Torchy Blane was a girl reporter in a 1930's movie series. Jerry Siegel, who created Lois Lane and Superman with illustrator Joe Shuster, was so smitten with Torchy’s feisty charms that she became a model for Lois’ rough-and-tumble, no-nonsense attitude. He said as much in a letter to Time magazine that was meant to give credit where credit was due.
During the pre-war period, the job of newspaper reporter was one of the few movie role models that portrayed intelligent, career-oriented women. Of these role models, Torchy Blane was perhaps the best known. The typical plot has the resilient, very-fast-talking Torchy solving the crime before her less-than-perceptive beau, the loud mouthed police detective Steve McBride.
Torchy was loosely based on the male character Kennedy in the MacBride and Kennedy stories by Louis Frederick Nebel, although Torchy was more compatible with the Hays code than the drunkard Kennedy.
In all but two of the films, Torchy Blane was played by Glenda Farrell, and Steve McBride by Barton MacLane.
Lola Lane played Torchy in Torchy Blane in Panama with Paul Kelly as McBride. Torchy Blane was Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel's inspiration for the personality of the character of Lois Lane. Siegel based Lois Lane's name on Torchy actress Lola Lane.
In the final film of the series, Torchy Plays with Dynamite, Jane Wyman was Torchy, and Allen Jenkins Lt. Steve McBride.
The character of Torchy Blane appeared in the following Warner Brothers and First National films:
|Released||Film title||Run time||Starring as|
|Torchy Blane||Steve McBride|
|1937||Smart Blonde||59 min||Glenda Farrell||Barton MacLane|
|Fly-Away Baby||60 min|
|The Adventurous Blonde||61 min|
|1938||Blondes At Work||63 min|
|Torchy Blane in Panama||59 min||Lola Lane||Paul Kelly|
|Torchy Gets Her Man||63 min||Glenda Farrell||Barton MacLane|
|1939||Torchy Blane in Chinatown||58 min|
|Torchy Runs for Mayor||60 min|
|Torchy Blane ... Playing with Dynamite||59 min||Jane Wyman||Allen Jenkins|
- ^ Letters to the Editor, Time magazine (May 30, 1988), pp. 6-7.
- Smart Blonde (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- Fly-Away Baby (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- The Adventurous Blonde (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- Blondes at Work (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane in Panama (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Gets Her Man (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Thrilling detective
As of 2009, Turner Classic Movies have made a number of original trailers freely available online at their web site.
Also on wikipedia, under "Cultural References" on the "Lane Sisters" entry:
Lois Lane, Superman's girlfriend, was named after Lola Lane, who played "Torchy Blane" a fictional reporter who inspired Lois' character, in one of the 1930s films ( Footnote: Letters to the Editor, Time magazine (May 30, 1988), pp. 6-7. ) This presumably is the letter by Jerry Siegel that is mentioned above.
Lola Lane later married Roland West, who had been the partner of Thelma Todd in her sidewalk cafe and continued to operate it after her death. After his death in 1952, Lola Lane became the owner of the sidewalk cafe.
Discussion of origins of Lois Lane:
MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM on wikipedia:
Lane Sisters at wikipedia:
Priscilla Lane fan club:
My fan club for Noel Neill: