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Roscoe ”Fatty” Arbuckle

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Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 – June 29, 1933) was an American silent film actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter.

Starting at the Selig Polyscope Company he eventually moved to Keystone Studios, where he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. Arbuckle was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, signing a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for US$1 million (equivalent to approximately $14,000,000 in 2017 dollars[1]).

Between November 1921 and April 1922, Arbuckle was the defendant in three widely publicized trials for the rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. Rappe had fallen ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco in September 1921; she died four days later. Arbuckle was accused by Rappe’s acquaintance of raping and accidentally killing Rappe. After the first two trials, which resulted in hung juries, Arbuckle was acquitted in the third trial and received a formal written statement of apology from the jury.

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Chicago Herald Examiner Newspaper Coverage

Despite Arbuckle’s acquittal, the scandal has mostly overshadowed his legacy as a pioneering comedian. Following the trials, his films were banned and he was publicly ostracized. Although the ban on his films was lifted within a year, Arbuckle only worked sparingly through the 1920s. He later worked as a film director under the alias William Goodrich. He was finally able to return to acting, making short two-reel comedies in 1932 for Warner Bros.

He died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1933 at age 46, reportedly on the same day he signed a contract with Warner Brothers to make a feature film.[2]

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Early life

Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle was born on March 24, 1887 in Smith Center, Kansas, one of nine children of Mary E. “Mollie” Gordon (d. February 19, 1898) and William Goodrich Arbuckle.[3] He weighed in excess of 13 lb (5.9 kg) at birth and, as both parents had slim builds, his father believed the child was not his. Consequently, he named the baby after a politician (and notorious philanderer) whom he despised, Republican senator Roscoe Conkling of New York. The birth was traumatic for Mollie and resulted in chronic health problems that contributed to her death 12 years later.[4] When Arbuckle was nearly two his family moved to Santa Ana, California.[5]

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Young Roscoe Arbuckle

Arbuckle had a “wonderful” singing voice and was extremely agile. At the age of eight, with his mother’s encouragement, he first performed on stage with Frank Bacon’s company during their stopover in Santa Ana.[5]

Arbuckle enjoyed performing and continued on until his mother’s death in 1899 when he was 12.

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Young Roscoe Arbuckle in his stage performance outfit 

His father, who had always treated him harshly,[6] now refused to support him and Arbuckle got work doing odd jobs in a hotel. Arbuckle was in the habit of singing while he worked and was overheard by a customer who was a professional singer.

The customer invited him to perform in an amateur talent show. The show consisted of the audience judging acts by clapping or jeering with bad acts pulled off the stage by a shepherd’s crook. Arbuckle sang, danced, and did some clowning around, but did not impress the audience. He saw the crook emerge from the wings and to avoid it somersaulted into the orchestra pit in obvious panic. The audience went wild, and he not only won the competition but began a career in vaudeville.[4]

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Roscoe Arbuckle – from vaudeville to motion pictures


In 1904, Sid Grauman invited Arbuckle to sing in his new Unique Theater in San Francisco, beginning a long friendship between the two.[7][8] He then joined the Pantages Theatre Group touring the West Coast of the United States and in 1906 played the Orpheum Theater in Portland, Oregon in a vaudeville troupe organized by Leon Errol. Arbuckle became the main act and the group took their show on tour.[9]

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The Pantages Theatre Group at the Savoy Theatre, Palace Grand Theatre, Yukon

On August 6, 1908, Arbuckle married Minta Durfee (1889–1975), the daughter of Charles Warren Durfee and Flora Adkins.

Durfee starred in many early comedy films, often with Arbuckle.[10][11] They made a strange couple, as Minta was short and petite while Arbuckle tipped the scales at 300 lbs.[4] Arbuckle then joined the Morosco Burbank Stock vaudeville company and went on a tour of China and Japan returning in early 1909.[12]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Minta Durfee in a promotional photo for an early Mack Sennett film

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Minta Durfee in Fatty’s Chance Acquaintance (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1915)

Arbuckle began his film career with the Selig Polyscope Company in July 1909 when he appeared in Ben’s Kid.

Arbuckle appeared sporadically in Selig one-reelers until 1913, moved briefly to Universal Pictures and became a star in producer-director Mack Sennett‘s Keystone Cops comedies (However, according to the Motion Picture Studio Directory for 1919 and 1921, Arbuckle began his screen career with Keystone in 1913 as an extra for $3 a day (equivalent to approximately $74 in 2017 dollars[1]), working his way up through the acting ranks to become a lead player and director.)

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Roscoe Arbuckle in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops

Although his large size was undoubtedly part of his comedic appeal Arbuckle was self-conscious about his weight and refused to use it to get “cheap” laughs. For example, he would not allow himself to be stuck in a doorway or chair.[citation needed]

Arbuckle was a talented singer. After famed operatic tenor Enrico Caruso heard him sing, he urged the comedian to “…give up this nonsense you do for a living, with training you could become the second greatest singer in the world.”[13]

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Roscoe Arbuckle in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops

Screen comedian


Despite his physical size, Arbuckle was remarkably agile and acrobatic. Director Mack Sennett, when recounting his first meeting with Arbuckle, noted that he “skipped up the stairs as lightly as Fred Astaire“; and, “without warning went into a feather light step, clapped his hands and did a backward somersault as graceful as a girl tumbler”.

His comedies are noted as rollicking and fast-paced, have many chase scenes, and feature sight gags. Arbuckle was fond of the “pie in the face“, a comedy cliché that has come to symbolize silent-film-era comedy itself. The earliest known pie thrown in film was in the June 1913 Keystone one-reeler A Noise from the Deep, starring Arbuckle and frequent screen partner Mabel Normand.

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in A Noise from the Deep (Mack Sennett, 1913)

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in  Fatty’s Wine Party (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1914)

In 1914, Paramount Pictures made the then-unheard-of offer of US$1,000-a-day plus 25% of all profits and complete artistic control to make movies with Arbuckle and Normand. The movies were so lucrative and popular that in 1918 they offered Arbuckle a three-year, $3 million contract (equivalent to about $49,000,000 in 2017 dollars[1]).[14]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in Fatty and Mabel Adrift (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1916)

By 1916, Arbuckle was experiencing serious health problems. An infection that developed on his leg became a carbuncle so severe that doctors considered amputation. Although Arbuckle was able to keep his leg, he became addicted to the pain killer morphine.

Following his recovery, Arbuckle started his own film company, Comique, in partnership with Joseph Schenck. Although Comique produced some of the best short pictures of the silent era, in 1918 Arbuckle transferred his controlling interest in the company to Buster Keaton and accepted Paramount’s $3 million offer to make up to 18 feature films over three years.[4]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Good Night, Nurse! (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1918)

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Coney Island (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1917)

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in The Garage (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1920)

Arbuckle disliked his screen nickname. “Fatty” had also been Arbuckle’s nickname since school; “It was inevitable”, he said. He weighed 185lb (13st 3lb, 84kg) when he was 12. Fans also called Roscoe “The Prince of Whales” and “The Balloonatic”.

However, the name Fatty identifies the character that Arbuckle portrayed on-screen (usually a naive hayseed)—not Arbuckle himself. When Arbuckle portrayed a female, the character was named “Miss Fatty”, as in the film Miss Fatty’s Seaside Lovers.

Arbuckle discouraged anyone from addressing him as “Fatty” off-screen, and when they did so his usual response was, “I’ve got a name, you know.”[15]

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Roscoe Arbuckle in Miss Fatty’s Seaside Lovers (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1915)


This 1922 Vanity Fair caricature by Ralph Barton[16] shows the famous people who, he imagined, left work each day in Hollywood; use cursor to identify individual figures.

On September 5, 1921, Arbuckle took a break from his hectic film schedule and, despite suffering from second-degree burns to both buttocks from an accident on set, drove to San Francisco with two friends, Lowell Sherman and Fred Fishback.

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Lowell Sherman

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Fred Fishbach (on the left) with Fred Hibbard and Edith Roberts

The three checked into three rooms at the St. Francis Hotel: 1219 for Arbuckle and Fishback to share, 1221 for Sherman, and 1220 designated as a party room.

Several women were invited to the suite. During the carousing, a 26-year-old aspiring actress named Virginia Rappe was found seriously ill in room 1219 and was examined by the hotel doctor, who concluded her symptoms were mostly caused by intoxication, and gave her morphine to calm her. Rappe was not hospitalized until two days after the incident.[2]

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Virginia Rappe

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Virginia Rappe

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Virginia Rappe

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 Suite 1221 of St. Francis Hotel shortly after Arbuckle’s party

Virginia Rappe suffered from chronic cystitis,[17] a condition that liquor irritated dramatically. Her heavy drinking habits and the poor quality of the era’s bootleg alcohol could leave her in severe physical distress.

She developed a reputation for over-imbibing at parties, then drunkenly tearing at her clothes from the resulting physical pain. But by the time of the St. Francis Hotel party, her reproductive health was a greater concern. Despite reports trying to paint her in a bad light, the autopsy revealed she never had any abortion nor was pregnant.

At the hospital, Rappe’s companion at the party, Bambina Maude Delmont, told Rappe’s doctor that Arbuckle had raped her friend.

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial

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Police photos of Roscoe Arbuckle

The doctor examined Rappe but found no evidence of rape. Rappe died one day after her hospitalization of peritonitis, caused by a ruptured bladder. Delmont then told police that Arbuckle raped Rappe, and the police concluded that the impact Arbuckle’s overweight body had on Rappe eventually caused her bladder to rupture.[2]

Rappe’s manager Al Semnacker (at a later press conference) accused Arbuckle of using a piece of ice to simulate sex with her, which led to the injuries.[18] By the time the story was reported in newspapers, the object had evolved into being a Coca-Cola or champagne bottle, instead of a piece of ice. In fact, witnesses testified that Arbuckle rubbed the ice on Rappe’s stomach to ease her abdominal pain. Arbuckle denied any wrongdoing. Delmont later made a statement incriminating Arbuckle to the police in an attempt to extort money from Arbuckle’s attorneys.[19]

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Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

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Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

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Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

Arbuckle’s trial was a major media event; William Randolph Hearst‘s nationwide newspaper chain exploited the situation with exaggerated and sensationalized stories.

The story was fueled by yellow journalism, with the newspapers portraying him as a gross lecher who used his weight to overpower innocent girls. Hearst was gratified by the profits he accrued during the Arbuckle scandal, and later said that it had “sold more newspapers than any event since the sinking of the Lusitania.[20]Morality groups called for Arbuckle to be sentenced to death. The resulting scandal destroyed Arbuckle’s career and his personal life.

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Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial and sensationalist reporting

Arbuckle was regarded by those who knew him closely as a good-natured man who was shy with women; he has been described as “the most chaste man in pictures”.[4] However, studio executives, fearing negative publicity by association, ordered Arbuckle’s industry friends and fellow actors (whose careers they controlled) not to publicly speak up for him.

Charlie Chaplin, who was in Britain at the time, told reporters that he could not (and would not) believe Roscoe Arbuckle had anything to do with Virginia Rappe’s death; having known Arbuckle since they both worked at Keystone in 1914, Chaplin “knew Roscoe to be a genial, easy-going type who would not harm a fly.”[21]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Charles Chaplin

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton reportedly did make one public statement in support of Arbuckle’s innocence which earned him a mild reprimand from the studio where he worked.

Film actor William S. Hart, who had never met or worked with Arbuckle, made a number of damaging public statements in which he presumed that Arbuckle was guilty. Arbuckle later wrote a premise for a film parodying Hart as a thief, bully, and wife beater, which Keaton purchased from him.

