywood (finally), and guess who paid for the trip back. Why Manville, of course! He gifted her with a 2800$ car. Return ticket from Manville, to put it succintly. She got a spot at the Florentine Gardens and took up with writer Dick Purcell. By October she was back with Franchot Tone.

In November 1940, Elinor was en route to New York and Tommy Manville again. The idyll lasted for only a few days, Tommy the first to get cooled off. He gave her the chill for two weeks, and then she returned to Hollywood in January 1941, with six new fur coats. All the while, her sister Ruth was seriously ailing in the General Hospital in California, given 60 days to live due to insufficient funds to move her to a drier and warmer climate. Luckily, Ruth recovered and went on to marry W. D. Whitefield and appear on the stage under the name of Ruth Roy.

ElinorTroy3Elinor was dated by John Carroll upon her return, closely followed by George Sanders. Soon, however, Elinor was in the papers again, saying how she wants to get married and have children. Were her playgirl days the thing ot he past by then? Anyway, it’s fun to note that she sometimes got together with other Tommy Manville exes, and they all went to dinner and shows together.

In August 1941, Manville announced her was to be married to Mrs. Beverly Paterno – Elinor was quick to note that a redhead like Paterno could never understand Tommy and give him proper care, so she would fly to New York to be at had. Another beauty, Margot Haller, had the same idea. Meanwhile, back in New York Tommy moaned how he only loved Beverly and needs no help from either Margot or Elinor. I guess tis was a clever bit of publicity as nothing further was heard of it.

In October, Elinor was seen with Leif Erikson. In January 1942, she was again in New York to see Tommy. The saga continues it seems! There she romances John Payne. In April she was back in Los Angeles, claiming that Tommy proposed to her and that she “could have him any moments she wants”. When asked why they did not marry back in 1939, she said that he thought she was flirting with a guy in a nightclub and discovered that she could not cook. A very serious romance for sure! Whatever the truth is,they did not marry, and Elinor later claimed she was the only girl who said no to Tommy Manville.

In April 1943, she was serious about Bill Davey, a wealthy sportsman who gifted her with a diamond wristwatch. Later she tried to sell a script, titled Broadway Playboy, to the studios. Sadly, Elinor fell into some money problems, and had to sell the white fur coat to settle some bills she accumulated and to pay her fare to the East coast.

ElinorTroy7She worked at the Follies Bergere, and fell in love with the same guy like fellow chorine Dorothy Pinto, The two had a backstage fight over the guy (whoever he is!).  In September, she almost married Lieutenant Howard P. Lane, a wealthy Connecticut man. Why did they postpone it? Sadly no information is given, but one can only guess… She was also the girl with the longest silver fox jacket in New York.

Not long after, Elinor became a recluse. She started to loan out her fancy fur coat collection to fellow showgirls in return for slacks. She got a steady boyfriend (no name mentioned) who even sent her a Christmas tree backstage after a show. The guy could have been Lt. True Davis, whom she dated for sure in January 1944.

In June 1944, she was back with a bankroll that would choke a horse (beats me what that means exactly!). Her former beau, Manville, went bankrupt in the meantime, sold a real size painting of Elinor in December 1944.

In October 1945, Elinor was recuperating from a series to health problem, but things seemed to look up. Well, not really. By November 1946, she was sure she would die unless she got 3000$ for treatment. The malady was tuberculosis, and the benefactor they hope to reach was Manville. There was no answer for Manville, and the only one ready to put money for Elinor was her old friend, Van Johnson.

ElinorTroy9She spend all of her time in bed, and to alleviate her boredom, a group of friends wished to buy her a radio photograph, but asked for donations to do so. By June 1948, she was a bit better and even ventured out, but it was not to last long. By August she was back in bed, and got some newspaper coverage in an article where she claimed her biggest worry was not her deteriorating state of health, but her missing Pekingese dog, Tinker, whom she misses very much (so typical of Elinor, who never seemed to be serious about anything). The situation did not approve sadly. Elinor slowly wasted away from TBC and there was nothing to be done about it. While Elinor was probably a silly chorine that lived from day to day, she was a good natured girl and nobody expected this tragic end to her life.

Elinor Troy died on November 29, 1949, in Hollywood, California.

Ann Staunton

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Another blonde stunner who came to Hollywood via the chorus line, Ann Staunton ended up much better than many of her contemporaries: while she was never credited and is hardy remembered today, she stayed in Hollywood for 30 years and made appearances in a hefty number of well known movies.

EARLY LIFE:

Virginia Ann Koerlin was born on March 20, 1919, in New York City, New York, to William Koerlin and Blanche Perrone. Her paternal grandparents were from Germany, her maternal grandparents from Italy. Her older brother William Jr. was born in 1918. Little is known about her childhood, except that she grew up in New York.

Virginia started working as a chorine just as soon as she graduated from high school. She worked as a professional ice skater and appeared in a large number of revenues. After a “long” stage career, she landed in Hollywood in 1942.

CAREER:

I will only cover Ann’s movie career, leaving the TV appearances behind (as I know little about the 1950s and 1960s series).

Prisoner of Japan is a cheap, low quality spy thriller with a German man emulating a Japanese spy. Summer Storm is an early Douglas Sirk melodrama, and it gives all the hints of the greatness Sirk was to achieve in just a few decades in Hollywood. And I am always glad to see Linda Darnell in movies. Not a great actress, but a compelling one nonetheless!

Next Ann appeared in the classic film noir, The Killers. Burt Lancaster + Ava Gardner = sizzle, sizzle. The Razor’s Edge is another classic and one of my favorite Tyrone Power movies. Hollywood did not make movies as deep as this one frequently (the movie is a watered down version of the book in turn), and they are a joy to watch.

Hit Parade of 1947 was a lesser effort for Ann, as it’s the usual 1940s musical cum comedy cum romance. Eddie Albert, an actor I adore, plays the lead – he was usually the second banana and it is refreshing to see him in the main role for once. Philo Vance Returns

Anybody who loved Christmas movies, or indeed family movies, has probably watched the original Miracle on 34th Street. I find it to be much better than the remake, and Natalie Wood is absolutely gorgeous (and Maureen O’Hara is not bad herself. John Payne is the usual wooden face).

Heartaches is a typical murder mystery made by the dozen in Hollywood in the 1940s. Only thing to distinguish it are the song and dance routines featuring Chill Wills and Kenneth Farrell (you ever heard of this guy? Well, I haven’t, so you guessed it! Obscure actor!). The surprise is – they are both dubbed! So much for genuine musicals…

AnnStauntonDaisy Kenyon is a melodrama with the queen of melodramas, Joan Crawford. The more I watch her movies, the more I appreciate Joan: She was such a singular talent and an immensely charismatic woman, not a trained actress but with a raw and angry quality that many trained actors loose after their intense schooling. Daisy Kenyon is not a top melodrama in terms of  story (woman having an affair with a married man, hoping he would divorce his wife, when a mentally unstable war veteran enters the picture), but it works mostly because of Joan and her supporting actors. When you have Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, you don’t need much more!

Call Northside 777 is a seminal 1940s movie, and we can say it has everything a film noir needs to become a classic: a capable director (Henry Hathaway), moody, stunning cinematography, a cast of superb actors, and a dark and disturbing story line taken from a real life case (trying to prove a man already convicted of murder innocent). I am not a Jimmy Stewart fan by any stretch of an imagination, but boy, could he act! I am also a big fan of the tragic Helen Walker (who plays Stewart’s wife), one of the most underrated and talented actresses of the period.

After such a intense movie, Ann moved on to lighter fare. The Fuller Brush Man is perhaps the best Red Skelton movie Hollywood ever belted out. Dont’ expect a Nobel prize winning story, but Skelton is a true comedic genius and the lovely Janet Blair is wonderful to watch. Ann continued appearing in Red Skelton movies – A Southern Yankee, certainly a good enough comedy set during the American Civil War.

Now, it was back to more serious movies: Hollow Triumph is a unjustly overlooked film noir. While the story has an improbable beginning, the rest is very plausible and for that sole reason, very very disturbing. The sordid truth, that people are so self absorbed they neglected everything around themselves, hits hard any viewer who watched movie less for the fun and relaxation and more for artistically fulfillment. I love Paul Henreid, and while he was not a model actor with a great range, his tormented face and a lanky, hungry countenance never failed to stir something in me. The cinematography of the movie is a masterpiece of shadow and light, as is often the case with film noir.

Apartment for Peggy is a warm, gentle movie with a simple story (a old professor, so depressed and unhappy he is on the verge of suicide, gets a new lease of life when a young war bride enters his life) and lots of heart.  Of course, the acting performances by the leads, Jeanne Crain and Edmund Gwenn do 90% of the job. As I already said several times, this is the kind of movie you rarely, if ever, see today. While not a gripping, thrilling film that will hold you for the next several days, it will give you several moments of true endearment.   

Ann oscillated happy go lucky movies with extremely dark ones, as her next one, The Snake Pit, can attest. The movie is primarily remembered for the tour de force role of Olivia de Havilland, truly a talent who was often stuck playing genteel but spirited love interests. While Olivia truly was a great choice for such elegantly spunky ladies, she shows her true colors only in movies like this. The movie deals with a very touchy subject – the treatment of mental patients in asylums int he 1940s. A bit on a side story: if you want to know more about the treatment, and love old games, play “Blackstone chronicles” (more on this Wikipedia link). Boy, in the world of gory horror games, this one scared me the most because it was all true. What they did to those poor people. The lobotomies, the cold water treatments, the injection of snake venom and so on… Later, the subject got some coverage with “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest“, but there were other movies dealing with it before (including the very good Shock Corridor). let’s get one things straight: this movie is a very tame version of what happened, but a truly welcome one. Great movie all around.

Criss Cross is an another film noir classic, this time with Burt Lancaster and Yvonne de Carlo. What can I say, I adore Burt and find him to be one AnnStaunton4of the best actors of the 1950s. Int he 1940s he was just getting into his own and he’s not the true juggernaut he would become later, but he is very effective in the role of a man swindled by a seductive femme fatale he is crazy about. It was back to fluffier fare with We’re Not Married! , a comedy that is all about the casting. The plot is moronic, to be mild, and the writing is lacking, but where else can you see luminaries like Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mtzi Gaynor, Louis Calhern, Eddie Bracken in one movie!

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is not the best Hemingway adaptation, and even today the reviews ae very well mixed. IMHO, part of the problem lies with the actors – while they are all more than adequate, they never strike the right cord. For me, Peck was not a Hemingway hero like Gary Cooper was, and Susan Hayward was not suited for meek wife roles. Ava Gardner fares a bit better as the ideal Hemingway heroines, but eve she is not “it”. Hard to explain, but it often is when you try to make a great short story into a movie. My Wife’s Best Friend is a run of the mill 1950s marriage comedy. Anne Baxter, an actress I personally find to be unique and interesting, plays a typical superficial role these movies demanded for their leads. On the plus side, at least the story is interesting enough (from IMDB: After a man confesses to his wife that he has been unfaithful, she imagines all kinds of ways that historical figures such as Cleopatra and Joan of Arc might handle the situation.)

Bad for Each Other is a mediocre medical drama. Charlton Heston, a man made for playing larger than life heroes (and, accordingly, very uncomfortable in playing normal, everyday people) is good enough as the leading man, a doctor just returned from the Korean war and trying to figure out what to do with his life. Lizabeth Scott and Dianne Foster are the two women vying for his affection (not a bad combo, I have to say!). All in all, solid fare, but nothing to write home about.

