Friday October 09, 2020
More on Ed Woods and Louella Parsons
Backstory for the tardy: In December 1930, in her nationally syndicated column, Louella Parsons touted a “young film comer” who had just snagged the lead in the new Warner Bros. gangster pic “The Public Enemy.” His name was Edward Woods. He eventually lost the part to James Cagney, of course, who was way better suited for it, and apparently Parsons wasn't happy—less for the now-inaccurate column than for Woods, who was, at the time, engaged to her daughter, Harriet. I wrote about some of this in my review of “Mothers Cry,” Woods' first movie.
In my research for that, I came across other mentions of Woods in Parsons' columns. This is from May 1931, the month “Public Enemy” was releaased to general acclaim.
- I can't find any reference to “The Blue Moon Murder Mystery” on AFI's film site, which includes working titles of Hollywood films. So not only was it not made with Cagney and Woods, apparently it wasn't made at all.
- Cagney and Blondell do star in “Larceny Lane”/“Blonde Crazy,” but not Woods. I wouldn't even know what part he would have played. Maybe the Ray Milland role?
- In fact, Woods never made any other movie with Cagney or Blondell. I don't think he ever made another Warner Bros. picture.
I guess the big question is how true any of it ever was. Or was Parsons simply simply pimping for her daughter's fiance?
A year later, in August 1932, there was this item in Parsons' column:
- “Not Saturday”? Did she mean “Hot Saturday”? That was a movie that both Carroll and Woods were in, and it was released that fall; but while Carroll was the leading lady Woods was fourth-billed. The star was a relative unknown named Cary Grant. Woods kept getting billed down from future legends.
- Paramount told Woods to “come back home; all was forgiven”? Paramount was never his home. And forgiven for what? Was this a kind of secret message? The engagement to Parsons' daughter was broken off this year, not sure when, and probably because Harriet was gay. Is this Louella's attempt to bring hime back into the fold? Is it her telling him this?
No answers. As usual, history is a Hyrda head. Answer one question, two more pop up.