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ginnyfan

In search of...Virginia Weidler

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We have conflicting newspaper accounts of Virginia's departure in 1943. Virginia leaked to the gossip columns that she wasn't returning to MGM in early October, making it sound as her choice. As we've discussed here and at the Society previously, she and MGM had been selectively leaking things to help their position all that summer.

 

Here's the conflict, last night Danny Miller found a clipping from late October stating that MGM had terminated her so they wouldn't have to pay her top dollar for supporting roles. It cited that they didn't have enough lead scripts for a sixteen year old and the writer actually bemoaned that it was shortsighted of the studio to let her go when she could get some of her most valuable training. The whole thing very much supported your contention about the contract pricing her out of the market.

 

That all makes sense and would be consistent with what we already know...except there is another item published in February 1944 in which the studio announces that she's under contract but 'shelved' and would not be assigned work for the duration. It cites war staffing shortages as the excuse for no Weidler scripts. They claimed that she was somehow difficult to write for. A later August 1944 item supports this one. In it we are told she negotiated the right to play night clubs from "her studio". Apparently her original contract allowed her to play the stage, but not clubs.

 

I'm guessing the 'shelved' situation would indicate she had a contract that paid far less, or nothing, if she wasn't working. Otherwise, dropping her would be the smarter business decision once you've decided not to use her...unless the studio was also attempting to punish her for some reason.

 

So did MGM ever actually release her? We know she tested for PIERCE in fall of 1944. I guess it could be that MGM told her if she could find other work that they'd loan her out (for a price, of course.) Or did they release her prior to the test?

 

In 1945, she went to New York to live and find stage work. She was cast in one musical that never opened, then wound up in a play working FOR MGM. They owned THE RICH FULL LIFE and wanted to test the material. She did that role, later played by Elizabeth Taylor in CYNTHIA, and the play closed about a week before HER SEVEN YEAR CONTRACT FROM 1938 ran out. Is that a coincidence, or did she wind up working on Broadway for MGM because she had to?

 

BTW, I'm pretty sure she had gotten a new contract after THE PHILADELPHIA STORY and I don't know if it increased the length of the deal or just the money amounts.

 

A lot of this post is ground I've covered here before. The conflict about whether MGM actually ever released her (October 1943 statement v. February 1944 statement) is new.

 

The conflicting statements about Weidler's contract towards the end might have been face-saving efforts on her part, or of the studio on her behalf. This way, the finality of her being dropped (if that is what happened) is muted. As for reasons for being dropped, she must've found herself running up the studio roster of hopeful ingenues, and with the now seemingly muddled timeline, it is possible that one young teenage girl, the aforementioned Elizabeth Taylor, could have been inadvertent competition in 1944, a breathtaking young teen seemingly more beautiful and physically maturing by the week.

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Seven year contract had options, every six months or every year, in which the studio would decide whether to pick up the option to continue to use a player (note: the player did not have this option). When the studio picked up (renewed) the option, there would usually be a preset salary increase. A player could be dropped at.any time, when the studio decided not to pick up the next option.

 

Sometimes, when a player had a breakout hit, or some other obvious increase in popularity, their agent could renegotiate the contract, increasing the salary to be more in line with the player's newfound status or drawing power. However, the lenght of the contract remained the same as before, just with higher salary increases at the time of each successive option.

Incidentally they still use this contract system in daytime television. On soaps, they have 13-week cycles and for the more established stars, 26-week cycles. So even though they sign two-year or three-year contracts, they can actually be dropped at the end of any cycle. The actor, however, is locked in for the duration of the contract. So if they become very popular and want to jump to primetime or the movies, they may be prevented from doing so right away.

 

Also, on soaps, they have a guaranteed number of appearances (episodes). Not sure if the old studio movie system had that, where they were guaranteed a certain number of roles. But in daytime television let's say it's a 13-week cycle and the star is guaranteed 2 episodes per week-- they are guaranteed a salary of 26 episodes whether or not they appear that many times on screen. If they exceed the guaranteed number, like if they were written into 27 episodes they get paid for the extra episode. If they appeared in less than the guaranteed number of episodes, they still get paid for all 26 episodes. Flashbacks and photo images count as appearances, even if they are not on set working during the production of a given episode. The guarantees are an interesting aspect of the business. When I worked on General Hospital, we had a long-time actress who was fired when a new writing team took over. She had just started a 26-week cycle and she was written out after the second week. They still had to pay her for the next 24 weeks for all those guaranteed episodes, even though her character was gone and she would never be back in the studio working again. I remember having to mail her check to her agent (in the days before direct deposits were commonplace). 

