Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eleanor Thatcher - Who was she?

What about a video post with the collected works of Eleanor Thatcher? Who was this dame? I have no information on her what so ever. She came in from nowhere, did her stuff and then disappeared in total oblivion. Did she have her 15 minutes of fame or was she even considered famous? Apparently she was contracted to MGM in 1932 but never made it to stardom. I don't see why. Eleanor was a great singer and had a wiggle to die for. Sadly she only appeared in three minor productions of this era. Luckily all of her work has survived to our times. If anyone of you out there knows anything about her, please let me know.

We start off with a MGM Colortone short from 1932, Wild People, starring Harry Jans and Harold Whalen as zany radio-guys on location in Dutch New Guinea of all places. Eleanor steps in at the end to participate in one of the most remarkable and bizarre numbers ever caught on film, Panther Lady, with music by George Frank Rubens and choreographed by Daniel Dare. The Panther Lady herself is Joyzelle Joyner who arguably is the most well known name in this little gem. Joyzelle was a house dancer at MGM and appears here and there when there was a need for some exotic sexiness. For instance she can be seen in DeMilles Sign Of The Cross.

"Panther Lady - A Little wild but not too rough"

The next time Eleanor appears is in another MGM Colortone short, also from 1932. Over The Counter, one of the most sexually insinuating shorts MGM ever did. The setting is Drake's department store where housewives can check their husbands while shopping. Wonderful! Eleanor sings and wiggles like never before dressed up in something that almost looks like a Christmas cracker. Young Mr Drake is played by Emerson Treacy who did a lot of TV in the 50's. We also see Maurene Marseilles singing a forgettable number in her only screen appearance. Both songs are written by the very same George Frank Rubens.

"A great big sofa may give more comfort than a chair"

The last time we see Eleanor Thatcher on film is in a quite racy sexploitation movie from 1933. Road To Ruin, made by Willis Kent Productions who did mostly B-westerns and titles like The Wages Of Sin and Race Suicide. You know the stuff. Road To Ruin is no exception. A young girl gets involved with a crowd that smokes marijuana, drinks and has sex. She winds up an alcoholic, pregnant drug addict and is forced to get an abortion. But, right in the middle of the 63 minute epic we get Eleanor and her fantastic wiggle again. She can only be seen for about a minute, but what a minute! Jimmy Tolson sings Campus Crawl and Eleanor struts her stuff for the last time.

"Boy! Look at that girl go! Is she hot!"


Raquel Stecher said...

Oh I remember her in Sign of the Cross.

And I totally agree that she had a wiggle to die for! Go Eleanor.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

These clips are fun. I don't know much about Eleanor Thatcher, but she may have, as you suspect, had only her 15 minutes of fame.

Jonas, I've tagged you for the Alphabet Meme. If you've no time for it, please don't concern yourself. But if you're interested, the links and an explanation are up at The Self-Styled Siren:

Jonas Nordin said...

Alphabet Meme, sounds fine!
I'd better start working on my list then :)

Anonymous said...

Jonas -- I just found your site and really enjoy it. The Eleanor Thatcher mystery is intriguing. I came across a website called StarTiger that is dedicated to publishing celebrity addresses for autograph seekers. They have a listing for Eleanor Thatcher that says she was born in 1897 and is one of the oldest living persons in the world. Could this be her? She doesn't look like she was in her mid-30s, though, when "Check Your Husband" was made. But what other Eleanor Thatcher is there? Anyway, you have to pay to join that site to get more info, and I didn't feel like it at this point. All the best to you.

Jonas Nordin said...

Thanks for an interesting comment!

I think the Eleanor Thatcher you have found can't the one we're looking for. I think she was on that celebrity list mainly because of her age.

I can also report that the 1897 born Eleanor Thatcher sadly left us in 2008. She resided in England.

The wiggling Eleanor Thatcher can't have been born in 1897. I'd say she was born around 1910.

The quest goes on...

John Smith said...

According to imdb, she was born in 1912. made three films, all seen here. That's it.

This is frustrating. She looks like someone who was on the verge of being another Ginger Rogers, and it never happened. Certainly the first two shorts are an indication of better things on track. S why did it end? Weight problems? mob connections? Or did she marry an accountant working for MGM, quit, start a family and decide never to talk about her career? The hunt continues.

Mitch said...

I wonder if Medrith Eleanor Thatcher is her?

Born in the right year...

mitch said...

There's now a wikipedia page for her. Maybe her kids made it:

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