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Frances Dee Fans

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To loliteblue, feaito and stoneyburke666: thank you so much for your support! I'm so glad you all are enjoying the conversation. Frances Dee makes such a lovely topic of conversation, doesn't she?


loliteblue, I'm so happy you like the wallpapers! Aren't those pictures of Frances and Joel wonderful. They just make me smile. There's one picture, which can be found in the Wells Fargo page of the Films section, that I just adore. Deborah sent it to me. It's a beautiful colored portrait of the two.


stoneyburke666, I'm afraid I've missed some of your conversation on this thread. May I ask which is your favorite Frances movie?


And feaito, it's so good to hear from you again! How have you been? I've been wanting to thank you for having been such a gentleman ever since my arrival on these boards. You're always so courteous, and I'm ever so grateful for those lovely Frances Dee articles you sent for my website.


Oh, I've been wondering, can anyone tell me how much screen time Frances has in An American Tragedy? I think I've read that her part is small in comparison to Sylvia Sidney's, but that it is one of her best performances. Any thoughts?

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Dear Susan,


Thank you very much, once more, for you nice compliments and kind words. I've been around posting, but haven't had much to say here.


Now that you mention "An American Tragedy", an early Paramount film I've always wanted to see, from what I've read I feel that in this version of Theodore Dreiser's Novel the focus was much more on Sylvia Sidney's character than on Frances'; differently from the 1951 version "A Place in the Sun", in which the focus was more on Liz Taylor (who played Frances' part and had the same "physical" type) than on Shelley Winters'.


I'll quote for you part from the commentary included in the book "More Films of the Thirties": "Frances Dee has less to do as Sondra-indeed she quite disappears from the film after Clyde's arrest-but her initial demonstration of confident, affluent sexual aggression is entirely appropriate to such a society girl."

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Dear susan,

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts wonderful thread you have here enjoy it. I did see the color photo Deborah

sent you i just love it of both of them! It such an endearing photo it brings tears to my eyes it show the depth of love for each other!What a wonderful example

of love their story. Truly not a fairy tale and not tarnish by hollywood standards or trash, or scandal

just tremendous !!!!!!!lolite.

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feaito, thank you so much for posting about

An American Tragedy. It sounds like a very interesting film. I was looking through one of those marvelous "picture books" about classic Hollywood the other day, Grand Illusions to be exact, and they had several images from the movie. That and your comments make me want to see it all the more.



loliteblue, I'm so glad you do enjoy this thread. Its wonderful to have you here!


A few days ago I had the chance to see So Ends Our Night. It was amazing! I had high expectations, and it surpassed every one. Have any of you seen it? I'm wondering if it was supposed to have been longer. A Fredric March website that I frequent has several pictures of scenes that do not appear in the movie. Does anyone know more about this? Anyway... What is there is wonderful. The scene of Frances and Fredric March meeting the open market is heartbreaking.

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Welcome Susan,


I'd like to hear more about "So Ends Our Night". How did you get it? I believe it's not available on VHS or DVD; maybe by means of Bob's Homepage? Have you ever purchased any VHS or DVD from Bob? If the answer is affirmative: How's the quality of his products and service? Sorry for the amount of questions :)


Fredric March is one of my fave actors, and since "So Ends Our Night" also features Margaret Sullavan, Frances and Anna Sten, I've always wanted to see it. It was directed by John Cromwell, wasn't it?


Sometimes I've seen stills from scenes that were filmed but not included in the definitive copy of a particular film, which may explain why you don't remember those scenes from this film.

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Hi Feaito, Joanne, and Susan:


I saw "So Ends My Night" several years ago. In fact, I thought I had it on tape. Some guy I was dating at the time gave me this film he recorded that was supposedly of "So Ends Our Night." It go mislaid, and I found it, but when I played it, it had "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" and some Pink Panther movie on it, "So Ends Our Night." Oh, well, this guy was never very good about labeling things, although I really shouldn't talk, but I wouldn't tape over a Frances Dee or Joel McCrea movie.