Diane is a lavish costume melodrama with Lana Turner playing Diane the Poitiers, mistress of the french king Henry. The movie, like many of the genre, falls victim to it’s own splendor that effectively drowns all the more worthwhile elements of movie making – the story, characters and their interactions. It takes a giant like DeMille go get it right, and sadly the director. Yet, under the lawyers of glamour and glitter lies a solid story with decent performances. Lana Turner is at her bets when she is pitted against Marisa Pavan, who plays the wife of her lover. Also worth noting is that Roger Moore, 15 years before Bond, plays the leading man.

Ten Thousand Bedrooms is a below average musical comedy, Dean Martin’s first solo effort. Why? well because the tried to mesh Dean Martin into something only Cary Grant could pull off. Martin is just not as suave and charming as Cary is, and he’s hardy believable in his role. The music is listless. Only the supporting cast is good enough, with Anna Maria Alberghetti, Dewey Martin and Walter SlezakDesigning Woman is a classic comedy on the track of the 1930s screwball movies. I like Gregory Peck much better in this one, and Lauren Bacall is as “seductive as Eve and cool as the serpent”, as somebody once wrote about her, even in her comedy roles.

The Vampire  is an obscure 1950 horror movie. John Beal plays a kind and friendly small-town doctor, who has got hold accidentally of pills that turn him into a vampire. You can guess the rest. At least Coleen Gray appears in it! Band of Angels is a later day Gone with the wind, even featuring Clark Gable in the lead. GTWT similarities aside, it’s a movie with a social consciousness, but choppily made, bordering on being boring. Yvonne de Carlo is fine enough as the female love interest, but somebody correctly noted that Ava Gardner was born to play such parts, and Yvonne, despite all of her beauty, never tops that. Sidney Poitier get away with the best, meatiest role.

Hell’s Five Hours is a very obscure movie today, the the premise is good enough. From IMDB. “Released in the late ’50s when paranoia about thermonuclear annihilation was running rampant through America, Hell’s Five Hours looks not at Communist operators but at a disturbed individual with access to one installation of the nation’s military-industrial complex. It’s set at night, in cozy Meritville, a little town whose chief employer is a huge and ominous rocket-fuel plant (in an expressionist touch, it registers as a looming bank of lights in the dark distance).” Sadly I can say no more.

Born Reckless is a cheap, sloppily made western. If you like the blonde bombshell types, then you’ll probably enjoy seeing Mamie Van Doren playing a saloon singer so seductive every guy she encounters has to hit on her.

Ada is a Dean Martin/Susan Hayward pairing, and a sadly lukewarm movie. As they say, not the worst but far from good. A bit overly dramatic, but that’s a early 1960s melodrama for you. 13 West Street is an interesting movie, a last starring role for Alan Ladd, one of the first in the “citizen takes things into his own hands after his country fails him.” Ladd plays a engineer constantly bullied by a gang of affluent but completely deviant young men. After the police is unable to do anything worthwhile, he starts snooping around on his own and does things his way. Charles Bronson did a similar thing in the “Death Wish” movie 15 years later, and it’s always a highly relevant subject. Ladd, in one of his last roles, in visibly tormented and in bad health, just perfect for the guy he plays. Dolores Dorn is wonderful as his wife.  Mirage is another good entry into Ann’s filmography, a underrated but well made thriller with Gregory Peck in the leading role.

Ann appeared in two more completely forgotten movies from the early 1970s, The Pleasure Game and Beautiful Peopleand then retired from the screen for good.

PRIVATE LIFE:

Anne landed in Hollywood in 1937, and it was apparent pretty soon that instant fame was not her forte. She took a job as a cigarette girl at the Trocadero, where she met quite a number of gents from the upper echelons of the movie colony. This catapulted her to a more stable movie career not long after.

Anne’s first known beau was boxer Freddie Steele in January 1938, when Ann was just 18 years old. The two were very serious, and there were even rumors Freddie would wed her in his career went as expected. The nuptials never took place,and what exactly happened remain clouded in the mysteries of past.

Anne was a seasoned chorus girl by this time, best friends with fellow chorine Grace Clyde. In December 1939, Anne was often seen with Edmund Goudling, notable director. In January 1940, she enchanted Macoco, an aptly named South American millionaire.

By May, she was beaued by Lyle Talbot, the smooth talking Hollywood actor. She and Talbot got serious pretty soon, and he proposed in mid May. Anne turned him down- turns out she was madly in love with somebody else – Randolph Wade (whoever he was!). In the strange twist of fate, Lyle accepted her decision and they continued to date casually. Cool!

However, you couldn’t hold Ann down back then. In September 1940 she was dating a wealthy aircraft and oil president who lavished her with mink coats and jewelry. In January, she got a 6000$ brooch from him. It was closely followed by a 7500$ diamond and sapphire brooch. However, also to note that is this idyll, Ann had to keep his name a secret since he was still a married man. As time went by, the jewelry spree continued (add a 2000$ diamond ring), but not a word about who the guy might be. You guessed it, that wasn’t a prescription for a successful relationship that would lead to marriage, and in September 1941, after a year of a clandestine affair, Anne was hot and heavy with Mickey Rooney. In November, she was seen with Errol Flynn on board the Queen Mary. Errol insisted that the photographer destroy the negatives. He was separated from Lili Damita by then,  soon to be divorced, so that may be the reason. However, the fling did not last.

Interesting rumor is that Anne had the corner of her eyes slashed so they would look better in front of the cameras. Beats me what that exactly means, but hey, it shows how far girls were ready to go to look every inch the cinematic Venus.

In early 1942, Anne took up with Dick Fishell, the sports announcer. Soon, she switched to a new Dick, also a sports writer, Dick Hyland.

Anne got engaged to Dick in May 1943. They married not long after. Richard Frank Hyland was born on July 26, 1900, in California, to Francis William Hyland and Helen Swett, making him almost 19 years older than Anne. Wikipedia has a short page for him:

Richard Frank Hyland was an American rugby union player who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was a member of theAmerican rugby union team, which won the gold medal. Hyland also played college football at Stanford University, and went on to become a sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times.

Dick married noted poetess and screenwriter Adela St. Johns in 1928. Their son was born on . Dick and Adela divorced in 1935, amid allegations that Adela was an improper mother because she used improper language around their son and tried to “destroy his love for his father.”

Ann and Dick’s only child, Patricia Ann, was born on May 21, 1944.

Sadly, Anne and Dick separated soon after Patricia’s birth and divorced in 1946. He remarried to Rochelle Elizabeth Hudson on December 17, 1948. Hyland died on July 16, 1981.

She was seen with Anthony Vellier, another writer (she sure had a thing for those!), not long after. Anne fell out of the newspaper radar, and little is known about what happened to her after the 1940s.

What I do know is that Anne married Pierre E. Jannin in 1959 in Nevada. They divorced at some point.

Virginia Ann Staunton died on May 7, 1994, in Los Angeles, California.

Caryl Gould

Caryl Gould

Talented songstress and dancer who made the smallest of splashes in Hollywood (read: none), but turned herself into a successful businesswoman with her husband in her post-Hollywood-career, Caryl Gould sure had a fun and exciting life!

EARLY LIFE:

Carol Goldberg was born on April 10,  1918 in New York City, New York, to Morris Goldberg and Yetta Gold. Her older sister Rebeca was born on March 11, 1909. Her younger sister Marilyn was born in the 1920s.

Little is known about her early childhood. She grew up in New York and attended high school there. Caryl started to perform at a very young age, and by the age of 18 was a experienced songstress and dancer appearing in a dozens of night clubs and similar revues. So she landed in Hollywood for a short time.

CAREER:

Caryl appeared in only two movies during her time in Hollywood. The more prominent movie, Movie-Mania, is a short musical designed to showcase the talents of vaudeville pro, Dave Apollon. 
It’s such a pity that in her one and only appearance in movies, Caryl plays a role with zero personality. It’s Dave’s movie all the way, and since he was a one man army who played tons of instruments, danced and sang, so everybody else appearing in it just fades away.
On the flip side, does anybody remember Dave today? Heck no. Except a few apassionatos of obscure classic musicals, nobody has ever heard of him. It seems that the mandolin was hardly the fitting instrument for a future star! So sum it up, this was Dave’s movie, not a particularly good one at that, and Caryl was but a passing fling in it. No lasting fame and fortune from this one.
Caryl sang in one more movie, Love in Gloom. The plot is a typical idiotic fare, not that unusual for musicals. Since the movie has no reviews and is completely forgotten today, I don’t know what else to say about it, so let’s just scrap it.
Both of these movies have no plot and music aplenty (and obviously not very memorable music at that). Not quite what you would do to become a top notch actress. Caryl retired from the movies, and moved to other lucrative fields.

PRIVATE LIFE:

Petite but a real dynamite, Caryl won the hearts of the public easily as she won the hearts of men who flocked to be by her side. By 1936, only 18 years old, Caryl was a well known romantic staple in the press. She was the leading swain of Edward Adler, one of England’s richest store keepers. In June there were news of their eminent engagements. Yet, while Eddie was in the UK, Caryl was hardly staying idle back in the US. The little minx got mixed up between Vic Oliver and his long time girlfriend, Sarah Churchill, a fellow actress (and the daughter of Winston Churchill). Finally, Vic married Sarah, but Caryl was far from frazed!
Yes, in October 1936, Adler came over to the US on the Ile de France to propose to Caryl. While there are no concrete evidence, Caryl obviously turned him down, opting for a career instead of a comfy marriage. In 1937, she was seen around with Erle Strohl.
In 1938, Caryl was one of the many girls seen with Rudy Vallee. Vallee was quite a womanizer back then, dating them by the truckload. His main swain was a stunner named Faye Webb, but for a time Caryl came a very close second. Of course, what could you expect from such a Lothario? They continued their professional relationship long after their personal entanglements ended.
Caryl was quite a good natured, humorous women, as this newspaper snippet from 1941 can attest: “Biggest unintentional laugh of the cafe season was supplied by Beachcombers’ Caryl Gould. Supposed to Introduce Armida as “the Mexican Pepper Pot,” she  left out the Pepper
Caryl married Harold Steinman in 1944. Steinman worked as a boxing promoted in Minnesota before changing lanes to produce happy go lucky shows like Skating Vanities (starting the show in 1942, Harold was a comparative beginner in the business when they married). His most famous protegee was Gloria Nord, a ballerina turned skater he personally selected to become the star of his shows.
The Steinmans only child, a daughter named Ellen Sue, was born on March 9, 1948.
Caryl gave up on one form on showbiz to dedicated herself to another. In other words, after her booty shaking and singing years, Caryl developed into a top businesswoman, along with her husband and other partners. And their trade, was, unusually, the water trade. Confused? Let me enlighten you! The story goes: (taken from the Waltzing Waters site):

In the 1920′s, German inventor, Otto Przystawik, conceived the idea of combining the beauty of fountains with the music and gracefulness of ballet. Thus, “Przystawik’s Dancing Fountains” were born. In the beginning, he created fountains on a small scale for display in restaurants and stores.

Interrupted by World War II, he resumed work in 1950 and created an impressive show at the Resi Ballroom and restaurant in Berlin. Accompanying live music, the spectacular display quickly became a popular local attraction.In 1952 the dancing fountains appeared at an exhibition in Berlin, where they captured the attention of a brilliant New York showman, Harold Steinman. Enthralled by the beauty and spectacle of the shows, Steinman purchased dozens over the next several decades. Naming them the “Dancing Waters”, his New York company sent the shows on tour throughout the United Sates and the rest of the world.

