02 May 2007

Time Step

O. O. McIntyre's syndicated newspaper column, "New York Day By Day" pondered a great many topics in the entry for September 14th of 1934. He expressed his fondness for Shirley Temple and Patsy Kelly, and observed that Paul Whiteman's mustache is always under control. He called attention to the fact that there's none spryer than Adolph Zukor, and that Cecil B. DeMille is the most meticulous of dandies. Also, as was typical of this gentle writer, he turned his sentimental and observant eye on slivers of daily New York City life that either often went unobserved and unappreciated, and also those that were missed by their absence from it.

"I came upon an early hot chestnut vendor today on West 34th Street. These silent street corner salesmen, hovering over their little jet of charcoal, are my favorite metropolitan characters. They suggest the long wintry nights of good reading to come, humblest of all merchants in the brashest of cities. So grateful for the occasional sale. I suspect some in their vacant gazings to be poets, or too clouded of mind to have truck with this world. Anyway I never pass one with out God-blessing him."

Then, just before noting the curious fact that he couldn't remember ever having seen a red-headed acrobat, he asks "What became of Mary Eaton?"

Having little use for dead celebrities, and even less for ones who vanished from public eye long before their death, Louella Parson's syndicated column of October 14th of 1948 would airily mention: "Sad to hear that Mary Eaton, once one of the top Ziegfeld favorites, died last week. Mary also made pictures in the silent days."

She also made pictures in the talkie days.

Some two reels into the running time of the admittedly troubled yet unfairly much maligned 1929 Paramount film "Glorifying The American Girl," there's a moment of spectacular clarity and purity. A moment so luminous and joyous and so seemingly unfettered by early sound technology that, when removed from it's imperfect source, would likely be my single choice to encapsulate and represent the peculiar magic of the sort that can only be found in the early screen musical films.

The setting is a fictional city park adjacent to a lake (somewhere in New York, perhaps still extant) and it appears to be a brilliant sunny, albeit chilly early Spring day (the trees have begun to bloom but the extras are mostly clad in heavy togs.) The occasion is a company picnic for employees of a department store, of which Gloria Hughes (Mary Eaton) is one. Following a dry corporate speech and a less-than-stellar bit of entertainment by a pair of bickering acrobatic dancers, the company band strikes up the infectious 1927 tune "Sam, the Old Accordion Man."

Urged on by her friends to get up and dance, Eaton does so --- rising and slightly hunching her shoulders in shyness and embarrassment as she walks towards a clearing adjacent the band. Limbering up with a few high kicks, and then capturing the rhythm of the piece, Eaton then lets her legs and arms accentuate each beat --- moving from small to gradually more sweeping and greater movements. Her blond hair glistens in the early Spring sunlight --- stray wisps are caught in the breeze, as is her thin, layered gauze-like frock, and the effect is as sensual as it is enchanting.

The surrounding crowd moves in towards her, clapping and marking time with their feet --- whistling and calling out their encouragement, as she's joined by a vaudevillian (seeking a new partner) who sees her as a bright prospect. Following a required but unwelcome bit of banter (through which the music continues on, impatiently) the professional announces "Time step," and then the pair of dancers engage in an all too brief little contest in which Mary is challenged to match and elaborate upon his dance steps. Hesitant for only a moment, Eaton meets the challenge effortlessly and the two dancers --- strangers to one another a moment before, merge into one entity as the sequence fades and ends.

A re-imagination, if you will, of this sequence is offered here via YouTube. Additionally, here's a superb 1927 recording of the melody which scores the sequence, "Sam, the Old Accordion Man," by George Olsen & His Music, quite free of dialogue and wheezy wisecracks referring to Al Jolson tunes.

"Sam, the Old Accordion Man" (1927) George Olsen & His Music

An early glimpse of Mary Eaton (b. 1901) can be had in this October 1915 review of a touring company's rendition of "The Blue Bird," then appearing at a Toledo, Ohio opera house. Sharing spontaneous applause for the production's scenic and lighting effects, were the company of "adorable little children who toddled out on the stage," and various actors and actresses who portrayed the souls of animals and substances (water, milk, bread, etc.) but special mention was made of the shows two leads.

"The playing of the boy's part, Tyltyl, by Mary Eaton, is the most remarkable bit of child acting we remember ever to have seen. She has the boyish swagger and importance to perfection; a poise at once so sophisticated and so unaffected and a diction that is remarkably clear and clean. Doris Eaton, a beautiful child, also does well in the role of Mytyl."

