Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rosina Lawrence Filmography


Actress (30 titles)
1939In the Country Fell a Star
Margaret, l'americana
1937Pick a Star
Cecilia Moore
1937Three Smart Boys (short)
Miss Lawrence, Teacher
1937Nobody's Baby
Yvonne Cortez
1937Way Out West
Mary Roberts
1937Hearts Are Thumps (short)
Miss Jones - the Teacher
1937Reunion in Rhythm (short)
Miss Jones, the teacher
1936Pan Handlers (short)
1936General Spanky
Louella Blanchard
1936Spooky Hooky (short)
Miss Jones
1936Mister Cinderella
Maizie Merriweather
1936Two Too Young (short)
The teacher
1936Bored of Education (short)
Miss Lawrence
1936Neighborhood House (short)
Rosina Chase
1936Arbor Day (short)
Miss Lawrence
1936On the Wrong Trek (short)
Mrs. Chase
1936The Great Ziegfeld
Sally Manners (uncredited)
1936Charlie Chan's Secret
Alice Lowell
1935Your Uncle Dudley
Ethel Church
1935Music Is Magic
Shirley De Valle
1935Welcome Home
Susan Adams
1935$10 Raise
Dorothy Converse
1932Disorderly Conduct
Bit Part (uncredited)
1932Dance Team
Bit Part (uncredited)
1931A Connecticut Yankee
Handmaiden (uncredited)
Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Soundtrack (5 titles)
1937Pick a Star(performer: "Pick A Star" 1937, "Without Your Love" 1937 - uncredited)
1937Nobody's Baby(performer: "I've Dreamed About This")
1937Way Out West(performer: "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" 1913 - uncredited, "I Want to Be in Dixie" 1912 - uncredited)
1936The Great Ziegfeld(performer: "Look for the Silver Lining" 1921 - uncredited)
1936The Bohemian Girl(performer: "I Dreamt I Dwelled in Marble Halls" 1844 - uncredited)
Archive Footage (3 titles)
1959Little Rascals Varieties
Miss Lawrence - The New Teacher
1955The Little Rascals (TV series)
MIss Lawrence/Miss Jones (1936-1937)



Monday, May 28, 2012

SODA SQUIRT ( Flip the Frog )

SODA SQUIRT is another cartoon from the early thirties with caricatures of many movie stars. It was also the last cartoon in the "Flip The Frog" series.

Flip the Frog

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fiddlesticks (1930)
Flip the Frog is an animated cartoon character created by American cartoonist Ub Iwerks. He starred in a series of cartoons produced by Celebrity Pictures and distributed through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1930 to 1933. The series had many recurring characters besides Flip, including Flip's dog, the mule Orace, and a dizzy neighborhood spinster.




