It’s always a kick to see what familiar stars were up to before they became household names, and tonight’s lineup of early Ginger Rogers pictures on Turner Classic Movies provides just such an opportunity for fans of the twinkled-toed hoofer.
Rogers, a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1932, is best remembered, of course, for her storied association with Fred Astaire, with whom she made ten pictures, but she’d already appeared in nine movies before she was paired with Astaire for the first time in 1933’s Flying Down to Rio. Six of those movies are included among tonight’s offerings on TCM.
42nd Street is a title familiar to many, as much for its second life as a Broadway stage musical as anything, but if you’ve not seen the original picture, you should; it’s grittier (and sexier) than you might expect — a true Pre-Code musical.
Here’s the full line-up, beginning at 8pm and extending well into Thursday morning:
8:00pm — 42nd Street (1933)
The definitive backstage musical, complete with the dazzling newcomer who goes on for the injured star.
Cast: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers. Dir: Lloyd Bacon.
9:45pm — Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Three chorus girls fight to keep their show going and find rich husbands.
Cast: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy.
1:00am — Rafter Romance (1933)
A salesgirl falls for a night worker without realizing they share the same apartment.
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster, George Sidney, Robert Benchley. Dir: William A. Seiter.
5:00am — Chance At Heaven (1934)
A society girl steals a simple gas station attendant from his working-class girlfriend.
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Marion Nixon, Andy Devine. Dir: William A. Seiter.
7:30am — You Said A Mouthful (1932)
To sell his unsinkable bathing suit, an inventor passes himself off as a championship swimmer.
Cast: Joe E. Brown, Ginger Rogers, Preston S. Foster, Allen “Farina” Hoskins. Dir: Lloyd Bacon