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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 15, 2010 / 29 Teves 5770

Brassy Blondes, Part II

By Greg Crosby



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

Letter from JWR publisher


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.

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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.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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