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My feeling is MGM did fire her. And Mayer fired a lot of well-known stars he felt had run their course at the studio. His successors continued the 'tradition.' They fired Clark Gable in 1953 and they fired Robert Taylor in 1958. These people did not retire, they were in effect retired by the studio. A lot of it is quietly done, but if the star and his or her agent feels they can get work freelancing or signing a new contract with a poverty row studio they will try to downplay the firing and start playing up other things by planting these publicity stories in the papers. 

 

I doubt Virginia was punished for anything the way other stars were, because her behavior by most accounts does not seem to have caused the front office any grief. Unless her mother was a you-know-what behind the scenes, and this was done to punish a stage mother. But I don't think so. And I don't think she stayed on contract at a reduced rate-- unless you are suggesting she was suspended, but there isn't any evidence of that, is there? It probably is as you said, that she was too expensive to be used as a supporting player. Plus, remember they now had Margaret O'Brien who was very successful in JOURNEY FOR MARGARET in '43-- so why not focus on building up a much cheaper newcomer child star and let Virginia go. It was a business decision.

 

She probably was done at Metro when she tested for MILDRED, and that may have come about because Crawford suggested her to the director (Crawford had recently been let go by MGM and could empathize). I am sure if Crawford was not on board with the idea of working with Virginia again, that screen test would not even have happened.

 

The business with the stage play is probably because while she was no longer being used by MGM on screen but they called her back to work on a side project. They would have had no intention to feature her in CYNTHIA but to use her to work out the bugs with original story, so it could be readied as a vehicle for a new starlet (in this case, Liz). Her mother may have pushed Virginia to do this, thinking it would put them back in Mayer's good graces and get a last minute reprieve and a new deal. 

 

A lot of these stars were naive about the life span of careers at major studios. Ann Sothern jokingly said she thought she would work at MGM forever and there would be no end to all the money. But nobody works at a studio forever, unless they can become multi-purpose. Julie Adams at Universal is one of the rare examples of this. They used her for leads in the 50s and early 60s, then they put her in supporting roles in the 60s, then they used her as a special guest on TV shows in the late 60s all the way into the 80s. She had rarified status. It didn't hurt that her husband Ray Danton became an important director of episodic TV at Universal. Even after their divorce, Danton was still directing Adams in episodes of shows like Quincy, and in the 80s after Danton's career started to wind down, Universal was still using Adams in recurring roles on shows like Murder, She Wrote. I mean, wow, when you think about it, Julie Adams was a Universal company girl all the way through for forty years. That is unheard of in Hollywood, especially with women who reach a certain age. Universal also had a similar arrangement with John McIntire and his wife Jeanette Nolan. And of course, they also had a long-term association with Rock Hudson. These people were never not working for the studio. 

 

Personally, I think Universal treated its stars the best of all the studios. There was loyalty there. That kind of loyalty did not really exist anywhere else, not even at MGM. As soon as someone was seen as waning in popularity with audiences and not worth the salary (in Mayer's eyes or Schary's eyes), MGM showed them the door. The Weidlers were caught up in that type of studio politicking. And Virginia's career was a casualty, like so many others before and since.

MGM did not fire Clark Gable per se. In the early 50s, as his once surefire boxoffice grew unsteady (as did that of almost every veteran player st this time), Gable heard that the studio would drop him after the upcoming end of his contract. However, right before that, he had a collosal hit with MOGAMBO,.and the studio reconsidered. Unfortunately, the angry and hurt Gable had his lawyers get the studio to agree to fabulous terms for a new contract, and although they did, he refused to sign again with them. He had a successful freelancing.career, doing multi-pic deals with Fox, Paramount, etc.

