Thursday, September 22, 2011

Helen Gerald (The Trap, The Gay Cavalier)

Helen Gerald was yet another pretty face who mostly played “girls,” e.g. “school girl,” “bobby sox girl,” “girlfriend,” etc. She did actually have a name, “Ruby,” as one of the touring show girls in the Charlie Chan whodunit The Trap (1946), but she wasn't the resident bitch (that would be Anne Nagel) or the poor murder victim (that would be Jan Bryant) and the role was really just another “girl.”

The Gay Cavalier (1946), the first of the Monogram Cisco Kids to star Gilbert Roland and, frankly, a vast improvement over Monogram's usual fare, broke the mold regarding Helen Gerald, who actually got to play a real character with a name and even a love life. The name is “Angela” and she is the sister of beauteous Ramsay Ames (who also composed two of the tuneful film's songs). Angela is willing to marry nasty but wealthy Yankee Tristram Coffin in order to save her father's hacienda from ruin and that despite her love for Juan (Drew Allen). But when Tristram robs a wagon train loaded with money for a new mission sister Ramsay takes umbrage and aligns the family with Robin Hood-like Cisco Kid. Everybody speaks with the patented Hollywood Mexican accent – Ceesco Kiid! – and that is as it should be.

Following her brief screen career, Helen Gerald became a name on radio where she appeared on Mutual drams, became a regular on the soap opera “Eternal Light,” starred on a morning show, “Wendy Warren and the News,” and guested on “Perry Mason.” She later did quite a bit of voice-over work as well.

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