A Most Beautiful Girl
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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One evening in January 2003, my wife and I watched a film on Turner Classic Movies entitled I Wake Up Screaming, a 1941 adaptation of Steve Fisher’s novel of the same name. The two female leads were played by Betty Grable, familiar from many 1940s musicals, and Carole Landis, who Seeing Carole for what I believe to be the first time, I could not have...
Chapter 1. Beginnings (1919–1935)
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It is not to psychoanalyze Carole to point out that she came from a family without a father. Carole was not the first in her line to have problems living with a man.....
Chapter 2. In Northern California (1935–1937)
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We must presume in the absence of other evidence that the timing of Frances’s departure for the Bay Area was determined by the state law that required school attendance until the age of sixteen, married or not. Thus,when she turned sixteen on January 2, 1935, she was free to leave school,and she did. Like Frances’s rendition of “That’s My Weakness Now,” the...
Chapter 3. First Years in Hollywood (1937–1939)
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Carole’s beginnings in Hollywood were far from auspicious. After finding a five-dollar-a-week apartment, she did the rounds of the studios for a few months with no assurance of employment. Despite the contacts given herby Evelyn O’Brien, Carole had difficulty finding work; just as two years earlier in San Francisco, something like one hundred dollars was all that...
Chapter 4. Ping Girl: At Roach Studios (1939–1940)
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It was while working on her second and last Republic Western that Carole got her big break, the female lead in Hal Roach’s eye-catching science-fiction tale, One Million B.C. The story has been told many times and is by all appearances authentic: D. W. Griffith, who was helping Roach cast the picture, chose the female lead by observing the candidates’ running form....
Chapter 5. “Sex-Loaded”: At Twentieth Century-Fox (1941)
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Louella Parsons tells us that Carole’s Fox contract, which she learned about on Christmas Day 1940, was no sooner signed than Carole had to rush to the hospital to visit her mother, who had been involved in an automobile accident. The contract began on the first of the year, with an opening salary of$400 per week, to increase in steps through $550, $750, $1,000, $1,350, and...
Chapter 6. B Actress and Patriot (1941–1942)
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After completing her double assignment of Cadet Girl and I Wake Up Screaming in September 1941, Carole traveled to New York, where she stayed for a month, attending all or part of the “subway” World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Carole attended the marriage of her friend Florence Heller (later Wasson) to Albert Lary on...
Chapter 7. The Gift of Beauty: Carole at War (1942–1944)
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As Carole tells us in the opening pages of Four Jills in a Jeep, she had wanted to entertain Allied troops overseas even before Pearl Harbor. Since she was working on The Powers Girl in August 1942, she could not be part of the first group sent abroad, which included Al Jolson and Merle Oberon. Apparently,this first team made too many demands on its hosts and did not leave a...
Chapter 8. Regrouping (1945–1946)
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Having made public the impending dissolution of her marriage, and with no immediate engagements in Hollywood, Carole returned in early October1944 to New York, which would remain her base of operations until May of the following year, when she would travel briefly to Hollywood, then go...
Chapter 9. Anglophilia (1947–1948)
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The year 1947 began with a curious incident that contributed to Carole’s sense of being—as in the subtitle of the Liberty article that recounts it—“made and marred by publicity.” On January 6, the national press published a list of the six “best undressed” women drawn up by lingerie model Joan Smith, who claimed to have posed for over five thousand underwear...
Chapter 10. The Good Die Young (1948)
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If there is one area of Carole Landis’s life that has been explored in detail,it is her suicide. In the months following the event, hints were dropped that some major revelation was in the offing, but nothing new was ever reported. Today the police files are gone or at any rate unavailable, and it seems unlikely that any new facts will emerge. But as in many so-called...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2008