Yes, Fernando, isn't it frustrating that you cannot buy those Paramount films you would like. I'm getting a couple of Frances Dee films which are being shipped today, including seldom scene "Patrick the Great."


Susan, what is the name of the Frederic March website. I'd like to go to go see those pictures. The movie was based on the novel "Flotsam," by Remarque. I've never read the book, but would be curious to see how long it is. I've seen some scenes which give me the impression that there was this whole prologue that occurred before the Nazis came. If there were such scenes film, I wish they would restore it because I think the movie needs it. Glenn Ford is the only surviving cast member.


You're right about those scenes with March and Dee. They are heartbreaking, especially in the marketplace. It's very touching. It's funny, but Veronica Lake is about the only one who complained about working with March; everyone else seemed to like him. This is such a haunting film. I bet if Joel saw it, he was as moved as the rest of the audience was. Unfortunately, I don't think it was a big hit when it was released, for whatever reason.


That really bums me about the movie. Perhaps they will sell it on video soon. Well, for now, I'm going to stick to the 1930's films of Frances Dee. Now I'm going to have to concentrate on my final. After that's done, I'm going to go to Historical Society so I can see if I can get some information on Chicago (Hyde Park) in 1920's to help you with your website, Susan.


Take care, everyone.



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First off, before I forget, here's the link to that marvelous Fredric March site I mentioned:



Yes, Fernando, I did purchase So Ends Our Night on DVD from Bob's Home Page. They're very pleasant to do business with. As for the quality of the movies purchased, it sort of depends on the title. But nothing has ever been bad at all. Everything is watchable, and my credo is that it is better to settle for less-than-perfect video quality than to do with nothing at all. Previous purchases of both VHS and DVDs have come off splendidly, quick shipment and all. I would recommend Bob's Home Page very highly.


As for more about the movie...oh, it is simply wonderful. It was directed by John Cromwell, and the cinematography is amazing. Wonderful use of shadows, fog laden streets and forests, pacing and editing. Have you read much about it? There is an article on the films of Glenn Ford which tells much about the film. Here's the link:



Fredric March is one of my favorites too! Frances was in two other of his films, come to think of it. Manslaughter and Follow Thru. They make a wonderful pair, though one thing that struck me as odd is that in So Ends Our Night, they never kiss. In the first scene it is understandable, but in the last, I kept waiting for it and I don't think it ever happened. I'll have to watch it again to be sure. ;)


You're right, Deborah. This film simply must be released officially on DVD. It's so very wonderful. I hope you do find your tape, and that it has not been recorded over. By the way, it's so good to have you back here! I've been missing your posts the past few days.

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Thanks for answering my questions Susan.


I'd only read about "So Ends Our Night" in the book "The Films of Fredric March" and maybe I'll get to read a little bit more in "Haywire", which I'm currently reading.


BTW, "Haywire" was written by Brooke Hayward, Margaret Sullavan's daughter.

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Hi, Susan:


As usual, I have been having a lot of trouble posting to the groups, but it appears to be okay today. Oh, by the way, the two other movies Frances made with Frederic March were the "Manslaughter" and "True to the Navy." Buddy Rogers and Jack Haley were in "Follow Thru."


This was a tape my ex-boyfriend taped and mislabeled. I have no idea whether I actually have the tape or not. I've always felt that at one time, there was a pre-Nazi prologue planned for the movie, but it was scrapped. I think it would have lightened the movie a little had they had a prologue, but it is still a beautiful movie.


Frances did her best work with John Cromwell, whose son is actor James Cromwell. Have you ever seen "Of Hman Bondage?" Cromwell's wife, Kay Johnson, plays Howard's love interest before Frances. The scene on that tribute in December was from that movie, with Frances at the gate. I'll dig out that other tribute after school is out and try to see what other clips are shown.



I saw the wonderful pictures from "So Ends Our Night" on the March website. I also looked at those pictures in the other gallery. Did you notice some of the date errors in some of Frances Dee's pictures. By the way, what was the name of the site again?