Flip was created by Ub Iwerks, animator for the Walt Disney Studios and a personal friend of Walt Disney in 1930, at the Iwerks Studios. After a series of disputes between the two, Iwerks left Disney and went on to accept an offer from Pat Powers to open a cartoon studio of his own and receive a salary of $300 a week, an offer that Disney couldn't match at the time. Iwerks was to produce new cartoons under Powers's Celebrity Pictures auspices and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The first series he was to produce was to feature a character called Tony the Frog, but Iwerks disliked the name and it was subsequently changed to Flip.
Flip's debut short was Fiddlesticks (released on August 16, 1930). Although the short looks to be very much like one of Iwerks's Silly Symphony endeavors, it attracted public attention by being the first color sound cartoon ever produced. The short was produced in two-color Technicolor and is the only Flip cartoon known to have been processed in color. However, some evidence indicates that the second Flip short, Flying Fists, may have been produced in Technicolor as well, and some have speculated that the later Techno-Cracked (1933) may have been photographed in Cinecolor. The Cinecolor process was a new two-strip color process that came out in 1932 and was considered superior to the two-strip Technicolor process. Iwerks would go on to make extensive use of this process with his ComiColor Cartoon series.
Iwerks studio quickly began accumulating new talent, such as animators Fred Kopietz, Irv Spence, Grim Natwick, and Chuck Jones (who worked at the Iwerks studio as a cel-washer before going on to inbetweening and then animating at the Leon Schlesinger studio). After the first two cartoons, the appearance of Flip the Frog gradually became less froglike. This was done under the encouragement of MGM, who thought that the series would sell better if the character were more humanized. Flip's major redesign is attributed to Grim Natwick, who made a name for himself at the Fleischer Studios with the creation of Betty Boop. Natwick also had a hand in changing Flip's girlfriend. In earlier films, she was consistently a cat, but Natwick made Flip's new girlfriend, Fifi, a human who shared distinct similarities with Betty (even down to her spit curls).
The frog's personality also began to develop. As the series progressed, Flip became more of a down-and-out, Chaplin-esque character who always found himself in everyday conflicts surrounding the poverty-stricken atmosphere of the Great Depression. Owing to the influx of New York City animators to Iwerks's studio, such as Natwick, the shorts became increasingly risqué. In Room Runners (1932), Flip, out of cash and luck, attempts to sneak out of his hotel in order to avoid paying his past-due rent. Another gag has Flip watch a girl taking a shower through a keyhole. In The Office Boy, released the same year, Flip tries to secure a low-level office job and meets a shapely secretary. At one point in the short, a mischievous mouse that Flip tries to apprehend scoots up the secretary's skirt. In A Chinaman's Chance (1933), Flip and his dog track down the notorious Chinese criminal Chow Mein. While investigating in a Chinese laundry, Flip stumbles into an opium den, inhales the stuff via opium pipe, and begins hallucinating.
The character eventually wore out his welcome at MGM. His final short was Soda Squirt, released on October 12, 1933. Subsequently, Iwerks replaced the series with a new one starring an imaginative liar named Willie Whopper. Flip became largely forgotten by the public in the coming years. However, the character would make a small comeback when animation enthusiasts and historians began digging up the old Iwerks shorts. Most of the Flip cartoons are now available on DVD, in particular on the Cartoons That Time Forgot series.
A character resembling Flip can be seen in one of the pictures in R.K. Maroon's office in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

 Flip the Frog Annual

In 1932, a Flip The Frog Annual was issued in England by Dean & Son Ltd. Published "by exclusive arrangement with Ub Iwerks, The Originator of The Film Character, Flip The Frog", it was drawn by Wilfred Haughton, who also drew the early Mickey Mouse Annuals for Deans. The Annual only ran for one edition, based on Flip's ending in 1933 and the lack of success with it. The earlier, more froglike character was used rather than the later version. The book contains 11 full cartoon strip stories, 4 colour plates and other one-page items that are not derived from any of his cartoons. All the adventures take place outside, unlike the cartoons, and feature additional characters, including a fox, a policeman, a girlfriend (Flap), an Uncle Flop (mentioned only), and others not shown in the cartoon films.



FilmOriginal release dateAvailability
Fiddlesticks in Technicolor (2-strip)August 16, 1930Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
Flying Fists1September 6?
The Village BarberSeptember 27Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
Little Orphan WillieOctober 18Return of the 30's Characters
The Cuckoo Murder CaseOctober 18Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Puddle PranksDecemberCartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
1Surviving prints are black and white, but animation and design elements suggest the cartoon was originally painted and filmed in color, like its predecessor Fiddlesticks.


FilmOriginal release date
The Village SmittyJanuary 31, 1931Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
The Soup SongJanuary 31Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
Laughing GasMarch 14Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Ragtime RomeoMay 2Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The New CarJuly 25Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Movie MadAugust 29Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The Village SpecialistSeptember 12?
Jail BirdsSeptember 26?
Africa SqueaksOctober 17?
SpooksDecember 21Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2


FilmOriginal release date
The MilkmanFebruary 20, 1932Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Fire! Fire!March 5?
What a Life!March 26Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Puppy LoveApril 30?
School DaysMay 14Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The BullyJune 18Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The Office BoyJuly 16Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Room RunnersAugust 13Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Stormy SeasAugust 22Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
CircusAugust 27Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The Goal RushOctober 3Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
The Pony ExpressOctober 27?
The Music LessonOctober 29Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1
Nurse MaidNovember 26Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Funny FaceDecember 24Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2