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Incidentally they still use this contract system in daytime television. On soaps, they have 13-week cycles and for the more established stars, 26-week cycles. So even though they sign two-year or three-year contracts, they can actually be dropped at the end of any cycle. The actor, however, is locked in for the duration of the contract. So if they become very popular and want to jump to primetime or the movies, they may be prevented from doing so right away.

 

Also, on soaps, they have a guaranteed number of appearances (episodes). Not sure if the old studio movie system had that, where they were guaranteed a certain number of roles. But in daytime television let's say it's a 13-week cycle and the star is guaranteed 2 episodes per week-- they are guaranteed a salary of 26 episodes whether or not they appear that many times on screen. If they exceed the guaranteed number, like if they were written into 27 episodes they get paid for the extra episode. If they appeared in less than the guaranteed number of episodes, they still get paid for all 26 episodes. Flashbacks and photo images count as appearances, even if they are not on set working during the production of a given episode. The guarantees are an interesting aspect of the business. When I worked on General Hospital, we had a long-time actress who was fired when a new writing team took over. She had just started a 26-week cycle and she was written out after the second week. They still had to pay her for the next 24 weeks for all those guaranteed episodes, even though her character was gone and she would never be back in the studio working again. I remember having to mail her check to her agent (in the days before direct deposits were commonplace).

 

Some contracts, usually star contracts, would specify the star would have to appear in say, two, three, four films per year. With your earlier example of Durante doing six films instead of the contracted seven, it could be that the studio found that his boxoffice draw was not commensurate with his salary, and the studio might've decided it was more financially expedient to pay him off, instead of doing the last film.

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MGM did not fire Clark Gable per se. In the early 50s, as his once surefire boxoffice grew unsteady (as did that of almost every veteran player st this time), Gable heard that the studio would drop him after the upcoming end of his contract. However, right before that, he had a collosal hit with MOGAMBO,.and the studio reconsidered. Unfortunately, the angry and hurt Gable had his lawyers get the studio to agree to fabulous terms for a new contract, and although they did, he refused to sign again with them. He had a successful freelancing.career, doing multi-pic deals with Fox, Paramount, etc.

This matches with what I was saying. MGM retained stars if they felt they were of continuing value and worth the expense. But if the studio felt the star was outliving his or her usefulness, then they didn't hesitate to drop them-- no matter how many hits they had had in the past. This happened to Lana Turner as well in the mid-50s-- who also went on to have a successful freelancing career post-MGM.

 

MGM's corporate structure was not loyal to the stars that had put the studio on the map and kept it on the map. it was all about budget and not really trying to find multiple new uses for the stars, like Universal did. 

 

Almost every MGM star was fired eventually, unless like Harlow they happened to die in the middle of a hot streak. 

 

This is why we have stars with films at so many studios (not pertaining to loan outs). It was common practice for household names to get fired and then jump to new deals at other studios, including the poverty row companies. Today we say the word 'fired' as if it has a derogatory meaning, but in the studio days of Hollywood, it was a "normal" operating practice of the industry. Even Marilyn Monroe was fired from Fox (more than once I think, for various reasons-- it doesn't matter if she was hired back-- the point is that she was still fired, too). It happened often. But not as often at Universal.

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This matches with what I was saying. MGM retained stars if they felt they were of continuing value and worth the expense. But if the studio felt the star was outliving his or her usefulness, then they didn't hesitate to drop them-- no matter how many hits they had had in the past. This happened to Lana Turner as well in the mid-50s-- who also went on to have a successful freelancing career post-MGM.

 

MGM's corporate structure was not loyal to the stars that had put the studio on the map and kept it on the map. it was all about budget and not really trying to find multiple new uses for the stars, like Universal did. 

 

Almost every MGM star was fired eventually, unless like Harlow they happened to die in the middle of a hot streak. 

 

This is why we have stars with films at so many studios (not pertaining to loan outs). It was common practice for household names to get fired and then jump to new deals at other studios, including the poverty row companies. Today we say the word 'fired' as if it has a derogatory meaning, but in the studio days of Hollywood, it was a "normal" operating practice of the industry. Even Marilyn Monroe was fired from Fox (more than once I think, for various reasons-- it doesn't matter if she was hired back-- the point is that she was still fired, too). It happened often. But not as often at Universal.

