May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
January 15, 2010
/ 29 Teves 5770
Brassy Blondes, Part II
Last time we reviewed two wonderful brassy blondes, Jean Harlow and Carole Lombard, each of which had their careers cut short due to early tragic deaths. This week our focus is on two gals who happily had much fuller lives, Joan Blondell and Ginger Rogers.
If you're a fan of the Busby Berkeley Gold Diggers movies you know Joan Blondell as the blonde with the big smile, big blue eyes, and the heart of gold. Usually playing the role as the leading lady's best friend she was cast as streetwise and sexy, the wisecracking dame who was a sucker for love. Joan was born into show business. Her father was a vaudeville comic and Joan was on the stage from the time she was three years old. She traveled the circuit with her parents and joined up with a stock company when she was 17.
She was in several Broadway shows and was starring with James Cagney in "Penny Arcade" when she was signed by Warner Brothers to reprise her role in the movie version, "Sinner's Holiday (1930)." Cagney and Joan were given the leads, and the film was a success. The two went on to make several more pictures together including "Public Enemy," the film that made Cagney a major star. Throughout their long careers, James Cagney and Joan would remain fast friends.
Joan never quite rose to that same star level that Cagney enjoyed during her time at Warner's, generally relegated to playing second leads in the gangster and musical pictures of the 30's. She was teamed with singing star Dick Powell in ten musicals alone. I guess they hit it off off-screen as well because the two were married during that time.
By 1939, Joan had left Warner Brothers to become an independent actress, and although her workload slowed considerably, she was able to find a wider variety of screen roles in straight comedy and drama. Three of her better roles were in "Topper Returns," "Cry Havoc," and 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." In 1951 Joan received an Academy Award nomination for "The Blue Veil," co-starring with Jane Wyman. Her work in "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965)" opposite long time pal from the Warner days, Edward G. Robinson, was one of her best latter day parts.
She had tremendous success on the stage including a musical version of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and did quite a lot of television work throughout the 50's, 60's, and 70's. She was twice nominated for an Emmy for her role as Lottie in the TV sitcom, "Here Come the Brides." Whether it was comedy or drama, large part or small, Joan Blondell was a hard working gal who took whatever role was offered and made it her own. She was a one of a kind and indeed a show business "trooper." Joan Blondell died in 1979.
It's impossible not to think Ginger Rogers when you think Fred Astaire. The two were the most famous dance partners in all of movie history - maybe of all history, period. Astaire and Rogers indeed go together like bread and butter, ham and eggs or Proctor and Gamble. But Ginger all by herself is pretty terrific and one of the true Brassy Blondes of the movies.
Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911 to a hard driving stage mother known as Lelee. It was Lelee who pushed her daughter into show business and guided her career for much of her life. Ginger won a Charleston dance contest in 1925 (age 14) and a 4 week contract on the Interstate circuit. She was in various vaudeville acts until she was 17 with her mother by her side to guide her. By the late 20's she acquired an agent and she did several short films. She went to New York where she appeared on Broadway. Her first film was in 1929 in "A Night in a Dormitory" (1930).
Her breakout picture was "Gold Diggers of 1933." Movie audiences loved her blonde beauty, brassy personality, and her cute voice and wanted more. Her solo of the tune "We're in the Money" sung partly in pig Latin was a huge hit. She starred with Dick Powell in "Twenty Million Sweethearts" but once she was teamed with Fred Astaire in 1933 magic happened and her stardom skyrocketed. Astaire and Rogers proved to be one of the best movie couples ever to hit the silver screen, making a total of 10 musicals together, all but one ( "The Barkleys of Broadway" for MGM in 1949) for RKO.
Ginger also appeared in some wonderful comedies on her own such as "Bachelor Mother," "Roxie Hart," "5th Avenue Girl," "The Major and the Minor," and "Monkey Business." Once Ginger left RKO she made several dramatic pictures but it was 1940's "Kitty Foyle" (1940) that won her an Oscar for her portrayal. She continued to work in pictures and on the stage for decades until retiring in 1991. In 1995 Ginger died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage, California. She was 83.
Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow. Those brassy, blonde and beautiful babes of the 30's. Bless them all.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
Greg Crosby Archives
© 2008, Greg Crosby
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K