By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin July 4, 2012 at 2:08AM
Once again, let us thank those Hollywood studio publicists who kept their contract starlets busy posing for silly holiday-themed photos in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. If not for them we couldn’t enjoy a timely gallery like this one, which screams of patriotic fervor. (OK, maybe not…but the photos are still fun to see.)
Barbara Kent, who recently passed away at the age of 103, was a busy actress in the late 1920s, but when she wasn’t working on a film her home studio, Universal, had her pose for pictures such as this 1927 pose, cheerfully riding a skyrocket to celebrate Independence Day.
Lovely June Collyer adds sparkle to the holiday in this pose, which suggests that Lady Liberty could have used an ermine coat. While working at Paramount in the early-talkie era she met Stuart Erwin and married him in 1931. She later came out of retirement to play his wife on his early 1950s TV situation comedy.
Original caption from the early 1930s: A MODERN BETSY ROSS – Thelma Todd, beautiful blonde actress in Hal Roach comedies, gives her conception of the famous lass who helped in the creation of our first flag. Photo by J. Eldee Hester.
Original caption from 1943: MINUTE “MAN” – Luscious Leslie Brooks, now starring with Linda Darnell in “City Without Men,” decided that she’d become a minute “man’ and in this garb made a whirl-wind tour of Los Angeles and nearby towns of the Treasury Department, selling war bonds. Columbia photo by Don English.
Dorothy Arnold never made a big splash in Hollywood, where she played small, often unbilled parts in films like Exposed (1938), as a hat check girl, and W.C. Fields’ You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, as a debutante…but she made a definite impression on baseball star Joe DiMaggio, who married her in 1940.
Jean Harlow was Hollywood’s first blonde bombshell, in the 1930s, but in the wake of Marilyn Monroe’s success twenty years later, many others claimed that title, including Hugo Haas’ frequent leading lady Cleo Moore, seen here in a Columbia studio publicity shot from 1955, the year she starred in Women’s Prison.