Now, we ask: how could you NOT warm up to June Allyson.
She was the epitome of marital fidelity in the Forties and Fifties, the lovingly supportive partner onscreen to bandleader Glenn Miller and baseball pitcher Monte Stratton (both played by her pal and costar Jimmy Stewart).
A callow adolescent back in the day, Frank wondered if somehow he would be lucky enough to marry June Allyson. Little did he know.
In fact Allyson (born Eleanor Geisman in the Bronx in 1917) survived a difficult childhood marred by a terrible accident when she was crushed by a falling tree limb. It left her in a back brace for four years.
Allyson survived, worked hard to regain her mobility and took up dancing. She eventually proved so adept that she won local dance contests that projected her into musical short films. Chorus roles on the Broadway stage followed by a big break as understudy to Betty Hutton in Panama Hattie.
Hutton came down with measles, and you can guess what happened. Allyson made the most of her big shot, and impressed director George Abbott, who hired her for the 1941 musical Best Foot Forward (there she is with Nancy Walker below). After duplicating her starring role in the movie adaptation, Allyson was contracted dinto the MGM stable.
Okay, let’s see how much you know about this ingratiating female star. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Despite her goody two shoes screen image, Allyson was a salty, hard drinking dame who went through thee husbands. a) True; b) False.
2) Question: Allyson admitted to have had a brief affair with which one of these Presidential aspirants? a) Richard Nixon; b) Ronald Reagan; c) George Murphy; or d) John F. Kennedy.
3) Question: June and Margaret O’Brien shared an unusual talent. What was it? a) Both could cry on cue; b) Both were facile magicians off camera; c) Both took up opera singing and were pretty good; ; or d) Both were sensational cooks.
4) Question: Which one of the following was Allyson’s most famous husband? a) Peter Lawford; b) Alfred Glenn Maxwell; c) Dick Powell; or d) Otto Preminger.
5) Question: Allyson dropped the Miss Goody Two Shoes image in two of her films. Can you identify these two titles? (HINT: One costarred Jose Ferrer and came out in 1955. Allyson played a lesbian murderess in the other, which was released in 1972.
And now for answers to Friday’s mystery legends. That was Clara Bow with Al Jolson. And yes, it was Gable, Loy, and Barrymore. Bacall with President Truman. And Loren with DeCarlo and Lollobridgida.