FilmOriginal release date
Coo Coo the MagicianJanuary 21, 1933Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Flip's Lunch RoomApril 3?
Techno-Cracked 1May 8Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
BulloneyMay 30?
A Chinaman's ChanceJune 24Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
Pale-FaceAugust 12?
Soda SquirtOctober 12Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2
1 Filmed in two-strip Technicolor


27 of Flip's cartoons are included in the two DVD collections "Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1 and 2." Another early Flip short, "Little Orphan Willie", while not included on either of those DVDs, is included on the budget DVD collection "Return of the 30's Characters" from Thunderbean.
Further reading
  • Iwerks, Leslie and Kenworthy, John. (2001): The Hand Behind the Mouse. Disney Editions.
  • Maltin, Leonard (1987): Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. Penguin Books.
  • Lenburg, Jeff (1993): The Great Cartoon Directors. Da Capo Press.
  • Flip The Frog Annual (1932). Dean & Son, London.
  • Flip The Frog Monthly (1935). Nat & Co., London.

 See also

The Flip the Frog cartoons did have a recurring girl character, who varied somewhat from cartoon to cartoon, but generally resembled Betty Boop in appearence.



The regular girl character did not appear in SODA SQUIRT, which featured Mae West, along with Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, and Joe E. Brown, all of whom worked with Thelma Todd. It makes you wonder if they might have been thinking about Thelma Todd and then used Mae West in place of her.

Also appearing in this cartoon were John Barrymore as Rasputin and Fredric March as Mr. Hyde. All of these characters also appeared in Disney's MICKEY'S GALA PREMIERE, which was released the same year. Flip the Frog tended to be very similar to Mickey Mouse, not surprisingly as many of the other cartoon characters at the time tended to be like Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse was a smash hit and his cartoons were very popular at the time.

Watch SODA SQUIRT on youtube:

Ubbe Iwerks at "The Great Thirties":

Download SODA SQUIRT at the Internet Archive:

MICKEY'S GALA PREMIERE depicted some of the same movie stars:

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Producer: Hal Roach
Director: James W. Horne
Music: Leroy Shield (uncredited)
Cast: Charley Chase (Charley), Thelma Todd (Miss Todd), Anita Garvin (Miss Garvin), Dolores Brinkman (Miss Brinkman), Kay Deslys (Miss Deslys), Eddie Dunn (Ricketts, the Butler), Dell Henderson (Mr. Henderson), Carl Stockdale (Mr. Stockdale), Tenen Holtz (Mr. Holtz), Edward Dillon (Mr. Richmond, the Landlord).

The plot of this film involves Charley Chase hiring three "good-time girls" ( Thelma Todd, Anita Garvin, and Kay Deslys ) to help him secure a real estate deal by working their charms on three stuffy businessmen. The initially stuffy businessmen loosen up during the course of the party and start a seltzer water fight. A good time is had by all and Charley Chase manages to secure the deal by the fadeout.

Charlie Chase sings "Smile When The Raindrops Fall" in the film, which was written by Alice Keating Howlett and Will Livernash. The song became a sort of unofficial theme song for him and the title was later used by Andy Edmonds and Brian Anthony for their Charley Chase biography, which was published in 1998.

Watch WHISPERING WHOOPEE at youtube:

Download WHISPERING WHOOPEE at the Internet Archive:

SMILE WHEN THE RAINDROPS FALL by Brian Anthony and Andy Edmonds:

The World Of Charley Chase:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rosina Lawrence

Rosina Lawrence may be best known as "Our Gang's" schoolteacher

 and for working with Laurel and Hardy in WAY OUT WEST.

They also put her into what had been the Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly series towards the end, after Thelma Todd had been replaced by Lyda Roberti.

