Betty Hutton

  1. Doris Day, Romance On The High Seas (UK: It’s Magic), 1947.      MGM refused to loan Judy Garland, “The Huttontot” was pregnant and Doris won a high C’s debut. And high praise from Variety as “a charming and talented newcomer… a winner, any way you look at her!”
  2. Veronica Lake, The Sainted Sisters, 1947.   Hutton became Veronica Lakle, just as Sterling Hayden churned into George Reeves. Within four years, he  was typecast for life as… Superman. He died in 1959; his “suicide or murder?” was investigated the 2006 film, Hollywoodland.  Ironically, Reeves was played by Ben Affleck – the 2015  Batman!

  3. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.    
     “Lamarrvellous” first heard of the project in some gossip that Cecil B DeMille wanted, of all people, song ’n’ dancer Betty Hutton as Delilah.  Lamarr convinced him otherwise – but when he called her again, she refused to join The Greatest Show On Earth and Hutton finally got the director she craved.  She tried to get another for a 1952 assignment: her husband Charles O’Curran.  Paramount refused and Hutton walked out with “you’ll never work in this town again” ringing in her ears.  And she didn’t until her last film, Spring Reunion, 1957.  Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner” from among…Lucille Ball (!),  Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s

  4. Gloria Grahame, Oklahoma! 1955.     Betty stupidly scorned gentleman film-maker Fred Zinnemann and just the kind of role to jump-start her failing star – thinking TV would boost it better in a special called (gulp!) Satins and Spurs!   Also vying for the role: Joan Evans and… Mamie Van Doren!
  5. Debbie Reynolds, Bundle of Joy, 1956.      Comic-cum-producer George Jessel planned to remake Ginger Rogers’ 1938 Bachelor Mother with Hutton.  Until RKO  or someone in Eddie Fisher’s retinue, decided a new title could milk the tons of  free publicity about Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ baby –  Carrie, the future Princess Leia. Already cut from All About Eve, Fisher hated films, and soon enough his marriage. 
  6. .Joan Caulfield, Red Tomahawk, 1966.       Hutton used to say: “I used to hit fast and run in hopes that people wouldn’t realize that I really couldn’t do anything.” Not any more… Producer AC Lyles gave up his dream of reunuiting the 1949 Annie Get Your Gun co-stars, Hutton and Howard Keel, the Western programmer… when he sacked Hutton, no longer running fast enough to cope with the rapid ten-day shoot. Lyles (who started out in the Paramount mail room) quickly called another Paramount old-timer to take her place….
  7. Joan Caulfield, Buckskin, 1967.  . And again, when Hutton found a 14-day schedule no easier…  One of the 60s B Westerns churned out for Paramount by producer AC Lyles. He must have had a casting officee at the Screen Actors Guild retirement home in Woodland, gathering such ex-Paramount stars as  Casulfield, Richard Arlen, Wendell Corey.  Plus other vets: Lon Chaney Jr.,Leo Gordon, Barbara Hale, Barton MacLanem, John Russell, Bill Williams. They all wanted some  dialogue. Meet a veritable Western talkfest. Borrring!  Barry Sullivan was the marshall of a familiar town. It was Bonanza’s Virginia City set… renamed Glory Hole. Would I lie?


 Birth year: 1921Death year: 2007Other name: Casting Calls:  7