The following year in 1922, Keaton co-wrote, directed and starred in The Frozen North, the resulting film, and as a result, Hart refused to speak to Keaton for many years.[22][23]

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William S Hart

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Buster Keaton in The Frozen North (Edward F Cline and Buster Keaton, 1922)


The prosecutor, San Francisco District Attorney Matthew Brady, an intensely ambitious man who planned to run for governor, made public pronouncements of Arbuckle’s guilt and pressured witnesses to make false statements. Brady at first used Delmont as his star witness during the indictment hearing.[2]

The defense had also obtained a letter from Delmont admitting to a plan to extort payment from Arbuckle. In view of Delmont’s constantly changing story, her testimony would have ended any chance of going to trial.

Ultimately, the judge found no evidence of rape. After hearing testimony from one of the party guests, Zey Prevon, that Rappe told her “Roscoe hurt me” on her deathbed, the judge decided that Arbuckle could be charged with first-degree murder. Brady had originally planned to seek the death penalty. The charge was later reduced to manslaughter.[2]

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First trial

On September 17, 1921, Arbuckle was arrested and arraigned on the charges of manslaughter, but arranged bail after nearly three weeks in jail.

The trial began November 14, 1921, in the city courthouse in San Francisco.[2] Arbuckle’s defense lawyer was Gavin McNab, a professional and competent local attorney that Arbuckle hired as his lead defense counsel.

The principal witness was Ms. Zey Prevon, a guest at the party.[24] At the beginning of the trial Arbuckle told his already-estranged wife, Minta Durfee, that he did not harm Rappe; she believed him and appeared regularly in the courtroom to support him. Public feeling was so negative that she was later shot at while entering the courthouse.[20]

Brady’s first witnesses during the trial included Betty Campbell, a model, who attended the September 5 party and testified that she saw Arbuckle with a smile on his face hours after the alleged rape occurred; Grace Hultson, a local hospital nurse who testified it was very likely that Arbuckle raped Rappe and bruised her body in the process; and Dr. Edward Heinrich, a local criminologist who claimed he found Arbuckle’s fingerprints smeared with Rappe’s blood on room 1219’s bathroom door.

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Dr. Arthur Beardslee, the hotel doctor who had examined Rappe, testified that an external force seemed to have damaged the bladder. During cross-examination, Betty Campbell, however, revealed that Brady threatened to charge her with perjury if she did not testify against Arbuckle. Dr. Heinrich’s claim to have found fingerprints was cast into doubt after McNab produced the St. Francis hotel maid, who testified that she had cleaned the room before the investigation even took place and did not find any blood on the bathroom door.

Dr. Beardslee admitted that Rappe had never mentioned being assaulted while he was treating her. McNab was furthermore able to get Nurse Hultson to admit that the rupture of Rappe’s bladder could very well have been a result of cancer, and that the bruises on her body could also have been a result of the heavy jewelry she was wearing that evening.[2] During the defense stage of the trial, McNab called various pathology experts who testified that although Rappe’s bladder had ruptured, there was evidence of chronic inflammation and no evidence of any pathological changes preceding the rupture; in other words, there was no external cause for the rupture.[citation needed]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and his defence team in the Courtroom

On November 28, Arbuckle testified as the defense’s final witness. Arbuckle was simple, direct, and unflustered in both direct and cross examination. In his testimony, Arbuckle claimed that Rappe (whom he testified that he had known for five or six years) came into the party room (1220) around noon that day, and that some time afterward Mae Taub (daughter-in-law of Billy Sunday) asked him for a ride into town, so he went to his room (1219) to change his clothes and discovered Rappe in the bathroom vomiting in the toilet.

Arbuckle then claimed Rappe told him she felt ill and asked to lie down, and that he carried her into the bedroom and asked a few of the party guests to help treat her. When Arbuckle and a few of the guests re-entered the room, they found Rappe on the floor near the bed tearing at her clothing and going into violent convulsions. To calm Rappe down, they placed her in a bathtub of cool water. Arbuckle and Fischbach then took her to room 1227 and called the hotel manager and doctor. After the doctor declared that Rappe was just drunk, Arbuckle then drove Taub to town.

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During the whole trial, the prosecution presented medical descriptions of Rappe’s bladder as evidence that she had an illness. In his testimony, Arbuckle denied he had any knowledge of Rappe’s illness. During cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Leo Friedman aggressively grilled Arbuckle over the fact that he refused to call a doctor when he found Rappe sick, and argued that he refused to do so because he knew of Rappe’s illness and saw a perfect opportunity to rape and kill her.

Arbuckle calmly maintained that he never physically hurt or sexually assaulted Rappe in any way during the September 5 party, and he also claimed that he never made any inappropriate sexual advances against any woman in his life. After over two weeks of testimony with 60 prosecution and defense witnesses, including 18 doctors who testified about Rappe’s illness, the defense rested. On December 4, 1921, the jury returned five days later deadlocked after nearly 44 hours of deliberation with a 10–2 not guilty verdict, and a mistrial was declared.[2]

Arbuckle’s attorneys later concentrated their attention on one woman named Helen Hubbard who had told jurors that she would vote guilty “until hell freezes over”. She refused to look at the exhibits or read the trial transcripts, having made up her mind in the courtroom. Hubbard’s husband was a lawyer who did business with the D.A.’s office,[25] and expressed surprise that she was not challenged when selected for the jury pool.

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Newspaper Coverage

While much attention was paid to Hubbard after the trial, some other jury members felt Arbuckle was guilty but not beyond a reasonable doubt, and various jurors joined Hubbard in voting to convict, including – repeatedly at the end – Thomas Kilkenny.

Arbuckle researcher Joan Myers describes the political climate and the media attention to the presence of women on juries (which had only been legal for four years at the time), and how Arbuckle’s defense immediately singled out Hubbard as a villain; Myers also records Hubbard’s account of the jury foreman August Fritze’s attempts to bully her into changing her vote. While Hubbard offered explanations on her vote whenever challenged, Kilkenny remained silent and quickly faded from the media spotlight after the trial ended.[26]

Second trial

The second trial began January 11, 1922, with a new jury, but with the same legal defense and prosecution as well as the same presiding judge.

The same evidence was presented, but this time one of the witnesses, Zey Prevon, testified that Brady had forced her to lie. Another witness who testified during the first trial, a former security guard named Jesse Norgard, who worked at Culver Studios where Arbuckle worked, testified that Arbuckle had once shown up at the studio and offered him a cash bribe in exchange for the key to Rappe’s dressing room. The comedian supposedly said he wanted it to play a joke on the actress. Norgard said he refused to give him the key.

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Second Trial Jury

During cross-examination, Norgard’s testimony was called into question when he was revealed to be an ex-convict who was currently charged with sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, and who was also looking for a sentence reduction from Brady in exchange for his testimony. Further, in contrast to the first trial, Rappe’s history of promiscuity and heavy drinking was detailed. The second trial also discredited some major evidence such as the identification of Arbuckle’s fingerprints on the hotel bedroom door: Heinrich took back his earlier testimony from the first trial and testified that the fingerprint evidence was likely faked. The defense was so convinced of an acquittal that Arbuckle was not called to testify. Arbuckle’s lawyer, McNab, made no closing argument to the jury. However, some jurors interpreted the refusal to let Arbuckle testify as a sign of guilt. After over 40 hours of deliberation, the jury returned February 3, deadlocked with a 10–2 not guilty verdict, resulting in another mistrial.[2]

Third trial

By the time of the third trial, Arbuckle’s films had been banned, and newspapers had been filled for the past seven months with stories of alleged Hollywood orgies, murder, and sexual perversion. Delmont was touring the country giving one-woman shows as “The woman who signed the murder charge against Arbuckle”, and lecturing on the evils of Hollywood.

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Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Third Trial

The third trial began March 13, 1922, and this time the defense took no chances. McNab took an aggressive defense, completely tearing apart the prosecution’s case with long and aggressive examination and cross-examination of each witness. McNab also managed to get in still more evidence about Virginia Rappe’s lurid past and medical history. Another hole in the prosecution’s case was opened because Zey Prevon, a key witness, was out of the country after fleeing police custody and unable to testify.[2]

As in the first trial, Arbuckle testified as the final witness and again maintained his denials in his heartfelt testimony about his version of the events at the hotel party. During closing statements, McNab reviewed how flawed the case was against Arbuckle from the very start and how District Attorney Brady fell for the outlandish charges of Maude Delmont, whom McNab described as “the complaining witness who never witnessed”.

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The jury began deliberations April 12, and took only six minutes to return with a unanimous not guilty verdict—five of those minutes were spent writing a formal statement of apology to Arbuckle for putting him through the ordeal; a dramatic move in American justice. The jury statement as read by the jury foreman stated:

Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done him. We feel also that it was only our plain duty to give him this exoneration, under the evidence, for there was not the slightest proof adduced to connect him in any way with the commission of a crime. He was manly throughout the case and told a straightforward story on the witness stand, which we all believed. The happening at the hotel was an unfortunate affair for which Arbuckle, so the evidence shows, was in no way responsible. We wish him success and hope that the American people will take the judgment of fourteen men and woman who have sat listening for thirty-one days to evidence, that Roscoe Arbuckle is entirely innocent and free from all blame.

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Roscoe Arbuckle in Court

After the reading of the apology statement, the jury foreman personally handed the statement to Arbuckle who kept it as a treasured memento for the rest of his life. Then, one by one, the entire 12-person jury plus the two jury alternates walked up to Arbuckle’s defense table where they shook his hand and/or embraced and personally apologized to him. The entire jury even proudly posed in a photo op with Arbuckle for photographers after the verdict and apology.

Some experts later concluded that Rappe’s bladder might also have ruptured as a result of an abortion she might have had a short time before the September 5 party. Rappe’s organs had been destroyed and it was now impossible to test for pregnancy. Because alcohol was consumed at the party, Arbuckle was forced to plead guilty to one count of violating the Volstead Act, and had to pay a $500 fine. At the time of his acquittal, Arbuckle owed over $700,000 (equivalent to approximately $10,200,000 in 2017 dollars[1]) in legal fees to his attorneys for the three criminal trials, and he was forced to sell his house and all of his cars to pay some of the debt.[2]

The scandal and trials had greatly damaged his popularity among the general public, and in spite of the acquittal and the apology, his reputation was not restored, and the effects of the scandal continued. Will H. Hays, who served as the head of the newly formed Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) Hollywood censor board, cited Arbuckle as an example of the poor morals in Hollywood. On April 18, 1922, six days after Arbuckle’s acquittal, Hays banned Roscoe Arbuckle from ever working in U.S. movies again. He had also requested that all showings and bookings of Arbuckle films be cancelled, and exhibitors complied.

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Will Hays – On April 18, 1922, six days after Arbuckle’s acquittal, Hays banned Roscoe Arbuckle from ever working in U.S. movies again

In December of the same year, under public pressure, Hays elected to lift the ban. However, Arbuckle was still unable to secure work as an actor.[2] Most exhibitors still declined to show Arbuckle’s films, several of which now have no copies known to have survived intact.

One of Arbuckle’s feature-length films known to survive is Leap Year, which Paramount declined to release in the United States due to the scandal.[27] It was eventually released in Europe.[28] With Arbuckle’s films now banned, in March 1922, Buster Keaton signed an agreement to give Arbuckle 35 percent of all future profits from his company, Buster Keaton Productions, to ease his financial situation.[23]

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Roscoe Arbuckle in Leap Year (James Cruze/Roscoe Arbuckle, 1924)

Similar concurrent scandals

Although it was regarded as Hollywood’s first major scandal,[2] the Arbuckle case was one of five major Paramount-related scandals of the period. In 1920, silent film actress Olive Thomas died after accidentally drinking mercury bichloride, which her husband, matinee idol Jack Pickford, had been using as a topical treatment for syphilis; there were rumors that it had been a suicide.[29]

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Olive Thomas

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Jack Pickford

In February 1922, the murder of director William Desmond Taylor severely damaged the careers of actresses Mary Miles Minter and former Arbuckle screen partner Mabel Normand. In 1923, actor/director Wallace Reid‘s dependency on morphine resulted in his death.[30] In 1924, actor/writer/director Thomas H. Ince died mysteriously, aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht.[31]

William Desmond Taylor 1William Desmond Hurst

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Mary Miles Minter

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Mabel Normand

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Wallace Reid

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Thomas H Ince


After the trials, Hollywood shunned Arbuckle, and he could no longer find work. A secondary effect, for archive history, was the determined destruction of copies of films starring Arbuckle.[32]

In November 1923, Minta Durfee filed for divorce, charging grounds of desertion.[33] The divorce was granted the following January.[34]

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Minta Durfee, Roscoe Arbuckle’s first wife

They had been separated since 1921, though Durfee always claimed he was the nicest man in the world and that they were still friends.[35] After a brief reconciliation, Durfee again filed for divorce, this time while in Paris, in December 1924.[36]

Arbuckle married Doris Deane on May 16, 1925.[37]

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Roscoe Arbuckle and Doris Deane wedding ceremony

Arbuckle tried returning to filmmaking, but industry resistance to distributing his pictures continued to linger after his acquittal.