We should take note that it was Caryl who gave Dancing Water its name! And, for further information, taken from this blog (Gorillas’ Don’t Blog):

Throughout the 50s and 60s, several Dancing Waters units toured the US and Europe; they appeared at the NYWF, several state fairs, many flower shows and stadiums, and had (for a very brief time) “permanent” installations at the Royal Nevada Hotel in Las Vegas and Freedomland, USA in New York. The longest-lived permanent installation of one of these German shows was at the Disneyland Hotel.

The fountains were so successful they appeared in the 1984 Olympics. In the late 1980s, they were still active, as this newspaper article can attest:
Dancing Waters colorful light show GALVESTON – To Dancing Waters audiences, whether at the recent closing ceremonies for Liberty Week in New York City, at the 1984 Olympics or at The Amphitheater in Galveston Island State Park, the amazing waters spraying skyward in a multi-colored light show evoke a feeling of magic. But the beauty is achieved through practical means. It’s not magic, unless you happen to consider computers to be magical. To be technical, the fully automated, microchip- controlled installation is 100 feet of fountains that can pump thousands of pounds of recir- culating water through more than 1,800 jets of various sizes to fountains that reach as high as 45 feet. At The Amphitheater, the technical and the beautiful are used to give more excitement to the park scene in “Hello Dolly!” by director James Stoker. The water show also is presented at the end of “Dolly” and during intermission at “The Lone Star.” The two shows are being presented in repertory this summer at the theater. “Until now, Dancing Waters refused to use automation because the technology was not sophisticated enough to reach the level of subtlety and synchronization of our live performances,” said Caryl Steinman, Dancing Waters president. Mrs. Steinman said it took more than five years to work with R.A. Gray, Inc., of San Diego to develop control mechanisms which can create the infinite array of colors, shapes and forms for permanent fountain installations. The Moody Foundation, which has presented the Dancing Waters display at The Ampitheater since 1984, now has made it possible for the show to become a permanent feature in the Galveston Botanical Gardens.
Caryl’s husband Harold died in the 1990s. Her grandson took over the management of the company which still exists today (under the name of Waltzing Waters).
Sadly, Caryl’s daughter Ellen Pater died in 2008 in India from complications from cancer. She was once married to a Mr. Pater, and had three children: Jesse, Heidi and Heather. In her later years she lived with her life partner, Drew Gutterlaite.

Caryl Steinman died on December 26, 2014, at the age of 96, in New York.

 

Movie Props! Movie Props!

And now for something completely different! Thanks to the immensely nice people at Invaluable.com, I was inspired to write about what movie props I would like to see at an auction. Now, this is such an interesting aspect of movie making – set design (AKA movie props). Most of the time you never even noticed them, but upon repeated viewings of a movie, it becomes clear just how vital they are to the film making process. While they can’t save a bad movie with a thin plot or stereotypical characters, they can elevate a mediocre one or make a very good movie a classic! So, let us never underestimate set design again!

The list of props I want to see is very, veery long, and I could even write an additional post or two about it some day, but I said to myself: Limit! Limit! And here it is, the top five props!

Anyway, Before I start, take a look at the Invaluable web site – any lover of beautiful things will find himself in paradise! I enjoyed browsing the site very much, and hopefully everybody can find something they admire. They even have a part devoted to movie props, of which the most famous was Han Solo’s blaster from the Star Wars original trilogy :-)

Now, on to my list! The 5 things I want to see in an auction:

1. The throne/lip couch from Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky_Horror_throne_screencap

Let me tell you, I ADORE Tim Curry. I consider him one of the ultimate talents of the 20th and 21st centuries. And well, Rocky is a staple for all Tim Curry fans. It’s a weird but incredibly deep and profound movie (and so much more, but you have to watch it to understand why I like it so much and why I like Curry even more!). Plus, if you like glam rock, welcome to the movie that started it all!!!! Rocky all the way!!! The famous lip couch is of course a derivation of the even more famous Salvador Dali’s Mae West lip couch. In the movie he has a less extravagant throne, but you get the picture!

The lip couch version:

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Watch the clip here (this is the scene that started it all for me!):

2. The chess set from Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

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Whoa, this is one steaming hot scene, and the chess piece is the KEY! Yep, when you have Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in a hot clinch, you somehow tend to forget that there is anything else, but it all started with a simple chess piece. Watch the clip here:

What more is there to say? They don’t make them like this any more! I love, love, love this movie (the remake, from 1999, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, is good but it’s a fun and stylish caper and nothing more, while this version goes much deeper – if you watch it several times, you’ll notice it’s more about human unfulfillment and existential crisis than the bank robbing and the stylish clothes) and it remains one of my all time favorites. The role of Thomas Crown is also one of the best roles McQueen ever gave to the movie world. Also great for fans of unusual love stories (like me).

3. The paintings from Indiscreet (1958)

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I saw a post about the usage of art in Indiscreet on the superb blog, the Art of Film (http://theartofilm.blogspot.com/2013/05/modern-art-masterpieces-in-indiscreet.html), and went to re watch the movie to capture some of the paintings. And, was I impressed! Set designers looked for pieces by Picasso, Roualt, John Piper and Raoul Dufy. For any fan of modern art, this is absolutely drool worthy and I am no exception. Yep, I have to say I am far from being a modern art connoisseur (it’s on my bucket list), but the pieces are stunning even for my crass taste! Of course, it’s hard to see them in the first viewing but repeated viewing of this guilty pleasure movie will open you a whole new dimension to what you thought was a simple rom-com with great stars. And great actors they were: Cary Grant and Ingrid Berman are wonderful matched, and the costume design is divine. Recommended!

4. The mandolin from Dream Wife (1953)

DreamWife

I only recently watched this movie, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The critics buried the movie along with some viewers, but for me, it’s a classical Stanley Donen, an elegant and funny romp more than worth your time.

The prop that caught my attention was the mandolin princess Tarji plays to Cary Grant’s character, her future husband, in order to “enchant” him. And boy, did she enchant me! The poem she is singing is by Omar Khayyam, one of the best poets that ever lived (and author of the famous Rubaiyat), and the singer dubbing for Betta St. John (who plays Tarji) has such an incredibly alluring voice. It was my favorite scene in the movie and it stayed with me for a long time afterwards. A big plus is that the leading lady is my absolute favorite actress, Deborah Kerr.

Watch the trailer:

5. Golden cigarette holder from Come Fly with me (1963)

ComeFlyWithMe_GBQ

One of the “Three girls looking for husbands” genre of movies, this time the leading trio are Pan Am stewardesses. I won’t spoil it but the innocent golden cigarette holder is a major plot point in this fun movie. Yes, it’s also not rated highly by the critics, but Dolores Hart and her performance as the sharp-as-a-razor, cynical air stewardess just blew me of! Pamela Tiffin is the usual boring dull-head as the second stewardess, and Lois Nettleton good enough as the normal third stewardess. But the man are very interesting in the movie. Imagine: Hugh O’Brian (hunky!), Karlheinz Bohm (royal!) and Karl Malden (old school chauvinist!). While it’s not a masterpiece, I consider it a worthwhile early 1960s comedy. Here is the golden cigarette holder:

2015-07-26 15_33_11-Come Fly with Me 1963 Movie The REAL Pan Am_Kuth.avi - Medijski izvođač VLC

Watch the trailer here:

This is it! Until next time!!!

 

Meg Myles

MegMyles1

Meg Myles was born at the right time and place to crave her way in the bombshell niche – it was the 1950s, and bombshells were queens of movies, often imitating Marilyn Monroe, playing idiotic roles and hoping for the best. Meg Myles, although unknown today, actually made quite a career for herself – she has a slim bur decent filmography and was a very popular lounge singer for a time. She got her biggest due on television, playing in several very famous shows.

EARLY LIFE:

Billy Jean Jones was born on November 14, 1934, in Seattle, Washington, to William T. Jones and Jeanette Jones. Billy was the second of five children – her older brother, Bennie, was born in 1932, and her younger siblings were Larry, born in 1935, Muriel, born in 1937, and Diana, born in 1939. In 1940, the family lived in Orting, Washington.

Her father was born in Canada (by the time she was born he was a naturalized citizen of the US) and worked as a engineer in the lumber industry. Her mother was a native Washingtonian and a housewife.

Meg was a thin child, nicknamed Jelly Bean Bones. In the 1940s, the family moved to Texas and some time later to Tracy, California. Meg reached adulthood in California, and attended College of Pacific for two and a half years. She was in a school musical when an agent noticed her and suggested she try Hollywood.

Meg liked the idea very much and went to Hollywood to try her luck in the pictures. Later she would regret leaving the college, as she could have gotten a scholarship at the Neighborhood playhouse in New York.

Meg had little luck with her career when she came to Tinsel Town. In late 1954, while sitting in one of the restaurants in Los Angeles, she decided to vocalize while eating. She impressed the restaurant owner so much that he hired her as a singer. In early 1955 she signed with Red Doff, manager to stars like Mickey Rooney and Liberace

Meg was discovered for the movies when two songwriters notice her in the restaurant and give her the chance to record two songs for their upcoming movie. So she got a singing segment in “The Phoneix City Story”. Her career started in earnest.

CAREER:

Meg mostly worked in TV, and I’ll just brielfy outline the work, asd thetre is not much to write about there (sadly, they are not movies :-( ). Megh had episodic roles in series like Search for TomorrowThe Guiding Light The DuPont Show of the WeekThe Trials of O’Brien N.Y.P.D.  Where the Heart IsABC Afterschool Specials

Sonme of them are completely forgotten today, but some are classic well worth remebering, and give Meg a minor cult status amogn the TV series fan crowd. Since I neither know nor am interested in classic TV series, I’ll just let it slide.

MegMyles4Meg also made her share of movies (now this is more interesting!). Her first one was Dragnet the movie, from 1954. It’s a tyapical Dragnet movie, a vehicle for Jack Webb as Lt Joe Friday and his band of merry lawsters fighting against crime (sounds so cliche, right?). Well since I can’t say I ever understood the whole story behind Dragnet and it’s massive popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, there is nothing really substantial I can say about the movie either. Meg had a minor role and nobody noticed her anyway.

New York Confidential is one of the best movies Meg appeared in. The eternal story of achieving success and the American dream through crime and corruption is something seen in Hollywood on a frequent basis, but the trick is not so much how the story goes but how to show it as a plausible one. The movie hits the spot with well written, beliveable characters, played perfectly by a group of top notch performers who never became massive stars: Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Anne Bancroft and Marilyn Maxwell.

The Phenix City Story followed very much the same trend as New York Confidental, dealing with corruptuion and high places, but this time the storm center are not the characters who cause corruption, but rather the people who fight against it. It should be alesson to all low budget movies to show how little money can go a long way if you have a good story and solid actors.

Calypso Heat Wave is a C movie, but it works when you sum it all. It was deftly directed and the cinematography is more than good. While the story is nothing to write about, watching Maya Angelou and Joel Grey on the screen, years before they came into their own, is mesmerising.

MegMyles5Meg then took a hiatus from movies and TV, but when she came back, it was a true grand style. Satan in High Heels is Meg’s ticket to fame and fortune. While femme fatales in film noir were allurign sirens who led men to death, they were often subtle and moved quietly, like panthers, to snatch their prey. Meg’s character, on the other hand, is an absolute bitch, with no subtetly, bordering on being a sociopath. The story is simple enough. Meg plays a woman who  ruthlessly uses men and women alike to rise from Midwest carnival burlesque queen to Manhattan jazz club diva. She’s dangerous, sexy as hell and wil eat your heart out if she wishes to. Also featuring is the busty Sabrina, and she and Meg and a pair to drool after.