Take care, Susan. I got to work on my final now. Hopefully, I will be "authorized" to send this message. If not, I'll send it from school on Tuesday.




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Hi, Deborah!


How are you? Have you received your movies yet? I'm so looking forward to your description of Patrick the Great. From the little I've read, it sounds like a lot of fun. How fortunate that you were able to acquire it!


The site with all those wonderful pictures was Getty Images.


I think you're right, Deborah. There must have been a pre-Nazi prologue to So Ends Our Night, or more flashbacks. There was one closeup of Fredric March that looked as if it had begun to fade into a memory, but the scene cut back into present action before it could go any further.


No, I haven't seen Of Human Bondage yet. I started it, but hadn't the chance to finish it before the due date. However, I noticed my local Target is selling it as a dollar DVD. I might just go back and get myself a copy.


By the way, I saw Come and Get It for the first time just a few days ago. It was lovely! Not the usual melodrama or romance. This one had different twists, and fascinating ones. Where did you say Frances might appear?


Still no news out of Somerville. That's all right, really. I think it's nice to have something to look forward to, and if nothing ever happens, well then, I've had a fun time dreaming. Anyway, I was thinking back on my conversation with the lady (oh, I forget her name) that works there. She said Frances was a lovely, lovely person. She was in her nineties at the time she visited, and still sharp and lively. The woman said Frances was a little upset about not being able to hear everything said at the event and was apologizing for having to ask people to repeat things. Of course, no one minded. The part of her story I loved best was when she told of Frances' surprise on seeing so many people come out to honor her. "We're just simple ranch people," she said. What a lovely woman!


Oh, I finally found a copy of A Man Betrayed / Wheel of Fortune. It should arrive any day.


Hoping everyone is well and happy!

- Susan

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Hi, Susan:


My trouble in logging on seems to happen in the evening; so, maybe I will have to post this in the morning. I'm finished with my class; so, I now have more time for things like watching movies.


Let me say, Susan, that you will love "Wheel of Fortune" aka "A Man Betrayed," it's original title. Actually, I think "Wheel of Fortune" is the better trial. Frances and Duke have incredible chemistry, and it shows. This is kind of a combination comedy-drama. Duke Wayne was also a great comedian. The combination of the two of them is great. This was the first time since they worked together since "Words and Music," where John Wayne was billed as Duke Morrison. Also interesting is there respective birthdays were exactly six months apart.


By the way, did I ever tell you about the red-checkered table cloth scene. Frances had very fond memories working with Duke, especially in that scene. She was really a game girl and a lot of fun.


Oh, that is so nice what that lady said about Frances. Well, when you get to be 94, I imagine your hearing breaks down as well as everything else. From what the lady at the museum said, I got the impression that Frances seemed to be in pretty good health, both mentally and physically for her age. I think that is wonderful.


Incidentally, I met some guy at CPL who actually met Frances Dee (or who was at a banquet in her honor) some time in the 1990's. I asked him if Joel was with her. He said Joel was already deceased. Then he mentioned Frances was being given an award at Cinecon. He said she spoke very intelligently and seemed very nice. I forgot to ask him what she talked about, although I guess she probably talked about her career and her family.


I've got more news to tell you. I'm really happy today, feeling better. I found not one, but actually three needles in one haystack, in one day. I will email you all about it later. All in all, it has been a very profitable day.


Take care. You will hear from the lady eventually. If you don't hear from her, say, in sixth months, maybe you should contact her again. It does give one something to look forward to.


Take care, Susan.



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Hello, Deborah!


Wheel of Fortune / A Man Betrayed was a lot of fun! I'm glad I found it.


Yes, you did tell me the story of the red-checkered tablecloth. I think its just wonderful! And didn't Frances' character have a beautiful wardrobe? I love that silver lame gown -- gorgeous. And her suits make a girl wish clothes like that were sold today. One of the hats, a wide-brimmed tan "fedora" with a dark ribbon, looked like the same one she wore in Meet the Stewarts.


John Wayne and Frances were wonderful together. I kind of like the slow drawl of his voice. He made such a likeable leading man. I love the running gag of his ending up on the floor.