With the passage of time, Mary Eaton would come to possess far greater beauty (and talent) than her younger sibling Doris ever could, but --- in a cruel twist, it would ultimately be Doris to lay claim to lasting fame, if not by ability then simply by longevity.

During the period during which The Great War was being fought and won, Mary Eaton began her climb to fame --- which started when she tossed aside the childish roles of "The Blue Bird" in 1916 and the teenager moved to New York City with her mother, who badly wanted her daughter to achieve the success she herself was denied by strenuously religious parents in another time and day when such things couldn't easily be ignored or escaped. She studied ballet with Theodore Kosloff (some sources cite Ivan Terasoff too, or in lieu of Kosloff) and by 1917 was appearing in a ballet specialty number in Sigmund Romberg's "Follow Me" at New York City's famed Casino Theater.

A career speed-bump arrived in the form of the dreaded but necessary Gerry Society, which removed her from the stage until she was no longer deemed underage --- a span of some ten months that Eaton put to use in training her voice and body for the demands of the stage. She reemerged in November of 1917 in the War-themed Shubert production "Over the Top," in support of Fred & Adele Astaire.

As the decade and overseas struggle ended, Eaton would be featured in George M. Cohan's "The Royal Vagabond" (1919) and "The Passing Show of 1919," but as 1920 dawned, it would usher in what would be ten years of --- if not happiness, then unparalleled success.

Brett Page's syndicated column, "The New York Stage," grasps for words in an attempt to describe the entertainment in which Mary Eaton next appeared. Although she was but a small fragment of the wondrous "Ziegfeld Follies of 1920," it would serve as a springboard for all that was to come --- including the inspiration for her 1929 starring film.

"Unlike previous seasons, the show begins with the chorus men but it swiftly runs to a scene entitled 'Creation.' The program helps one to understand how Eve was made to be a companion to Adam. Girls coming upon the stage by twos and threes instead of singly as has been the custom are symbolical of the slenderness of the reed, the 'blood' of the flowers, the vanity of the peacock, the warm glow of the fire, the coldness of the snow, the cruelty of the tiger and the timidity of the hare. Of these qualities was Eve made and we see her atop a sphere, the diadem of the earth."

"But then there's 'The Love Boat.' It's a conception worked out in costumes of the Middle Ages against the background of Venice. It serves as one of the finales beautifully. The other finale is a musical effect likely to be long remembered -- it makes use of voices, harps, lutes, cornets, cymbals, dulcimers and other musical instruments of long ago."

"In between there are all manner of scenes with all sorts of fun. W.C. Fields for instance is aided by Fannie Brice to make an automobile skit one of the funniest in memory. Miss Brice also appears as a Yiddish character singing 'I'm a Vamp from East Broadway.' Little Mary Eaton dances atop a platform held up in the air by two stalwart men. Van and Schenck sing 'Where Do the Mosquitoes Go?'"

Mary Eaton would appear as an increasingly more prominent figure in the 1921, 1922 and 1923 editions of Ziegfeld's Follies, and by the close of the latter year, newspapers carried the word that:

"Mary Eaton is one of Ziegfeld's bevy of beauties who was induced to go into the movies during her vacation from the 'Follies.' She was discovered by Sam Wood who was looking for just the right type of girl to take the part of 'Mercedes' in the Paramount picture, 'His Children's Children.' Mary takes the part of a Follies girl in the picture, so it is not even a change of part for her."

As with "His Children's Children," time away from the Broadway smash "Kid Boots" (late 1923 to early 1925) allowed her to participate in a second film, "Broadway After Dark," in 1924 --- an interesting film indeed:

"According to all advance reports, this feature film is a heart gripper and a sensational thriller of the first rank. Some prominent stars, such as Anna Q. Nillson, Adolphe Menjou, Norma Shearer and Carmel Meyers give promise of photo acting of the very finest. The story concerns a young woman who commits indiscretions to provide luxuries for her dying mother. She meets with many difficulties in trying to live down her misdeeds. A rich young man of the idly fashionable meets her by accident while he is looking for plain and real people. As an experiment he transforms the ill-kept wretched girl into a lady of fashion and refinement. She is detected and returned to her original condition."

All that is well and good, but the real value of "Broadway After Dark" today would be a rather remarkable extended sequence: "A feature (of the film) which is somewhat of a treat to admirers of the great favorites of the stage and screen is the famous Actors Equity Association ball, in which are seen in the ballroom of the Hotel Astor such celebrities as Fred and Dorothy Stone, Mary Eaton, Raymond Hitchcock, Elsie Ferguson, Florence Moore, James J. Corbett, John Steel, Paul Whiteman, Irene Castle and hundreds of others."

