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In search of...Virginia Weidler

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Another short TODAY IN GINNY today.


German born actor William Irving (1893) appeared in 174 films between 1917 and 1941. Two were Ginny films, STAMBOUL QUEST, where he played the man in the train corridor, and THE BIG BROADCAST of 1936, where he played a photographer. He was a semi-regular in the early Three Stooges films.


Ralf Harolde (1899) appeared in exactly 100 titles. Since he had a break between 1950 and 1959, ginnyfan senses that Ralf was keeping count and came back just to reach that goal. OK, not really. He had a small role in Bath Ruth's short, BABE COMES HOME and his final role was as a French Waiter in A NEW KIND OF LOVE. He played "Joey Anderman, Roadhouse Owner", also a good title for Ralf's potential spin off from THE ROOKIE COP.



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Well since I am a huge fan of the classic girl child stars, I have a great collection of photos and movies and, I have a huge photo collection of Virginia plus have just about all her child films EXCEPT of course those 2 rare ones, FRECKLES and LADDIE ( I want these so badly!!) , I do indeed have her very rare Columbia movie OUTSIDE THESE WALLS and, TCM has never ever shown this one.I have a few original scene stills from this movie. I even have an article she wrote from this time, for one of the movie mags, she was a junior writer for one of those movie mags where each week a different child star would write about themseleves. OUTSIDE THESE WALLS is a movie that runs an hour and, Virginia is really different in this one. She is not shown a whole lot but her scenes are great and she is kind of a brat in this. On another note, I sure wish there were others here who are fans of the classic girl child stars as it would be so much fun to talk about them all as I am a HUGE fan of these girl child stars of the 1920's to the 1960's.altho I also like the ones later as well but, the biggies for me are the ones of the 1930's and 1940's. I have been a fan of them for over 35 years!!!

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Hi CS,


Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I've been away due to family emergency.


I would love to hear more about the story of Outside These Walls since it never appears on TV!



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I was forced to suspend TIG for a time due to a family emergency. It will restart soon.


Last week, I emailed actress Marilyn Knowlden about her own career and asked if she knew Virginia Weidler. IMDb shows them as having been in two films together (but not together, as they had no common scenes). We have since figured out that Marilyn wasn't in one of them, MEN WITH WINGS, due to a scheduling conflict. She was replaced by TWO actresses-Joan Leslie and her older sister, Mary Brodel. She did appear in ALL THIS A HEAVEN TOO, but not at the same time as Virginia.


Here is Marilyn's very gracious reply to my email:



Dear Pete: Your letter made me happy for several reasons. As an 87-year-old woman, it's certainly nice to have someone interested in my childhood career in Hollywood.




I'm delighted that you have founded the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society. I remember her being so cute in "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." I went on many interviews with Virginia. Unlike the other girls with their curls and frills, Virginia always wore pigtails, plus a very simple dress! I wasn't real close friends with her, but I was as close to her as to other youngsters like myself (or Susanne Ransom) who free-lanced, never being under contract to any one studio. I remember the two of us attending Freddy Bartholomew's birthday party. Do you have the photograph of that occasion? I own a copy. (ginnyfan note: I asked to see it. No reply yet.)



Glad you solved the mystery regarding "Men With Wings." Some time ago I actually contacted IMDB, telling them that I didn't think I was in that film, but they assured me in no uncertain terms that I was the one who was mistaken! (ginnyfan note: I sent her a copy of an article explaining the MEN WITH WINGS cast changes)



As to the clipping mentioning my being on the honor roll at Mills College, yes that's so. Thanks to my record at Beverly Hills High School, I received a full scholarship at Mills, predicated on my continuing to get good grades.



As to your mentioning my website MarilynKnowlden.com and my 442-page book, "Little Girl in Big Pictures," all I can say is "Thanks." Publishers nowadays can't give you much help. And keep up the good work!






Edited by: ginnyfan on May 20, 2013 6:39 PM

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I am glad someone (you) has a copy of OUTSIDE THESE WALLS. My guess is that it aired on the old AMC...yes?


FRECKLES and LADDIE may never see the light of day again. Unfortunately for all us fans.

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TopBilled said...


I am glad someone...has a copy of OUTSIDE THESE WALLS. My guess is that it aired on the old AMC...yes?

FRECKLES and LADDIE may never see the light of day again. Unfortunately for all us fans.




