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In search of...Virginia Weidler


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I believe my post was honest. You call Sepiatone out for having an opinion that most people don't know who Virginia Weidler is. You then go on to say this opinion is bogus and that one shouldn't form these type of judgement since they cannot be backed up. I agree with that part 100%, but than you go on with your opinion that many people know who she is. A POV you cannot back up anymore than Sepiatone can back up his. I found that to be very ironic and that was the point I was making.

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I don't quite understand what you are complaining about. I believe this thread is devoted to Virginia Weidler's memory and any other kind of discussion may be considered off-topic and disrespectful to the original poster.

 

Edited by: TopBilled on Nov 12, 2012 7:47 PM

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Prior to my interview, someone was wondering about why Tommy Dix never returned to MGM after his stint in the service. He had been in BEST FOOT FORWARD, had an unbilled role in an Andy Hardy picture, then nothing else.

 

A little background is in order. Tommy was brought to Hollywood for one purpose, to bring BEST FOOT FORWARD, a Broadway hit, to the screen. In order to finish filming he had to get an extension on his date to enter the service. Once filming ended, he left for the military. MGM still held option on his services ($250 per week, I believe), if they were interested after the war. What they did to Tommy, however, was indecent and made him decide he was uninterested in returning to Hollywood.

 

According to Tommy, when he learned that his Army pay was to be a whopping $21 monthly, he went to MGM and asked if he could borrow a small amount against his MGM contract to be sent to his mother for her to live on. He received a terse reply from the studio asking, "Who'll pay us back if you die in service?"

 

From that point on, it was his intention NOT to go back. And they weren't interested until...

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I believe if you were to go ask the average person if they knew who Virginia Weidler was a lot of people would say no. If you were to show them a photo of Ginny or mention that she played Katherine Hepburn's little sister in The Philadelphia Story most people would know who you are talking about. How popular a celebrity of years past is today has no bearing on how talented they were. There was a recent poll of greatest Disney stars and the top spots were taken by Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus while Annette Funicello was nowhere near the top. Deanna Durbin was a HUGE STAR back in the late 30's and early 40's yet how many people have heard of her today. I think it is great that someone is doing something to give Ginny the attention she deserves and hope more people do this with other stars of the past who time has forgotten.

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Thanks, CK, I'm always glad to read a post from someone who understands. I think that talents like Ginny and Durbin would still have been big today, although Durbin probably would have to downplay that opera thing. :)

 

Durbin's being unknown today is partially because Universal films never became a staple of television like MGMs or WBs and partially because, like Ginny, she chose to make herself unavailable to the public once she left the business.

 

Ginny had one or two big years. Unlike Ginny, Durbin was a true superstar.

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> I have contacted a writer who has worked with Virginia's brother in law William. William Krisel was a very well known and respected SoCal architect with a career worthy of his own biography. I hope he'll talk to me.

 

ginnyfan,

 

I wasn't sure from your post if you were hoping to talk to the writer or Krisel. Your next sentence seemed to indicate that you thought Krisel might have passed on. I just wanted to let you know that William Krisel is still alive and still very respected not only here in the City of Angels but throughout the southwest where he designed homes.

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No, LZ, I was unclear. In much the same way as I contacted Tommy Dix, the writer told me that he thought Mr. Krisel might talk to me and passed on my contact info. He said Mr. Krisel mentioned Virginia many times while they were working together on William's own story. From what I've read, the Krisels are pretty interesting in their own right.

 

I haven't heard back from Mr. Krisel, however, so maybe he isn't so willing to talk.

 

On another subject, here's a DVR ALERT. TCM is showing AFTER TONIGHT (1931) at 3:15 AM (ET) Wednesday morning as part of their Constance Bennett showcase. Six year old Virginia has an uncredited role as Ms. Bennett's niece.

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aaaamusical.jpg

 

Hi just thought I would copy this photo for you. mongo over at the candids thread, under Film and Filmmakers posted this photo. 1939, Mickey and Ginny entertaining Mr.Mayer at his birthday party.

 

Regarding your announcement of the film with Ginny being uncredited. I thought if an actor or actress had a speaking part they had to be credited?

 

Just asking. Any way I hope you like the photo and you can thank mongo for it.

 

Lori

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I agree with what you posted especially this line: How popular a celebrity of years past is today has no bearing on how talented they were.

 

If how popular was a measure of talent (or the quality of what they left behind), than Monroe would be the most talented actress of all time. To me she isn't even in the top 25.

 

I also welcome threads like this one of 'lesser known' stars (I hope using that term doesn't offend anyone). But we all need to be aware that just because us classic movie geeks love certain actors others may need have forgetten them. This thread uses the term 'In search of' for a reason.

 

 

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Let me start by saying that I really appreciate the feedback I've received here of late. It's nice to know I'm not annoying people too much and that I'm not just talking to myself (and Lori).