A Lovely Way to Die is a average crime movie romance with Kirk Douglas and Sylvia Koscina. While it does have that cool 1960s vibe, it’s never gets off the ground. The story is uninspired and the acting mediocre.

Coogan’s Bluff is an early Clint Eastwood movie, a Dirty Harry before Dirty Harry. Let’s make one thing clear: this one is a fun movie, not to be taken too seriously. Anybody looking for a brooding, deep drama or even a action movie with a message should just back away. For what is designs to be, it’s more than decent. Eastwood is good, in his limited acting ability, as the tough as nails police detective. Watch out for old movie veterans, Lee J. Cobb and Tom Tully, in the best roles of the movie.

The Anderson Tapes is a above average caper movie. Like I already said, expect nothing more and you’ll be rewarded with a fine viewing experience. It’s always a joy to see Sean Connery on the screen – at least to me it is. While he was never a genuien talent and top notch actor, his charisma and “manly man” attitude pulled his through many, many roles. Watch out for a really good supporting roster of actors – Ralph Meeker, Martin Balsam, Christopher Walken, Val Avery and more.

Touched is a slow moving drama about two pental hospital patients who want to build a normal life for themselves. it has the potential to become a hard hitting drama, it never does, but it’s decent in its own way. Ned Beatty gives his usual performance, and the leading lady, Kathleen Beller, sadly never got any semblance of fame. Meg plays Kathleen’s mother.

PRIVATE LIFE:

In February 1956, she was dating Oleg Cassini, by then divorced from Gene Tierney. it did not last long. By June of the same year, she had a forest fire romance with broker Buddy Avery (but that too did not last).

In 1957, she was involved with Sammy Davis Jr., but she was just one of the few girls he dated in parallel. He would go on to date songstress Joan Stewart and marry May Britt. The same year she dated another industry bigwig, Bing Crosby. Sadly, that too lead nowhere: he married Kathryn Grant not long after. In July, she briefly dated Lary Amato of the Rover Boys quartet. He was followed by Marty Brill and Philadelphia business man, Mac Lerner. Meg lost a lot of weight that year, but it was due to stomach problems and not dieting,and we can assume the stress did her no good.

MegMyles3In 1958, like many, many girls in Hollywood and New York, she dated lothario Bob Evans. BY September she moved on to Kem Dibbs, a former flame of Lana Turner. At he same time, she feuded over a nightclub comic with starlet Bobbie Byrnes (don’t you just dislike it when two women feud over the same man? I know the heart had its reasons and it’s not easy to defy emotion, but girl,if you are really suck on him, let the guy choose and be over with it!). Next in line was singer Tony Foster, but he left her for a society girl by October.

Meg raised some tabloid dust when she got into another feud, with another woman . This time it was model Cynthia Brooks, and the object of their fight was the owner of the Black Orchid club in Chicago, Bill Dougherty. It was a typical hair pulling affair, but after some push and pull, Cynthia won by marrying the guy. But Meg did not learn her lesson yet. Just a few short weeks later, she and starlet Nancy Valentine were enamored of the same nightclub owner. See a pattern here?

In March 1960 she was romancing Bob O’Shea, the ex husband of Martha Raye. O’Shea was a former cop from Westport, Masschusets. By June, however, she was seen with Vic Damone and a bit later with Dick Hauff, a well known playboy club owner, once a steady of Zsa Zsa Gabor. By September, she and O’Shea found each other again, and were all lovely dovely.

It did not last, long, and she was seen with Franchot Tone. What to say, I adore Franchot, but boy, did he like to play the filed after his divorce from Jean Wallace and Joan Crawford! In 1961, she fell down the stairs and hurts her leg, so she had to open on crutches at the Living Room. Earl Wilson noted that “But with a dress low cut enough, you didn’t notice the crutches. Franchot Tone, who recently had an operation, phoned her from the hospital to wish her well.” Aww, how sweet :-)

Meg got further point on the tabloid notoriety table when she opened in the Living Room in New York and there was a big bustle at the opening (with brawling and punching and you know). She claimed later that she got so many offers, including one to appear on Broadway in a Garson Kanin play. Yep folks, publicity is king!

MegMyles6Meg and Franchot busted up by August after dating for more than six months (a kind of a record for that place and that time). But the men kept coming steadily. She got a ticket from Robert Goulet to see him in his newest hit play, Camelot. In September she was hospitalized for a back ailment, but vowed to get out on time to date producer Hal Prince. That lasted for two months, ad then she switched to jockey Willie Hartack.

In 1962, Meg was seriously dating Eddie Samuels, the accompanist to Eddie Fisher. She even announced their engagement, but later claimed it was a gag. How funny! After the bust up, she often went to Long Island to meet with Peter Duchin. It was a nice summer romance, and by September Meg had moved on to George Montgomery, the handsome actor and former husband of Dinah Shore.

Meg married TV producer Bob Duncan in 1965. They had a one day honeymoon, then Duncan left for Europe on business (without Meg). They divorced in 1982 after Duncan told Meg he wanted his freedom. Not long after she went back to the dating game, and told a newspaper reporter:  “I found women had become so aggressive that men expect to be attacked by the women they go out with. And if you don’t attack them, the men say, ‘Where have you been, what is your problem? They they attack you”

In 2010, a article about Meg appeared on the internet. You can read the whole article on this link, but to sum is up:

In the 1950s, Meg Myles was a pinup girl, actress and singer. Today, she’s better known as the Upper West Side’s bird healer.

Ms. Myles, 77 years old, has tended to pigeons, kestrels, jays, finches, robins, ducks, song birds, cardinals and a goose.

Neighbors and even New York City’s animal-care agency bring her birds. Animal Care & Control estimated that Ms. Myles has rescued about 200 since 2006. “She provides a great outlet for injured pigeons because they require hand care,” said Animal Care & Control spokesman Richard Gentles.

And some more:

The bird-care chapter of her life started on a whim about 20 years ago. It was raining, and she saw a pigeon on a doorstep. “I just picked him up and put him under the tree,” she recalls. “I told him I’d check on him the next day and if he was still there, I’d take care of him.”

The next morning, she returned to her charge. It was being held by another girl. “I took it out of her hands, I told her that’s my bird, and walked away,” she says. She took the bird to her apartment. Eventually, he left, and another one was attracted to her window sill. He brought in a mate, they became a family-and the super grew angry.

MegMyles2Through a friend, she heard of Don Rubin, a construction worker who rehabbed wild animals in New Rochelle. She brought him the pigeons. Entranced with his outdoor setup, she learned the principles and methods of rehabbing, including feeding babies with a syringe, softening dry dog food for pigeons and how to hold birds.

“After that, it just kind of happened and grew,” she says. Since then, she has cared for injured city birds. Once a week, Mr. Rubin would take the bird to a vet in Yonkers, who would then release them into an aviary.

Ms. Myles’s apartment is decked out in bird-shaped everything: a set of shelves is home to miniatures such as a bright rooster, and a tiny feathered cardinal replica perches on a plant. Chirps can be heard from the bathroom, where Ms. Myles keeps her birds. At one point recently, she had 14. She feeds and cleans them every day.

Last Thursday, JoAnne Asher, a therapist, found a pigeon hobbling in a gutter. She brought it to Ms. Myles in a shopping bag. The diagnosis? Perhaps it was hit by a car, the healer says, examining burned feathers.

“I have dreams of winning the lottery and fixing her up in this brand-new facility,” Ms. Asher says.

How interesting! Meg sure led an unusual life!

Meg lives in New York City today.

Phyllis Ludwig

PhyllisLudwig2

Phyllis Ludwig is another example of a woman who was versatile enough to leave Hollywood behind and reinvent herself in a completely different career. While it’s out of the question that being married to a prominent and wealthy man helped her change tracks, no amount of money could have made her a talented interior decorator which she most certainly was.

EARLY LIFE:

Phyllis Marie Ludwig was born on November 23, 1920 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, (or Kansas, if you believe the 1930 census) to Jose M. Ludwig and his wife, Carol Close. Her older sister Betty was born in 1913.

Now, let’s make one thing clear. Phyllis was a real talent, but I think she finely tried to mold the past into something more acceptable to the social tastes, and not quite the truth. There are no big deviations, but small ones are really there. After reading her obituary, this is what I could muster about her past: Phyllis left Wyoming for the East coast after her father died. Allegedly she worked on Broadway, but I could not find any credits. And she landed on the West Coast, Sacramento to be exact. She worked there as a model, winning beauty pageants.  Hollywood is never mentioned.

What I managed to find (and what probably did happen) was that Phyllis and her family moved to Fresno, California, in the 1920s. There her younger sister Joan was born on November 5, 1923. Phyllis soon became the toast of the town, appearing in all the local productions, playing the accordion and dancing Spanish dances, along with her younger sister Joan/Joanna. She attended Fresno High School and was president of the student body. In 1934, she was signed for Eight Girls in a Boat after a scout saw her playing the accordion in a Los Angeles night club. Phyllis, in addition to her working hours at the studio, also attended and graduated from Lawlos Professional School in Hollywood.

CAREER:

Phyllis’s career started in 1934 and ended in 1935. She was never credited, so you ca judge for yourself how succesful she was. Yet, I found her filmography strangely alluring and enjoyed exploring it. It’s not a pist of master pieces at any rate, but she appeared in some interesting movies that, in all probability, would never have been made today.

PhyllisLudwig4Eight Girls in a Boat was her first feature. Now, here is a film you can see in two ways: as an excuse to show off eight of well-developed ingenues in shorts, tight blouses and bathing suits. This automatically means the movie is a shallow albeit fun exploitation of young. On the other hand, one can see it a a drama dealing with a “quite commonplace theme of illicit motherhood with considerable delicacy and tact” (taken from this review here). However you choose to look at it, there is no denying that Dorothy Wilson was an actress of great warmth and gentleness that never amounted to much (maybe I can do a profile of her sometime int he future). It’s hard to say why, as she was not shunned in the uncredited tier as most of the girls were – she actually had her share of leading roles. Ah, the fickleness of Hollywood!

She Made Her Bed is one of those movies that are slightly stupid, slightly bad acted and not that great, all in all. But they sure are a guilty pleasure! Combine mad, wild, untamed passion between two beautiful young people with a mad, wild untamed tiger and a mad, bad, unwanted husband and I think everybody can guess how this one ends. The leads are played by Sally Eilers, Richard Arlen and Bob Armstrong, all three decently talented actors who never got big breaks in Hollywood (but did achieve mid tier careers, which is much more than most can say).

Southern Style is a comedy short, with Ruth Etting in the lead. The movie is sorely forgotten today and I could not find anything about it.

King Kelly of the U.S.A. is a hidden delight of a movie. With a typical screwball plot – it features little known actors who did their job admirably. Unlike many other Monogram pictures films, this one actually has a budget (not a big one, but they used the sets build for bigger budget movies for all their worth). Despite a rather thin story resembling “Duck Soup” ( a Eastern European monarchy with a zany monarch, a outsider trying to straighten out a tricky political situation, a romantic story in the background) in more ways than one, the charming leads and superb supporting actors rise this above forgettable fare.

The Return of Chandu is probably the most famous movie Phyllis has appeared in. A movie serial with Bela Lugosi in the lead, and not as a car or a bad guy, but rather as dashing figure with a cut of Errol Flynn. If nothing, the serial proved just how debonair and charming Lugosi could be when not playing a undead monster hell bent of sucking everyone’s blood or a deranged scientist. As a reviewer wrote on IMDB: “The somewhat lumpy plot engages Chandler/Chandu in an ongoing series of escapades pointed at achieving the rescue of his fiancee, Princess Nadji(Maria Alba) and others from the clutches of the idol-worshiping sect of Ubasti, which covets Nadji’s blood in order to revivify an ancient mummified princess entombed upon the mysterious island of Lemuria.” But let’s face it, people didn’t’ watch it for the plot back then, or even now – they watched it for the action and the fun. And the serial, with it’s fast pace and brisk change of locations, manages to keep one occupied wonderfully.