No, OUTSIDE THESE WALLS was never shown on AMC. Any copies out there are probably transferred from 16mm prints in collectors' hands. Prints of the film are out there - one was just listed on eBay a couple days ago and went off with no bids.


As I have mentioned earlier in this thread or another on Virginia Weidler, at least one complete 16mm print of FRECKLES is out there. I know where it is and have seen it, but rights issues and other complications may unfortunately keep it forever out of Virginia's fans' hands.

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It really is a shame that these "rights issues" are keeping so many of the classic movies we want so badly, out of reach.What is so odd is how theres so many movies available , where you can get them on ebay or even watch them on youtube and, its just the same titles, all public domain titles and, what gets me is, the ones I want so badly I will never get to see and own. Since I am a major fan of the classic girl child stars, theres many of their movies I want, and, of course Virginia's FRECKLES and LADDIE are ones I have wanted since forever!!!And then theres several of Edith Fellow's Columbia films I have wanted, and seems no one has them, not even the 16MM collectors. TUGBOAT PRINCESS (1936) and LITTLE MISS ROUGHNECK (1938) and THE LITTLE ADVENTURESS (1938) These 3 titles are BIG wants of mine and, I have wanted these since forever and ever!!When Columbia started their MOD service, they released one of the rare movies of Edith's, CITY STREETS (1938) I wrote them asking them to release those other 3 titles I listed and I hope so much that they will at some point release them.I would be so thrilled if anyone who is reading this had these 3 rare movies of Edith's!!!!!!!!! Well anyways, as I had mentioned in my other post, I do have OUTSIDE THESE WALLS and, it is from a 16MM print and I have had this for a number of years.Some years ago, I was on a mission to get all of jane Wither's child movies and, it was a thrill when i was able to get them and I was able to get , from her collection, the rare CAN THIS BE DIXIE (1936), as most copies of this title were really bad quality and I was able to get a real nice print of it.I hope one day, these rare movies, as well as many others I have not listed, can become available and, I hope also, that movies you always have wanted will become available!!I hate thinking these titles will only become available after I am gone from this

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Please excuse the way my posts look with all the text together,,,,, I have no idea why it looks this way as when I type, I leave plenty of spaces and all that and yet, it comes out all together. Anyone able to tell me what i need to do to make the posts look normal,with spaces and all?

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Hi CS,


I don't know much about your problem with text, but if you are using the "rich text" tab at the top of the message block try using "plain text". Or the other way if you use the "plain text" now. This site also seems to react very differently with different browsers.


BTW, I sent you a PM...

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In lieu of TIG today, here is a photo that's a little different.


It's a candid shot, the only one I've seen. I'm guessing the date to be 1941 or early pre-makeover 1942.


Can anyone identify the building?



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It's housekeeping time. I've decided to restart TODAY IN GINNY effective June 17. My son will be out of school and, with doctor's clearance, off on his summer job. That also gives me one entire month of TIGs (May 18-June 16) to salute next year.


TIG will continue after we pass the year mark, but it will change to an undetermined format which isn't quite so labor intensive for me.


Even more importantly, it will lessen the strain on my staff. The dedicated one, the daydreaming one, the one who selects the photos, even the hair twirling, goofy one will all benefit from the change.




The only one I'm not sure about is the kid in the mailroom with the yo-yo...

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8My VWRS co-manager (and my personal choice to co-host The Essentials) Danny Miller recently visited the Academy library and came up with a few finds. Here's what he posted:


Here's Ginny at the age of one with her mother, Margaret, who was very involved (obviously) with her children's careers. From an early press release: This mother who has trained Virginia and her five other children until they have become known in Hollywood as screendom's most successful large acting family has developed an entire philosophy of teaching children to act. "If you do more than briefly discuss a part with a child, you give them your own adult idea of the part," the mother declared. "A child's whole charm is her naturalness. When this is trained out of them, the child becomes merely a mimic of its grownup teacher--and what is generally called 'cute enough to be killed.' I have found that children have more sense than we parents usually give them credit for. It is usually our own stupidity if a child does not understand us. We take too much for granted in working with a child. You must assume that they know nothing that you know--that you must start from rock-firm foundation in teaching them anything. All I do with Virginia is talk with her. I ask her opinion of a little girl such as she is to play, as we did with Europena in 'Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.' First, I have her tell about little girls she knows like the character. Then I give her my opinion and philosophy of such a little girl. Children have so much more imagination than a grownup that they can almost visualize their screen character from a story told them. Once I have gotten Virginia to see this little girl in her mind's eye, I have finished my job." Go, Margaret! I wonder if the "cute enough to be killed" comment was a veiled reference to anyone we know...