The most detailed account I have for the life of Rosina Lawrence is this obituary from THE INDEPENDENT:

Rosina Lawrence was an actress, singer and dancer in many films of the 1930s, primarily for Fox and Hal Roach studios.
Two of Roach's biggest names were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy: Lawrence gave her best-remembered performance, as the heroine, Mary Roberts, in Laurel and Hardy's 1937 vehicle Way Out West. This is the film where the comedians perform a duet to "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" with, at its conclusion, a gag in which Lawrence's soprano voice is dubbed over that of Stan Laurel. The recording was issued on disc in 1975 (reaching No 2 in the UK charts) but without label credit to Lawrence.Lawrence was born in Canada to British parents in 1912; her childhood was spent variously in Canada, Boston, Great Britain and Los Angeles, where her father, George F. Lawrence, worked as a builder of film sets. The young Rosina learnt dancing as part of a then revolutionary means of combating a leg injury. She performed in stage productions during school holidays, and then sought professional tuition, taking singing lessons and studying under the renowned Shakespearian actor Joseph DeGrasse.Lawrence made her film debut at the age of 10 in Lady of Quality (1923), starring Virginia Valli; subsequent stage musicals and vaudeville work led to a second screen role, in Angels of Broadway (1927). In addition to her dancing in the film, her hands were used to double in close-ups for those of the star, Leatrice Joy (the first of several such jobs Lawrence was to perform). Her other early films include Paramount on Parade (1930), Will Rogers's A Connecticut Yankee (1931), Dance Team (1932), with Sally Eilers, Disorderly Conduct (1932), with Spencer Tracy and Reckless (1935), starring Jean Harlow.During a return to vaudeville in 1934, Lawrence had met a father-and-daughter act called the Dancing Cansinos, the younger of whom became known later as Rita Hayworth. Both she and Lawrence were signed by Fox, where Lawrence appeared in five films: Ten Dollar Raise and Your Uncle Dudley (both 1935), with Edward Everett Horton; Welcome Home (1935); Music is Magic (1935), with Bebe Daniels and Alice Faye; and Charlie Chan's Secret (1936).Her career at Fox was terminated when the studio's merger with 20th Century ended all existing contracts. Her luck did not improve when, in 1936, MGM excised her two best production numbers from their overlong biopic The Great Ziegfeld. She may still be glimpsed in the final cut, as Sally Manners, the character based on the stage star Marilyn Miller.Her fortunes improved when, the same year, she was signed by the producer Hal Roach. Lawrence joined his "Our Gang" comedies (known later as "The Little Rascals") as the schoolteacher; she may be seen in several of these, including the series' only Oscar-winner, Bored of Education (1936), and the Gang's feature-length General Spanky (1936). Also at Roach, she appeared in Mr Cinderella (1936) with Jack Haley, and played the wife of the star comedian Charlie Chase in two 1936 shorts, Neighborhood House and On the Wrong Trek. She worked with Chase once more in the feature-length Kelly the Second (1936). The "Kelly" of the title was Patsy Kelly, with whom Lawrence also appeared in a short subject, Pan Handlers (1936), and the feature films Nobody's Baby (1936) and Pick a Star (1937, to which Laurel and Hardy contributed two guest sequences).In 1938, Roach sent her to Italy to star in a planned co- production of Rigoletto; when this fell through, a different Italian studio cast her as a visiting American girl in a 1939 film In Compagne e Caduta una Stella (released in the United States in 1947 as In the Country Fell a Star). On its completion, war broke out in Europe and she returned to the United States.Lawrence retired from show business on her marriage to a Brooklyn lawyer and judge, Juvenal Marchisio, with whom she had three children. Following her husband's death in 1973, she became one of the most sought-after guests of a world-wide society of Laurel and Hardy admirers, the Sons of the Desert. It was at one of their gatherings, in England during 1984, that she became close to John McCabe, an actor and college professor who is the authorised biographer of Laurel and Hardy. Lawrence married McCabe in New York in 1987.Rosina Lawrence never quite reached major stardom, despite her great beauty and considerable talents, both as a singer and dancer. It is possible that this gentle, soft-spoken woman lacked the aggression to promote herself fully within a notoriously hard-boiled industry. Her attitude was, however, sanguine: "It was all fun," she recalled in later years, "and I loved every minute of it."Rosina Lawrence, actress: born Westboro, Ontario 30 December 1912; married first Juvenal Marchisio (died 1973; one son, two daughters), 1987 John McCabe; died New York 23 June 1997.