PhyllisLudwig3The Good Fairy is a perfect movie for those who like a warm, easy moving, breezy comedy. It’s a kind of movies Hollywood stopped making 30 years ago, and which are sorely missed by moviephiles. Ferenc Monlar, the author created a cast of varied and very interesting characters, perfectly inhabited by a selected few of truly top notch Hollywood actors: Margaret Sullavan, a genuine talent, is a living and breathing waif, enchanting like a pixie. Wait there is more: Eric Blore, Frank Morgan, Reginald Owen, Beulah Bondi and Alan Hale. Don’t even let me get started on them…

It Happened in New York is a comedy forgotten today, so there is nothing to write about.

Phyllis gave up her career first for war effort work, and later for marriage and other careers. 

PRIVATE LIFE:

Here is a beauty tip that Phyllis gave to the papers in 1934:

If your hands become roughened, but a lemon in half and rub them with it. Allow to remain until dry. After five minutes, wash with warm water and a mild soap. This not only smoothes hands, but whitens blemishes.

As Phyllis Dobson, she was Miss California 1936 and first runner-up for the title of Miss America. Also of note is that, for publicity purposes, the papers claimed that Phyllis had a brother, Edward, who also became a Hollywood personality, working as a director. Thsi actually put me off the track for a time, since Edward Ludwig really was a director in the 1940s Hollywood, but he was born in 1899 in Latvia and had no familial connection to Phyllis whatsoever.

In the late 1930s, after 1936 and before 1939, Phyllis married her first husband, Thomas Fizdale, a publicity and advertising agent. Fizdale was born on September 21, 1904, in Russia. He was a successful businessman, president of  several public relation companies. Like Phyllis he worked in Hollywood in the late 1930s, having taken over the offices of Robert S. Taplinger, Inc. He then moved to Chicago, then to New York, where he was situation on the Madison Avenue (Mad Man anyone?).  He partnered with Win Nathanson in the mid 1940s and continued to be highly influential in the world of publicity.

Phyllis followed her husband first to Chicago then to New York. In 1941, she allegedly got a role in Uncle Dog House in Chicago. I have no idea what came out of it.

PhyllisLudwig1During a trip to Mexico to visit a cousin in 1942, Phyllis’ beauty caught the eye of the country’s most famous painter, Diego Rivera. Sitting across from Phyllis at dinner one night, Rivera boldly announced that he intended to paint the young actress. The painting, a light-hearted portrait of a carefree woman in a traditional Mexican dress, hung in Spalding’s home for years until she donated it recently to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The marriage was over for good in 1943. They divorced that same year. Fizdale went on to marry Patricia Stevens in the mid 1940s. Stevens soon opened a highly successful school for educating starlets and models, called Patricia Stevens Fashion College. The husband-wife duo ran the school together, even after they divorced in 1952.

Thomas Fizdale died on November 23, 1966 in Los Angeles.

Durign WW2, Phylis was very active in the war effort. She did radio shows for Office of War Information with Orson Welles, than signed on with the American Red Cross, which sent her to Guadalcanal, Australia and New Caledonia (where she was the first woman to land after the troops) helping with programs to entertain enlisted men. In the midst of all the war and violence, Phyllis found love.

Phyllis married her second husband, Paul I. Fagan, on March 1, 1945, in the home of Stanton Griffiths, a onetime husband of the lovely Whitney Bourne.

They met while she was serving in the American Women’s Hospital Reserve. He worked as a car salesman on Hawaii. Paul was born on January 19, 1916, in San Francisco, California. His mother was Marie Russell, and his father was Paul I. Fagan, Sr, a financier working in both San Francisco and Hawaii.

PhyllisLudwig6Interestingly, Philips Spalding Jr. served as the best man… Just wait and see what is going to happen here… Anyway, Phyllis left her career, New York and Hollywood behind to live with her new husband on Hawaii. She quickly integrated with the island’s high society, and started interior decorating as a hobby for friends.

As time went by, Phyllis and Phillip Spalding get to know each other better and soon they were in love. Phyllis divorced Fagan in 1952 and married Spaling the same year, entering one of the most prominent families on the island.
Now some background on Spalding. He was born on July 21, 1918, in Hawaii, son of Phillip and Alice Cooke Spalding. He had a younger brother, Charles. There is a story of how his father came into wealth in Hawaii: here is a short biography of the man, dating from 1925:

PHILIP E. SPALDING, Department Manager. Coming to Honolulu in 1912 in association with his brother, Walter, with a contract for the construction of the marine barracks at Pearl Harbor, Philip E. Spalding, now manager of the merchandise department of C. Brewer & Co., Ltd., has since made Hawaii his home. Their first work completed, the Spaldings branched into a general contracting business and built the United States naval hospital and officers’ quarters at Pearl Harbor, the Honolulu Iron Works and Star-Bulletin office, among other work.

With the intervention of the World War, Mr. Spalding entered the army as captain of the Machine Gun Company of the 1st Regiment, Hawaiian National Guard, and served at the Hawaiian Department headquarters until he was honorably discharged in May, 1919, when he joined Lewers & Cooke, Ltd. He resigned as vice-president of that firm in October, 1924, to take his present position with C. Brewer & Co., Ltd.
Mr. Spalding is a director of Lewers & Cooke, the American Sugar Co. and the Pacific Trust Co., Ltd. He is also a trustee of Leahi Home, Queen’s Hospital, Palama Settlement, a member of the Republican county committee, and has served on the City Planning Commission since 1918. He is a member of the University, Oahu Country, Commercial and Hawaii Polo and Racing Clubs.

Born in Minneapolis, Nov. 5, 1889, Mr. Spalding is the son of A. W. and Anna (Talbot) Spalding. His father was a prominent architect in Minneapolis and later in Seattle. Mr. Spalding was educated in the schools of Minneapolis and Seattle and attended Stanford University for two years, terminating his college course to come to Hawaii.Mr. Spalding married Alice Cooke, daughter of the late C. M. Cooke, whose family founded the Honolulu Academy of Art, in 1917 and they have two children, Philip E., Jr., and Charles C. Spalding.

PhyllisLudwig5Phillip attended private schools and college in Vermont. He was married to Joan Tozzer from 1940 until 1951. They had six children: Philip Spalding III, A. Tozzer, Anne, Joan, Susan and William.

Phyllis and Phillip lived in a 1925 home in Waikiki Heights, and had two sons, Phillip and Michael.

Phyllis made a second career out of interior design for herself. She became wildly successful at it, too. From her obituary (this is the link):

During a long career in Hawai’i as a designer, businesswoman, collector and patron of the arts, she worked on some of the finest buildings in the state — Castle & Cooke, Alexander & Baldwin, Mauna Kea Hotel, ‘Iolani Palace, and the state Capitol — and came to be recognized as a connoisseur with impeccable taste.

“For many of us who grew up here, she defined good taste,” said family friend Ian Sandison. “If you go to places commonly held out as eloquent in Hawai’i, chances are she was involved.”

She also owned the Mandalay stores at the Halekulani Hotel and Four Seasons Resort in Wailea.

Spalding often credited the influence of her second husband’s mother, Alice Cooke Spalding, whose family helped found the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Phyllis and Philip Spalding lived in the 1925 family home, which later became The Contemporary Museum.

During construction of the state Capitol, she was the only woman consultant, choosing the fabrics, rugs and wall coverings that give the interior offices and halls their warm, Hawai’i feel. For Rockefeller’s Big Island home, she coordinated all the fabrics — including draperies, bedspreads, wall prints and pillow coverings. For Harrison’s Maui home, she worked closely with the ex-Beatle and his wife while two of their bodyguards stood outside the office door.

One great quote from Phyllis: “You don’t tell the clients anything. You just try to find out what they like and work around that in the best of taste. Good taste. Always good taste.”

Phyllis’ husband Phillip died on April 15, 1999. Phyllis continued living in Honolulu after his death.

Phyllis Hume Spalding died on June 23, 2006, in Hawaii.

 

Mildred Coles

Mildred Coles2

Pretty looking, demure Mildred Coles was just a student when the big, fat doors of Hollywood were opened to her, and the whole world seemed to be at her feet. Yep, that is what it looks like when you are 19, have just signed a contract and were expected to make tons of movies opposite well known stars of the day. Sadly, even this success story (and it is a success story, not many girl get to this step!) did not warrant a continuation, and by the mid 1940s, she was down to low budget movies and westerns, and in the end, retirement before the age of 30.

EARLY LIFE:

Mildred Blanche Coles was born on July 18, 1920, in Los Angeles, California, to Thomas R. Coles and Josephine Elizabeth Warrick. Her Ohio born father was a vice president of a company and her Illinois born mother a housewife. She was their only child.

Mildred grew up in Van Nuys and attended Van Nuys High School. She was nicknamed Milly by her parents, and, despite growing up in a well off homestead, helped her mother around the house, washing dishes and cooking.

Mildred attended Occidental Colledge in Los Angeles, and there she was noticed by a Paramount talent scout, who signed her in 1938 and thus her movie career started.

CAREER:

Mildred had a few uncredited roles when she first came to Hollywood, and in pretty high flying movies at that: Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, the absolute classic The Women, where she played a debutante, and 5th Ave Girl, a charming movie with Ginger Rogers.

As a part of the publicity gag, Mildred changed her name, briefly, to Gloria Carter, and appeared as the character with the same name in Our Neighbors – The Carters. This could be a forgotten movie, as it had no reviews on IMDB, and there is not even a summary written for it. I could only find Music with cues for the picture released in 1939 (you have it on the Internet Archive).

MildredColes3From then on, Mildred got up on the Hollywood ladder, slowly but surely. She appeared, uncredited, in Ladies Must Live, a bubbly but ultimately moronic B romance movie for Warner Bros, alongside Wayne Morris and Rosemary Lane. The next was Money and the Woman, a crime programmer (shorter than 60 mins), with Jeffery Lynn (an actor I admire) and Brenda Marshall in the leads. The plot is a bit above average, showing how you can steal money from the bank without staging a heist of a gun robbery. Still, is levels out to a standard programmer fare in the end.

No Time for Comedy  still had her in the uncredited tier, but it was a step up. This is no B movie, but it’s not easy to appraise it. The plot concerns a comedy writer trying to “mature” and try and write a tragedy, with tragic results. As one reviewer nicely put, it’s a uneasy mix of drama and comedy, a tricky meta genre Hollywood likes to do even today. It’s notoriously hard to pull off, and while not completely off the mark, the movie isn’t as successful as it would like in the balancing act. The cast is superb – Jimmy Stewart, Rosalind Russell, Charles Ruggles, Genevive Tobin, and are the real reason to watch this movie.

Mildred’s next venture into the uncredited territory is A Dispatch from Reuter’s, a biopic showing the life of Julius Reuter, who created the first world wide information system. The man strength of the movie is Edward G. Robinson in the lead role – like in most of his movie work, he’s magnificent and almost impossible to outshine. While not completely accurate (what do you expect from Hollywood biopics?), it’s a well made movie, moving at a brisk pace and with superb editing. The rest of the cast is very solid: Gene Lockhart, Otto Kruger, Nigel Bruce, Albert Bassermann and Edna Best. Eddie Albert, an actor I adore, who plays Robinsons’s assistant, has the most thankless role int he movie.