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On Memorial Day, the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society remembers child actor Jimmy Butler. Jimmy appeared in two films with Ginny, MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH and LADDIE.


He died in battle in France on February 18, 1945, two days short of his 24th birthday.




Edited by: ginnyfan on May 27, 2013 7:44 PM

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HI Ginnyfan. I try to keep up with your thread as I'm able. You really do a great job here. Keep up the good work! I wanted to thank you for remembering Jimmy Butler. I don't think many do. I had been in touch with his son, but before I was able to send him some of his Dad's films, we lost touch. Anyway, thanks again for remembering him.

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Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.


Jimmy bothers me because we remember the stars who came back and have forgotten a pretty successful working actor who gave the ultimate.


I'm going to assume that you were in touch with Jerry. Jimmy Jr. apparently died before his mother did according to her 2007 obituary.

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Memorial Day got me looking into Virginia's USO work once more. She made camp visits, appeared on Army radio broadcasts, did what small things she could.


I contacted Art Williams, a man who is building the historical record for Camp Reynolds in Mercer County PA concerning a visit Ginny made there with June Preisser in August 1943.


In addition to the information I requested, which I'll post later, he also sent the movie listing for the post for the week of September 9, 1943.


How many of these have you seen?



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> {quote:title=deadendkid wrote:}{quote}Yes! It was Jerry. Would you know if he's still out there?

I'm afraid I don't. My only source on the story was his mother's 2007 obituary, so I know he was still around then.

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My search led to a letter to June Lockhart, who played Virginia's older sister in ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO.


Imagine my surprise Thursday afternoon when I picked up the phone and the voice on the other end said, "Hi Pete, this is June Lockhart."


I fear my post about her might be a bit too long for this forum, so I'm going to ask that you go to the blog I just posted at the Classic Film Union to read the details.





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I wanted to compare last summer's Weidler movie offerings with this year's.


Last year, right when I was starting my Facebook page, TCM started what I called "TCM's SUMMER OF GINNY!!!" (All Rights Reserved). TCM didn't officially acknowledge this huge event, they made me promote it all by myself. So I did. Constantly. To many people's annoyance.


Anyway, there is a small amount of difference between last year's SOG schedule and this year's.







2012 SUMMER OF GINNY!!! Schedule



July 3-This Time For Keeps 2:15PM (ET)



July 27-Bad Little Angel 12:30PM (ET)



July 27-I'll Wait for You 3:30PM (ET)



Aug. 6-The Outcasts of Poker Flat 6:00AM (ET)



Aug. 30-The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt 2:40AM (ET)



Sept. 6-The Affairs of Martha 6:30AM (ET)



Sept. 11-Too Hot to Handle 3:15PM (ET)









2013 (whisper) summer of ginny (/whisper) schedule



July 13-The Women



July 31-The Women



Aug 4-The Women



Aug 25-Too Hot To Handle (Ginny has about three minutes of screen time.)



So last year she had one true lead, one supporting role where her subplot was better than the main plot, four strong supporting roles including a pivotal one in OOPF, and TOO HOT TO HANDLE's cameo. Admittedly, I got lucky in that just the right number of Ginny's co-stars-including a dog-got honored last year to result in such a busy schedule.



This year's schedule is so bad it makes me want to lock the bathroom door and cry...




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  • 2 weeks later...

Over the last month, I've probably missed about 120 birthdays of potential TIGers. In case anyone doesn't remember, TIGers are our honorees for TODAY IN GINNY, a silly effort on my part to honor the big and small who were connected to our gal and her career.


So we don't miss even more, let's start the new and improved-actually it's just the same-TODAY IN GINNY for Monday!


Reginald Barlow (1866) was a non-star of stage and screen. He got his start in the business when he was added to his father's minstrel act as a child-I'm picturing Mickey Rooney. Although American, he was also a hero in the Second Boer War while serving for Canada, then served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War and World War I. In later years, he was a member of American Legion Hollywood Post 43, a group that apparently was used as extras quite often in the 1920s and 30s. His connection to Ginny is that he played a German officer in STAMBOUL QUEST. The photo here is of Barlow in my favorite of his roles, that of the outgoing College President in HORSE FEATHERS.