He retreated into alcoholism. In the words of his first wife, “Roscoe only seemed to find solace and comfort in a bottle”. Buster Keaton attempted to help Arbuckle by giving him work on his films. Arbuckle wrote the story for a Keaton short called Daydreams (1922).

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Daydreams (Edward S Cline/Buster Keaton, 1922)

Arbuckle allegedly co-directed scenes in Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. (1924), but it is unclear how much of this footage remained in the film’s final cut.

In 1925, Carter Dehaven made the short Character Studies. Arbuckle appeared alongside Buster Keaton, Harold LloydRudolph ValentinoDouglas Fairbanks, and Jackie Coogan.[38]

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Character Studies (Carter Dehaven,1926)

The same year, in Photoplays August issue, James R. Quirk wrote “I would like to see Roscoe Arbuckle make a comeback to the screen.” He also said “The American nation prides itself upon its spirit of fair play. We like the whole world to look upon America as the place where every man gets a square deal. Are you sure Roscoe Arbuckle is getting one today? I’m not.”[39]

William Goodrich pseudonym

Eventually, Arbuckle worked as a director under the alias William Goodrich. According to author David Yallop in The Day the Laughter Stopped (a biography of Arbuckle with special attention to the scandal and its aftermath), Arbuckle’s father’s full name was William Goodrich Arbuckle.

Another tale credited Keaton, an inveterate punster, with suggesting that Arbuckle become a director under the alias “Will B. Good”. The pun being too obvious, Arbuckle adopted the more formal pseudonym “William Goodrich”.[40] Keaton himself told this story during a recorded interview with Kevin Brownlow in the 1960s.[41]

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Roscoe Arbuckle as William Goodrich

Between 1924 and 1932, Arbuckle directed a number of comedy shorts under the pseudonym for Educational Pictures, which featured lesser-known comics of the day. Louise Brooks, who played the ingenue in Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931), told Kevin Brownlow of her experiences in working with Arbuckle:

He made no attempt to direct this picture. He just sat in his director’s chair like a dead man. He had been very nice and sweetly dead ever since the scandal that ruined his career. But it was such an amazing thing for me to come in to make this broken-down picture, and to find my director was the great Roscoe Arbuckle. Oh, I thought he was magnificent in films. He was a wonderful dancer—a wonderful ballroom dancer, in his heyday. It was like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut—really delightful.[20]

Roscoe Arbuckle 48

Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1931)

Among the more visible directorial projects under the Goodrich pseudonym was the Eddie Cantor feature Special Delivery (1927), which was released by Paramount and co-starred William Powell and Jobyna Ralston. His highest-profile project was arguably The Red Mill, also released in 1927, a Marion Davies vehicle.

Roscoe Arbuckle 49

Special Delivery (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1927)

Red Mill 1

The Red Mill (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1927)

Second divorce and third marriage

In 1929, Doris Deane sued for divorce in Los Angeles, charging desertion and cruelty.[42]

On June 21, 1931, Roscoe married Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail (later Addie Oakley Sheldon, 1905–2003) in Erie, Pennsylvania.[43]

Roscoe Arbuckle 50

Roscoe Arbuckle and Addie McPhail after their wedding ceremony

Brief comeback and death

In 1932, Arbuckle signed a contract with Warner Bros. to star under his own name in a series of six two-reel comedies, to be filmed at the Vitagraph studios in Brooklyn.

These six short films constitute the only recordings of his voice. Silent-film comedian Al St. John (Arbuckle’s nephew) and actors Lionel Stander and Shemp Howard appeared with Arbuckle. The films were very successful in America,[43] although when Warner Bros. attempted to release the first one (Hey, Pop!) in the United Kingdom, the British Board of Film Censors cited the 10-year-old scandal and refused to grant an exhibition certificate.[44]

Roscoe Arbuckle 51

Hey, Pop! (Alfred J.Goulding, 1932)

On June 28, 1933, Arbuckle had finished filming the last of the two-reelers (four of which had already been released). The next day he signed a contract with Warners to star in a feature-length film.[45] That night he went out with friends to celebrate his first wedding anniversary and the new Warner contract when he reportedly said: “This is the best day of my life.”

He suffered a heart attack later that night and died in his sleep.[9] He was 46. His widow Addie requested that his body be cremated as that was Arbuckle’s wish.[46]

Roscoe Arbuckle 32

Roscoe Arbuckle’s death report

Roscoe Arbuckle 52


Many of Arbuckle’s films, including the feature Life of the Party (1920), survive only as worn prints with foreign-language inter-titles. Little or no effort was made to preserve original negatives and prints during Hollywood’s first two decades.

Roscoe Arbuckle 53

The Life of the Party (Joseph Henabery, 1920)

By the early 21st century, some of Arbuckle’s short subjects (particularly those co-starring Chaplin or Keaton) had been restored, released on DVD, and even screened theatrically. Arbuckle’s early influence on American slapstick comedy is widely recognised.[47]

For his contributions to the film industry, Arbuckle has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6701 Hollywood Boulevard.[48]

Roscoe Arbuckle 54

Roscoe Arbuckle – Walk of Fame

In popular culture

The James Ivory film The Wild Party (1975) has been repeatedly but incorrectly cited as a film dramatization of the Arbuckle–Rappe scandal.

In fact it is loosely based on the 1926 poem by Joseph Moncure March.[49] In this film, James Coco portrays a heavy-set silent-film comedian named Jolly Grimm whose career is on the skids, but who is desperately planning a comeback.

Raquel Welch portrays his mistress, who ultimately goads him into shooting her. This film was loosely based on the misconceptions surrounding the Arbuckle scandal, yet it bears almost no resemblance to the documented facts of the case.[50]

Wild Party 1

The Wild Party (James Ivory, 1975)

In Ken Russell‘s 1977 biopic ValentinoRudolph Nureyev as a pre-movie star Rudolph Valentino dances in a nightclub before a grossly overweight, obnoxious, and hedonistic celebrity called “Mr. Fatty” (played by William Hootkins), a caricature of Arbuckle rooted in the public view of him created in popular press coverage of the Rappe rape trial.

In the scene, Valentino picks up starlet (Jean Acker played by Carol Kane) off a table in which she is sitting in front of Fatty and dances with her, enraging the spoiled star, who becomes apoplectic.[51]

Valentino 1

Valentino (Ken Russel, 1977)

The caricature of Arbuckle as a boor continued to be promulgated in the seventies by film writers such as Kenneth Anger in his seminal work Hollywood Babylon.

In an episode of the Mathnet segment of the children’s public-television television series Square One Television (Season 2, Episode 1, “The Case of the Willing Parrot,” presented in five sections over the course of a week of the overall show), fictitious deceased celebrity Roscoe “Fatty” Tissue was written as a parody of Arbuckle.

Before his death in 1997, comedian Chris Farley expressed interest in starring as Arbuckle in a biography film. According to the 2008 biography The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, Farley and screenwriter David Mamet agreed to work together on what would have been Farley’s first dramatic role.[52]

In 2007, director Kevin Connor planned a film, The Life of the Party, based on Arbuckle’s life. It was to star Chris Kattan and Preston Lacy.[53] However the project was shelved.[54] Like Farley, comedians John Belushi and John Candy also considered playing Arbuckle, but each of them died before a biopic was made. Farley’s film was signed with Vince Vaughn as his co-star.[55]

In 2005, jazz trumpet player Dave Douglas released the album “Keystone”, dedicated to the work of Roscoe Arbuckle. It contains a DVD which features the movie Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916/ Keystone – Triangle), starring Roscoe Arbuckle, Mable Normand, Al St. John, and Luke the Dog.

Roscoe Arbuckle 55

Dave Douglas, Keystone (2005)

In April and May 2006, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City mounted a 56-film, month-long retrospective of all of Arbuckle’s known surviving work, running the entire series twice.[56]

Arbuckle is the subject of a 2004 novel titled I, Fatty by author Jerry StahlThe Day the Laughter Stopped by David Yallop and Frame-Up! The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle by Andy Edmonds are other books on Arbuckle’s life.[57] The 1963 novel, Scandal in Eden by Garet Rogers,[58] is a fictionalized version of the Arbuckle scandal.

Roscoe Arbuckle 56

The Day the Laughter Stopped (David Yallop, 1976)

Fatty Arbuckle’s was an American-themed restaurant chain in the UK prominent during the 1980s and named after Arbuckle.

Stoneface, a 2012 play by Vanessa Claire Stewart about Buster Keaton, depicts Keaton’s and Arbuckle’s friendship and professional relationship.

Arbuckle is played by actor Brett Ashy in the motion picture Return to Babylon (2013).

The scandal is described during the climax of the film Middle Man.


Roscoe Arbuckle 1


Roscoe Arbuckle 57


Roscoe Arbuckle, Fatty
Roscoe Arbuckle, Fatty
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Vitagraph shorts