Oh, did that fellow tell you much about his meeting with Frances? The Somerville lady said she was a lovely person. One half-finished story I remember (two-dozen stories were begun and only a few finished in a twenty-minute conversation) was of the day before the tribute at Somerville Museum. Apparently, it was snowing terribly, and our Miss Dee wasn't sure she could get out to have her make-up and hair done. Someone came to her hotel (I have the name written down somewhere...), and judging by the snapshots of the Lost Theatres website, everything turned out well. Frances looked just beautiful.


So glad you're feeling better! Oh, my goodness, it's getting late here. I'll have to respond to the rest tomorrow! Hoping your day is lovely!

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Hi, Joanne:


Aren't those pictures with Joel and Frances in later years wonderful. Not all of them came from me. In fact, that one, where they are holding hands, where Joel is in a tuxedo, was taken about a year before Joel passed on. I thought it was a lovely picture.


This was a great love story about two people who were really and truly nuts about each other. It was not a fairy tale, but a real-life, flesh-and-blood love story about two people who were never stingy in their praise of each other and who also were not to proud to admit when they were wrong. When I see some of these on-the-make, shallow celebrities of today (not all of them) or these reality shows where they are trying to find a perfect mate, it makes me sick. Yesterday, my mother was looking at the end of one of them. This one woman was so vain, saying she was not picked because she was the most beautiful woman there, and the "bachelor" was afraid of her.


And, then I read interviews from old newspapers and the like about Frances, where she talks about how average-looking she is. She was being interviewed by this newspaper columnist because she was picked as one of the six most beautiful women in the movies in 1931. Getting an honor like that might have swelled some people's heads, but not our Frances. She said she considered herself average in looks, both at UOC and in Hollywood. In fact, when she first started out in movies and saw all the talent around her, she did not know how she was going to compete, except on sheer gumption alone. Then I see the tale end of this idiot woman bragging her looks up and I'm thinking, she cannot hold a candle to not only Frances, but a lot of the other actresses of the day.


Feaito, you might be interested knowing that Dolores Del Rio was another actress picked out of the six. I think Dietrich and Lombard were two others. I don't remember the other two. Oh, Kay Francis was another one.


I remember another thing you said, Joanne, when Frances passed on, in another thread, about how when Frances was interviewed, she would talk mostly about Joel, not herself. You also mentioned how you never heard anything bad or one bit of gossip from her lips.


Well, in one of the magazines I just got, Joel was talking a little bit about that. He said they didn't see many people (in Hollywood) because neither of them cared that much for the Hollywood social scene. He also said Frances detested gossiping and talking about people behind her back and never engaged in that behavior. Because of that stance, people never bugged Frances or put-upon her stories of gossip and backstabbing.


Working with some of the more colorful people of the day, like Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, I'm sure Frances heard a few stories in her day. However, as Joel put it in the interview, if Frances hears something accidentally that she doesn't want to hear, it dies with her, period.


Now, to me, that is a real classy lady. You just know that her biography is not going to be one of these sordid tell-all books. Thank heavens for the Internet, because I doubt it could get published otherwise. I've always felt that was why that Joel McCrea biography got cancelled around 1994 (at least this is my theory).


Take care.




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Hi Deborah ,

I agree whole heartedly with you Francis Dee was one classy lady who set a good example in tinsel town. Her credence about gossip even i would like to emulate. I

think the reason Joel's biography got scrubbed in 94

was because it wasn't spicy enough and i am putting it as delicate as i can to sell books. Unfortunately trash

sells today in any book market. I just hope someone picks up the mantel some time soon and does a well deserved bio of Joel. Deborah glad to hear classes are over for you now, hope all went well. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Joann.

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Hi, Susan:


I have been busy researching at both CPL and Neberry Library. I found out some interesting things, but not all I would like to. I think to find stuff about the yearbooks, you will have to write the school. I will send you address in another post. There was also a school newsletter. There is also the Hyde Park Historical Society, which I discovered online.


