Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elaine Morey/Janet Warren (Wild Horse Phantom)

The only reason for Elaine Morey's presence in Wild Horse Phantom (1943), an otherwise highly amusing Buster Crabbe/Billy Carson western from PRC, is that a girl was customary. She has exactly two brief scenes as Budd Buster's daughter in this tale of missing loot, greedy bankers, haunted mines and, of course, Fuzzy Q. Jones (Al St. John). Most of the action takes place inside said mine with Fuzzy scared out of his wits and good old henchie Frank Ellis awarded more to say and do than he probably ever got, before or after. Wild Horse Phantom remains a prime example of how to create an entertaining hour or so on a shoestring budget. But Elaine has very little to do with its success.

Hailing from Santa Ana, CA, (born around 1922) and a graduate of Hollywood High School, Elaine Morey entered films with Universal in 1941. She performed the usual cheesecake duty and turned up in Abbott and Costello comedies and graced the background of the studios patented horror flicks and teenage musicals. She was in Law of the Range (1942) with Johnny Mack Brown but Nell O'Day had the nominal female lead in that one.

In February of 1943, Morey married Robert W. Major of Ogden, UT, described as a “dramatic coach and former Warner Bros. dialogue director,” and threatened to leave films for good. “I am definitely giving up acting after my marriage,” she told a Utah newspaper just before the nuptials. “I love a home and children and I am madly in love with my husband. So I shall devote my life to those things and those people I love and leave the screen to others.” She also stated, “I am a convert to the Mormon church and I plan to devote much of my time to studying its principles and taking a prominent part in its activities.” Alas, exactly seven months later another, much more disturbing, story hit the wires:

HOLLYWOOD, Sept. 20.—(INS)

A widespread police search was launched today for Elaine Morey, 22, blonde motion picture actress who has been mysteriously missing for several days. Her husband. Robert W. Major, dramatic coach, said the actress disappeared last week after leaving a note which read:

'Good-bye forever. I am going away.'

Miss Morey was depressed since receiving an unfavorable interview in regard to a movie job at a major studio, Major told police.

Happily, Elaine returned safe to home and hearth soon enough but perhaps this kind of negative publicity persuaded her that a name change might be in order. By 1945 she had become Janet Warren and appeared in a couple of Charlie Chan whodunits and Republic's Winter Wonderland (1947), an outdoorsy comedy-drama with Lynne Roberts. Today, she is best remembered for her one starring role as Hans Conried's wife in Arch Oboler's Sci-Fi satire The Twonky (1951, released 1953).

No comments:

Post a Comment