Lovely as that sounds, it was the stage that would (for the time being) allow Eaton to be best appreciated, and she followed the success of Eddie Cantor's "Kid Boots" with "Lucky" (1927) and a one-off lark appearance as Lucius in a Player's Club revival of "Julius Caesar."

By the time she joined Oscar Shaw in late 1927 to appear in the hugely successful "The Five O' Clock Girl," talking pictures had arrived --- and with them, plans for a Ziegfeld & Paramount co-production titled "Glorifying the American Girl."

Regular mention of the production appears in newspapers between late 1927 and 1929, as production would begin to gel and then fall apart time and again, as writers were hired to prepare screen treatments that were then deemed unsuitable, and ultimately as the entire production was scrapped yet again.

In February of 1928, wire services reported that famed aviatrix "Ruth Elder is confined to her apartment with a severe cold, contracted at a party given for her and Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh Sunday night. The party, which was given by Colonel Henry Breckinridge (Lindbergh's attorney) ended up at the home of Mary Eaton, well-known actress where the great white way's best entertainer made things cheery for the two famous fliers. The party met Miss Eaton while going downtown after getting something to eat early Monday morning and at her invitation, changed the destination to her apartment. Miss Elder had worn a heavy coat, but the ride in the cold night air brought on the cold."

Although it's a cute story (especially when "cold" is replaced with "smashing hangover" and you allow yourself to imagine Elder, Lindbergh and Eaton cutting loose!) this inconsequential bit of fluff takes on a curious angle when matched up with another news story that would appear in papers in just under two months:

"Amid the clicking of cameras and the glare of flashlights, Ruth Elder, whose attempted flight across the Atlantic attracted worldwide attention, signed a contract with Paramount Pictures to play the leading role in a picture entitled 'Glorifying the American Girl,' which Florenz Ziegfeld, in cooperation with the company, will produce this summer at the Paramount studio in Hollywood."

"The signing of Miss Elder follows a two-year search for the girl to play the leading role in the picture, it was announced by Paramount. When Mr. Ziegfeld met Miss Elder on her return to this country after her flight, he was enthusiastic over her as the girl to play the leading role in the long delayed picture production. He arranged with Jesse L. Lasky... to have a film test made of Miss Elder on her arrival in Hollywood on her vaudeville tour."

Given the final casting for the lead in "Glorifying," it's a curious twist --- especially as both Mary Eaton and Oscar Shaw were snapped up by M.G.M. along with property rights to "The Five O'Clock Girl," although all three would ultimately go either nowhere or nowhere much at Metro, and the title ultimately shelved despite having been filmed nearly completely twice, as both a silent and sound vehicle, for Marion Davies.

No matter that Ruth Elder's proposed contribution to "Glorifying the American Girl" turned out to be either ill-advised enthusiasm or mere publicity nonsense, by mid-1929 the film was very much underway at Paramount's East Coast studio. Given the numerous false starts, excerpts from the delightfully skeptical and justifiably bored contents of the following wire story (from June 1st of 1929) makes for fun reading:

"It begins to look as though the glorified American girl would finally reach the shouting screen. Heaven, Paramount and Broadway know that it's been a long, hard struggle. No way of knowing how many directors almost started this picture. Almost everyone in the Broadway belt has written at least one story for it. The latest book is furnished by J.P. McEvoy who also did 'Show Girl.' "

"There has long been chatter around Broadway that the shrewd Mr. Ziegfeld has a clause in the contract which stipulated that he had to OK the script before it could be produced since, after all, he had the reputation of a glorifier to uphold. Meanwhile, so went the gossip, Ziggy was on the payroll for one thousand smackers per week as consultant something-or-other and director extraordinaire."

"Broadway has been literally drawn upon for the cast. Pearl (sic) Eaton will have the lead, whatever it is to be --- and she is an ex-Ziegfeldian, and Dan Healy is to be the song and dance man. Dan has for some time been one of Broadway's fanciest hoofers. A graduate of musical shows including 'Good Boy,' he also staged some of the warmest and fastest floor shows in the Harlem district. Olive Shea is another on the same list, and Margery Whittington, one of Ziegfeld's original glorified girlies, is cast as a hard-boiled chorine. None of them is known to the camera."