Santa Fe Trail  is a famous Errol Flynn western. I dislike westerns and am hardy the one to judge them, so I’ll just skip this one. I like Errol and find it hard to imagine him as a cowboy, but hey, he made several highly popular westerns in the 1940s, so he must have made something right!  She made a short comedy reel, March On, Marines, with Dennis Morgan, the singing Irishman of the 1940s. It’s a typical saccharine, over idealized portrayal of marine life. She made an appearance in Cliff Edwards and His Buckaroos, and was uncredited int he superb Gary Cooper movie, Meet John Doe, perhaps the best movie she appeared in.

Mildred finally caught her moment of fame in Play Girl, a Kay Francis comedy. Make no mistake, Kay was way past her prime in 1941, and her movies were not top moneymakers, this one being no exception. The plot, as it goes is, as taken from a reviewer on IMDB: “An aging “gold-digger” Grace (Kay Francis), realizes that she’s too old (over 30) to hoodwink vain older men. She takes on a destitute nineteen-year-old Ellen (Mildred Coles), and grooms her to be her successor.” The movie gives some subtle hints of the dark side of “high class call girl” living, but it’s a light comedy at it’s very heart. Kay overshadows just about everybody else, including Mildred. Let’s be fair, as the ingenue, Mildred has a much drier, less interesting and meaty role than Kay. This is always the case where there are female dual roles in movies. Yet, it was a good start for Mildred, and she had something to look forward to.

MildredColes6Whatever you can say about the movie, Mildred was never uncredited again, a feast in itself in Hollywood, where one day you are the king, and the other day a pauper. Maybe her way was started. Her next leading role was in Here Comes Happiness.  The plot is a copy-paste of “It happened one night”, with a rich heiress trying to wiggle out of the gilded cage she lives in and enjoy her life at the normal middle class level (without her intended knowing she is a heiress, of course!). It’s a typical slow moving, gentle movie of the time Hollywood rarely makes anymore – no surprises, no big names, simple plot based on misunderstandings. MIldred is good enough, and so is her leading man, Edward Norris.

Hurry, Charlie, Hurry is a Leon Erroll vehicle all the way. Like in most of his movies, Errol tries to escape form his wife, telling her he is going there and there and doing this and that, but in fact going the totally opposite and way and doing something totally different. This time, he tells her he meeting with the Vice-President but goes on a fishing trip. He befriends some Native Americans and the fun starts when they come to visit him. Mildred plays the long suffering wife here, but, make no mistake, it’s Errol’s movie and Mildred is little more than a nice set piece.

After such a let down, Mildred got slightly bigger fish to fry. Lady Scarface is an interesting movie, if nothing than for the role of gender in its plot. Lady Scarface is, of course, a woman, played by the delicious Judith Anderson, and a hard core mob boss, who hold court with an iron fist over her group of petty criminals. Women rule in this picture, and man are mostly useless – as exemplified by the feeble tries of the male police officers to nab Lady Scarface. While it’s not a very good movie, with a thin plot and B movie values, it is Judith Anderson that makes it a worthwhile experience.

Mildred took up comedy afterwards, quite a change from her previous fare. Scattergood Meets Broadway is a mediocre, little seen comedy with Guy Kibbee in the leading role. Sleepytime Gal is a typical Judy Canova movie – if you like her brand of humor, than this is definitely a above average movie for you, if not, don’t watch it. Judy always played the same variation her her screen persona, but she sure had charisma and could hold together even the weakest of plots (this movie is not particular exception).

So This Is Washington is a typical wartime production of the early 1940s. The main plot concerns the contract of small town America and the big town America, and yet, it reached a nice conclusion of unity and how it’s not that important where you come from. It’s a nice, breezy and semi funny movie, and it takes some knowledge of the times to truly enjoy it. Chester Lauck and Norris Guff as the two leads, are a passable comedy duo, the predecessors of the two man comedy duo still prevalent today (just watch Dumb and Dumber!). Mildred plays a secretary, but it’s not big role, as she’s showed behind the spotlight held by the two main stars.

MildredColes5What was once a promising career was slowly melting by this time, and Mildred started going (GASP!) westerns. I said it lots of times, and I’m gonna say it even more – for most actresses, this is the sure way to movie work rock bottom. Same here. Already her first, Song of the Drifter  is a an completely unknown musical western. The rest of the westerns Mildred made are: Oklahoma BadlandsMarshal of AmarilloBack Trail and Desperadoes of Dodge City. I have no patience to even try to pretend I’m interested in them, so excuse me for the lack of info :-) .

In between the westerns, Mildred squeezed some B (maybe C) level movies that she is best remembered for today. Bob and Sally is her crowning achievement. But is it a good thing? No, I don’t think so. This story is similar to the story of Thelma White, an actress remembered today only because she acted in a exploitation movie int he 1940s (in her case, Reefer Madness). Yes, unlike many other talented actress, she is remembered, but is that remembrance good? Let’s get back to Bob and Sally. Here is a brief synopses of the movie I found on this page:

The problem of young girls who embark on sexual relations without advice from their parents, who are too embarrassed; one has a still born baby after syphilis; the other an abortion and nearly dies.

Yep, you do the math. Is it a master piece with a compelling story great performances and good production values? I don’t think so. Should Mildred, not a wholly untalented actress, and certainly a nice looking girl, be remembered for? It’s hard to say, and depends on hos highly one values “notoriety”. At least she is remembered today (even that is open to discussion, ask a normal classic movie fan if he knows who Mildred Coles is and wait for the answer!)

MildredColes7A better movie (IMHO) and a much better fit for Mildred was Blonde Ice, a low budget thriller wholly elevated to a new level due to the great performance by the leading lady, Leslie Brooks. The plot deals with a lady who murders her way up the social scale. No, she can’t truly parallel the great Jean Gillies in Decoy, a another movie by the same director, Jack Bernhard (boy, did he like his women fatal!), but she more than holds her own. The movie is not as good as Decoy at any measure, but as I said, it holds it’s own in the story and acting department. Interesting to note that Leslie Brooks married Russ Vincent, the man who plays a sleazy blackmailer in the movie.

Mildred’s last movie, Bungalow 13, is another little known crime caper. The lead is played by George Sander’s brother Tom Conway, sadly always in his career a “poor man’s George Sanders” (playing charming but rough detectives). The plot is typical of the genre, and features detective Christopher Adams, who chases a precious antique jade lion through the Mexican cafes, auto courts, and the seamy side of Los Angeles. Heard that one before? A hundred times for sure! For the fans of 1940s crime movies it’s a treat, for others not even worth watching.

Mildred knew that, by this time, there was little chance of her getting to first base, and gave up her career not long after.

PRIVATE LIFE:

When Mildred entered Hollywood in 1938, she was almost married, and thus, no big scandals nor romance items for her. Well, who washer intended?

ca. 1940 --- Actress Mildred Coles Wearing a Swimsuit --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

ca. 1940 — Actress Mildred Coles Wearing a Swimsuit — Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

Mildred married attorney John Rodney Frost on June 18, 1939, at not yet 19 years old. Frost was born in October 9, 1913 to Winter R Frost and Faith Orton in Utah. He graduated from Freemont High School in Los Angeles, received his A.B. degree from U.C.L.A., and graduated from U.S.C. Law School. He managed a campus milk route to pull himself through college.

In 1940, Frost became a Douglas Aircraft Co. wage and salary administrator negotiating with unions, and spent much of his time in Washington.

Mildred was mostly in the papers due to her (soaring then failing) career. I do know that she had a appendectomy in 1941. The Frosts had four children: Josephine Faith Frost, born on May 14, 1942, Susan Elizabeth Frost, born on October 21, 1944, Jacqueline May Frost, born on March 5, 1949, and Sally Anne Frost, born on September 6, 1950. After the birth of her third daughter, Mildred effectively retired from movies and take care of her family.

The Frosts divorced on January 27, 1979, in San Diego, California. Frost died on December 4, 1985 in California.

Mildred remarried to a Mr. Call sometimes in the 1980s.

Mildred Call died on August 31, 1995, in Paradise, Butte County, California.

 

Kathleen Fitz

KathleenFitz

After researching Kathleen Fitz, I can honestly say I am much impressed by this woman. While she did not have a big Hollywood career, she was a rich and varied life in other areas, some of them much more important than Tinsel Town. Smart and capable, Kathleen tailored her own destiny, was a tireless worked dedicated to her craft and later a devoted wife and mother.

EARLY LIFE:

Kathleen Adkisson Fitz was born on August 7, 1908 in Texas, to Theophilus Fitz and Mineola Adkisson. Her mother was previously married and gave birth to Kathleen’s older half brother, Joshua Westmoreland, in 1900.

Kathleen was brought up in a artistic and progressive family: her father, Theophilus, was a trained musician and held the spot of dean of music at the Colorado College of Education. As a result, Kathleen grew up in Denver, and was involved in music and the arts from her earliest years. In the late 1910s, the family moved to Los Angeles.

Kathleen was a serious, career minded woman with a strong strike for the academics. After attending high school in Los Angeles, she graduated from Leland Stanford University (where she regularly appeared in the college plays, including  “A kiss for Cinderella” in 1927, and was in the Alpha Phi sorority), and got her M.A. degree from University of Wisconsin. She was also very close to her family – in 1930, they still lived together in Los Angeles with Joshua’s wife and small daughter.

In the early 1930s, Kathleen worked at the University of Wisconsin on her pHD, at the department of education. She was very active in the drama department, staring in several shows: “Cyrano de Bergerac“, “The insect comedy” and “Pygmalion” (as Eliza Doolittle). Soon, her love for the theatricals overshadowed her devotion to her doctoral thesis, and she left it all behind to go and study in the famed Pasadena Community Playhouse. This paved her way to Hollywood in 1933.

CAREER:

Kathleen only made one movie in Hollywood, Eight Girls in a Boat in 1934. Now, here is a film you can see in two ways: as an excuse to show off eight of well-developed ingenues in shorts, tight blouses and bathing suits. This automatically means the movie is a shallow albeit fun exploitation of young. On the other hand, one can see it a a drama dealing with a “quite commonplace theme of illicit motherhood with considerable delicacy and tact” (taken from this review here). However you choose to look at it, there is no denying that Dorothy Wilson was an actress of great warmth and gentleness that never amounted to much (maybe I can do a profile of her sometime int he future). It’s hard to say why, as she was not shunned in the uncredited tier as most of the girls were – she actually had her share of leading roles. Ah, the fickleness of Hollywood!

After her movie career ended, Kathleen remained very active in the theater. She was a partner of Norman Bel Geddes, noted stage designer and father of future actress Barbara Bel Geddes. She appeared in his production of Iron Men in the mid 1930s.

Soon, Kathleen moved East to play the daughter of Walter Huston in Dodsworth”, and decided to stay in New York. She appeared in a myard of plays like “Three man on a horse”, “Boy meets girls” and “Brother rat”. In 1938, toured all around the States with the play “Yes my darling daughter”.

In 1939, she returned to the West Coast, and started doing dramatic serials. Soon, she was a cast member of NBC’s “One Man’s Family” and contiued to work in the medium.

PRIVATE LIFE:

The first think I noticed about Kathleen that she was not a typical starlet. Let’s face it, starlets are a staple of Hollywood from the late 1900s to today – their appearance varies, but the modus opeandi is always the same. Young, fresh and typically armed with little more than beauty, they don’t dream of any great artistic achievements, bu want the fame and fortune. Kathleen was a serious, mature woman when she entered Hollywood, 26 years old. She was not a sexpot nor a dancer, never worked as a chorine, and ideologically was a dedicated actress. Accordingly, she never made any scandalous splashes in the papers.

