Friday, September 23, 2011

Edna Lawrence (The Lone Ranger, Rancho Grande)

Thanks to the Serial Squadron's Eric Stedman and his restoration elves, we can now not only enjoy the original The Lone Ranger, the 1937 Republic serial that turned a radio hero into a screen star, but also Miss Edna Lawrence in her bit as Lynn Roberts' maid. Of course, had it only been for Edna's less than a minute of screen time posing as her mistress in chapter three, no one would have missed this ground-breaking serial. But there you have it. Edna is fine in her role as far as it goes but she certainly is no Lynn Roberts!

Edna Lawrence actually starred opposite Tom Keene in the cavalry (in Florida) drama Drums of Destiny that very same year, but that was for something called Crescent Pictures, headed by the prolific E.B. Derr, and a company somewhat below the status of even Republic Pictures. (Drums of Jeopardy was the penultimate entry in a series of six “historical” melodramas that Crescent released on States Rights 1936-'37. The previous installment, Old Louisiana, had featured a pre-stardom Rita Hayworth.)

We don't know anything about Miss Lawrence, other than the fact that most of her roles, brief as they were, were played with a south-of-the-border accent. In other words, she may not have been “Edna Lawrence” at all. At least to begin with. She returned to Republic screens in the 1940 Gene Autry starrer Rancho Grande. To be continued...

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