If publicity is to be believed, Olive Shea (cast as Eaton's rival for the attentions of male co-star Edward Crandall,) "will never forget the masquerade ball given by the Association of Moving Picture Advertising Men, for it marked the beginning of Cinderella-like career. She won the prize as the most beautiful non-theatrical girl at the ball, and just seven weeks after, Olive was working at Paramount's Long Island studio in the feminine role next to Mary Eaton."

Of the film itself, it's best described and chronicled elsewhere, especially in Edwin M. Bradley's invaluable 2004 work "The First Hollywood Musicals" (McFarland) where it largely escapes much of the scathing snipes authors feel it their duty to heap upon the film's gentle shoulders --- the vast majority of it undeserved, I believed.

Indeed, when seen with a clear mind and fresh eye, (and certainly not in the poor quality, mangled public domain prints that remain as our only easily accessible resource for the title despite it having been restored to something approaching it's full and original length and glory by UCLA) the film is not --- by any means --- typical of the early, static, stage-bound talkies it's often misrepresented as. Despite the plethora of melody and dialogue, the film moves --- swiftly, frequently and with a nearly constant attention to detail and interesting photographic angles that makes even the smaller, mildly dull moments seem memorable. There's a surprising number of close-ups throughout --- a hefty amount of outdoor and location photography, montages, dissolves, and other optical trickery, and --- just as importantly , it's exceptionally well recorded. Then too, there's few long stretches of barren silence at any point on a soundtrack that nearly bursts at the seams with period music --- carefully mixed, and never at odds with the dialogue.

Sadly, but oh-so-typically, when seen in a bargain bin DVD incarnation, or streamed over the internet, it's quite another matter. Picture details blur into obscure muddy shadows, the once rich and vibrant soundtrack becomes either painfully shrill or hopelessly garbled, and --- as has long been the case --- the final revue sequence reels become nearly entirely incomprehensible without the original Technicolor footage and truncated black & white portions as well. Elaborate chorus numbers are seen as jarring fragments, the film's first-night audience applauds and reacts to seemingly nothing at all other than a closing curtain, and Mary Eaton's final tearful bittersweet moment seems almost a fitting punishment when it's thought that this nightmarish mess was what she longed for, sacrified for, and worked towards throughout the entire length of the film!

Among the melodies utilized: "Doll Dance," "At Sundown," "Blue Skies," "Side By Side," "Changes," "Tulip Time," "Sally Won't You Come Back?," "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody," "No Foolin'," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Nights of Gladness," "Changes," "Sam the Old Accordion Man," "Baby Face," "Die Lorelei," "Fountain of the Acqua Paola," "Hot Feet," "I'll Be There," "I'm Just a Vagabond Lover," "Spooning with the Girl You Love," "What Wouldn't I Do For That Man?" and the film's theme song, "There Must Be Somebody (Waiting for Me in Loveland.)"

I had hoped to offer a 78rpm recording of the film's theme song (it was recorded at least twice in 1929, by both Harry Reser's Cliquot Club Eskimos and Meyer Davis' Hotel Astor Orchestra,) but failing that, and perhaps a far brighter choice in the end, here's Marion Davies and Dan Healy's sprightly rendition of "Hot Feet," (which was recorded by Duke Ellington that same year but without the Dorothy Fields lyrics and therefore transformed into quite something else!):

"Hot Feet" (1929) Mary Eaton & Dan Healy

Although, obviously, Eaton's steps can't be seen in this audio fragment, it's worth mentioning that her dancing skill is so formidable as to suggest that she did indeed (as some claimed during her performing career) that it not only rivaled but exceeded that of Marilyn Miller. To be fair, Eaton possessed far less of the presence, charm and warmth that Miller exuded so effortlessly ---
there's a clinging aura of coldness about Eaton that can't be ignored --- but I tend to agree (based on what we can see today) that when it came to dancing, Eaton had it over Miller.

To be sure, as early as 1924, there were reported feuds between Miller, Ziegfeld and Eaton, a fair representation of which can be gleaned from the overly dramatic tabloid piece offered to the left:

"Cohorts of the Ziegfeld camp insist the whole affair is nothing more or less than a case of jealousy, which followed when Miss Miller learned she must go on playing 'Sally' in tank towns on the road while Mary Eaton, in place of herself, would sing and dance packed-to-the-twelve-exists Broadway houses in the new starring vehicle which Marilyn asserts was promised to her."