London born Flora Finch (1867) appeared in just shy of 300 films. Most of her success was in the silent era when teamed with actor John Bunny, a guy she apparently hated. In 1917 she made a series of "Flora" shorts, such as FLORA, THE DRESS MAKER and FLORA, THE INTERNATIONAL SPY. Her final role was as "Woman Window Tapper" in THE WOMEN. You'll get several chances to see Flora in action this summer, but ginnyfan isn't bitter.


Russell Simpson (1877) was kind enough to appear in one of our TIG teasers this weekend. With 240 titles on IMDb, he built up an impressive run of sheriffs and judges. Most known for playing Pa Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, he appeared in two films with Virginia Weidler. He was Bascomb Rogers in GIRL OF THE OZARKS and the Village Marshal in MAID OF SALEM.


C. Henry Gordon (1884) played bad guys. Lots of bad guys. His biggest role was probably as the murderous Surat Khan in THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE. He, too, hit Ginnydom twice; playing Ali Bey in STAMBOUL QUEST (see photo) and Gordoni in THE BIG BROADCAST of 1936. I'm guessing that Gordoni wasn't quite as murderous as Surat Khan.


GB Stern (1890) was a British author. One of her novels, The Ugly Dachshund was later a Walt Disney hit. LONG LOST FATHER was based on one of her novels. I wonder if Ginny's role of Girl on Pier appeared in the book?


Frank Sully (1908) was a Policeman at Parade in THE GREAT MAN VOTES. Best known to you serious movie fans as Noah in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, he's best known to ginnyfan as Sgt. Matthews in the BOSTON **** series of films. Regularly employed in the 1930s and 40s, he became even busier on 1950s television.


Our Oscar winner today is editor Ralph E. Winters (1908). He won two of them. One for KING SOLOMON'S MINES and the other for BEN HUR. He somehow got passed over for his work on THE AFFAIRS OF MARTHA. I'm sure it was simply an oversight.




Now the correction. After I posted this to Facebook, VWRS member Danny asked if I found a Ginny-Ralph Bellamy connection and I had not. I was wrong.


I just double checked and Ginny was an uncredited "Little Girl" in the Warner Baxter film, SURRENDER in 1931. She was only four. This was at Fox and after the MOBY DICK incident, so the story that she didn't work after MOBY until AFTER TONIGHT in 1933 is also a publicist's fiction. Ralph Bellamy was Captain Ebbing in the film and like most of his work as a young man, he is the "other man".


Officially, this film is Virginia's debut.



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TODAY IN GINNY we have five birthdays and I only managed to sneak Ginny into one photo.


Ernie Adams (1885) was in over 440 films between 1919 and 1948. He doesn't seem to have a type he was stuck in; he played a little of everything. He was even an expectant father in CASANOVA BROWN, made when he was almost sixty. He played Ed in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, which mean I now have to pay attention the next time it's on. He was the Passenger Buying Maple Sugar in YOUNG TOM EDISON.


Henry Wadsworth (1897) had a pretty short career. He was Lt. Pettis in WEST POINT OF THE AIR, Tommy in THE THIN MAN (see photo), and Chester Wylie in EVELYN PRENTICE. He was also Smiley in THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1936.


Playwright Philip Barry (1996) wrote THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, which was later adapted to the screen as a vehicle for Virginia Weidler. At least that's my point of view. He also wrote HOLIDAY, which was made into movies twice in eight years. The second, with Weidler supporting players Hepburn and Grant, is remembered. The first, with Ann Harding and Robert Ames, not so much.


Actor Art Mix (1896) actually inherited his name. Born George Washington Kesterson, he inherited Art Mix from Victor Adamson, who hired Kesterson to be Art Mix after he, who had used to monicker, moved behind the camera. Mix started as a silent hero, then became a professional henchman in westerns as he got older. Between being George and being Art, he appeared in over 200 films in about twenty years. He was a ranch hand in the comic western HENRY GOES ARIZONA.


Wallace Reid Jr. (1917) was the son of actor Wallace Reid (the screen's most perfect lover) and actress/screenwriter/director/producer Dorothy Davenport. He only appeared in twelve films and one of them was as Matt Sullivan in GOLD RUSH MAISIE. He donated his papers to the Dorothy Merrick Library, if anyone wants to dig though them. Viewed by appointment only.



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