Thursday, January 5, 2017

TCM Star of the Month January 2017: Jane Wyman

As we're once again in the first full day of a new month, we get a new Star of the Month on TCM: Jane Wyman. She's probably best known for winning the Best Actress Oscar for Johnny Belinda (which I think is on next week), followed by being the first Mrs. Ronald Reagan and then her role on the TV series Falcon Crest in the 1980s. Or maybe that's just me; having been born in 1972 my first real memories of politics would be from around the election of 1980 and of course all my pop culture memories would be late-70s onward.

Of course, Wyman made a ridiculous number of B movies back in the 1930s. IMDb lists about 20 uncredited bit parts before her first credited performance, although to be fair back in those days the bit parts didn't show up in the credits the way they do today -- no "Third Tall Man" or somesuch. Even then, after she started getting credits, she got about 20 of them in the late 1930s, and was making movies almost constantly until she started presenting her own TV anthology show.

It's those late 1930s movies that TCM will be focusing on tonight. It's easy to forget that Wyman played Torchy Blane in one installment of the series, Torchy Played With Dynamite, which will be on at 9:15 PM. Then again, Glenda Farrell was so entertaining in the role and did it so often that it's natural she be remembered for it if anybody is. The interesting thing is that Wyman had one of her earliest credits in a small role as a hat check girl in another Torchy movie, Smart Blonde. That one doesn't seem to be on tonight's lineup.

Apologies for the lack of photos, but I was looking through the blog archive, and apparently I've never used a photo of Wyman to illustrate a post!

1 comment:

joel65913 said...

I'm looking forward to her Torchy tonight it's one of her films I haven't seen, same goes for Tugboat Annie Sails Again and He Couldn't Say No. I remember Wyman talking about the various bits she did, including that one in Smart Blonde which they showed a snippet of, in one of those tags TCM does between features. She said they shunted them from one to the next but she didn't mind because they were very good experience and enabled the young performers to be exposed to all different sort of directors and crews as well as the public.

One thing surprises me about this month is that TCM is preempting her last several movies on the 27th for the Debbie Reynolds tribute day. Now Debbie Reynolds totally deserves her tribute I'm just surprised they chose to interrupt a nod to one star and a regular feature, particularly when it's for that actress's centennial, to honor another. Seems that they could have fit Debbie's in on multiple other days where the programming was less specialized.