See also


  1. Jump up to:a b c d Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. “Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–”. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m Noe, Denise. “Fatty Arbuckle and the Death of Virginia Rappe”Crime Library at truTV. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  3. Jump up^ “Year: 1900; Census Place: Santa Clara, Santa Clara, California; Roll: 111; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1240111” Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e Ellis, Chris & Julie (April 10, 2005). The Mammoth Book of Celebrity Murder: Murder played out in the spotlight of maximum publicity. Constable & Robertson. ISBN 978-0786715688. Retrieved 2015-01-30. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. Jump up to:a b Lowrey, Carolyn (1920). The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen. New York: Moffat, Yard & Co. p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  6. Jump up^ “Roscoe Always Jolly But Weak: Stepmother”. San Jose: The Evening News. September 12, 1921. pp. 1–2. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  7. Jump up^ Saperstein, Susan. “Grauman’s Theaters”. San Jose, California Guides. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  8. Jump up^ “She Must Use 7 Mirrors”The Evening News. January 31, 1905. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  9. Jump up to:a b “Dies in His Sleep. Film Comedian, Central Figure in Coast Tragedy in 1921, Long Barred From Screen. On Eve of his Comeback. Succumbs at 46 After He and Wife Had Celebrated Their First Wedding Anniversary”The New York Times. June 30, 1933. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). Roscoe C. (Fatty) Arbuckle, film comedian, died of a heart attack at 3 o’clock … Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle was born at Smith Centre, Kansas, on March 24, 1887.
  10. Jump up^ “Minta Durfee, actress, 85, Dies; Former Wife of Fatty Arbuckle”The New York Times. September 12, 1975. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). Minta Durfee, the actress who was married to Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle and became Charlie Chaplin’s first motionpicture leading lady, died Tuesday in Woodland Hills, a Los Angeles suburb.
  11. Jump up^ Del Olmo, Frank (September 12, 1975). “Fatty Arbuckle’s First Wife Dies”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  12. Jump up^ Long, Bruce (April 1995). “Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle”Taylorology. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  13. Jump up^ Nichols, Peter M. (April 13, 2001). “HOME VIDEO; Arbuckle Shorts, Fresh and Frisky”The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  14. Jump up^ Rosenberg, Jennifer. “Fatty Arbuckle Scandal” Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  15. Jump up^ “Interesting facts about Roscoe Arbuckle”. Arbucklemania. Retrieved January 30, 2015Alice Lake called him Arbie. To Mabel Normand he was Big Otto, after an elephant in the Selig Studio Zoo near Keystone. Buster Keaton called him Chief. Fred Mace called him Crab. And for some unexplained reason fellow comic Charlie Murray referred to him as My Child the Fat. His three wives always called him Roscoe
  16. Jump up^ “When the Five O’Clock Whistle Blows in Hollywood”Vanity Fair. September 1922. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  17. Jump up^ “Testify Regarding Early Life of Virginia Rappe”The Lewiston Daily Sun. October 31, 1921. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ Hopkins, Ernest J. (September 25, 1921). “Miss Rappe’s Manager Tells Worst He Knows of Arbuckle”The Pittsburgh Press. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  19. Jump up^ Sheerin, Jude (September 4, 2011). “‘Fatty’ Arbuckle and Hollywood’s first scandal”BBC News. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  20. Jump up to:a b c Felix, Wanda (Fall 1995). “Fatty”The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities (4). Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  21. Jump up^ Chaplin, Charles: My Autobiography, p. 270 (Simon and Schuster, 1964).
  22. Jump up^ Neibaur, James (2013). Buster Keaton’s Silent Shorts: 1920–1923Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 185–186. ISBN 978-0810887411. (Subscription required (help)).
  23. Jump up to:a b Meade, Marion (August 22, 1997). Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase. Chapter 12 “Cops”: DaCapo Press. ISBN 978-0306808029. (Subscription required (help)).
  24. Jump up^ Daily Mirror headlines, October 1, 1921
  25. Jump up^ Fine, Gary Allen (April 1, 2001). Difficult Reputations: Collective Memories of the Evil, Inept, and Controversial. University of Chicago Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0226249414.
  26. Jump up^ Myers, Joan (March 18, 2009). “The Case of the Vanishing Juror”Feminism 3.0. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  27. Jump up^ Oderman 2005, p. 199.
  28. Jump up^ Edmonds, Andy (January 1991). Frame-Up!: The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. William Morrow & Co. p. 302. ISBN 978-0688091293. (Subscription required (help)).
  29. Jump up^ Whitfield, Eileen (August 31, 2007). Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. p. 224. ISBN 978-0813191799. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  30. Jump up^ Braudy, Leo (March 15, 2011). The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon. Yale University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0300156607. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  31. Jump up^ Mikkelson, Barbara (August 18, 2007). “Give Louella An Ince; She’ll Take A Column” Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  32. Jump up^ Humphreys, Sally; Humphreys, Geraint (February 1, 2011). Century of Scandal. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-844259-50-2.
  33. Jump up^ “Milestones: November 12, 1923”Time. November 12, 1923. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  34. Jump up^ “Milestones: January 7, 1924”Time. January 7, 1924. Retrieved January 30,2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  35. Jump up^ “Excerpts of Interview with Minta Durfee Arbuckle by Don Schneider and Stephen Normand”The Movie Museum. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  36. Jump up^ “Milestones: December 8, 1924”Time. June 29, 1931. Retrieved January 30,2015.
  37. Jump up^ Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Music Sales Group. p. 37. ISBN 978-1849382465. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  38. Jump up^ Leider, Emily W. (May 6, 2003). Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 198. ISBN 978-0374282394. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  39. Jump up^ Quirk, James R. (August 1925). “Speaking of Pictures”Photoplay. New York: Photoplay Publishing Company. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  40. Jump up^ Oderman 2005, p. 201.
  41. Jump up^ Sweeney, Kevin W. (2007). Buster Keaton Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 192–193. ISBN 1578069637.
  42. Jump up^ “Milestones September 8, 1929”Time. September 30, 1929. Retrieved January 30, 2015Sued for Divorce. By Mrs. Doris Deane Arbuckle minor cinemactress, Roscoe Conkling (“Fatty”) Arbuckle, onetime cinema funnyman; at Los Angeles; for the second time. Grounds: desertion, cruelty.
  43. Jump up to:a b Oderman 2005 p.212
  44. Jump up^ Liebman, Roy (1998). From Silents To Sound: A Biographical Encyclopedia Of Performers Who Made the Transition To Talking Pictures. McFarland. p. 5. ISBN 978-0786403820. (Subscription required (help)).
  45. Jump up^ “Arbuckle, Star Film Comedian, Dies in Sleep”St. Petersburg TimesAssociated Press. July 1, 1933. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  46. Jump up^ Chermak, Steven M.; Bailey, Frankie Y., eds. (October 30, 2007). Crimes and Trials of the Century: From the Black Sox scandal to the Attica prison riots, Volume 1. Glenwood. p. 69. ISBN 978-0313341106.
  47. Jump up^ Eagan, Daniel (November 26, 2011). “More on Fatty Arbuckle: His Films and His Legacy”Smithsonian. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  48. Jump up^ King, Susan; Welkos, Robert (April 12, 2001). “Hollywood Star Walk: Roscoe Arbuckle”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  49. Jump up^ Long, Robert Emmet (December 11, 2006). James Ivory in Conversation: How Merchant Ivory Makes Its Movies. University of California Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0520249998.
  50. Jump up^ Mayo, Mike (February 1, 2008). American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media. Visible Ink Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-1578591916. Retrieved January 30,2015.
  51. Jump up^ “Valentino. 1977. Rudolph Nureyev Dances”. YouTube. Retrieved December 24,2014.
  52. Jump up^ Farley, Tom; Colby, Tanner (May 6, 2008). The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts. Penguin. p. 262. ISBN 978-1616804589. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  53. Jump up^ King, Susan (November 15, 2007). “Screening Room”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  54. Jump up^ Schanie, Andrew (2010). Movie Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in the Film Industry. Clerisy Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1578603541.
  55. Jump up^ Bovsun, Mara (September 1, 2012). “Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, acquitted for murder of Virginia Rappe in 1922, never recovered from all the bad press”Daily News. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  56. Jump up^ “Rediscovering Roscoe: The Careers of “Fatty” Arbuckle”.
  57. Jump up^ Paulus, Tom; King, Rob, eds. (April 21, 2010). Slapstick Comedy. Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 978-0415801799.
  58. Jump up^ Rogers, Garet (1963). Scandal in Eden. Dial Press. Retrieved May 15, 2015.

Roscoe Arbuckle 59

Further reading

  • Atkins, Ace (2009). Devil’s Garden. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ISBN 978-0-399-15536-9.
  • Edmonds, Andy (1991). Frame-Up!: The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. New York: William Morrow & Company. ISBN 978-0-688-09129-3.
  • Merritt, Greg (2013). Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-613-74792-6.
  • Neibaur, James L. (December 2006). Arbuckle and Keaton: Their 14 Film Collaborations. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2831-7.
  • Oderman, Stuart (2005). Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle: A Biography of the Silent Film Comedian, 1887–1933. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-899-50872-6.
  • Stahl, Jerry (2004). I, Fatty: A Novel. New York: Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1-582-34247-4.
  • Yallop, David (1976). The Day the Laughter Stopped. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 978-0-312-18410-0.
  • The New York Times; September 12, 1921; pg. 1. “San Francisco, California; September 11, 1921. “Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle was arrested late last night on a charge of murder as a result of the death of Virginia Rappe, film actress, after a party in Arbuckle’s rooms at the Hotel St. Francis. Arbuckle is still in jail tonight despite efforts by his lawyers to find some way to obtain his liberty.”
  • The New York Times; September 13, 1921; pg. 1. “San Francisco, California; September 12, 1921. “The Grand Jury met tonight at 7:30 o’clock to hear the testimony of witnesses rounded up by Matthew Brady (District Attorney) of San Francisco to support his demand for the indictment of Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle for the murder of Miss Virginia Rappe.”
  • Ki LongfellowChina BluesEio Books 2012, ISBN 0-9759255-7-1 Includes historical discussion of the merits of the Arbuckle case.

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Roscoe Arbuckle 61

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Roscoe Arbuckle  63.jpg

Roscoe Arbuckle 64

Roscoe Arbuckle 65


Charley Chase

Charley Chase 10

Charley Chase promotional photo 1920’s

Charley Chase (born Charles Joseph Parrott, October 20, 1893 – June 20, 1940) was an American comedian, actor, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies. He was the older brother of comedian/director James Parrott.

Life and career

Born Charles Joseph Parrott in Baltimore, Maryland, Charley Chase began performing in vaudeville as a teenager and started his career in films by working at the Christie Film Company in 1912.[1]

He then moved to Keystone Studios, where he began appearing in bit parts in the Mack Sennett films, including those of Charlie Chaplin.

His New Profession 2

Poster for His New Profession (Charles Chaplin, 1914) with Chaplin and Charley Chase

His New Profession 3

His New Profession (Charles Chaplin, 1914) with Chaplin and Charley Chase

His New Profession 1

His New Profession (Charles Chaplin, 1914) with Chaplin and Charley Chase

By 1915 he was playing juvenile leads in the Keystones, and directing some of the films as Charles Parrott. His Keystone credentials were good enough to get him steady work as a comedy director with other companies; he directed many of Chaplin imitator Billy West‘s comedies, which featured a young Oliver Hardy as villain.

Hobbo, The 1

Charley Chase, Billy West and Oliver Hardy in The Hobbo (Arvid L Gillstrom, 1917)

Playmates 1

Charley Chase, Billy West and Oliver Hardy in Playmates (Charley Chase, 1918)

He worked at L-KO Kompany during its final months of existence. Then in 1920, Chase began working as a film director for Hal Roach Studios.

Among his notable early works for Roach was supervising the first entries in the Our Gang series, as well as directing several films starring Lloyd Hamilton; like many other silent comedians, Chase is reported to have regarded Hamilton’s work as a major influence on that of his own. Chase became director-general of the Hal Roach studio in late 1921, supervising the production of all the Roach series except the Harold Lloyd comedies.

Our Gang 1

Charley Chase and Our Gang 1920s – Hal Roach Studios

Moonshine 1

Moonshine (Charley Chase, 1920) Charley Chase with Lloyd Hamilton

Following Lloyd’s departure from the studio in 1923, Chase moved back in front of the camera with his own series of shorts, adopting the screen name Charley Chase.

Chase was a master of the comedy of embarrassment, and he played either hapless young businessmen or befuddled husbands in dozens of situation comedies. His screen persona was that of a pleasant young man with a dapper mustacheand ordinary street clothes; this set him apart from the clownish makeups and crazy costumes used by his contemporaries. His earliest Roach shorts cast him as a hard-luck fellow named “Jimmie Jump” in one-reel (10-minute) comedies.

April Fool 1

Charley Chase as Jimmy Jump in April Fool (Ralph Ceder, 1924)

The first Chase series was successful and expanded to two reels (20 minutes); this would become the standard length for Chase comedies, apart from a few three-reel featurettes later.

Direction of the Chase series was taken over by Leo McCarey, who in collaboration with Chase formed the comic style of the series—an emphasis on characterization and farce instead of knockabout slapstick. Some of Chase’s starring shorts of the 1920s, particularly Mighty Like a MooseCrazy Like a FoxFluttering Hearts, and Limousine Love, are often considered to be among the finest in silent comedy.

Chase remained the guiding hand behind the films, assisting anonymously with the directing, writing, and editing.