                                                      *                         *                     *

Rosina Lawrence had dubbed in the songs for Jaqueline Wells in THE BOHEMIAN GIRL, which was Thelma Todd's last feature film appearance.

Jaqueline Wells

Jaqueline Wells was also considered for WAY OUT WEST, but eventually the part went to Rosina Lawrence. Again Rosina Lawrence dubbed in a singing voice, this time for Stan Laurel in one of the gags.

Hal Roach evidently expected big things for Rosina Lawrence. But somehow, she never became a big star.

With Frances Lee and Louise Green

Rosina Lawrence
second from left, with Frances Grant, Rita Hayworth, and Barbara Blane

03 Nov 1937, Los Angeles, California, USA — Original caption: Actress Celebrates “Discovery” At Soda Fountain. Anne Shirley (Mrs. John Payne), Carol Stone, Rosina Lawrence, Lana Turner, Vicki Lester and Natalie Draper (Mrs. Tom Brown) are pictured (left to right) as they sipped a “pumpkin soda” at the party given by Miss Turner in the Hollywood, California, soda fountain where she was “discovered” and given a movie contract a year ago. Miss Turner was sitting in the same spot when she was approached with film offer.
Anne Shirley, Carol Stone, Rosina Lawrence, Lana Turner, Vicki Lester and Natalie Draper drink soda out of a pumpkin.

WAY OUT WEST, foreign poster.

PICK A STAR, foreign poster.

Rosina Lawrence's last film, made in Italy.
In 1979, Rosina Lawrence attended a Sons of the Desert meeting and was photographed with Anita Garvin and Red Stanley ( Garvin's husband ).


Watch Rosina Lawrence in a Charlie Chan movie

THE BOHEMIAN GIRL - Jacqueline Wells' singing voice was dubbed by Rosina Lawrence.

Bill Capello's Blog:

Interview with Rosina Lawrence:

Interviews with Rosina Lawrence:

Remembering Rosina Lawrence ( WAY OUT WEST site ):

WAY OUT WEST ( movie ) :

Our Gang Follies ( Fan Club ):

Laurel and Hardy Discussion Group:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Zasu Pitts

Zasu Pitts was teamed with Thelma Todd by Hal Roach in an attempt to come up with a distaff version of   the team of Laurel and Hardy.

ZaSu Pitts
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ZaSu Pitts

Pitts in trailer for the film Tish (1942)
BornJanuary 3, 1894(1894-01-03)
Parsons, Kansas
DiedJune 7, 1963(1963-06-07) (aged 69)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Years active1917-1963
SpouseTom Gallery
(m.1920-1933; divorced)
John E. Woodall
(m.1933-1963; her death)
ZaSu Pitts (play /ˈsz ˈpɪts/;[1] January 3, 1894 – June 7, 1963)[2] was an American actress who starred in many silent dramas and comedies, transitioning to comedy sound films.


 Early life

ZaSu Pitts was born in Parsons, Kansas, to Rulandus and Nellie (née Shay) Pitts; she was the third of four children. Her father, who had lost a leg while serving in the 76th New York Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born.[3]
The names of her father's sisters, Eliza and Susan, became the basis for ZaSu's unique first name, which has been (incorrectly) spelled as Zazu Pitts in many film credits and articles. Though the name is commonly mispronounced /ˈzæz/ ZAZ-oo or /ˈzs/ ZAY-soo, or /ˈzz/ ZAY-zoo, in her 1963 book Candy Hits (p. 15),[citation needed] Pitts herself gives the correct pronunciation as "Say Zoo" (/ˈsz/), recounting that Mary Pickford predicted, "[M]any will mispronounce it," and adding, "How right [she] was."
In 1903, when she was nine years old, the family moved to Santa Cruz, California, seeking a warmer climate and better job opportunities. Her childhood home at 208 Lincoln Street still stands. She attended Santa Cruz High School, where she participated in school theatricals.[4]