Anyway, here is a story Ms. Dee told in 1998 about making "Wheel of Fortune." Since it is rather long, I will just post of her impressions of Duke first.


"Like Gary Cooper, John Wayne was another good friend of my husband's. So, I had all that help you see. Easy to relate to, but, again, very professional. Then she talks about how she talked Duke into lettering her do the scene. I will talk about that in another post, since i don't want to get too long.


Let me ask you one thing, Susan, having scene the movie. Do you think that if Joel was the star of the film and not Duke, do you think Frances would have been able to persuade Joel to let her do the stunt the way she was able to persuade Duke Wayne? I'm just wondering about that. I guess they both thought it would be fun if she did the scene.


Then Frances talked about how John Wayne's cook would make these wonderful lunches for the cast and crew of "Wheel of Fortune." Here is what she said:


"And, John would bring in all these wonderful lunches. I espeically remember the potato soup -- that his German cook would fix for us. Potato soup with chunks of Polish sausage in it. Funny, I remember the day we had that potato soup better than anything else about the film."


Well, that's not quite true. She obviously remembered the red-checkered table cloth scene as well. What is so refreshing about her stories is they are so positive and upbeat. The same thing with Joel. And, if Joel did talk about someone tragic, like James Murray, he did it in a respectful way, not in titillating gossip manner.


It's obvious Frances remembered Duke with fondness. In fact, most of his costars, for most part, did like and admire the Duke.


He's always been one of my favorite actors. I always thought he was underrated. And, I don't care what polls they have an whatnot, no one was ever bigger box office or a bigger star than Duke. I mean, twenty years in a row number one at box office (or around that). Who comes close? Just my opinion.


Take care.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Susan and everyone:


I have found a lot of interesting things in my research and trips to the Newberry Library and Chicago Historical Society. I've actually found more at Newberry than Historical Society.


One thing I did find out at Historical Society is a lot of "Chicago Tribune" articles on the Frances and Joel. I also found out the answer to the mystery of the wrong birth year (1907) listed in all biographies of Frances.


At the time of her death, "Chicago Tribune" was one of few newspapers who listed Frances Dee's age correctly as 94. I could never figure out how they had it correct when so many others had it wrong. Then it dawned on me. I had forgotten about the fact that Frances had once worked for the "Chicago Tribune," in want ad or classified section of newspaper. So, of course they would have her correct age.


I confirmed she worked there because I ran across these articles in the "Chicago Tribune," one talking about her returning there in 1932 and visiting with old friends. I have a copy of the article. When I go back to CPL, I'm going to try to get copies of pictures as well.


One article was particularly telling. It was entitled "She Gets Her Chance," in June 12, 1930 issue of "Chicago Tribune." It talks about Frances signing to play opposite Maurice Chevalier in "Playboy of Paris." It also makes a big deal how, at age 20, she signed the contract under her own name, Frances Dee. However, her screen name was to be Frances Deane, not her birth name.


Well, what happened to this idea for Frances Deane. I'm assuming it was the "Tribune" article. "Chicago Tribune" is a newspaper with circulation across the country, outside of Illinois, even back then. Robert McCormick was a powerful man. I don't know if it was deliberate or what, but I'm guessing Paramount assumed since Frances was going to be a Junior in college, she was 21 years old. I could be wrong about that, though.


I do know that the age of majority in Illinois back in the 1920's was 21 years, based on research I did for that class. However, states do vary in their laws. However, reading some stuff on Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who was a couple of weeks younger than Frances, confirmed for me that the age of majority in California was 21 years back then as well. That is why Douglas, when he married Joan Crawford, had to lie about his age when getting married, saying he was 21 when he was really 19. Well, if Doug wasn't old enough to marry without parental consent in California, the same would go for someone signing something like a movie contract (e.g., Frances).


However, the studio publicity people and bigwigs, being the creative people they were, came up with a creative solution to the crisis. First of all, the scrubbed the screen name plans they originally had; that is, to call our girl Frances Deane. Why Frances Deane? I don't know.