"Mary Eaton is the merry-eyed, creamy-skinned young girl from the Follies who was rushed over to Philadelphia one evening to jump into the part of 'Sally' because Miller had been taken sick and could not go on with the show. So seemingly content was the public with the substitution that not a dollar was refunded at the box office."

All that mattered little by 1929, a time when there seemed room aplenty for all former Broadway denizens on the screen... and even less for Mary Eaton, for whom success on the stage and screen had been achieved, and for whom domestic bliss seemed ensured too, by her mid-September of 1929 marriage to the director of "Glorifying the American Girl," Millard Webb -- who's work for the screen began nearly at the same time Eaton had arrived on Broadway, in 1916 when he was supposedly hired by D.W. Griffith and later graduated to writing scenarios before turning director.

Eaton's second (and final) film, "The Cocoanuts," actually reached screens some eight months earlier than the December release of "Glorifying the American Girl," and the success of the musical comedy --- due largely to the Marx Brothers, certainly didn't hurt luring in audiences for Eaton's other film!

"The Cocoanuts" is so well known as to make discussion of it here rather unnecessary, but it does provide an opportunity to present an especially pretty rendition of the film's theme song, Irving Berlin's "When My Dreams Come True," as performed here in 1929 by The Four Aces. For the convenience of readers, links to two other musical items from "The Cocoanuts" are also provided here, which appeared in earlier posts:

"When My Dreams Come True" (1929) The Four Aces

Selections from "The Cocoanuts" (1926) The Victor Light Opera Company

"The Monkey Doodle Doo" (1925) Busse's Buzzards

Did Eaton's dreams come true? It can be supposed that if her ambition was to enjoy nearly a decade and a half of success on the stage and in film, then it certainly did --- but if her dream also included years of wedded bliss, and a life free from personal demons --- then they didn't. But then, Eaton was surely too intelligent and certainly self-possessed enough never to hinge all her happiness on someone else --- anyone else, in fact, other than herself. Perhaps that, in of itself was the problem that resulted in the years of decline that followed --- the increasing dependency on alcohol and pills that were said to have ultimately killed her at the age of 47, but as always there were other personal issues too --- details of which we'll never know.

Eaton's last performing venture would be an elaborate touring company (a special train carrying the equipment and 60 participants) revival of "Sally," and judging by local reviews --- not publicity placements, she was excellent --- and still very much in fine form.

According to an early December 1932 review of the production's Denver, Colorado performance:

"A capacity house greeted 'Sally,' with the vivacious blonde Mary Eaton in the title role made famous by Marilyn Miller, and that same capacity house found laughs galore in the work of T. Roy Barnes, Jack Waldron and others. The songs and melodies lose none of their sparkle and charm with the passing years and they're presented here in a finished form that would delight the late "great glorifier" who first produced the smash hit."

"Miss Eaton reaches the heights claimed for her in singing and dancing with the "Whippoorwill" song and ballet dance in the third act to prove she is the first flight of charming entertainers."

Interestingly, among the large cast we find the elderly but still apparently spry Jack Duffy, reprising the same role he enacted in the 1929 Warner Bros. film version!

With the close of the "Sally" revival, so concluded Mary Eaton's professional performing career. Three years later, in April of 1935, her husband Millard Webb would pass on at the age of 41, with the official cause being cited as an "intestinal ailment," although insiders claimed he succumbed to the same weakness for alcohol that would eventually claim his widow.

Aside from the occasional "Whatever became of?" inquiry published in newspaper columns, Eaton's name would not appear on the news wires again until May of 1937, when on the 25th of that month it was announced:

"Mary Eaton, 36, former musical comedy star in Ziegfeld productions and screen actress, was married today in the municipal chapel to Charles A. Emery, 38 years old, Los Angeles rancher."

"In 1924, Mary Eaton's name was linked with that of Georges Carpentier, French boxer, and something of a 'glamour personality' himself. This resulted from her implanting a fluster of kisses on the Frenchman as he sailed for home, but denials came almost as quickly as the kisses."

What we know of Eaton's life in the years between her second marriage and her death in 1948 are mere scraps of information that don't paint an especially bright image. Her marriage to rancher Charles Emery ended within a few years, and she'd be married again in as many years to actor Eddie Laughton, an extremely prolific performer who appeared in nearly 200 films (many of them familiar short comedy subjects) between 1935 and 1949.

