Well. how much did you know about one of Hollywood’s most famous personalities? (Oh, that first name.)
Did you know that she was equally as famous in vaudeville, radio and on Broadway? In the Forties, for example, she trade on-air radio banter with the likes of Bing Crosby, Al Jolson and Rudy Vallee.
She was especially effective in portraying addlepated, fretful spinster types. In her 1944 Broadway debut — in a play, Ramshackle Inn, written especially for her by George Batson — Pitts played a thrifty librarian who buys a dilapidated hotel near the ocean that turns out to be haunted. The play proved to be a popular hit, and provided a stage forum for Pitts in subsequent years.
By the Fifties — remember, Pitts had a career lasting nearly a half century — she appeared in a number of tv outings, notably a supporting role as a shipboard beautician and partner in crime on 1956’s The Gale Storm Show: Oh, Susanna. (That’s Storm on the right below.)
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Quiz about this classic comedienne.
Question 1) Although noted for her lighter movie roles, Pitts was in reality a renowned tragedian. a) True; or b) False.
Answer: b) False. Hollywood was always surprised by how effective Pitts could be in heavier dramas (check her out in 1930’s War Nurse), but her career was based on her abilities as a comedienne.
Question 2) Which one of the following was Pitts’ most successful female screen partner? a) Thelma Todd; b) Joan Crawford; c) Nancy Kelly; or d) Jean Harlow.
Answer: a) Thelma Todd. Pitts established great personal and professional rapport with partner Todd. The two costarred in many successful shorts produced by Hal Roach.
Question 3) Pitts is widely known for her performance in director Erich von Stroheim’s 1924 silent epic, Greed. But she also costarred in another of his pictures. Can you name it?
Answer: The Wedding March.
Question 4) Pitts was not usually presented onscreen as a beauty but as a (a) flustered spinster; b) a harridan; c) a coy seductress; or d) none of the above.
Answer: a) A flustered spinster.
Question 5) Getting back to her name, Pitts always said it was incorrectly pronounced. How did she pronounce her first name? a) ZAZ-oo; b) ZAY-soo; c) ZAY-zoo; or d) SAY-zoo.
Answer: d) SAY-zoo. When Mary Pickford was told by Pitts of the correct pronunciation, she replied: many will mispronounce it. Pickford was right.