Instead, they decided to just use Frances' birth name, minus her middle name of Marion, as Frances' screen name. I guess the theory of "hide-in-plain sight" was in effect here. As I've said before, there were tons and tons of young girls named Frances during the first part of 20th Century. Frances was a very popular name back then, and is beginning to make a comeback, since that idiot rock star named her daughter Frances. Add to that the number of Dees out there. In my ancestry research, I ran across more and more Frances Dees than I care to name, with various middle names, or where the middle name was Frances.


The Dees had already given permission for their daughter to do this; so, they were not going to be a problem. I think they figured if they hid her in with all of the other Frances Dees out there, no one would notice anything about it. By changing her birth year on contract, studios protected themselves. Hence, the wrong birth year.


Of course, this is all speculation on my part. But, in light of what I found out, it makes sense. I just find it interesting that Frances never bothered to correct her age in print, as so many other actresses did. I guess she was unaware of it or just did not care.


I've also found out the origin of the story that had Frances attending Northwestern, instead of University of Chicago, where she really attended. I'll talk about that another time.


Take care.



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Greetings Deborah:


How would you suggest that I pitch batting practice to you? Thanks for your response to my question about Frances Dee and San Simeon. When I wrote that question I thought that it would be part of this string but it was apparently the start of a new string. Nonetheless you found it and answered. I hope that I have done something right this time.


Can you hit this around a little bit? Supposedly the great photographer Imogen Cunningham took a celebrated picture of Frances Dee. Perhaps the date was 1932. However I have been told that such a picture shows up in the November 1934 issue of Vanity Fair. I have yet to see a copy of that photo. Does someone have a JPEG or a scan that could be shared?


And while the baseball is magazines do you have some stuff on Esquire? I believe that the first magazine (cheesecake?) glamour girl/movie star photo in Esquire was a Carole Lombard by Hurrell in the November 1936 issue. The second, also by Hurrell, was (as was to be expected) a swell Frances Dee in the December 1936 issue. I have a copy of that one.

Thanks for your attention.



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Hi, Prizzlesprung:


I'll try to help you as best I can. As for the San Simeon question, of course, Frances was there in 1934, if the mansion said so, in all likelihood with husband Joel McCrea. I do not know where my San Simeon book is, but I'll see what exactly it says on that. I remember Joel talking once about being at San Simeon (before he was married) and sitting at the dinner table next to Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart and how in awe he was of them. This was on a VHS tape about San Simeon I bought when I was there. When my birth rolls around, which isn't for awhile, I'm going to try and see if I can get a copy of that out-of-print oral history Joel did about San Simeon.


Now, about those other two questions you asked. My local suburban library would not have photographs dated back that far. The only place would be the Chicago Public Library (CPL), and even they might not have such magazines as "Esquire" and "Vanity Fair" that far back. I can check out their catalog the next time I'm downtown.


That being said, I do know of another source you might try for the Imogen Cunningham picture, Prizzlesprung. In my many forays into research, I found this one blurb about Imogen Cunningham, namely a book about her, and a mention of Frances Dee in the book.


The name of the book is "Imogen Cunningham: The Modernist Years" by Richard Lorenz. I do not know who publishes it or what, if any pictures, are featured in it. I do know they mention Imogen going to Hollywood and taking pictures of various celebrities, including Frances Dee, maybe around 1932. You might try your local library.


As for the Hurrell photo, are you sure it's Esquire. I got a beautiful photograph of Frances done by Hurrell, but it was out of "Look" magazine, I believe, with Joan Crawford on the cover. The only thing I kept from the magazine was the photograph, which probably was a mistake.


I also have a book of Hurrell photographs that has a picture of Frances Dee in the inside leaf. I can try and have a blown-up copy made of it and make it into a JPEG. But, there is no guarantee it's the photo you want. Hurrell did a lot of photographs over his career, and I'm sure he did more than one of Frances Dee. I'm pretty sure he did that one of an older Frances standing in front of the door of her home for "Life Magazine" in the 1980 article "Nine to Remember." That picture is featured on the Frances Dee website.