 

Lori, that is a great photo. From her earliest right up to adulthood, Ginny always took a good photo. Knowing how things ended up for her, I'm always looking for that "trace of sorrow" as Jackson Browne put it, and I can never find it. She seemed to be happy at every studio and the vaudeville era photos, when things might have seemed dismal for her, also show a joy that she's living the life she wants to live. Of course, maybe she was even a better actress than I'm giving her credit for.

 

Someone more of an expert than I will have to answer the "uncredited" question. I just know that in classic films there will be a cast list and then there might be dozens of additional actors who get no credit. Some actors with well over 100 parts listed on IMDb have almost nothing but (uncredited) on that list. One of my favorites, Dave Willock, appeared in many great films, he had 202 total credits, almost always in films as (uncredited). He was the Soda Jerk in This Time For Keeps with Ginny.

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> I haven't heard back from Mr. Krisel, however, so maybe he isn't so willing to talk.

 

ginnyfan,

 

William Krisel is very popular with mid-century modern preservation groups not only in the City of Angels but throughout southern California, Nevada an Arizona and they often invite him to speak or attend MCM events, so that may be one reason for the delay in getting back to you.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> > I haven't heard back from Mr. Krisel, however, so maybe he isn't so willing to talk.

> ginnyfan,

>

> William Krisel is very popular with mid-century modern preservation groups not only in the City of Angels but throughout southern California, Nevada an Arizona and they often invite him to speak or attend MCM events, so that may be one reason for the delay in getting back to you.

I wish I had realized he was Lionel's brother months ago when he kept coming up in searches. I didn't link him until I was able to place him and Lionel at the Shanghai-American School.

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> {quote:title=ginnyfan wrote:}{quote}

>

>

>

> TCM is showing AFTER TONIGHT (1933) Wednesday morning as part of their Constance Bennett showcase. Six year old Virginia has an uncredited role as Ms. Bennett's niece.

 

Although the movie is certainly worth watching from the beginning, Virginia doesn't show up until the last scene! But she does get one nice brief close-up.

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> {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ginnyfan wrote:}{quote}

> >

> >

> >

> >

> >

> >

> >

> > TCM is showing AFTER TONIGHT (1933) Wednesday morning as part of their Constance Bennett showcase. Six year old Virginia has an uncredited role as Ms. Bennett's niece.

> > Although the movie is certainly worth watching from the beginning, Virginia doesn't show up until the last scene! But she does get one nice brief close-up.

I figured it would be something like that, the fact that she was given a name had my hopes up a little. Of course, she was actually billed in TOO HOT TO HANDLE and had about the same amount of screen time.

 

Now I'm looking for LONG LOST FATHER so I can see how she handles the role of "girl at pier".

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3905_171022199707864_1519833680_n.jpg

 

OK, I just watched that scene in AFTER TONIGHT. MN, please explain to me why they needed a "child linguist" for that.

 

I didn't hear one word of French or German from Virginia, just whiny English sounding remarkably like, "I don't wanna go! I wanna stay!"

 

Edited by: ginnyfan on Nov 14, 2012 2:10 PM

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}Maybe something wound up on the cutting room floor.

That sort of what I thought. There were children in the film earlier who spoke "French" and "German" in that they were doing the continental accent, something that should be a cinch for Ginny since she lived with two parents who spoke English that way.

 

Her lines are spoken during an establishing shot and the voice is far away. I can't tell if she was using an accent while whining or not.

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Hi. I just read your little write up. "Ours will be much nicer." really, that is too much. Oh well, I guess Ginny survived that "comment." 6 years that is so young and she was so cute!

 

She really was a natural wasn't she?

 

I read your little write up it is very good and I left a comment.

 

I am jealous, all I have time to do is send out "tweets" every evening, "U a fan of _______Please sign etc, etc, Thank U. I am getting some "bites" though.

 

Any ways, keep up the excellent work you are doing, and I am looking forward to reading the questions you asked Mr.Dix and his replies.

 

Lori

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What I do that is tedious is plant little references to the [Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society|http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaWeidlerRemembranceSociety] in comments of webpages and Facebook pages. By doing this in appropriate places I hope to gain a member or two to the [VWRS|http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaWeidlerRemembranceSociety]. :)

 

And, yes, she really was a natural.

 

Thanks for mentioning Tommy Dix. I haven't posted part 2 of his MGM story here yet. I tend to get confused between here, the [CFU|http://fangroups.tcm.com/groups/details.html?groupId=140767], and [Facebook|http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaWeidlerRemembranceSociety]. :D

 

I'll try to post Part 2 tomorrow.

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I only noticed last night that I never posted part 2 of what I'm calling Tommy Dix v. MGM. The post is a bit long for this format. Please be charitable.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

So Tommy went into the Army without any financial help from MGM. "They paid Mickey Rooney but, of course, I wasn't Mickey Rooney," he says.