Mighty Like A Moose 1

Mighty Like A Moose (Leo McCarey, 1926) with Charley Chase, Vivien Oakland and Ann Howe

Mighty Like A Moose 2

Mighty Like A Moose (Leo McCarey, 1926) with Charley Chase, Vivien Oakland and Ann Howe

Crazy Like A Fox 1

Crazy Like A Fox (Leo McCarey, 1926) Charley Chase with Martha Sleeper and William V Mong

Crazy Like A Fox 2

Crazy Like A Fox (Leo McCarey, 1926) Charley Chase with Martha Sleeper and William V Mong

Fluttering Hearts 1

Fluttering Hearts (James Parrot, 1927) Charley Chase with Oliver Hardy, Martha Sleeper and Eugene Paltette

Fluttering Hearts 2

Fluttering Hearts (James Parrot, 1927) Charley Chase with Oliver Hardy, Martha Sleeper and Eugene Paltette

Limousine Love 1

Limousine Love (Fred Guiol, 1928) Charley Chase with Edna Marion, Edgar Kennedy and Viola Richard 

Limousine Love 2

Limousine Love (Fred Guiol, 1928) Charley Chase with Edna Marion, Edgar Kennedy and Viola Richard 

Chase moved with ease into sound films in 1929, and became one of the most popular film comedians of the period.[2]

He continued to be very prolific in the talkie era, often putting his fine singing voice on display and including his humorous, self-penned songs in his comedy shorts. The two-reeler The Pip from Pittsburg, released in 1931 and co-starring Thelma Todd, is one of the most celebrated Charley Chase comedies of the sound era.[3]

Pip from Pittsburg The 1

The Pip From Pittsburg (James Parrott, 1931) Charley Chase with Thelma Todd and Dorothy Granger 

Pip from Pittsburg The 2

The Pip From Pittsburg (James Parrott, 1931) Charley Chase with Thelma Todd and Dorothy Granger 

Throughout the decade, the Charley Chase shorts continued to stand alongside Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang as the core output of the Roach studio. Chase was featured in the Laurel and Hardy feature Sons of the Desert; Laurel and Hardy made cameo appearances as hitchhikers in Chase’s On the Wrong Trek.

Sons of the Desert 1

Sons of the Desert (William A Seiter, 1933) Charley Chase with Laurel and Hardy, Mae Busch and Dorothy Christie

Sons of the Desert 2

Sons of the Desert (William A Seiter, 1933) Charley Chase with Laurel and Hardy, Mae Busch and Dorothy Christie

On the Wrong Trek was supposed to be the final Charley Chase short subject; by 1936 producer Hal Roach was now concentrating on making ambitious feature films.

On the Wrong Treck 1

On the Wrong Treck (Charley Chase and Harold Law, 1936) Charley Chase with Rosina Lawrence, Clarence Wilson and Laurel and Hardy

Chase played a character role in the Patsy Kelly feature Kelly the Second, and starred in a feature-length comedy called Bank Night, lampooning the popular Bank Night phenomenon of the 1930s.

Chase’s feature was plagued with a host of production problems and legalities, and the film was drastically edited down to two reels and finally released as one last Charley Chase short, Neighborhood House. Chase was then dismissed from the Roach studio.

Kelly the Second 1

Kelly the Second (Gus Meins, 1936) Charley Chase with Patsy Kelly and Guin Williams

Neighborhood House 1

Neighborhood House (Charley Chase and Harold Law 1936) Charley Chase with Rosina Lawrence and George Meeker

Later years and death

In 1937, Chase began working at Columbia Pictures, where he spent the rest of his career starring in his own series of two-reel comedies, as well as producing and directing other Columbia comedies, including those of The Three Stooges and Andy Clyde.

He directed the Stooges’ classic Violent Is the Word for Curly (1938); although he is often credited with writing the film’s song “Swinging the Alphabet“,[4] the tune actually originates with 19th-century songwriter Septimus Winner.

Violent is the Word For Curly 1

Violent is the Word For Curly (Charley Chase, 1938) with Three Stooges

Recent research asserts that the Chase family’s maid introduced the song to Chase and taught it to his daughters.[5] Chase’s own shorts at Columbia favored broader sight gags and more slapstick than his earlier, subtler work, although he does sing in two of the Columbias, The Grand Hooter and The Big Squirt (both 1937).

Many of Chase’s Columbia short subjects were strong enough to be remade in the 1940s with other comedians; Chase’s The Heckler (1940) was remade with Shemp Howardas Mr. Noisy (1946) while The Nightshirt Bandit (1938) was remade with Andy Clyde as Go Chase Yourself (1948) and again in 1956 as Pardon My Nightshirt.

Charley Chase 12

Charley Chase 11

Charley Chase promotional material 1920s

Chase reportedly suffered from depression and alcoholism for most of his professional career, and his tumultuous lifestyle began to take a serious toll on his health. His hair had turned prematurely gray, and he dyed it jet-black for his Columbia comedies.

His younger brother, comedy writer-director James Parrott, had personal problems resulting from a drug treatment, and died in 1939. Chase was devastated. He had refused to give his brother money to support his drug habit, and friends knew he felt responsible for Parrott’s death.

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James Parrott with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

He coped with the loss by throwing himself into his work and by drinking more heavily than ever, despite doctors’ warnings. The stress ultimately caught up with him; just over a year after his brother’s death, Charley Chase died of a heart attack in Hollywood, California on June 20, 1940. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery near his wife Bebe Eltinge in Glendale, California.[6][7] Brother James Parrott is also interred at Forest Lawn.[8]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Charley Chase received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6630 Hollywood Boulevard on February 8, 1960.[9][10]

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Renewed interest

Since the 1990s, there has been a revival of interest in the films of Charley Chase, due in large part to the increased availability of his comedies. An extensive website researching his life and work, The World of Charley Chase, was created in 1996, and a biography, Smile When the Raindrops Fall, was published in 1998.

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Smile When The Raindrops Fall was the theme song of Whispering Whoopee, a two-reeler from 1930, starring Charley Chase

Chase’s sound comedies for Hal Roach were briefly televised in the late 1990s on the short-lived American cable network the Odyssey Channel. Retrospectives of Chase’s work organized by The Silent Clowns Film Series were held in 1999, 2001, 2006, and 2008 in New York City.

A marathon of selected Charley Chase shorts from the silent era was broadcast in 2005 on the American cable television network Turner Classic Movies. In late 2006, Turner Classic Movies began to air Charley Chase’s sound-era comedies. In January 2011, several of his sound shorts were featured during Turner Classic Movies’ tribute to Hal Roach Studios.

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In 2007, Mighty Like a Moose (1926) was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, solidifying its reputation as one of the most celebrated comedies of the silent era and cementing Chase’s status as a pioneer of early film comedy.[11]

Kino International released two Charley Chase DVD volumes in 2004 and 2005 for their Slapstick Symposium series. The films came from archives and collectors around the world. In July 2009, VCI Entertainment released Becoming Charley Chase, a DVD boxed set of Charley Chase’s early silent films.

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Kino Lorber Charley Chase Collection on DVD

Columbia Pictures has prepared digital restorations of its twenty Charley Chase shorts, in the same manner as its Buster Keaton DVD restorations. On January 1, 2013 Sony Home Entertainment released Charley Chase Shorts Volume 1, part of its “Columbia Choice Collection” MOD DVD-R library. The 1-disc release contains eight of Chase’s starring shorts, and one Smith & Dale short which he directed, A Nag in the Bag (1938). On November 5, 2013 Sony Home Entertainment released Charley Chase Shorts Volume 2, another in their MOD DVD-R series, which contained the remaining twelve Chase shorts.

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Charley Chase MGM promotional photo

Selected filmography

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Release poster for Why Men Work (Leo McCarey, 1924)

See also


  1. Jump up^ Anthony, Brian and Edmonds, Andy (1998). Smile When the Raindrops Fall: The Story of Charley Chase. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 23. ISBN 0-8108-3377-8
  2. Jump up^ Lahue, Kalton C. and Gill, Samuel (1970). Clown Princes and Court Jesters. A.S. Barnes and Company, 94.
  3. Jump up^ Solan, Yair. “Many Big Squawks.” The World of Charley Chase. “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  4. Jump up^ Okuda, Ted and Watz, Edward (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts: Two-Reel Hollywood Film Comedies, 1933–1958. McFarland & Company, Inc., 27. ISBN 0-7864-0577-5.
  5. Jump up^ Finegan, Richard. “Swingin’ the Alphabet Composer Finally Identified.” The Three Stooges Journal (Winter 2005): 4.
  6. Jump up^ “Charley Chase (1893–1940) – Find A Grave Memorial” Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  7. Jump up^ “BeBe Chase (1888–1948) – Find A Grave Memorial” Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  8. Jump up^ “James Parrott (1897–1939) – Find A Grave Memorial” Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  9. Jump up^ “Charley Chase | Hollywood Walk of Fame” Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  10. Jump up^ “Charley Chase” Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  11. Jump up^ “National Film Registry 2007.”
  12. Jump up^ ARABIAN TIGHTS(1933)“, Turner Classic Movies

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Charley Chase

Classic Films Streaming on Film Dialogue Channel

Night World 1

We have some exciting news to share with all of our readers!

Last month we had successfully tested a new platform on Rabbit which will enable us to screen a variety of classic films in real time.

In addition to our already popular Cinematheque Live, from 1st of March 2018 we will be screening a selection of classic films. They will be streamed in our Film Dialogue Room on Rabbit.

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We love watching, discussing and analysing films and for the first time, our screenings will give us an opportunity to discuss everything in real time. You will need to have your audio/video enabled in order to participate.

Our screenings will be scheduled and organised in a Film Season format.

Our current Film Seasons are:

  • Pre Code Films
  • Film Noir
  • Silent Classics
  • Classic Comedy
  • Animation Greats
  • Experimental Films
  • Film History Documentaries


Some of our screenings will have special guests, introductions and post-screening discussions.

Let us know if there are any other Film Seasons that you may wish to see. Also if there are any particular films that you would like to watch and discuss with us.

We hope you will enjoy our new format for watching and discussing films! See you in our Film Dialogue Room very soon!

To join us for the scheduled screenings please click on the link below:

Daniel B Miller

Film Dialogue

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While the City Sleeps 1


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Loretta Young

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Loretta Young (January 6, 1913 – August 12, 2000) was an American actress and singer.

Starting as a child actress, she had a long and varied career in film from 1917 to 1953. She won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1947 film The Farmer’s Daughter and received an Oscar nomination for her role in Come to the Stable in 1949.

Young moved to the relatively new medium of television, where she had a dramatic anthology seriesThe Loretta Young Show, from 1953 to 1961. The series earned three Emmy Awards and was rerun successfully on daytime TV and later in syndication.

In the 1980s, Young returned to the small screen and won a Golden Globe for her role in Christmas Dove in 1986. Young, a devout Roman Catholic,[1][2] worked with various Catholic charities after her acting career.[1][3]

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Early life

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Loretta Young

She was born Gretchen Young in Salt Lake City, Utah, the daughter of Gladys (née Royal) and John Earle Young.[4][5] At confirmation, she took the name Michaela. When she was two years old, her parents separated, and when she was three, her family and she moved to Hollywood. Her sisters Polly Ann and Elizabeth Jane (better known as Sally Blane) and she worked as child actresses, but of the three, Gretchen was the most successful.

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The Primrose Ring (Robert Z Leonard, 1917) – Loretta Young’s First Film Role

Young’s first role was at the age of three, in the silent film The Primrose Ring. During her high-school years, she was educated at Ramona Convent Secondary School. She was signed to a contract by John McCormick (1893–1961), the husband and manager of the actress Colleen Moore, who saw the young girl’s potential.[6] The name Loretta was given to her by Moore, who later explained that it was the name of her favorite doll.[7]

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Loretta Young aged 14

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Loretta Young aged 15

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Loretta Young aged 15

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Loretta Young aged 14



Young was billed as Gretchen Young in the silent film Sirens of the Sea (1917). She was first billed as Loretta Young in 1928, in The Whip Woman. That same year, she co-starred with Lon Chaney in the MGM film Laugh, Clown, Laugh. The next year, she was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.[8]

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Sirens of the Sea (Allen Holubar, 1917) billed as Gretchen Young

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The Whip Woman (Allan Dwan, 1928) first billed as Loretta Young

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Laugh Clown Laugh (Herbert Brenon, 1928) Loretta Young with Lon Chaney

Her silent films were followed up by a string of very successful Pre Code features. They included The Squall (Alexander Korda, 1929), Three Girls Lost (Sidney Lanfield, 1931), The Right of Way (Frank Lloyd, 1931), Platinum Blonde (Frank Capra, 1931), The Way of Life AKA They Call It Sin (Thornton Freeland, 1932), Taxi (Roy Del Ruth, 1932), Play Girl (Ray Enright, 1932), Working Wives AKA Week-End Marriage (Thornton Freeland, 1932), The Devil’s In Love (William Dieterle, 1933).