Hope this helps Prizzlesprung. Like I said, try your local library to see if they have the book. The bookstore might even have it. I'm not sure when the book was published.


Take care.



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Greetings Deborah:


Thanks for your attention. I have some more odds and ends about La Belle Frances pictures in this message and more messages to follow.

I did go to my local library a while back to see if I could find the Imogen Cunningham picture in a Richard Lorenz book but it was not the book that you mentioned. Unless my memory fails me I could not find the picture, which I believe was published in Vanity Fair, in the book Imogen Cunningham: Portraiture (publisher Bullfinch, 2001). I will try to see if the Richard Lorenz book that you mention is available.

I am certain that the December 1936 edition of Esquire contains that fetching picture of FD because I bought a copy on eBay. The picture appears on page 77. I will tried to include a copy of the picture with this message but that was beyond by ken.

Speaking of eBay I saw a picture at auction there in blue of an airplane and a boat. The picture had a note in the bottom right corner that said ?To Miss Frances Dee Forever E.A. Burbank 1936?. While I was too cheap to bid I was curious enough to ask the seller about whether the inscription could be to the Frances Dee. The seller responded with an enthusiastic yes and changed the auction listing to make note of the situation. Apparently the picture had been part of somebody?s collection of Hollywood stuff.

I checked Google to see who this E.A. Burbank was and learned that he did some paintings, famously of Native Americans in the Southwest, which sold for respectable sums of money. I also noted that there are collections of his work here and there. I seem to remember that both Harvard and Yale had some of his stuff. Being curious to learn if the picture was probably authentic or a fake I sent a E Mail to Harvard. The fellow at Harvard responded by bidding for the picture. Ultimately he lost to somebody who paid about $77.00 bucks.

Perhaps E.A. Burbank?s work took him to the McCrea ranch in New Mexico? I tried to attach a bit of blurb about the small picture that may have once belonged to FD. I gave it the old college try but failed.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Susan:


As promised, here is the story Frances told about working with Gary Cooper on "Souls At Sea."


"Gary Cooper was a close friend of my husband's, even before I met Joel. So, of course, I felt quite at ease calling him 'Gary' from the outset of the film. And, I thought he was thoroughly professional and a perfect leading man type for me to be working opposite."


But, I remember he liked to eat a lot. In fact, he ate all the time, and he wanted me to do the same. Somebody had told him that that was a way to keep his energy up, so he was going to see that I kept mine up, too."


I found this a very amusing story, Susan. I mean, this big, 6'2" guy trying to get Frances to eat the same amount of food as a someone like him or Joel would eat. I mean, I guess Gary maybe didn't figure that Frances maybe needed less food because he was smaller. I wonder how Frances got him to stop doing that.


His (Gary's) eating constantly explains another thing as well: how Gary got so bloated and heavy looking in later years. No doubt, some of it was illness. However, being sick, you can't be as active as you once were. With the way Gary ate (I've heard this from people other than Frances), it is not astonishing to me he put on so much weight when he was older.


Another interesting story about "Souls At Sea" involves George Raft. It seems director Henry Hathaway had one scene in the movie where George gets mad at Frances and throws a rock at her. I'm guessing he is supposed to do this because he's mad that Frances accuses Gary of being a slaver. In the finished product, Raft just yells at Frances and tells her that he was the slaver, not Gary.


This story appeared in Larry Swindell book on Gary Cooper. Raft told the author that when he read this scene over, he protested very strongly with Henry Hathaway about doing the scene. Raft was very disturbed by it. However, Hathaway wanted realism and insisted Raft do the scene the way it was. This Raft refused to do; so, filming was stopped for two weeks.


Cooper went to talk to Raft, and Raft told him why he wasn't going back to work. Cooper agreed with him and also refused to go back to work. Hathaway had to relent and rewrite the scene. As Raft told Larry Swindell, "There was no way in the world I could justify throwing that rock at Frances in the film. She was a real lady. It wouldn't have been right to throw a rock at her. Now, if she had been playing a **** or something, that would have been different. There was just no way I was going to film that scene the way it was written.