 

 

Tommy wound up being badly injured in training. The injuries seemed to trigger his childhood Celiac Disease and his weight dropped to less than 100 pounds. Army doctors put him on a special diet, something that wouldn't be available at war, and the Army decided to give him a medical discharge in 1944.

 

 

 

 

Once he was discharged, and after a long recovery period during which he did not hear from MGM at all, Tommy felt he was a free agent. "You didn't pay me when I went off to war, so I don't think I have a contract," he remembers telling someone at MGM. Since they also didn't actually have a film for him, he had no intention of returning to Culver City to sit and wait when he was in demand for personal appearances. He told MGM if they actually had a film for him, he'd consider returning.

 

Back in 1943, before Tommy had reported for active duty, he had three weeks of what the Army called "delay en route". During that time, he appeared on Broadway at Loew's State in a revue emceed by Ed Sullivan. As Tommy tells it, "So I was on Broadway just before I went into the Army, and BEST FOOT FORWARD had opened across the street at the Astor Theater so I had my name in lights on both sides of Broadway and people would come out of the theater having seen the picture and say,'I wonder if that was really that kid's voice? It sounded awfully big and I bet someone else was singing for him.' And then if they came across the street and saw me singing, they knew then and there that I was the real singer."

 

After the Army and Tommy's long recovery, Ed Sullivan contacted him about returning to sing in the revue Sullivan emceed at the Loew's State (for those paying attention to our posts that was a stop for Ginny and Ada Leonard on the 1943 tour). Tommy regained his stage popularity quickly and he didn't escape the notice of MGM, especially since Loew's owned both the studio and the theatre.

 

 

After he became popular on stage and wanted to record, MGM then enforced the contract to stop him. At that point, no matter what his deal at the State called for, Loew's only paid him the $250 movie option. He also couldn't record for anyone but MGM. "William Morris were my agents, but they were a lot more concerned with their relationship with MGM than with me, so I didn't get a whole lot of defense," Tommy remembers.

 

 

"So one day they called me and said, 'We have a picture for you. It's called HOLIDAY IN MEXICO and we have a role in it for you.' So I came back, bought a house with my new wife, settled down and reported to work on the lot. They cast someone else in the role, Roddy McDowall, and dropped my option. And that's how they had their revenge on me."

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

 

After I posted this on my Facebook page, Ken Robichaux, Tommy's biographer, gave us a clarification about the record deal. It seems Tommy wasn't the only MGM contract player enjoined from recording when MGM established its label in 1945. And since MGM wouldn't release anything other than cast recordings for about five years, those stars couldn't record at all.

 

 

One of those who received that letter was Judy Garland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by: ginnyfan on Nov 15, 2012 10:38 PM

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> {quote:title=ginnyfan wrote:}{quote}

> We were talking about the murder investigation in which Ginny was involved in 1944 and one of the newspaper photos didn't look like any Virginia Weidler I'd ever seen. She looked like a "painted lady".

>

> So I put together this montage of six Ginnys from that time period to see if it could actually be her. I initially thought no, but most of the members thought yes.

>

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> The newspaper photo from the Bauerdorf murder is lower right.

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> 2v8qy5g.jpg

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I'm replying to this old post of mine because we may tonight have the answer as to whether the sixth photo in my Six Ginnys montage is actually Virginia Weidler. I initially thought it wasn't, but others at the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society site slowly convinced me to at least consider that it might be her. Several people, including a couple here were also sure it wasn't her.

 

Based on this picture, I think we were wrong and that it is her. This is a photo taken in Boston during a 1944 USO tour. She's pretty painted up in this one, too. And unless that's dust on the negative, she appears to have a painted on beauty mark above her lip. She's seventeen, by the way.

 

 

189731_172371122906305_201797253_n.jpg

 

Edited by: ginnyfan on Nov 16, 2012 10:39 PM

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> {quote:title=Lori3 wrote:}{quote}Wait now you lost me. Virginia Weidler was involved in a murder investigation in 1944???

>

>

> I thought I kept up with all your post but I must of missed something, some where along the way.

>

>

> Lori

>

 

 

And that's why a daily visit to the [Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society| https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaWeidlerRemembranceSociety] is a must! ;)

 

Yes, Lori, Virginia Weidler was questioned in a murder investigation in 1944. Because she was known, her picture wound up in newspapers coast to to coast right next to that of the victim, Georgette Bauerdorf. I found the lower right picture in my Six Ginnys montage on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press.

 

Both Virginia and Georgette, an oil heiress, had apartments at the El Palacio near La Cienega Blvd. They also both worked at the Hollywood Canteen. One morning Georgette was found in her bathtub, beaten and strangled and...well you know. Georgette's murder has still not been solved.

 

Virginia, as her neighbor, was questioned and told authorities that Georgette was nice, quiet, and that she heard nothing unusual from the apartment that night.

 

 

A newspaper entry about a week later told us that Virginia and her mother were looking for a new apartment for her.

 

Edited by: ginnyfan on Nov 17, 2012 9:50 AM

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