Young excelled in two seminal Pre Code films – Heroes for Sale (William Wellman, 1933) and Employees’ Entrance (Roy Del Ruth, 1933) and her deeply emotional performances helped her in becoming a major studio star.

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Loretta Young in Squall (Alexander Korda, 1929)

Loretta Young with John Wayne in Three Girls Lost (Sidney Lanfield, 1931)

Loretta Young with Conrad Nagel in The Right Of Way (Frank Lloyd, 1931)

Loretta Young with Robert Williams and Jean Harlow in Platinum Blonde (Frank Capra, 1931)

Loretta Young with George Brent and Una Merkel in They Call It Sin AKA The Way of Life (Thornton Freeland, 1932)

Loretta Young with James Cagney in Taxi (Roy Del Ruth,1932)

Loretta Young with Norman Foster and Winnie Lightner in Play Girl (Ray Enright, 1932)

Loretta Young with Norman Foster and Aline MacMahon in Working Wives AKA Week-End Marriage (Thornton Freeland, 1932)

Loretta Young with Victor Jory and Vivienne Osborne in The Devil’s In Love (William Dieterle, 1933)

Loretta Young with Richard Barthelmess and Aline MacMahon in Heroes For Sale (William Wellman, 1933)


Loretta Young with Warren William and Wallace Ford in Employees’ Entrance (Roy Del Ruth, 1933)

In 1930, when she was 17, she eloped with the 26-year-old actor Grant Withers; they were married in Yuma, Arizona. The marriage was annulled the next year, just as their second movie together (ironically entitled Too Young to Marry) was released.

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Loretta Young and Grant Withers

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The Second Floor Mystery (Roy Del Ruth, 1930) Loretta Young and Grant Withers

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Loretta Young and Grant Withers

In 1935, she co-starred with Clark Gable and Jack Oakie in the film version of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, directed by William Wellman.

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Loretta Young and Clark Gable in Call of the Wild  (William Wellman, 1935)

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Loretta Young and Clark Gable in Call of the Wild  (William Wellman, 1935)


Loretta Young and Clark Gable in Call of the Wild  (William Wellman, 1935)

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Loretta Young and Clark Gable in Call of the Wild  (William Wellman, 1935)

During World War II, Young made Ladies Courageous (1944; reissued as Fury in the Sky), the fictionalized story of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. It depicted a unit of female pilots who flew bomber planes from the factories to their final destinations. Young made as many as eight movies a year.

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Ladies Courageous AKA Fury in the Sky (John Rawlins, 1944)

Ladies Courageous AKA Fury in the Sky (John Rawlins, 1944)

In 1947, she won an Oscar for her performance in The Farmer’s Daughter. That same year, she co-starred with Cary Grant and David Niven in The Bishop’s Wife, a perennial favorite. In 1949, she received another Academy Award nomination for Come to the Stable. In 1953, she appeared in her last theatrical film, It Happens Every Thursday, a Universal comedy about a New York couple who move to California to take over a struggling weekly newspaper; her costar was John Forsythe.

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Loretta Young with her Academy Award for The Farmer’s Daughter (HC Potter, 1947

Loretta Young in The Farmer’s Daughter (HC Potter, 1947)

Loretta Young in The Bishop’s Wife (Henry Koster, 1947)

Loretta Young in Come to the Stable (Henry Koster, 1949)

Loretta Young in It Happens Every Thursday (Joseph Pevney, 1953)


Young hosted and starred in the well-received half-hour anthology television series Letter to Loretta (soon retitled The Loretta Young Show), which was originally broadcast from 1953 to 1961.

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She earned three Emmy awards for the program. Her trademark was a dramatic entrance through a living-room door in various high-fashion evening gowns. She returned at the program’s conclusion to offer a brief passage from the Bible or a famous quote that reflected upon the evening’s story.

(Young’s introductions and concluding remarks were not rerun on television because she legally stipulated that they not be, as she did not want the dresses she wore in those segments to make the program seem dated.) The program ran in prime time on NBC for eight years, the longest-running primetime network program hosted by a woman up to that time.[citation needed]

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Ancient Egypt Photograph – The Loretta Young Show, Aka Letter To by Everett

The program was based on the premise that each drama was in answer to a question asked in her fan mail. The title was changed to The Loretta Young Show during the first season (as of the episode of February 14, 1954), and the “letter” concept was dropped at the end of the second season. Towards the end of the second season, Young was hospitalized as a result of overwork, which required a number of guest hosts and guest stars; her first appearance in the 1955–56 season was for the Christmas show. From then on, Young appeared in only about half of each season’s shows as an actress and served as the program’s host for the remainder.

Minus Young’s introductions and conclusions, the series was rerun as the Loretta Young Theatre in daytime by NBC from 1960 to 1964. It also appeared in syndicationinto the early 1970s, before being withdrawn.

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In the 1962–1963 television season, Young appeared as Christine Massey, a freelance magazine writer and the mother of seven children, in The New Loretta Young Show, on CBS. It fared poorly in the ratings on Monday evenings against ABC‘s Ben Casey. It was dropped after one season of 26 episodes.[citation needed]

In the 1990s, selected episodes from Young’s personal collection, with the opening and closing segments (and original title) intact, were released on home video, and frequently were shown on cable television.[citation needed]

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On the set of The Loretta Young Show


In 1988, she received the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women, who through their endurance and the excellence of their work, helped to expand the role of women in the entertainment industry.[9]

Young has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her work in television, at 6135 Hollywood Boulevard, and the other for her work in motion pictures, at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard.[10] In 2011, a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars, in Palm Springs, California, was dedicated to her.[11]

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Personal life

Young was married to the actor Grant Withers from 1930 to 1931.

From September 1933 to June 1934, she had a public affair with Spencer Tracy, her co-star in Man’s Castle.[12] She married the producer Tom Lewis in 1940; they divorced bitterly in the mid-1960s.

Lewis died in 1988. They had two sons, Peter Lewis (of the San Francisco rock band Moby Grape) and Christopher Lewis, a film director. Young married the fashion designer Jean Louis in 1993. He died in 1997. Young was godmother to Marlo Thomas (daughter of the TV star Danny Thomas).[13]

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With Grant Withers in Too Young To Marry  (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931)

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With Spencer Tracy in Man’s Castle (Frank Borzage, 1933)

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With Tom Lewis on their wedding day

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With Tom Lewis and children

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With her last husband Jean Louis 

Pregnancy by Clark Gable

Young and Clark Gable were the romantic leads of the 1935 Twentieth Century Pictures film The Call of the Wild, which was filmed early in that year. Young was then 22 years old, while Gable was 34 and married (to Maria “Ria” Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham). During the filming, Gable impregnated Young.

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Loretta Young with Clark Gable

For the next 80 years, those who knew of Gable’s paternity widely assumed the pregnancy to be the result of an affair between the two. However, in 2015, Linda Lewis, Young’s daughter-in-law (and Christopher Lewis’s wife) stated publicly that, in 1998, Young told Lewis that Gable had raped her and that, though the two had flirted on set, there had been no affair and no intimate contact save for that one incident.[14]

Young had not revealed the information before to anyone. According to Lewis, Young only stated it after having learned of the concept of date rape; she had previously always believed that it was a woman’s job to fend off men’s amorous advances and had felt the fact that Gable had been able to force himself on her was thus a moral failing on her part.[14]

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Loretta Young with Clark Gable

Young, her sisters and her mother came up with a plan to hide the pregnancy and then pass off the child as an adopted child.[14] Young did not want to damage her career or Gable’s, and she knew that, if Twentieth Century Pictures found out about the pregnancy, they would try to pressure her to have an abortion, which Young, a devout Catholic, considered a mortal sin.[14]

When the pregnancy began to show, Young went on a “vacation” to England, and several months later returned to California. Shortly before the birth, she gave an interview from her bed, covered in blankets, stating that her long movie absence was due to a condition she had had since childhood. Young gave birth to Judith Young on November 6, 1935, in a house that she and her mother owned in Venice, California. Young named Judith after St. Jude, because he was the patron saint of (among other things) difficult situations.[14]

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Loretta Young and her daughter Judith

Three weeks later, Young returned to moviemaking. After several months of living in the house in Venice, Judy was transferred to St. Elizabeth’s, an orphanage outside Los Angeles. When she was 19 months old, her grandmother picked her up, and Young announced to gossip columnist Louella Parsons that she had adopted the infant.

Few in Hollywood were fooled by the ruse, and the child’s true parentage was widely rumored in entertainment circles. Young refused to confirm or comment publicly on the rumors until 1999, when Joan Wester Anderson wrote Young’s authorized biography. In interviews with Anderson for the book, Young stated that Judy was her biological child and the product of a brief affair with Gable.[15] The child was raised as Judy Lewis,[16] taking the last name of Young’s second husband.

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Loretta Young and Judith Lewis in 1960s

Judy Lewis wrote in her autobiography, Uncommon Knowledge, that some people made fun of her because of the prominent ears she had inherited from her father. She states that at seven she had an operation to “pin back” her large ears and that her mother always had her wear bonnets as a child.

In 1958, Lewis’s future husband, Joseph Tinney, told her “everybody” knew that Gable was her biological father. The only time she remembered Gable visiting her was once at her home when she was a teenager; she had no idea he was her biological father.

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Loretta Young, Clark Gable and Judy Lewis

Several years later he appeared on The Loretta Young Show after Young had been in hospital for several months. Lewis was an assistant and was right behind her mother when she noticed Gable. They never had a relationship, and she never saw him again.[17]Several years later, after becoming a mother herself, Lewis finally confronted her mother, who privately admitted the truth, stating that Judy was “a walking mortal sin.”[18]

Linda Lewis said the family stayed silent about the date rape claim until after both Loretta Young and Judy Lewis had died.[14]

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Judy Lewis


Young was a lifelong Republican.[19] In 1952, she appeared in radio, print, and magazine ads in support of Dwight D. Eisenhower in his campaign for President.

She attended his inauguration in 1953, along with Anita LouiseLouella ParsonsJane RussellDick PowellJune Allyson, and Lou Costello, among others.

She was a vocal supporter of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in their presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1980, respectively.[20] Young was also an active member of the Hollywood Republican Committee, with her close friend Irene Dunne and Ginger RogersWilliam HoldenGeorge MurphyFred Astaire, and John Wayne.[21]

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Loretta Young with John Wayne, Lew Cody and Joan Marsh – promo for Three Girls Lost (Sidney Lanfield, 1931)


Later life

From the time of Young’s retirement in the 1960s until not long before her death, she devoted herself to volunteer work for charities and churches with her friends of many years: Jane WymanIrene Dunne, and Rosalind Russell.[22] She was a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.[23] Young briefly came out of retirement to star in two television films, Christmas Eve (1986) and Lady in the Corner (1989).