The turbulent world of the1950s movie business, with ever-shrinking audiences and moneymaking hits, had all the studios panic and go through successive waves of letting go of many of their stars, from the late 40s onward. MGM was a.totally different place after around 1955 than it had been in the early 50s, as their stalwarts from the 1930s and/or 1940s were dropped by then.

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The turbulent world of the1950s movie business, with ever-shrinking audiences and moneymaking hits, had all the studios panic and go through successive waves of letting go of many of their stars, from the late 40s onward. MGM was a.totally different place after around 1955 than it had been in the early 50s, as their stalwarts from the 1930s and/or 1940s were dropped by then.

Yes, but MGM was making mistakes. They didn't think to transition some of these household names to television, like Universal did. And MGM had several hit shows in the 50s and 60s, like Rawhide. Someone like Walter Pidgeon or even younger contractees like Anne Francis could have been used more in weekly shows. But MGM's business model was to cut the big names loose and recruit more inexpensive talent. Television is not solely the blame-- and as people like Walt Disney proved, television could be used to support feature filmmaking. MGM was stumbling at this point.

 

And they could have brought people like Virginia Weidler back to use in their television shows-- people who hadn't been seen on screen in a while but were proven to be popular with audiences and could be used for guest-starring roles or recurring character parts. But MGM wasn't very loyal to its roster of talent that it had deemed passé.

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Yes, but MGM was making mistakes. They didn't think to transition some of these household names to television, like Universal did. And MGM had several hit shows in the 50s and 60s, like Rawhide. Someone like Walter Pidgeon or even younger contractees like Anne Francis could have been used more in weekly shows. But MGM's business model was to cut the big names loose and recruit more inexpensive talent. Television is not solely the blame-- and as people like Walt Disney proved, television could be used to support feature filmmaking. MGM was stumbling at this point.

 

And they could have brought people like Virginia Weidler back to use in their television shows-- people who hadn't been seen on screen in a while but were proven to be popular with audiences and could be used for guest-starring roles or recurring character parts. But MGM wasn't very loyal to its roster of talent that it had deemed passé.

This really isn't a comment solely on this post but on the last several, all of which I agree with. I still wish I could find the actual proof of when the Weidler contract was cancelled so I'd know for sure about all this weird shelved stuff. One of the reasons I've researched all this is because over the years the name "Virginia Weidler" has become synonymous with failure and I don't think it is fair. Yes, she was a victim of the system and even a little bit the victim of her own ambitions, ones that did not match Hollywood's expectations for her. That doesn't make her a failure. I was pleased that Ben M. didn't fall back on any of the failure to transition/awkward age talk that had been used to describe her in the past. I prefer the thought that both she and they made business decisions, none of which worked to the benefit of the career of one Virginia Weidler, although I'm sure she thought leaving MGM for the stage would be a temporary thing.

 

It would have been wonderful to see Virginia as a 30 year old or so on TV, but by that time she had given up all of show business for her husband's military career.

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This really isn't a comment solely on this post but on the last several, all of which I agree with. I still wish I could find the actual proof of when the Weidler contract was cancelled so I'd know for sure about all this weird shelved stuff. One of the reasons I've researched all this is because over the years the name "Virginia Weidler" has become synonymous with failure and I don't think it is fair. Yes, she was a victim of the system and even a little bit the victim of her own ambitions, ones that did not match Hollywood's expectations for her. That doesn't make her a failure. I was pleased that Ben M. didn't fall back on any of the failure to transition/awkward age talk that had been used to describe her in the past. I prefer the thought that both she and they made business decisions, none of which worked to the benefit of the career of one Virginia Weidler, although I'm sure she thought leaving MGM for the stage would be a temporary thing.

 

It would have been wonderful to see Virginia as a 30 year old or so on TV, but by that time she had given up all of show business for her husband's military career.

But many of them (mostly the women) who retired from the screen to focus on their marriages and their children would be enticed to do special roles in TV movies or television series if it was a program that meant something to them personally, or gave them the chance to reunite with a favorite costar or director. And in rare cases, they would agree to one-shot returns on the big screen. So it is not out of the realm of possibility for someone like Virginia to turn up occasionally. In her case, it wasn't in the cards and that's kind of sad because I'm sure she still had a lot to give audiences.

