Monday, January 02, 2006

The Major and the Minor

Ginger Rogers wrote about her dual role in "The Major and the Minor" in her autobiography, "Ginger: My Story" (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1991, page 243):
(Ginger Rogers after she's turned
herself into a twelve-year-old.)
Billy Wilder was a wonderful traffic cop for this film and couldn't have been more enchanting. From the very beginning, he had the nicest attitude toward me and all the other actors. The "Major" in this story was played by Ray Milland, Rita Johnson playedis snobbish fiancee, and Diana Lynn was her little sister, the only character in the story who recognized that I was putting on an act. We had many fresh-faced young talents playing the cadets who were constantly after "Susu," among them Raymond Roe and Frankie Thomas, Jr. The Main source of our off-camera laughter was the very talented Robert Benchley. Of of his lines tome, written by Charles Brackett--"Why don't you slip out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?"--became a standard. Benchley's on-stage humor was the antithesis of the backstage Benchley I came to know. His innocent type of humor was very different from his own nature, for he was far more serious and complex. He would arrive at the studio in the morning punctually, carrying with him a stack of books, and would read, on average, four books a day. I was amazed at his literary accomplishments.
(Rogers with her first husband, Lew
Ayres, and mother, Lela Rogers.)
Miss Maven is always amazed at how Ginger Rogers could pull off the scene at the beginning of the movie where she disguises herself as a twelve-year-old to get the child's discount to ride the train.
Miss Maven hasn't been able to do that since she was . . . sob! . . . ten!
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