Pitts made her stage debut in 1914–15 doing school and local community theater in Santa Cruz, California. Going to Los Angeles in 1916 she spent many months imploring studio casting offices for work as a film extra. Finally she was discovered for substantive roles in films by pioneer screenwriter Frances Marion. Marion cast Pitts as an orphaned slavey (child of work) in the silent film, The Little Princess (1917), starring Mary Pickford.
Years later, Pitts became a leading lady in Erich von Stroheim's epic masterpiece, Greed (1924); based on this performance, von Stroheim labeled Pitts "the greatest dramatic actress". Von Stroheim also featured her in his films Sins of the Fathers (1928), The Wedding March (1928), War Nurse (1930) and Walking Down Broadway, which was re-edited by Alfred L. Werker and released as Hello, Sister! (1933). She earned praise in all those films.

Circa 1920
Pitts grew in popularity following a series of Universal one-reeler comedies and earned her first feature-length lead in King Vidor's Better Times (1919). The following year she met and married actor Tom Gallery. The couple paired in several films, including Bright Eyes (1921), Heart of Twenty (1920), Patsy (1921) and A Daughter of Luxury (1922). Their daughter, Ann, was born in 1922.
In 1924, the actress, now a reputable comedy farceuse, was given the greatest tragic role of her career in Erich von Stroheim's epic classic, Greed (1924), a twelve-hour-plus picture, edited to under four hours. The surprise casting initially shocked Hollywood, but showed that Pitts could draw tears with her doleful demeanor as well as laughs. The movie has gained respect over time, having failed initially at the box office due to its extensive cutting.
Pitts enjoyed her greatest fame in the 1930s, often starring in B movies and comedy shorts, teamed with Thelma Todd. She also played secondary parts in many films. Her stock persona (a fretful, flustered, worrisome spinster) made her instantly recognizable and was often imitated in cartoons and other films. She starred in a number of Hal Roach shorts and features, and co-starred in a series of feature-length comedies with Slim Summerville.
Switching between comedy shorts and features, by the advent of sound, she was relegated to comedy roles. A bitter disappointment was when she was replaced in the classic war drama All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) by Beryl Mercer after her initial appearance in previews drew unintentional laughs, despite the intensity of her acting. She had viewers rolling in the aisles in The Dummy (1929), Finn and Hattie (1931), The Guardsman (1931), Blondie of the Follies (1932), Sing and Like It (1934) and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).
In the 1940s, she also found work in vaudeville and on radio, trading quivery banter with Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, and Rudy Vallee, among others. She appeared several times on the earliest Fibber McGee and Molly show, playing a dizzy dame constantly looking for a husband. Her brief stint in the Hildegarde Withers mystery series, replacing Edna May Oliver, was not successful, however. In 1944 Pitts tackled Broadway, making her debut in the mystery, Ramshackle Inn. The play, written expressly for her, fared well, and she took the show on the road in later years. Post-war films continued to give Pitts the chance to play comic snoops and flighty relatives in such fare as Life with Father (1947), but in the 1950s she started focusing on TV.
This culminated in her best known series role, playing second banana to Gale Storm on The Gale Storm Show (1956) (also known as Oh, Susannah), as Elvira Nugent ("Nugie"), the shipboard beautician. Her last role was as a switchboard operator in the Stanley Kramer comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and, less than seven months after the filming of the last scene, she became that movie's second cast member to die after filming was completed.

 Last years

Declining health dominated Pitts' later years, particularly after she was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1950s. However, she continued to work until the very end – making brief appearances in The Thrill of It All (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner, and as a cameo switchboard operator in the sheriff's office in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.