George Raft, I guess, was a more sentimental, gallant type than his reputation would suggest. Gary obviously agreed with him, and Hawks couldn't fight both of them. Raft had refused to do the part initially, but changed his mind.


Take care, everyone. I hope you like the magazine, Susan.




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Hi, Feaito:


Yesterday, I went to CPL and found a couple of old "Photoplay" articles featuring Joel McCrea. Both appeared in 1976 issues, although one was a repeat of a 1939 article called "My Friend Coop," where Joel wrote about his friend. They were reprinting it in some later magazine. I thought you guys on the boards might find this amusing.


This story also appeared in another Gary Cooper biography I have, although I don't know the author's name off hand. I remember I liked the book, and it wasn't the usual scandal-sheet bios that they have now.


Both Joel and this author talked about an evening the four of them (Joel and Frances and Coopers) went to the Hollywood Bowl together. Both Joel and Cooper, as well as their wives, liked classical music.


Anyway, Feaito, in the middle of what Joel referred to as a "splendid symphony," this autograph seeker who was sitting behind the Cooper-McCrea party started whispering, "Mr. Cooper, Mr. Cooper, could I have your authograph, please."


Well, guess what Cooper did? He did absolutely nothing. It was if he didn't even hear the fellow, which might have been true at first, since from what I read, Cooper did have a hearing problem; but, as Joel put it, Gary would hear what he wanted to hear. The guy got louder and louder.


Joel couldn't stand; so, he finally turned around and told the guy to shut up. He then told this author as well as what he wrote in the article, "As we were leaving the Hollywood Bowl, this guy said, 'Why, Cooper must be death, because I kept asking him and asking him.' I started to laugh. Cooper only heard just what he wanted to hear.


Gary Cooper's wife, Rocky, died in 2000 at the age of 86. It must not have been easy being married to Cooper, who by all accounts, was a notorious ladies man. She had a brief film career as Sandra Shaw. Part of it was due to intervention of her uncle, Cedric Gibbons.


As far as I know, she appeared in two films. One of these films was "King Kong." Supposedly, Kong grabbed Rocky Cooper by mistake, but when he realized it wasn't his "Fay," he tosses her off the Empire State Building. I guess this did not play well with preview audiences; so, it was excised from the movie.


The other film she was in was "Blood Money," starring our girl Frances. It was also one of the first movies for Lucille Ball. One of these days I'll talk about the Frances Dee "I Love Lucy" connection. What role Rocky played, I don't know. I do believe, though, that Frances Dee was probably one of the few people in Hollywood who was kind to her. A lot of people in Hollywood Society looked down on Rocky and thought she was snobbish.


One curious thing is this. After a brief on a ranch, the Coopers bought a home in Beverly Hills. For some reason, most of Gary's bachelor friends were not allowed inside the Coope home. If they were going out hunting and fishing or whatever sport, the so-called buddies of Cooper had to wait outside. About the only exception to this was Joel McCrea and his wife, Frances Dee.


Now, Feaito, one can draw any number of conclusions from this. One is maybe that was because of Frances. Frances and Rocky seemed to have been on friendly terms with one another. There was one little clip on "Hollywood Home Movies" that showed the Coopers with their daughter, Maria, at the beach, with a young, blonde, male child walking along the rocks by them. I'm guessing the blonde child was, in all liklihood, Jody McCrea. I'm getting the idea the families were pretty close, as much as the McCreas and their kids were close to any of the Hollywood people in their kids, with the exception of Andy Devine.


I think one can safely conclude that Rocky did not like most of Gary's bachelor friends. I think I understand why as well. I have a lot of interesting stories, but have to go out and get a new printer. Mine is totalled.


Take care.



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More great stories Debbie.Thanks.


I doesn't impress me that Rocky Cooper (aka Veronica Balfe) became friends with Frances, 'cos both were well-bred, classy ladies, who lead low-profile lives. And Joel and Gary looked like brothers.


I also think that they could have been friends with the Fred MacMurrays?

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