Ruby Keeler

  1. June MacCloy, Reaching For The Moon, 1930.    First, Keeler, then Ginger Rogers were in the Kitty mix. Neither one could compete with the romance of Douglas Fairbanks (in civvies this once) and Bebe Daniels (in fine fettle, as usual). Not to mention Bing Crosby’s debut – within  and without of The Rhythm Boys.
  2. Dolores Del Rio, Wonder Bar, 1933.     Another of the  Warner musicals that broke every rule in  the book –  before the book, the Will  Hays Production Code, was writ – from Del Rio’s  S&M (and murder) dance to ‘Going To Heaven On A Mule’ with (Al Jolson, St Peter and angels in black-face.
  3. Joan Blondell, Stage Struck, 1936.    After their spirited work-out in Footlights Parade, Warners wanted to re-team Ruby and Jimmy Cagney.  They got another Cagney partner, Blondell – married to leading man Dick Powell by the time the dumb musical opened.
  4. Joan Fontaine, A Damsel In Distress, 1936.  Fred Astaire  was searching for his new  Ginger.  He checked Betty Grable, Ruby Keeler, Carole Lombard  Jessie Matthews, the bra-less wonder of UK filmusicals. Fontaine was signed on when co-star Fred Astaire insisted no one would believe in Keeler as a member of the UK aristocracy – which Fred knew well. (His sister, Adele, wed Lord Charles Cavendish, second son of the ninth Duke of Devonshire). Fontaine later joked that the musical “set my career back four years.” She just couldn’t dance!
  5. Veronica Lake, Sullivan’s Travels, 1941   Jerry Seinfeld’s favourite film because of its content – the importance of fun and laughter. One story says after their Lady Eve, 1940, Barbara Stanwyck was Preston Sturges’ choice for The Girl.  Rubbish! He always had Ronni Lake in mind, since loving her in I Wanted Wings, 1940. Paramount suits preferred Lucille Ball, Frances Farmer, Ruby Keeler, Ida Lupino in the classic inspired by John Garfield’s hobo days. Sturgess remained resolute… Even though she never gelled with Joel McCrea (he refused to join her in I Married A Witch)and that her (ssh!) pregnancy went from six to eight months. She had her daughter, Elaine Detlie, exactly one month after shooting wrapped. McCrea relented five years later and they made the 1946 Western, Ramrod– helmed by her then husband, the eye-patched Hungarian director AndréDe Toth.



 Birth year: 1909Death year: 1993Other name: Casting Calls:  5