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I'd like to know when Virginia's disdain for Hollywood set in because she stayed in show business until at least 1952, when her San Diego TV show ended.

 

She spent most of the rest of the 1950s in Cuba where her husband was stationed. In 1959, someone wrote that she was uninterested in a comeback and that they were building their dream home in Brentwood. Then there seems to be silence until 1968.

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Top Billed reminded me that I haven't mentioned TCM'S SUMMER UNDER THE STARS recently. The Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society has been attempting to convince Turner Classic Movies to honor Virginia by showing her films one night in the month of August.

 

And, yes, I know she had a night last November; we are just striking while the iron is hot.

 

Here's the contact link:
http://support.tcm.com/ics/support/ticketnewwizard.asp?style=classic

 

You may also write or phone:

TCM Viewer Relations

1050 Techwood Drive NW

Atlanta, GA 30318

Phone: 404-885-5535

 

 

We think the TCM promo might look something like the simulation shown here!

 

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It's the 17th and we still have not found out the July schedule, which tells me they are not done finalizing selections. So maybe they do not have all the August slots filled yet either...

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But many of them (mostly the women) who retired from the screen to focus on their marriages and their children would be enticed to do special roles in TV movies or television series if it was a program that meant something to them personally, or gave them the chance to reunite with a favorite costar or director. And in rare cases, they would agree to one-shot returns on the big screen. So it is not out of the realm of possibility for someone like Virginia to turn up occasionally. In her case, it wasn't in the cards and that's kind of sad because I'm sure she still had a lot to give audiences.

Virginia Weidler seems to be like another former child star, Deanna Durbin, in being so thoroughly fed up with Hollywood that nothing could entice them to leave their comfortable private life. Great that they found the happiness and fulfillment with family that Tinseltown could never give. Good for them to so completely shun it once they turned their backs on it.

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Virginia Weidler seems to be like another former child star, Deanna Durbin, in being so thoroughly fed up with Hollywood that nothing could entice them to leave their comfortable private life. Great that they found the happiness and fulfillment with family that Tinseltown could never give. Good for them to so completely shun it once they turned their backs on it.

I agree there are some similarities in terms of how you phrased it. I wonder if Ginnyfan has ever looked at it that way...

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Virginia Weidler seems to be like another former child star, Deanna Durbin, in being so thoroughly fed up with Hollywood that nothing could entice them to leave their comfortable private life. Great that they found the happiness and fulfillment with family that Tinseltown could never give. Good for them to so completely shun it once they turned their backs on it.

 

Today is Anne Shirley's birthday and while she hung around into her thirties, she pretty much stopped acting after she found happiness in her third marriage. She still lived and socialized in Hollywood, but didn't work there.

 

Virginia still was a creature of Hollywood and Beverly Hills for the rest of her life once the family returned from their time in Cuba.

 

Anne later told people that she never really liked acting all that much, she mainly did it to please her mother. Virginia's mom put every kid in the family on stage and by the late 1930s Virginia was pretty much the family's sole support-Dad was working for Fox, but didn't live with the family anymore. So it may be that Virginia's reticence about Hollywood could be as much about her own discomfort with having had to work all those years as it was about that last fight with MGM.

 

On the other hand, she still did other show biz stuff for almost a decade after film, so it is hard to tell.   

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An Open Letter to Turner Classic Movies

Dear TCM,

You seem to be having trouble settling on a lineup for August’s SUMMER UNDER THE STARS. In past years, the August schedule would have been long published by May 27.

 

Since something is obviously troubling you, may I suggest a remedy?

 

Simply turn all 31 days over to the life and times of one Virginia Weidler, the braided brat, the feisty one.

 

You could get to every single one of her films several times over and show THE PHILADELPHIA STORY and THE WOMEN a good 15 times each.

 

You could even salute Friends of Ginny! (FOGs!) and co-stars of Ginny just to stretch things out.  

 

I personally would like a day of “Films That Would Have Been Better Had Virginia Weidler Been In Them.” That is almost an infinite list right there.

 

So think it over and we’ll be watching…and waiting.

 

Your pal,

ginnyfan

 

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Where have I been?

 

A Day At Home With Virginia Weidler was a syndicated photo piece which appeared in the Washington Post in 1940. I've seen clean copies of some of these, but the shots with her niece are new to me.