She died June 7, 1963, aged 69, in Hollywood and was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.


  • Thomas Sarsfield Gallery (July 23, 1920 – May 2, 1933; divorced); two children: ZaSu Ann Gallery (natural) and Donald Michael "Sonny" Gallery (born as Marvin Carville La Marr), whom they adopted and renamed after the 1926 drug-related death of his mother and Pitts' friend, silent film actress Barbara La Marr.
  • John Edward "Eddie" Woodall (October 8, 1933 – June 7, 1963; her death).


  • Pitts is mentioned in the play and movie version of The Man Who Came to Dinner. The main character, Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), orders his nurse to "Stop acting like ZaSu Pitts and explain yourself!"
  • In a made-for-TV version of The Man Who Came to Dinner, in which Orson Welles played Whiteside, Pitts was cast as the nurse, Miss Preen, so the remark about "stop acting like ZaSu Pitts" was actually made directly to Pitts herself.

 Partial filmography

Below is a highly incomplete list. Full listings of all films (silent and sound), radio, stage, Broadway, television and vaudeville are indexed in the only authorized, complete biography by Gayle D. Haffner, HANDS With A HEART: The Personal Biography of Actress ZaSu Pitts (Outskirts Press, Inc., 2011)
1917Little Princess, TheThe Little PrincessBecky
1918How Could You Jean?Oscar's Sweetheart
1918Talk of the Town, TheThe Talk of the Town
1919Better TimesNancy Scroggs
1919Other Half, TheThe Other HalfJennie Jones, The Jazz Kid
1919Poor RelationsDaisy Perkins
1920Seeing It ThroughBetty Lawrence
1922Youth to YouthEmily
1923Souls for SaleHerselfCameo role
1923Three Wise FoolsMickey
1923HollywoodHerselfCameo role
1924Daughters of TodayLorena
1924TriumphA Factory Girl
1924Changing HusbandsDelia
1925Great Divide, TheThe Great DividePolly Jordan
1925Pretty LadiesMaggie Keenan
1925Great Love, TheThe Great LoveNancy
1926Monte CarloHope Durant
1926Sunny Side UpEvelyn
1927Casey at the BatCamilleWith Wallace Beery and Ford Sterling
1928Wedding March, TheThe Wedding MarchCecelia Schweisser
1929Locked Door, TheThe Locked DoorTelephone Girl
1929This Thing Called LoveClara Bertrand
1930No, No, NanettePauline Hastings
1930Devil's Holiday, TheThe Devil's HolidayEthel
1930Monte CarloBertha
1931Bad Sister, TheThe Bad SisterMinnie
1931Penrod and SamMrs. BassettAlternative title: The Adventures of Penrod and Sam
1931Guardsman, TheThe GuardsmanLiesl, the Maid
1931On the LooseZasuShort subject
1932Broken LullabyAnna, Holderlin's Maid
1932ShopwornAunt Dot
1932Destry Rides AgainTemperance WorkerAlternative title: Justice Rides Again
With Tom Mix
1932Westward PassageMrs. Truesdale
1932Back StreetMrs. Dole
1932Blondie of the FolliesGertie
1932Crooked Circle, TheThe Crooked CircleNora Rafferty
1933They Just Had to Get MarriedMolly Hull
1933Hello, Sister!Millie
1933Meet the BaronZasu
1933Mr. SkitchMaddie Skitch
1934DamesMatilda Ounce Hemingway
1934Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage PatchMiss Hazy
1934Gay Bride, TheThe Gay BrideMirabelle
1935Ruggles of Red GapPrunella JudsonWith Charles Laughton and Charles Ruggles
1935Going Highbrow
1936Thirteen Hours by AirMiss Harkins
1936The Plot ThickensHildegarde Withers
1937Forty Naughty GirlsHildegarde Withers
1939Lady's from Kentucky, TheThe Lady's from KentuckyDulcey LeeWith George Raft and Ellen Drew
1939Eternally YoursMrs. Bingham
1940It All Came TrueMiss Flint
1940No, No NanettePauline Hastings
1941Niagara FallsEmmy Sawyer
1942Bashful Bachelor, TheThe Bashful BachelorGeraldine
1942So's Your Aunt EmmaAunt EmmaAlternative title: Meet the Mob
1943Let's Face It!Cornelia Figeson
1946Breakfast in HollywoodElvira Spriggens
1947Life with FatherCousin Cora CartwrightWith William Powell and Irene Dunne
1950FrancisNurse Valerie HumpertWith Donald O'Connor and Patricia Medina
1952Denver and Rio GrandeJane DwyerWith Edmond O'Brien and Sterling Holloway
1954Francis Joins the WACSLt. Valerie HumpertWith Donald O'Connor, Julie Adams, and Mamie Van Doren
1957This Could Be the NightMrs. Katie SheaWith Jean Simmons and Tony Franciosa
1961Teenage Millionaire, TheThe Teenage MillionaireAunt Theodora
1963Thrill of It All, TheThe Thrill of It AllOliviaWith Doris Day and James Garner
1963It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad WorldGertie–Switchboard OperatorWith Spencer Tracy
1954Best of Broadway, TheThe Best of BroadwayMiss PreenEpisode: "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
1955Screen Directors PlayhouseSelmaEpisode: "The Silent Partner"
195620th Century Fox Hour, TheThe 20th Century Fox HourMiss AppletonEpisode: "Mr. Belvedere"
Gale Storm Show, TheThe Gale Storm ShowElvira Nugent91 episodes
1957Private SecretaryAunt MarthaEpisode: "Not Quite Paradise"
1960Dennis O'Keefe Show, TheThe Dennis O'Keefe ShowLoretta KimballEpisode: "Dimples"
1961Guestward, Ho!Episode: "Lonesome's Gal"
1961Perry MasonDaphne WhilomEpisode: "The Case of the Absent Artist"
1963Burke's LawMrs. BowieEpisode: "Who Killed Holly Howard?"