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Loretta Young with Judy Lewis attending a charitable event

She won a Golden Globe Award for the former and was nominated again for the latter.[24]

In 1972, a jury in Los Angeles awarded Young $550,000 in a lawsuit against NBC for breach of contract. Filed in 1966, the suit contended that NBC had allowed foreign television outlets to rerun old episodes of The Loretta Young Show without excluding, as agreed by the parties, the opening segment in which Young made her entrance. Young testified that her image had been damaged by portraying her in “outdated gowns.” She had sought damages of $1.9 million.[25]

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Loretta Young in Christmas Eve (1986)


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Loretta Young in Lady in the Corner (1989)


Young died of ovarian cancer on August 12, 2000, at the home of her half-sister, Georgiana Montalbán[26] (the wife of the actor Ricardo Montalban), in Santa Monica, California.

She was interred in the family plot in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Her ashes were buried in the grave of her mother, Gladys Belzer.[27][28] Her elder sisters had both died from cancer, as did her daughter, Judy Lewis, on November 25, 2011, at the age of 76.

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LORETTA YOUNG  ACTRESS 01 May 1952 CTC4878 Allstar/Cinetext/


Year Title Role Notes
1917 The Primrose Ring Fairy Lost; uncredited
1917 Sirens of the Sea Child As Gretchen Young
1919 The Only Way Child on operating table
1921 White and Unmarried Child Uncredited
1921 The Sheik Arab child Extant; uncredited
1927 Naughty but Nice Bit part Lost; uncredited
1927 Her Wild Oat Bit by ping pong table Extant; uncredited
1928 The Whip Woman The Girl Lost
1928 Laugh, Clown, Laugh Simonetta Extant; made at MGM
1928 The Magnificent Flirt Denise Laverne Lost; made at Paramount Pictures
1928 The Head Man Carol Watts Lost
1928 Scarlet Seas Margaret Barbour Lost (Vitaphone track of music and effects survives)
1929 Seven Footprints to Satan One of Satan’s victims Extant; uncredited
1929 The Squall Irma Extant, in Library of Congress
1929 The Girl in the Glass Cage Gladys Cosgrove Lost
1929 Fast Life Patricia Mason Stratton Lost (Vitaphone soundtrack discs at UCLA Film and Television)
1929 The Careless Age Muriel Lost
1929 The Forward Pass Patricia Carlyle Lost
1929 The Show of Shows “Meet My Sister” number Extant, in Library of Congress
1930 Loose Ankles Ann Harper Berry Extant, in Library of Congress
1930 The Man from Blankley’s Margery Seaton Lost (Vitaphone soundtrack discs at UCLA Film and Television)
1930 Show Girl in Hollywood Extant, in Library of Congress; uncredited
1930 The Second Floor Mystery Marion Ferguson Extant, in Library of Congress
1930 Road to Paradise Mary Brennan/Margaret Waring Extant, in Library of Congress
1930 Warner Bros. Jubilee Dinner Herself Short subject
1930 Kismet Marsinah Lost (Vitaphone soundtrack discs at UCLA Film and Television)
1930 War Nurse Nurse Extant; made at MGM; uncredited (Young’s scenes deleted)
1930 The Truth About Youth Phyllis Ericson Extant, in Library of Congress
1930 The Devil to Pay! Dorothy Hope Extant; produced by Samuel Goldwyn; released by United Artists
1931 How I Play Golf, by Bobby Jones No. 8: “The Brassie” Herself Short subject
1931 Beau Ideal Isobel Brandon Extant; made at RKO
1931 The Right of Way Rosalie Evantural Extant, in Library of Congress
1931 The Stolen Jools Herself Short subject
1931 Three Girls Lost Norene McMann Extant
1931 Too Young to Marry Elaine Bumpstead Extant, in Library of Congress
1931 Big Business Girl Claie “Mac” McIntyre Extant, in Library of Congress
1931 I Like Your Nerve Diane Forsythe Extant, in Library of Congress
1931 The Ruling Voice Gloria Bannister Extant, in Library of Congress
1931 Platinum Blonde Gallagher
1932 Taxi! Sue Riley Nolan Extant, in Library of Congress
1932 The Hatchet Man Sun Toya San Extant, in Library of Congress; original title The Honorable Mr. Wong
1932 Play-Girl Buster “Bus” Green Dennis Extant, in Library of Congress
1932 Week-End Marriage Lola Davis Hayes Extant, in Library of Congress
1932 Life Begins Grace Sutton Extant, in Library of Congress
1932 They Call It Sin Marion Cullen Extant, in Library of Congress[29]
1933 Employees’ Entrance Madeleine Walters West Extant, in Library of Congress
1933 Grand Slam Marcia Stanislavsky Extant, in Library of Congress
1933 Zoo in Budapest Eve Extant
1933 The Life of Jimmy Dolan Peggy Extant, in Library of Congress
1933 Heroes for Sale Ruth Loring Holmes Extant, in Library of Congress
1933 Midnight Mary Mary Martin
1933 She Had to Say Yes Florence “Flo” Denny Extant, in Library of Congress
1933 The Devil’s in Love Margot Lesesne Extant
1933 Man’s Castle Trina Extant
1934 The House of Rothschild Julie Rothschild
1934 Born to Be Bad Letty Strong
1934 Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back Lola Field
1934 Caravan Countess Wilma
1934 The White Parade June Arden
1935 Clive of India Margaret Maskelyne Clive
1935 Shanghai Barbara Howard
1935 The Call of the Wild Claire Blake
1935 The Crusades Berengaria, Princess of Navarre
1935 Hollywood Extra Girl Herself Short subject
1936 The Unguarded Hour Lady Helen Dudley Dearden
1936 Private Number Ellen Neal
1936 Ramona Ramona
1936 Ladies in Love Susie Schmidt
1937 Love Is News Toni Gateson
1937 Café Metropole Laura Ridgeway
1937 Love Under Fire Myra Cooper
1937 Wife, Doctor and Nurse Ina Heath Lewis
1937 Second Honeymoon Vicky
1938 Four Men and a Prayer Miss Lynn Cherrington
1938 Three Blind Mice Pamela Charters
1938 Suez Countess Eugenie de Montijo
1938 Kentucky Sally Goodwin
1939 Wife, Husband and Friend Doris Borland
1939 The Story of Alexander Graham Bell Mrs. Mabel Hubbard Bell
1939 Eternally Yours Anita
1940 The Doctor Takes a Wife June Cameron
1940 He Stayed for Breakfast Marianna Duval
1941 The Lady from Cheyenne Annie Morgan
1941 The Men in Her Life Lina Varsavina
1941 Bedtime Story Jane Drake
1942 A Night to Remember Nancy Troy
1943 China Carolyn Grant
1943 Show Business at War Herself Short subject
1944 Ladies Courageous Roberta Harper Famously “a clef” biopic of the WWII WASPs, pioneering women pilots
1944 And Now Tomorrow Emily Blair
1945 Along Came Jones Cherry de Longpre
1946 The Stranger Mary Longstreet
1947 The Perfect Marriage Maggie Williams
1947 The Farmer’s Daughter Katrin “Katy” Holstrum Academy Award for Best Actress
1947 The Bishop’s Wife Julia Brougham
1948 Rachel and the Stranger Rachel Harvey
1949 The Accused Dr. Wilma Tuttle
1949 Mother Is a Freshman Abigail Fortitude Abbott
1949 Come to the Stable Sister Margaret Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress
1950 Key to the City Clarissa Standish
1951 You Can Change the World Herself Short subject
1951 Cause for Alarm! Ellen Jones
1951 Half Angel Nora Gilpin
1951 Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Awards Herself Short subject
1952 Paula Paula Rogers
1952 Because of You Christine Carroll Kimberly
1953 It Happens Every Thursday Jane MacAvoy
1986 Christmas Eve Amanda Kingsley
1989 Lady in the Corner Grace Guthrie
1994 Life Along the Mississippi Narrator (voice)

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1940 The Campbell Playhouse Theodora Goes Wild[30]
1945 Cavalcade of America Children, This Is Your Father[30]
1947 Family Theater “Flight from Home”[30]
1950 Suspense “Lady Killer”[30]
1952 Lux Radio Theatre Come to the Stable[31]
1952 Family Theater “Heritage of Home”[32]

Loretta Young-1940

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See also


  1. Jump up to:a b Laufenberg, Norbert B. (2005). Entertainment Celebrities. Trafford Publishing. p. 863. ISBN 1-4120-5335-8.
  2. Jump up^ Davis, Ronald L. (2001). Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-8061-3329-5.
  3. Jump up^ Lowe, Denise (2005). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women In Early American Films, 1895–1930. Psychology Press. p. 585. ISBN 0-7890-1843-8.
  4. Jump up^ Leading Ladies The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era. New York: Chronicle, 2006
  5. Jump up^ Spicer, Christopher J. “Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography”. p. 113. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  6. Jump up^ “Loretta Young”. Loretta Young. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  7. Jump up^ “Loretta Young Biography”. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  8. Jump up^ Lowe, Denise (2005). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films, 1895–1930. Routledge. p. 67. ISBN 0-7890-1843-8.
  9. Jump up^ [1] Archived June 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Jump up^ “Walk of Fame Stars: Loretta Young”. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  11. Jump up^ “Palm Springs Walk of Stars by Date Dedicated” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  12. Jump up^ Curtis (2011), p. 210 for the beginning of the affair, pp. 213 and 215 for the public nature of the relationship, p. 235 for the breakup.
  13. Jump up^ “Loretta Young – (Movie Promo) by Marlo Thomas”. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  14. Jump up to:a b c d e f Petersen, Anne Helen. “Clark Gable Accused of Raping Co-Star”. BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  15. Jump up^ Anderson, Joan Wester (November 2000). Forever Young: The Life, Loves, and Enduring Faith of a Hollywood Legend: The Authorized Biography of Loretta Young. Thomas More Publishing. ISBN 978-0883474679.
  16. Jump up^ アンジェリカルートとは. “アンジェリカルートとは”. Judy– Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  17. Jump up^ Lewis, Judy (May 1994). Uncommon KnowledgePocket BooksISBN 978-0671700195.
  18. Jump up^ Interview with Judy Lewis. Girl 27 (documentary), 2007.
  19. Jump up^ Dick, Bernard. Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young. pp. 197– 201.
  20. Jump up^ Dick, Bernard. Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young. p. 202.
  21. Jump up^ Epstein, Edward (1986). Loretta Young: An Extraordinary Life. pp. 215–16.
  22. Jump up^ “Classic Hollywood 101: The BFF’s of Classic Hollywood”. 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  23. Jump up^ “Our History | Church of the Good Shepherd”. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  24. Jump up^ “Awards for Loretta Young”. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  25. Jump up^ “Loretta Young Wins $559,000 Damages”. Oakland Tribune. January 18, 1972. p. 12.
  26. Jump up^ “Elegant Beauty Loretta Young Dies”. 2000-08-12. Retrieved 2 May2010.
  27. Jump up^ Gary Wayne. “Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 2: Stars’ Graves”. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  28. Jump up^ Loretta Young at Find a Grave
  29. Jump up^ They Call It Sin at the American Film Institute Catalog
  30. Jump up to:a b c d “Those Were the Days”. Nostalgia Digest39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.
  31. Jump up^ Kirby, Walter (March 23, 1952). “Better Radio Programs for the Week”. Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 21, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  32. Jump up^ Kirby, Walter (February 17, 1952). “Better Radio Programs for the Week”. Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved June 1, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read

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Her First Affaire (1932)

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Her First Affaire (1932)


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Director: Allan Dwan

Cast: Ida Lupino, George Curzon, Diana Napier, Harry Tate, Muriel Aked, Arnold Riches, Kenneth Kove, Helen Haye, Roland Culver

71 min  

Her First Affaire is a 1932 British drama film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Ida LupinoGeorge Curzon and Diana Napier.[1] It was based on a play by Merrill Rogers and Frederick J. Jackson.


A headstrong young girl falls completely for a writer of trashy novels, and insinuates herself into his household, all to the chagrin of her erstwhile fiancé.He conspires with the author’s wife to show the girl how foolish she’s been.

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  1. Jump up^ “Her First Affaire (1932)”BFI. Retrieved 3 May 2016.

