Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kay Christopher (South of Rio, Code of the Silver Sage)

The best way to describe Kay Christopher, “Miss Photo Flash of 1945,” is cute as a button. And a competent little actress to boot. At least competent enough for what she was required to do as leading lady to Monte Hale in South of Rio (Republic, 1949), in which she takes over her murdered father's frontier newspaper and proves herself to be something of a women's rights advocate, West of the Pecos-style; or Rocky Lane in Code of the Silver Sage (Republic, 1950), in which she enjoys something rare in a B-Western: a love interest. No, not Rocky himself, who is too manly and no-nonsense for mushy stuff like romance, but Richard Emory, the son of silent screen actors Ella Hall and Emory Johnson, who plays a young military officer falsely accused of conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States. Hailing from Evanston, IL, and best known for playing Dick Tracy's girlfriend Tess Truehart in Dick Tracy's Dilemma (RKO, 1947) – she replaced contract starlet Anne Jeffreys, who was busy playing in a New York revival of “Street Scene” – Kay Christopher later married Los Angeles attorney Henry Taecker, Jr., whom she had met while attending Northwestern, and ended her screen and television career in 1954. On October 8, 1961 newspapers could report that the couple's Bel Air home had burned to the ground and that Kay Christopher was searching for important personal belongings. Happily, she managed to locate a personal treasure, a small gold medal the navy had awarded posthumously to her brother, who had perished in WWII. The brush fires that were ravaging the posh Bel Air estates that week also claimed the homes of Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Fred MacMurray barely managed to rescue his wife, June Haver, and their two daughters.

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