For Your Consideration, Entertainment Pioneers That Are Still Practicing Their Craft, Highlight Hollywood Offers Other Legendary Prospects for Guinness Record Consideration
In the early 1930s, William Randolph Hearst of the famed Hearst Newspapers ran the first column designed to promote his own interests in the Hollywood arena of film — while at the same time criticizing his competition. He hired a (then) little known columnist named Louella Parsons to stir up gossip based on half-truths and innuendos that would eventually make and/or break careers in the film capital of the world.
When Mr. Hearst’s competition, in both the newspapers and studios (specifically, Louis B. Mayer of MGM), realized the public interest and its money-making potential for sales of both newspapers and big box office, they in turn engaged the services of Hedda Hopper. The competition between these two great powers to create scandal and intrigue in regards to their talent and feature film projects would become notorious and spawn an enterprise of combatant press.
(June Lockhart with Bette Davis in “All This And Heaven Too”)
Some eighty years later, those columns have become entire trades and TV programs dedicated to what is referred to as “Tabloid Journalism.” They masquerade as legitimate news by using the first amendment, “Freedom of the press,” as an excuse to report on intimate details of public personalities.
In todays fast paced “gotta be first” world of media news, reporters often unintentionally report “Facts” that aren’t necessarily all that factual in order to be first with the story.
(June Lockhart with Gary Cooper in “Sargent York”)
For example, there is no end to false stories about celebrity couples who are breaking up (all to often to the surprise of the artists themselves, just ask Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas), and even an, if you will pardon the expression, age old problem of announcements declaring a personalities death while still living full lives … in fact, the Hope family lost track of the number of times that Bob and Dolores’ obituaries ran, up to five years before their respective passing and Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens) once had to comment on the announcement of his passed by telling a reporter “Say the report is greatly exaggerated”
Most recently there has been polite debate between a few of Hollywood’s leading ladies over an article that ran on line in Huffington Post TV declaring Betty White as the longest running active “Entertainment” career for a living personality, as to whether or not they had taken into account the careers of other working artist’s such as June Lockhart, Rose Marie, etc…
(June Lockhart with parents in “A Christmas Carol”)
Example of early careers that are still working today:
June Lockhart (Lassie/Lost In Space/Petticoat Junction) actually began her career long before her first credited appearance in 1938 in A Christmas Carol a year before Bettys first uncredited appearance in 1939. In addition, she appeared in “Peter Ibbetson” at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1933 at the age of eight. Ms. Lockhart is still working today on a project currently in production.
Rose Marie (Baby Rose Marie on NBC/The Bob Cummings Show/Dick Van Dyke Show, Doris Day Show/Hollywood Squares) began her career at age three becoming the youngest child star to have her own national radio show on the NBC network and her first film role in “Rambling Round Radio Row” aired in 1932 – again long before Ms. White’s uncredited 1939 and/or her first credit in 1945. Rose Marie, whose credits include the first all talking short entitled “Baby Rose Marie: The Child Wonder,” is currently working as two voices on the new “Garfield” cartoon, in addition to other projects.
Other samples of early artists worthy of note include …
(Rose Marie in Baby Rose Marie: “The Child Wonder” (First All Talking Short Movie)
Angela Lansbury’s “Entertainment” career began before her critically acclaimed appearance in the 1944 classic “Gaslight,” beating Betty’s first credited appearance in “Time to Kill” in 1945.
Margaret O’Brien began her career in 1941 with Babes on Broadway and 10 other films, also predating Bettys first 1945 credited appearance.
Carol Channing didn’t make her first filmed appearance until 1950, but her “Entertainment” career (as referenced in the article) began long before her starring Broadway role in 1941 and predating Ms. White’s first uncredited dancing job in 1939 and credited job in 1945.
A very important aspect to the ladies referenced above, when approached for comment – None of them wanted to take away anything from their dear friend, Betty’s, career or even her Genius Record, but some did admit to feeling a little slighted at having their careers dismissed as irrelevant, or worse, suggesting they are no longer working at all.
And we have the exclusive clip of Baby Rose Marie’s 1938 show, singing “Howd Ya’ Like To Love Me” CLICK HERE: Rose Marie
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Highlight Hollywood Archives
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