 

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Gee, every time I post here I'm shocked at the amount of time since my last post. 

 

Today was Virginia Weidler's birthday. As usual, The Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society watched Ginny films, ate cottage cheese, and had an all around good time.  The fact that there was a Ginny film on Watch TCM was a help to many members, I think.

 

The most important tradition, though, is the annual road trip taken by young Charlie Miller and his father Danny (of cinephiled.com) to a house in which Virginia lived. This year, they went to Virginia's last home, designed by her brother-in-law William Krisel, a very well known architect whose work is studied in classrooms today.

 

 

Here's Danny's account:

 

Every year my son Charlie and I go to one of Virginia Weidler's homes in and around Los Angeles to pay tribute to the actress on her birthday. Last year we visited the Eagle Rock home where the Weidlers lived when Virginia was born. This morning we went to what was Ginny's home for the final 10 years of her life. Designed and built in 1959 by master architect William Krisel for his brother and sister-in-law, Lionel and Virginia, this gorgeous Mid-Century Modern house in Brentwood is in pristine condition today, and in spectacular surroundings at the end of a Hollywood Hills cul-de-sac in the shadow of the $1.3 billion Getty Center (which opened in 1997). The Krisels sold this home in 1975, seven years after Ginny's passing. Charlie enjoyed his annual birthday cottage cheese (Virginia's favorite snack) before we left instead of during our visit (I was a little worried about any questions from the Brentwood Police!) and we also shared a piece of birthday cake in Virginia's honor at one of of our favorite breakfast spots. Here's to you, Ginny!  

 

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This is a repost because I stupidly broke a rule the first time.

 

First, I thank Top Billed for the wonderful interview in his thread and for thinking my project is worth talking about. Second, I want you to know that cinephiled.com's Danny Miller spent a day with classic child actor Marilyn Knowlden and when he puts up his entire article, I'll link to it.

 

Now for a big plan in which I need YOUR help. Virginia's 90th birthday takes place on March 21, 2017 and I think it is time that someone other than the poor little VWRS takes note of it. Of course, I will once again ask TCM to show a movie for her birthday and host the celebration myself if they don't come through. But that just isn't enough. We need something bigger.

 

That is why I took the initiative, on behalf of the Society, to write letters to two members of the Los Angeles City Council-Jose Huizar, who represents Eagle Rock and Mike Ronin, who represents Brentwood-to ask for some sort of proclamation from the city about Virginia on the 90th anniversary of her birth. I've also contacted a very helpful member of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council to see if they might assist. He asked for more information and said he needed to watch some of her films, a good sign.

 

Now this is where you come in. Do you live in Los Angeles? If so, how about writing a letter to your councilmember supporting this idea? You can mention the letters I've already written and ask them to help. I am attaching a copy of one of my letters so you know what I told the councilmembers.

 

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Don't live in Los Angeles? Wait until I've heard from either Mr. Huizar or Mr. Ronin before joining in with the City Council contact. I don't want them to feel overwhelmed. Instead, if you belong to a film society or organization, or maybe you write a film blog, would you consider talking this up a bit? The more allies we have, the better. It would be wonderful to see some Hollywood groups step up, but I admit to having no contacts there.

 

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Finally, try to picture Virginia up there accepting her award on her day! If we can do this, I'm sure she will be doing just that somewhere.

 

Feel free to help, but if not thank you for reading.

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Mickey on Ginny!

 

I was still trying in vain to get in touch with Mickey Rooney at the time of his death. Fortunately, he did talk about working with Virginia.  VWRS West Coast Chief Danny Miller looked over THE ESSENTIAL MICKEY ROONEY By James L. Neibaur yesterday.

 

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(DM) I was just doing some research on something else in the Academy library and while waiting for my files noticed this brand new book called “The Essential Mickey Rooney” by James L. Neibaur. Maybe we’ve seen these comments by Rooney before because I’m not sure when the interview took place but Mickey “remembered Virginia Weidler fondly” with the following words: “Virginia Weidler was terrific, always knowing her lines and she delivered these with perfect timing. She could play tough, but she was really a sweet, vulnerable girl. I remember she had to get a bit rough with me a few times on this picture ("Love Is a Headache”), and she had trouble doing it. I took her aside and said, ‘Don’t be afraid to hit me, Ginny, I can take it.’ She got over it, because she really got me good a few times!“ (Rooney laughs.)

