Yes, that was Betty Hutton — the incendiary blonde, in last week’s “name the personality” blog. She’s always been one of Joe’s favorites.
Hello, everybody. Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here again to discuss one of the liveliest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
We’re happy to note that many of you did indeed identify the famous Paramount star of the 1940s. Mike Sheridan writes: She was always a huge hit with her peers and was a real standout in 1945s “Duffy’s Tavern.”
Mark is more explicit: It’s “The Blonde Blitzkrieg!” “Bounding Betty!” “The Huttontot!” herself…a.k.a. BETTY HUTTON! Bob Hope once referred to her as “a vitamin pill with legs!”
Although she was best known for her inimitable versions of what she called “crazy songs” like “Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing in a Hurry,” “His Rocking Horse Ran Away,” “Rumble, Rumble Rumble,” etc., that emphasized her brassy energetic belting style, when she wasn’t raising the rafters in song, she had a lovely soft voice and was a wonderful ballad singer, as her renditions of first rate torch songs like “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So,” and “Where Are You Now That I Need You,” amply demonstrate.
It’s a shame she had such a hard life, not dissimilar in some respects, to Judy Garland’s. At least Betty seemed to find some peace in her later years via her Catholic faith.
Although she is mostly forgotten today, from 1943 to 1952 Hutton was one of Hollywood’s brightest personalities.
Her next to last film, The Greatest Show on Earth, really showcased her talents, although it was one of the few films in which she didn’t sing. Along with that Cecil B. DeMille epic, the other films in which she appeared — which could be considered classics — include director Preston Sturges’ Miracle at Morgan’s Creek and Annie Get Your Gun.
Joe remembers seeing Hutton on Broadway in the 1980s when for a few weeks she took over the role of Miss Hannigan in Annie. She wowed the audience, and received a standing ovation.
There was talk on the street that it was a tryout to see if she could do the road company. But then, rumor had it, she was too demanding and difficult to work with. That was the end of that “comeback.”
Still, she had her fans, and until the end she was a STAR.