Wow! She was indeed the “wow” girl of the 1940s.
A creature so evocative that she churned GI libidos worldwide (see photo immediately below).
Betty Grable was much more than World War II’s number one pinup. Her wartime screen popularity was immense, making her a huge earner for both herself and her studio, 20th Century Fox.
She may often be overlooked today, but as one of late classic period Hollywood’s biggest actresses, she was a star of great moment, rising from young chorine status to a top box office figure for 13 years — a record unmatched by any other actress.
And she had staying power. Her career stretched from the late Twenties through 1955, and covered some 75 movies plus multiple tv appearances and stage work. She was, at best, brassy, energetic and amused, wrote British critic David Thomson.
And — Oh, those legs!
Now, on to our Monday Betty Grable Quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go.
1) Question: After dead-end starts at RKO and Paramount, Grable was picked up by 20th Century Fox as a replacement for its then reigning diva. Who was she? a) Greta Garbo; b) Alice Faye; c) Martha Raye; or d) Shirley Ross.
2) Question: Which one of the following movies cemented Grable’s reputation as America’s No. 1 pinup? a) Whoopee!; b) Give Me A Sailor; c) The Gay Divorcee; or d) Pin-Up Girl.
3) Question: Grable’s show biz breakthrough actually occurred on the stage in a Cole Porter musical that had her fully clothed throughout. Can you name the show that provided this pivotal career success? (Hint: it was made into a 1943 MGM screen tuner.)
4) Question: Grable’s second husband was a famous leader of a swing-era big band. Who is he? a) Artie Shaw; b) Harry James; c) Tommy Dorsey; or d) Ozzie Nelson.
5) Question: Although Grable was known for her performances in lighter movies, she did make at least one outstanding film noir costarring Victor Mature and Laird Cregar. Which one of the following titles are we referring to? a) The Nitwits; b) That Lady In Ermine; c) I Wake Up Screaming; or d) What Price Innocence.
6) Question: What did Grable have in common with the following? a) Maureen O’Hara; b) Kay Aldrich; c) Linda Darnell; and d) Gene Tierney.
7) Question: Grable’s first husband was a famous former child actor. Who was he? a) Jackie Coogan; b) Freddie Bartholomew; c) Mickey Rooney; or d) Jackie Cooper.
8) Question: In 1947 and 1948, Grable was not only the highest paid Hollywood actress but was the highest paid woman in the whole country. a) True; or b) False?
9) Question: Which one of the following actresses took up Grable’s mantel at 20th Century Fox? a) Sheree North; b) Jayne Mansfield; c) Marilyn Monroe; or d) Diana Dors.
10) Question: Grable’s legs were regarded so highly by her studio that they were covered via a million-dollar insurance policy. a) True; or b) False?