 See also


  1. ^ Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts; Duell, Sloan and Pearce; 1963; p. 15
  2. ^ Concerning Pitts' year of birth, about which the actress often dissembled, some sources cite 1894 (IMDB: Zasu Pitts, Find-a-Grave, Golden Silents, Who2, and InfoPlease), while other sources cite 1898 (Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion, 12th edition, HarperCollins, 1997, ISBN 0-00-255798-3 and TCM:Biography) or even 1900 (Allmovie:Overview and New York Times obituary (June 8, 1963))
  3. ^ "Rulandus Pitts biography on 76th NY Regiment site". Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Barbara Giffen. "ZaSu Pitts: Actress 1898–1963". Santa Cruz Public Library. Retrieved June 7, 2010.

 External links

A glamour shot from early in her career.

Zasu Pitts with Mary Pickford at the dawn of her career.

GREED, dramatic picture directed by Erich Von Stroheim.

In GREED, the characters in the story are obsessed with money, which ends in tragedy for all.

The sound era saw Zasu Pitts' screen work largely limited to comedy roles.

Neilan,  Thelma Todd, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Zasu Pitts


Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts between shots

This I suppose is what was called "Lake Laurel and Hardy".

with W. C. Fields.


Donald O'Connor, Zasu Pitts

Donald O'Connor, Zasu Pitts

With Gale Storm

Kellogg's Corn Flakes Commercial
In which Superman saves breakfast by bringing her more corn flakes.

Book by Zasu Pitts

Zasu Pitts shows us how her mother derived her name from the names "Eliza" and "Susan".

Watch this on youtube to hear the correct pronunciation of her name:


Zasu Pitts at the Reynolds Brothers site:

Zasu Pitts at Golden Silents:

Zasu Pitts site on tumbler:

Candy Hits By Zasu Pitts ( recipes ):

Zasu Pitts and Gale Storm on television:

Gale Storm Fan Site:

"Our Club" ( Silent movie actresses club, Zasu Pitts was a member ):