Kathleen was quite popular while in college. In 1929, she was the girlfriend of Charley Paddock, a Olympic sprinter who held the record for the 100 yard dash at the time. Later that year, she was often seen with the slightly younger student, William “Erny” Lusby. Lusby actually took one of her classes and was so enchanted the two continued to see each other after the classes were over.

In 1936, Kathleen enjoyed a hot and steamy relationship with Stephen Fuld, who worked in the B casting at Columbia. Fuld was born in 1908 in New York, and their was a serious that almost led to the altar. They broke up for unknown reasons in mid 1937. Fuld died in 1942, serving in the US army during WW2.

Renown actor Eddie Albert became Kathleen’s beau in mid 1940. They turned serious pretty soon, and were spotted at various places in Los Angeles. Sadly, after a long courtship, they broke up in late 1941. I love Eddie Albert (he’s a riot in Roman Holiday. I’d rather choose him than Gregory Peck any day, and I love Gregory Peck, so you can imagine how delicious he is there :-) ) and somehow think he and Kathleen would have been a great pair! Eddie went on to marry the alluring actress Margo in 1945.

By that time, her parents were divorced, her father went on to live in Missouri as a lodger, and her mother was living with her.

Kathleen married Christopher William Hartsough on March 7, 1942. After the wedding, they went to Pensacola where Christopher joined the United States Navy Medical Corps. Christopher was born on February 18, 1908 to Christopher W. Hartsough and Mae Miller. He studied medicine and worked as a doctor before the war.

Kathleen gave up acting to devote herself to raising a family. The couple settled in San Diego, California.

Their daughter and only child, Kathleen Hartsough, was born on January 28, 1947.

Christopher Hartsough died on 23 October 1956 in Durham, South Carolina. Kathleen never remarried, and moved to Washington state at some point.

Kathleen Hartsough died on April 22, 1998, in King, Washington.

Suzanne Dadolle

SuzanneDadolle5

Suzanne Dadolle’s story starts like a romance novel. A beautiful girl meets a charming movie star. They fall in love, spend many weeks together and enjoy a stunning courtship. Yet, unlike most romance novels, it ends on a bitter note. Well, that happens when you romance Clark Gable in the 1950s!

EARLY LIFE:

Suzanne Dadolle D’Abadie was born in 1926 in Turkey. She grew up in Algiers (then a French colony) where she spend the early years of WW2. In 1944 she returned to Paris, was enrolled as a Wave in the French Navy and was soon promoted to a member of the personal entourage of general Charles De Gaulle, the future president of France.

After the war was over, Suzanne chose to work in the hostess industry. For a season, she worked as a hostess at the Deauville Casino and then returned to Paris and started modeling full time. In 1951, she wen to the United States to demonstrate French luxurious products and dresses under the patronage of Frank Burd, a hosiery firm executive. The article, dating from 1951, described her as a “ice cool blonde”, very diplomatic in her approach to people. Of New York, she said: “I love it here. I feel, for some reason, safe. This is a beautiful city, and any time of day you can see the blue sky, and your nylon lingerie, it is superb”.

CAREER:

Suzanne appeared in only one movie, and she was a mature woman by that time, not a youthful starlet. The movie is a fashion plate movie (you expected something else?) . The name: A New Kind of LoveExcept Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, a stunning Hollywood couple if there ever was one, we have Thelma Ritter, Eva Gabor and George Tobias. Add to this impressive roaster of actors a solid script, great jazz music and some snazzy wardrobe, and you get a above average viewing experience. No, it’s not a masterpiece like Citizen Kane or Gone with the wind, but it certainly holds its own.

Suzanne never made another movie again (what a shame!)

PRIVATE LIFE

Now comes the meaty part of Suzanne’s life. Her affair with Clark Gable. I have to admit, the more I read about Clark and his affairs, my opinion of the man plummeted. I still think he was a good man and devoted fiend, and he sure did not treat his women nicely.

SuzanneDadolle6Lets start from the beginning. We all know the basics: Clark Gable was a real life Rhett Butler (whom he played so masterfully in Gone with the wind). Women adored him. He was married twice to older women, but constantly strayed. He liked his ladies to be blonde, athletic but feminine and sophisticated. He enjoyed steamy affairs with Joan Crawford and Loretta Young (who bore him a daughter, out of wedlock). Yet, the firts wife who truly stood toe to toe with Clark was his third, comedienne Carole Lombard. Sadly, she died in January 1942 in an airplace accident. He never truly got over this tragedy. He went into active military duty, serving in the air force. After he returned to Hollywood in 1945, he dated up a storm with a large number of women. Terribly lonely and with a drinking problem, he impulsively married in Lady Sylvia Ahsley in 1949. Despite a short period of happiness, the marriage was a fiasco. In May 1952, Clark sailed on the to Europe, not planning to return until December 1953.

Suzanne met Clark on a cocktail party in September 1951 (as she later claimed). Now this is some sketchy information, as he was not in Europe at that time, and the only chance of this really happeneing was that she was in the States back then. Suzanne was for sure in the States in January 1951, but in September? Have no idea. But, for appearances sake, let’s believe it. They re-met when he came to Paris in May 1952. He had a month off before starting a new picture. She was an Elsa Schiaparelli model at the time. He fell in love with her at first sight and asked her out right away. The early stages of courtship started. So, how did Clark woo Suzanne?

He plunked down $3,000 for a Schiaparelli – designed evening gown which Suzanne was modeling for the famous Parisian designer in her celebrated salon in Paris. Glamorous Susie got the gown, Clark got the kick out of surprising her with it. How can a girl resist such advances? It was easy to see why Clark fell for Suzanne. Tall, willowy and chic, she was a true haute cuture mannequin. As I already wrote, Clark had a strong preference in women: blonde, high born, sophisticated, but with a wild side. Suzanne fit this model, physically, to a Tee – however, like his former wife, Sylvia Ashely, she was a lover of jewelry and a fashion plate in real life. That was not such a good combo (Clark was notoriously tight fisted when others were concerned).

What followed were magical months where Suzanne and Clark lived the Parissiene life to the fullest.  I quote this great site about Clark Gable, Dear Mr. Gable: “They cruised around Paris, dined alfresco at cafes, drank wine, walked arm in arm down the street like tourists”. Suzanne introduced him tot he lively nightlife of the capital, but also tried to work on cultural upbringing -she took him to the opera, museums and recitals. The also boated around the Seine frequently, like any other couple in love. In mid June, he had to move to London to start filming a movie with Gene Tierney.

SuzanneDadolle8Clark got himself a sports car, one of a kind Jaguar, while in England, and had fun driving it around. He got on splendidly with Gene Tierney, his co-star, but did not forget Suzanne- he went down to Paris almost every free weekend he had to meet with her again. They spend Bastille Day together, dancing on the streets, drinking wine, shouting with the crowds in the cafes, and going for onion soup the morning after. Clark returned to France on September 20, bringing his Jaguar with him. He and Suzanne started a slow descent to Rome by car, crossing Switzerland. They stayed for three weeks at the exclusive Villa d’Este on the lake Como, where he played golf and she took it easy, sunbathing and swimming. They finally got to Rome and spend a few days there as carefree tourists. Sadly, Sam Zimbalist called Clark in the middle of their idyllic sojourn, and he had to fly to Nairobi on October 31 to start filming Mogambo. Suzanne was left to return to Paris alone.

The pair made headlines for the first time in the US in November 1952, after they separated for the time being. They were spotted together in a restaurant in Rome. Since Clark was away in Africa filming, no further news were given of them for a long time. While I have no idea what Suzanne was doing during that time, Clark was romancing Grace Kelly on set. Grace fell hard for Clark, but he did not return the sentiment – he was there to see her off on May 19, 1953, when she boarded the plane from London to New York. Clark returned to Paris right away, and continued to tour European sights with his old friends, the Menascos, and Suzanne. They visited Switzerland, France and Italy (especially Florence), and often stopped at small towns to soak up the atmosphere.

Later in May, they were photographed in the Hostarirr Dell Orso,  prestigious night club in Paris. By July, Clark installed hismelf in the Hotel Rapahel in Paris, he and Suzanne going as strong as ever.

Soon, the upper classes of Paris were sure that Gable was going to marry Suzanne – but Dorothy Killgallen, ever the acerbic wit, branded them hopeless romantics and said she very much doubted Clark would do it. It sounded very harsh and much too unkind at the time, when everything was still possible, but sadly, Dorothy knew Clark too well. Indeed, he would never marry Suzanne, and the story ended on a bitter note.

SuzanneDadolle3Clark was not the only one trying to get into Miss Dadolle’s good graces – Aly Khan, the notorious playboy dating Gene Tierney (who was o staring with Clark in the movie Never Let Me Go), was also interested in her. Allegedly Suzanne resisted as long as she could, but gave in after some persuasion, and went on a few dates with the dashing Prince. There was s rumors that Gene Tierney walked out on Aly Khan in Paris when he walked into a cocktail reception at the American Embassy with Suzanne on his arm.

After Clark returned to Paris full time, he introduced Suzanne to Hedda Hopper – both looked stunning as they returned from a Capri holiday. Suzanne affinity for wearing pants during the day and toreador pans for the evening was also noted in the press, calling her a modern day Marlene Dietrich. Louella Parsons called Suzanne one of the prettiest women she had ever seen. In August, they departed for the Medoc house of Alexis Lichine, to escape from the heat and the snoops. It all seemed fine and dandy between the couple.

When they returned to Paris later in the month, Clark started to call her “my future wife.” I can very much see why Suzanne really tough that she had snagged her man. Who calls a woman this and then breaks off with her on the first sight of trouble? In September, there were early reports that Suzanne had accepted Clark’s proposal of marriage, and that it would all be made official in two weeks. In early October, Suzanne gave off the first interviews where she coyly talks about marriage, not denying nor confirming it. She claimed Clark had to wait a bit before getting his final divorce decree, which was not valid information since he was already divorced by that time from Sylvia Ashley.

SuzanneDadolle4As modern screen wrote about Suzanne (the information is double faced, so I’ll leave it to you to make up your mind about it):

An entirely different kind of girl is Suzanne Dadolle. She seems to be the one most in love and most
interested in marriage. She has devoted her time to Clark Gable for over a year, and although he was reserved about her at first, they were later seen together constantly. Toward the end of last summer, you could find them practically any evening, dining out at any of the cafes in Paris along the Champs Elysees.
There are friends who say that Clark intends to make his Suzanne the fifth Mrs.
Gable, that as recently as September he was introducing her to friends in Paris as “my future wife.” Others insist it’s just a fling. “I’ll give you even money,” a friend of his says, “that when Gable shows up in South America for his next picture — that is, if he does show up— he will be still single. I know the guy and I’m telling you that he was burned in his last marriage and he doesn’t want to try it again.”
However, Clark himself said he had absolutely nothing against marriage and that if the right girl came along — “someone sophisticated, attractive, and of course, someone with whom I was in love, I wouldn’t mind getting married one bit.”

Clark was in Amsterdam, Holland, making his last movie for MGM. But, if Suzanne expected Clark to dash from Amsterdam to Paris and make a joint statement, she was to be bitterly disappointed. Clark literary backstabbed her by claiming Suzanne was just after a bit of publicity, saying he was not in love with anybody and that he would certainly not get married any time soon. I have no idea if the two ever met again during the rest of his Europe trip, but Clark soon went back to the US (back to his farm), and Suzanne was left behind in Paris. Yet, rumors stubbornly persisted as to the fact that he would take Suzanne with him and make her his bride early in 1955. No such luck.