Mary's sister, Doris Eaton, provides further insight: "Mary enjoyed learning about what we were doing in (our dance studios,) and it was obvious she never lost her love for dance. But when she went with me to the studios, she wore a veil over her face, but even through the veil she looked beautiful. (At the dance studio) she seemed to tire easily. I suspect now that she was not only tired, she wanted to return to her room for a drink. Once, I took her back to her room, and I noticed an open bottle of Scotch next to the chair. She seemed exhausted, and I helped her into bed."

Wire services carried news of Eaton's death on October 13th of 1948, many obituaries badly mangling details of her life and career --- and most managing to entirely omit her work in films.

With the official cause of death listed as "severe metamorphosis of the liver," it's clear what was caused the condition --- if not what precisely prompted it. Her sister, Doris, helpfully adds "Mary married three drunks in a row." It's the old, old story... even if it's painful to think of the fragile blonde with the cool blue eyes finding the need to escape from reality via a bottle, and even more painful to consider that nobody intervened on her behalf --- whether welcomed or not by Eaton.

One month after Eaton's death, her former husband felt the need to challenge Mary's will --- in which she had left her $8,000 estate to her elderly mother.

One wonders if Mary had ever told him of her mother's dream to see her children succeed in the way she herself had longed to but had been denied --- or of that long ago railway journey in 1916 that she and her Mother took from the West Coast to New York City, to make certain her daughter had what she herself couldn't.

Apparently, this mattered little to Laughton --- and while the outcome of the case is unknown, at least we do know that the elder Mrs. Eaton did have children to look after her, regardless of her daughter's $8,000 legacy.

That's not much to leave behind once the living memories are gone. Those who saw Mary Eaton dance atop a platform held high by "two stalwart men" in The Follies of 1920 are long gone --- as are a good many of those who first saw "Glorifying The American Girl" flash on the screen in a fresh, newly struck film image --- unblemished by time and neglect.

Mary Eaton will likely be remembered --- if at all, as a laughable element in The Marx Brothers' "Cocoanuts" --- something to be skimmed past on DVD's, or ridiculed in film reviews by folks who simply don't "get" it -- or her, or the place and time in which she lived and breathed.

For me, she'll forever be the delicately beautiful shop girl in a diaphanous frock, dancing in a park below towering trees, speckled by sunlight --- blonde hair caressed by breezes, cheered on by friends, just on the verge of getting her "big break," --- dancing for the sheer delight of movement and melody combined, her whole life as yet before her. Forever.



Cross Promotion - Charleston, WV - 20 January 1930

Coloring Contest - Greeley, CO - 13 December 1929
(Only green, salmon and orange needed.)

More Retail Cross Promotion - Greeley, CO - 13 December 1929

Postcard, circa 1923/1924

Advertisement - January of 1924

Ogden, Utah - 24 September 1922

Newark, Ohio - 5 March 1928

Galveston, Texas - 20 January 1929

Mary Eaton's 1929 wedding dress

And so proclaims Louella...


Shaw & Eaton, "The Cocoanuts" (1929)

Mary's brother, Joe Eaton - April of 1928

Glorified, long before the film. Eaton, upper left.

August, 1920

Directed by Millard Webb, 1927

Directed by Millard Webb, 1927

Directed by Millard Webb, 1926

Directed by Millard Webb, 1927

Directed by Millard Webb, 1926

Eaton appeared in the Paramount talking
short comedy "Two Masters," in 1927.

Oscar Shaw interview...
Gettysburg, PA - 9 May 1936



Bob said...


Your blog is always enjoyable, but I was very happy to see you devote some time to Mary Eaton.

I have seen little information about her latter years. I knew she died relatively young, but I did not know the entire story.

I am truly saddened to see how her life turned out. Perhaps she suffered from depression, or perhaps she was simply a victim of poor life choices.

Like you, I would rather remember Mary as the vibrant beauty she was.

Clarence said...

Wonderful as always Jeff. I'd meant for years to search for information on Mary Eaton. All the Marx Bros. books I've seen have had was that she & Oscar Shaw were a 'romantic team of the 1920's'. Obviously, she was much more.
Love & Peace, Clarence

Jeff Cohen said...

I tend to doubt it, but perhaps this piece will illuminate a performer now known simply as a Marx Bros. foil. Not that that's a bad thing in of itself, but she was a whole lot more. :)

Thanks for the words, Bob and Clarence!

Matthew Coniam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

Thank you for this post. I had always wondered about Mary Eaton's life. There is a film listed for her on IMDB from 1942 call We'll Smile Again, but her part is "uncredited". I wonder what this is. There seem to be no photos of her beyond that of 1932.