 

In discussing the first Weidler-Rooney pairing, Neibaur says about Ginny, "While never reaching the height of stardom Rooney was to enjoy, before 1938 the young actress was popular enough to promote a line of chldren’s hats, each one bearing a label with her name and likeness." 

In discussing "Out West With the Hardys” later in the book, Rooney says, good-naturedly, “Ginny stole this picture from me like she did the other one!” 

 

And finally, in discussing “Babes on Broadway”, Neibaur writes the following (obviously getting some of the facts wrong): “Virginia Weidler plays a role that was originally intended for Shirley Temple…. Weidler was no longer the cute tomboy but an awkward adolescent, taller than Rooney and gangly in appearance. MGM was not interested in her type despite a good performance in this movie. She left MGM in 1943 and the movie industry not long afterward. Weidler, married, raised a family, and never spoke of her movie career or watched her old films on television. By the time she died in 1971 (it was actually 1968), she had been forgotten by the industry and received almost no attention in the press.”

 

 

 

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Thanks for sharing that information with us.

 

And congratulations on your thread hitting 10,000 views. You've done a lot in the past several years to promote an appreciation of Virginia Weidler's motion picture legacy.

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This is a repost because I stupidly broke a rule the first time.

 

First, I thank Top Billed for the wonderful interview in his thread and for thinking my project is worth talking about. Second, I want you to know that cinephiled.com's Danny Miller spent a day with classic child actor Marilyn Knowlden and when he puts up his entire article, I'll link to it.

 

Now for a big plan in which I need YOUR help. Virginia's 90th birthday takes place on March 21, 2017 and I think it is time that someone other than the poor little VWRS takes note of it. Of course, I will once again ask TCM to show a movie for her birthday and host the celebration myself if they don't come through. But that just isn't enough. We need something bigger.

 

That is why I took the initiative, on behalf of the Society, to write letters to two members of the Los Angeles City Council-Jose Huizar, who represents Eagle Rock and Mike Ronin, who represents Brentwood-to ask for some sort of proclamation from the city about Virginia on the 90th anniversary of her birth. I've also contacted a very helpful member of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council to see if they might assist. He asked for more information and said he needed to watch some of her films, a good sign.

 

Now this is where you come in. Do you live in Los Angeles? If so, how about writing a letter to your councilmember supporting this idea? You can mention the letters I've already written and ask them to help. I am attaching a copy of one of my letters so you know what I told the councilmembers.

 

attachicon.gifHuizar Ginny Day-1.jpg

 

Don't live in Los Angeles? Wait until I've heard from either Mr. Huizar or Mr. Ronin before joining in with the City Council contact. I don't want them to feel overwhelmed. Instead, if you belong to a film society or organization, or maybe you write a film blog, would you consider talking this up a bit? The more allies we have, the better. It would be wonderful to see some Hollywood groups step up, but I admit to having no contacts there.

 

13516306_895602447249832_611875450951705

 

Finally, try to picture Virginia up there accepting her award on her day! If we can do this, I'm sure she will be doing just that somewhere.

 

Feel free to help, but if not thank you for reading.

 

I wish I could help but I don't live in Los Angeles.

 

But I have always thought Virginia was marvelous and that she receives just accolades on her big day, and that TCM features her in some of her wonderful films.

 

I'm glad you are here to bring attention to her talent and contributions to the industry, GF!

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I wish I could help but I don't live in Los Angeles.

 

But I have always thought Virginia was marvelous and that she receives just accolades on her big day, and that TCM features her in some of her wonderful films.

 

I'm glad you are here to bring attention to her talent and contributions to the industry, GF!

Have you checked out GF's Facebook page..? Lots of interesting information every week!

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The story goes that Norman Taurog discovered Virginia when she was appearing in the play AUTUMN CROCUS at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. Virginia had already been in films, but the parts were all of the "seen and not heard" variety. Taurog then tested her for and cast her in MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH.

 

Paramount would sign her long term after that film.  

 

A Danny Miller find.

 

13692500_907205566089520_338612157286383 

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