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Saturday Night Kid, The (1929)

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The Saturday Night Kid (1929)

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Director: A Edward Sutherland

Cast: Clara Bow, Jean Arthur, James Hall, Jean Arthur, Edna May Arthur, Charles Sellon, Ethel Wales, Jean Harlow

63 min

The Saturday Night Kid is a 1929 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film about two sisters and the man they both want. It stars Clara BowJean ArthurJames Hall, and in her first credited role, Jean Harlow. The film was based on the play Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1926) by George Abbott and John V. A. Weaver. The movie still survives. The film was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding by Clara Bow biographer David Stenn.

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Set in May 1929, the film focuses on two sisters – Mayme (Clara Bow) and Janie (Jean Arthur) – as they share an apartment in New York City. In daytime, they work as salesgirls at the Ginsberg’s department store, and at night they vie for the attention of their colleague Bill (James Hall) and fight over Janie’s selfish and reckless behavior, such as stealing Mayme’s clothes and hitchhiking to work with strangers.

Bill prefers Mayme over Janie and constantly shows his affection for her. This upsets Janie, who schemes to break up the couple.

One day at work, Bill is promoted to floorwalker, while Janie is made treasurer of the benefit pageant. Mayme, however, is not granted a promotion, but gets heavily criticized for constantly being late at work by the head of personnel, Miss Streeter (Edna May Oliver).

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Journey’s End (1930)

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Journey’s End (1930)

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Director: James Whale

Cast: Colin Clive, Ian Maclaren, David Manners, Billy Bevan, Anthony Bushell, Robert Adair, Charles K Gerrard, Tom Whiteley

120 min

Journey’s End is a 1930 British-American war film directed by James Whale. Based on the play of the same name by R. C. Sherriff, the film tells the story of several British army officers involved in trench warfare during the First World War. The film, like the play before it, was an enormous critical and commercial success and launched the film careers of Whale and several of its stars.

The following year there was a German film version Die andere Seite directed by Heinz Paul starring Conrad Veidt as Stanhope and Wolfgang Liebeneiner as Raleigh. The film was banned just weeks after the Nazis took power in 1933.

In 1976, the play was adapted again as Aces High with the scenario shifted to the British Royal Flying Corps. The play was adapted for film again with its original title and scenario in 2017.

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On the eve of a battle in 1918, a new officer, Second Lieutenant Raleigh (David Manners), joins Captain Stanhope’s (Colin Clive) company in the British trench lines in France. The two men knew each other at school: the younger Raleigh hero-worshipping Stanhope, while Stanhope has come to love Raleigh’s sister.

But the Stanhope whom Raleigh encounters now is a changed man who, after three years at the front, has turned to drink and seems close to a breakdown. Stanhope is terrified that Raleigh will betray Stanhope’s decline to his sister, whom Stanhope still hopes to marry after the war.

An older officer, the avuncular Lieutenant Osborne (Ian Maclaren), desperately tries to keep Stanhope from cracking. Osborne and Raleigh are selected to lead a raiding party on the German trenches where a number of the British forces are killed, including Osborne. Later, when Raleigh too is mortally wounded, Stanhope faces a desperate time as, grief-stricken and without close friends, he prepares to face another furious enemy attack.

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When Howard Hughes made the decision to turn Hell’s Angels into a talkie, he hired a then-unknown James Whale, who had just arrived in Hollywood following a successful turn directing the play Journey’s End in London and on Broadway, to direct the talking sequences; it was Whale’s film debut, and arguably prepared him for the later success he would have with the feature version of Journey’s EndWaterloo Bridge, and, most famously, the 1931 version of Frankenstein. Unhappy with the script, Whale brought in Joseph Moncure March to re-write it. Hughes later gave March the Luger pistol used in the film.[1]

With production delayed while Hughes tinkered with the flying scenes in Hell’s Angels, Whale managed to shoot his film adaptation of Journey’s End and have it come out a month before Hell’s Angels was released. The gap between completion of the dialogue scenes and completion of the aerial combat stunts allowed Whale to be paid, sail back to England, and begin work on the subsequent project, making Whale’s actual (albeit uncredited) cinema debut, his “second” film to be released.[citation needed]

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  1. Jump up^ Curtis 1998, p. 86.
  • Curtis, James. James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. Boston: Faber and Faber,1998. ISBN0-571-19285-8.
  • Dolan, Edward F. Jr. Hollywood Goes to War. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN0-86124-229-7.
  • Hardwick, Jack and Ed Schnepf. “A Viewer’s Guide to Aviation Movies”. The Making of the Great Aviation Films, General Aviation Series, Volume 2, 1989.
  • Orriss, Bruce. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II. Hawthorne, California: Aero Associates Inc., 1984. ISBN0-9613088-0-X.
  • Osborne, Robert. 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards London: Abbeville Press, 1994. ISBN1-55859-715-8.
  • “Production of ‘Hell’s Angels’ Cost the Lives of Three Aviators.” Syracuse Herald, December 28, 1930, p. 59.
  • Robertson, Patrick. Film Facts. New York: Billboard Books, 2001. ISBN0-8230-7943-0.

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Ten Minutes To Live (1932)

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Ten Minutes To Live (1932)

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Director: Oscar Micheaux

Cast: Lawrence Chenault, A B DeComathiere, Laura Bowman, Willor Lee Guilford, Tressie Mitchell, Mabel Garrett, Carl Mahon, Galle De Gaston

58 min

Ten Minutes to Live is a 1932 American film directed by Oscar Micheaux.

Plot summary

A movie producer offers a nightclub singer a role in his latest film, but all he really wants to do is bed her. She knows, but accepts anyway. Meanwhile, a patron at the club gets a note saying that she’ll soon get another note, and that she will be killed ten minutes after that.

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From Hell To Heaven (1933)

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From Hell To Heaven (1933)



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Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Carole Lombard, Jack Oakie, Adrienne Ames, Sidney Blackmer, David Manners, Sidney Blackmer, Verna Hillie, Shirley Gray, Rita La Roy, Donald Kerr, Berton Churchill, Nydia Westman

67 min

From Hell to Heaven is a 1933 American Pre-Code drama film. It was directed by Erle C. Kenton, and features an ensemble cast including Carole LombardJack OakieAdrienne Ames and Sidney Blackmer.

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A group of people from several walks of life gather to watch a horse race.


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Production and reception

From Hell to Heaven was Paramount‘s effort to replicate the success of Grand Hotel (1932), which had won the Academy Award for Best Picture for MGM the year before.[1] Reviews were favorable; Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote, “It is not as ambitious a picture as Grand Hotel, but it is interesting.”[2]

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  1. Jump up^ Swindell, Larry (1975). Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard. New York: William Morrow & Company. p. 127. ISBN 978-0688002879.
  2. Jump up^ Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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It Pays To Advertise (1931)

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It Pays To Advertise (1931)


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Director: Frank Tuttle

Cast: Norman Foster, Carole Lombard, Richard Skeets Gallagher, Eugene Pallette, Lucien Littlefield, Judith Wood, Louise Brooks, Morgan Wallace, Tom Kennedy, Frank Tuttle

63 min

It Pays to Advertise is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film, based on the play of the same name by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter C. Hackett, starring Norman Foster and Carole Lombard, and directed by Frank Tuttle.[1]


Rodney Martin sets up a soap business to rival his father. With the help of an advertising expert and his secretary, Mary, he develops a successful marketing campaign. His father ends up buying the company from him, while Rodney and Mary fall in love.[2]

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The film received positive reviews. Photoplay wrote that it has “plenty of speed and lots of laughs”, and praised the “perfect cast”.[2]

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  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..It Pays to Advertise
  2. Jump up to:a b Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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Laughter (19300

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Laughter (1930)


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Director: Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast

Cast: Nancy Carroll, Fredric March, Frank Morgan, Glenn Anders, Diane Ellis, Ollie Burgoyne, Leonard Carey, Eric Blore

85 min 

Laughter is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast and starring Nancy CarrollFredric March and Frank Morgan.[1]

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story.[2]

A copy has been preserved at the Library of Congress.[3]

In 1931, a German-language version called Die Männer um Lucie was released starring Liane Haid and Lien Deyers. This film is considered lost.

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Peggy is a Follies dancer who forsakes her life of carefree attachments in order to meet her goal of marrying a millionaire. Alas, her elderly husband, broker C. Morton Gibson, is a well-meaning bore, and soon Peggy begins seeking entertainment elsewhere.

A year after their marriage, three significant events occur almost simultaneously. Peggy’s former boyfriend, Paul Lockridge, a composer and pianist who is in love with her and seems to have a funny quip for every occasion, returns from Paris.

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She reunites with him as he offers her his companionship as a diversion from her stuffy life. Also, Ralph Le Saint, a young devil-may-care sculptor who is still in love with Peggy, plans his suicide in a mood of bitterness, and Gibson’s daughter, Marjorie, returns from schooling abroad. Marjorie is soon paired with Ralph, and the romance that develops between them is paralleled by the adult affair between Peggy and Paul.

Ralph and Marjorie’s escapades result in considerable trouble for Morton, while Paul implores Peggy to go to Paris with him, declaring “You are rich–dirty rich. You are dying. You need laughter to make you clean,” but she refuses. When Marjorie plans to elope with Ralph, Peggy exposes the sculptor as a fortune hunter; and, dejected, he commits suicide. As a result, Peggy confesses her unhappiness to Gibson, then joins Paul and laughter in Paris.

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  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Laughter
  2. Jump up^ Osborne, Robert (1994). 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. London: Abbeville Press. p. 27. ISBN 1-55859-715-8.
  3. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congressp.101 c.1978 by the American Film Institute


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Heart of New York, The (1932)

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The Heart of New York (1932)

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Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Cast: Joe Smith, Charles Dale, George Sidney, Ruth Hall, Aline MacMahon, Anna Appel, Donald Cook, Oscar Apfel

73 min

The Heart of New York is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film starring the vaudeville team of Smith & Dale and George Sidney. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and based on the Broadway play Mendel, Inc. by David Freedman.

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The plumber Mendel Marantz, a passionate inventor, hasn’t much luck and a family that doesn’t understand him. He finally strikes it rich with a dishwashing machine he invented.

He finds an investor, Gassenheim, and begins to make his way up in the world. But Mendel’s troubles are not over; his family doesn’t share his dream to become the landlord of the house where they live on New York’s Lower East Side.

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They prefer to move uptown to Park Avenue and adapt to how rich people live. Mendel’s ideas for the house are not forgotten. The men he once told how he wished to transform the building take on the work of renovating it, with every detail he planned.

Neighbours and visitors come to see the house and the new, beautiful penthouse. His wife and his children are still in Park Avenue and when Gassenheim stops paying royalties to Mrs. Marantz, she and the children come home, to find that Mendel is close to losing everything.

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Virtue (1932)

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Virtue (1932)

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Actresses Carole Lombard and Shirley Grey in Virtue

Director: Edward Buzzell

Cast: Carle Lombard, Pat O’Brien, Ward Bond, Shirley Grey, Mayo Methot, Jack LaRue, Williard Robertson, Jessie Arnold

68 min

Virtue is a 1932 Pre-Code American romance film starring Carole Lombard and Pat O’Brien.


New York City streetwalker Mae (Carole Lombard) is placed on a train by a policeman and told not to come back. However, she gets off, taking the cab of Jimmy Doyle (Pat O’Brien), who doesn’t think much of women. She slips away without paying the fare. Her friend and fellow prostitute, Lil (Mayo Methot), advises her to find honest work.

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The next day, Mae goes to the cab company to pay Jimmy. They start arguing, but they are attracted to each other. He gets her a job as a waitress. By coincidence, Gert (Shirley Grey), another former prostitute who knows her, also works at the restaurant.

Jimmy and Mae soon marry, but Mae doesn’t tell her new husband about her past. After a honeymoon at Coney Island, the happy couple are met at Mae’s