Now, time for a short analysis. What exactly happened? Well, Clark did. Trust me, after seeing Gone with the wind for the first time back in the early 2000s, I adored him. Who didn’t find Rhett Butler exciting? But, the more I grew up and matured, and of course the more I read about Clark, I changed my mind drastically. Yet, he was charming and alluring, but Clark was one difficult personality. I personally could never warm up to his kind of a man: traditional, hard as stone, set in his ways, expecting a woman to bend to him. It was no secret that Carole Lombard did everything to make him happy, expected little in return, and tolerated his extra marital adventures. The more I read about them, the more I asked myself: what did Carole see in him? She was a such a vivacious, charming, unusual woman, she could have had any man she wanted. Behind the Rhett Butler facade, Clark Gable was far from a perfect man. His career came first and even his romances took the back seat to it. Well, to each his own – there is no doubt there were were partners who could be perfectly suited for Clark, but the problem is that he was attracted to strong, high born, independent women who were not the ideal candidates for a man like him. Joan Crawford, a lioness in her private life and career, and a great love of Clark’s, saw this early in the relationship and refused to marry him because of it. All for the best, IMHO – they would have ended up divorced before the years was out. So, let’s be a bit brutal – Clark led Suzanne on, living a highly romanticized, idyllic life for almost a year, and when she wanted something more, he brutally dropped her. While there is a possibility that he told her, point blank, he would never marry her, but she refused to believe him and thought to the last she could change him (ah, common mistake!), I somehow doubt it. The point is, Suzanne was given the sack after a great romance.

SuzanneDadolle1Suzanne lived in a half fantasy world for a time after, hoping that Clark WOULD marry her, even dreaming of Verona, Italy, as the perfect place for that. Yet, when Johnny Meyer, world class cad and Howard Hughes’s right hand man, came to Paris, they had a brief but passionate fling. By Late December, there was no hope for a reconciliation. In January, the papers were abuzz with the news that Suzanne was coming to the US to join Clark. False! With every new interview Clark just cemented what Suzanne must have known by then – he would not marry her. Yet, in June 1954, Suzanne, perhaps hoping against every reason, sailed for the US. She was to stay with Johnny Meyer, her old flame.

Suzanne landed in New York, and did good as a model. Clark allegedly long distanced her and even asked her to visit him in California, but she refused, quite liking it in New York. Then, in December 1954, she finally did go to Los Angeles, to try her hand at TV and continue modeling. She had a uneasy encounter with Kay Spreckles, the former model who would become Clark’s Wife Nr. 5, at the Beverly Hills hotel. Clark was in Hong Kong at the time, filming Soldier of Fortune with Susan Hayward.

Eve after Clark returned, nothing big happened. Taken from this great site (with a good page about Suzanne!!!)

To date, The King and Suzanne have encountered each other only twice. Once on the set at 20th Century Fox where Gable was doing a luncheon scene in a Hong King restaurant with Susan Hayward (late that day he drove Hayward home) and once in La Rue’s restaurant. Gable was dining there with Kay Spreckels when Suzanne came in with contractor Hal Hayes.
Since Hayes used to date Kay, and Gable used to date Dadolle, there might have been some embarrassment. But Kay handled the situation tactfully. She walked over to Hayes’ table and was introduced to Suzanne. Gable nodded pleasantly, and the encounter came off without incident.

Luckily, Suzanne was far from idle while in Los Angeles. She modeled for Orry Kelly and was active romantically. Her newest swain was producer Brynie Foy, and they became serious quickly – the papers reported their matrimonial intentions as early as January 1955. Sadly, the relationship was soon broken, and she went on to date socialite Dick Cowell. In April, she was taken to Nassau by a new ardent admirer, Lord Astor. However, she was soon back with the ever loving Cowell.

In May, she was seen with Irving “Swifty” Lazar. By August 1955, Suzanne was the highest paid model in the US. However, at some point, Suzanne returned to Paris and worked in the fashion magazine industry. She wrote articles for Harper’s Bazaar, among them a guide to traveling in Provance.
Sadly, I have no idea what happened to Suzanne afterwards, or if she is alive today.

Mary Landa

MaryLanda4

A seasoned dancer specializing in Spanish dances, Mary Landa landed in Hollywood during the war, working steadily for  a few years and never achieving nothing of note. However, she proved her mantle in the war relief work but sadly fell into obscurity a short time later.

EARLY LIFE

Maria “Mary” Landa was born in 1918 in Viscaya, Spain, to JuanJohn” Landa and Claudia (Clandia) Arrizabalaza. Her parents were of a proud Basque sort, and her father worked as a sheep man. The family moved to the United States in August 1920, and settled in Pocatello, Idaho for a time. Her younger sister, Helen Victoria Landa, was born there on February 7, 1922. In 1927, they moved to Salk Lake City, Utah, and the same year her parents opened up a boarding house for their fellow Basque expatriates, called “Hogars“. In Spanish, Hogar means hearth. A guest described her father as a “tiny man with a powerful voice. He had all the connections. He was like a Basque ambassador.” Her younger brother John was born there on July 28, 1929. In 1930, Mary lived with her parents, her younger sister and brother, two servants and a handful of lodgers in Salt Lake City. Her mother was an expert cook, cooking all the traditional Basque recipes: rich soups, chunks of breaded liver, pigs feet and and thick buttered slabs of bread washed down by flagons of red wine and coffee laced with Spanish brandy. Her parents often joined their guests for evening card games. It was a happy, very close knit environment that Mary and her siblings were raised in.

Mary was a very artistically gifted child, excelling at drawing and dancing. I 1930, her sketches won her the second place at “School Begins” sketch contest. She also learned the traditional Spanish dances from her mother. She attended West High School in Salt Lake City, and she was always dancing at all the revenues and shows at the school.

In 1933, barely 15 years old, she started to dance for real money at the “Brass Rail”, a nightclub in Salt Lake City. Step by step, she got to California and started her Hollywood career.

CAREER

As per her career prior to arriving in Hollywood, M;ary played chorines and dancers,a and was mostly uncredited. Murder on the Waterfront is a D class movie, less than an hour long, with a over stretched plot and no imagination whatsoever. The only thing to recommend is the tolerable cast, but even that’s not reason enough to watch it.

MaryLanda1Thank Your Lucky Stars is a better than average wartime extravaganza. Eddie Cantor sure knew how to make them! Destination Tokyo – Made during the height of the war, and before it was a foregone conclusion that the Allies would prevail, it shows a surprisingly detailed (if romanticized) portrayal of life in the “Silent Service”. The characters are finely drawn with a craftsman director’s skill, and are the archetypes for subsequent films, not derivative cartoons. The cast is superb: Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale to name a few.

In Our Time is a love story with a kick. The leads are played beautifully by Ida Lupino and Paul Henreid, and the story slowly moves towards some serious issues of the day, touching upon politics and WW2. The movie is expertly directed and the cinematography is on par with the other elements. Here we truly have a small but well crafted movie from the golden age of Hollywood.

The Mask of Dimitrios is a Jean Negulesco classic. Whenever I hear Jean’s name, I think of sophistication and elegance. Truly, Jean was a man of these traits, and his movies carry that mark with an ease of a bird flying. Even when the themes are less than “elegant” (here we have a murder case),he manages to enlighten it with superb visual style. And the cast is very, very good – Sydney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, Faye Emerson.

The Doughgirls is a ambitious farce about wartime Washington, made after the successful Broadway show of the same name. Sadly, the movie is not as effective as the play – the performances are to hammy, and the silly plot goes out of hand and manages to confuse more than amuse the viewer. Yet, anybody who likes all women pictures should watch it – if nothing than for Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jane Wyman, Irene Manning and Eve Arden.

Cinderella Jones. Again this idiotic movie. I have nothing more to tell about it. Simply avoid.

Impact is an interesting, if unusual film noir. While the plot is far fetched – a rich man becomes the target of his money hungry wife and her equally money hungry lover – and escapes to a small town, pretending to be a normal citizen, and falls in love with a good girl. See where this is going? But still, the cinematography and overall directing is good, and the performances are above average – when you have Bryan Donlevy, Chrles Coburn, Helen Walker and Ella Raines, it’s no wonder they are!

Mary gave up moves afterwards.

PRIVATE LIFE

Mary specialized in exotic dances – be it from Hawaii or from Chile, she knew them all! She started her career in Utah in about 1935, and dancing in the “Rio nights”, a colorful stage revenue.

MaryLanda2Mary Landa married dancer Robert “Bobby” True in the late 1930s. They divorced, amidst a furor of newspaper articles, in February 1941. Mary claimed he insulted her friends causing her great mental anguish, but it was the fact that he called her an “old duck” that was the last straw. He later headed the Bobby True Trio and made some movies.

In January 1944, Morton Downey proposed to Mary. She did not accept him immediately – she took a few days to mull over it. In the end, she declined his offer. Why? Well, Mary knew that, in 1943, there were other things she should do.

In May 1944, Mary undertook the most arduous, serious activity for the war effort – with Ann Sheridan, Ruth Deans and Ben Blue, she undertook a six week tour or American army bases in China and India. Mary, who served as a dancer, was very dedicated to her patriotic duty, as they traveled through perilous terrain and lived in scarce circumstances during their travel.

Yet, in October 1944, an Associated Press release seriously accused Ann and her troupe of being unprofessional during the tour – they allegedly complained about the food, told corny jokes and even cut the tour short. Mary was the first to spring up and defend the group, claiming the reports are all false and untrue. She shot back to her critics:

“C and K rations are not the ideal repast, but we realized that it was the best food possible at those camps, and there was never any complaint from the troupe. After out eight week stay in the jungles of India and China, we were hospitalized for five days. I had an unhappy combination of flu, dysentery and sandfly fever, and, furthermore, the boys are complaining about “corn” in the routine, they should tell it to the censors.
We encountered four inch long grasshoppers never seen before and they hampered our performance on the stage.
The editor in New Dehli – a paradise compared to Burma – refuses to recognize the difficulties of entertaining in the Burma and Chinese jungles. It is really too tough for civilians and yet Ann did all she could to make those boys happy.”

MaryLanda5Kudos to Mary, as I can only imagine the impossible circumstances the troupe had to perform in. Of course, the soldier had it even worse, but any input from people who could have just simply remained in the safety of the States should be applauded, not criticized. They were not perfect but hey, who is?

There is a funny anecdote about Mary from the trip. While staying in Cairo, Mary met Prince Michael of Greece. Like any normal girl, she was star struck by the suave royal, and was over the top happy when he asked her for a early morning luncheon one day. Sadly, the hotel bell hop failed to wake Mary up on time, and, when she finally did get up, she was 30 minutes late and not dressed! So, to placate the situation, she wrote the most polite, respectful letter she could:

“Your highness. I left a call but they neglected to wake me! I beg your highness pardon from the depths of my shattered heart. Could you forgive me? If you say you will wait another 15 minutes, I’d love having a talk. O, Dear Prince.” (Not even Hamlet could have put it better :-P )
All she got was a reply: “Okay Pete”. Well, that was funny :-)

Mary went on a 7 month tour of Europe in early 1945. She returned only in December 1945. She truly was dedicated to serving her country during difficult times. Mary falls from the radar from then on and I have idea what happened to her.

What I do know, is that the Hogar boarding house was sold off after her father’s death in 1977. her widowed mother, than in her late 80s, went to live in California with her son and daughter (sadly, Mary’s sister Helen Victoria died in 1949, at 27 years old), so Mary was probabyl living a family life in California in the 1970s. Her brother died in 1984, her mother in 1985, but I have no idea where she was.

I just hope she had a happy life.