Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sheilah Roberts (Delinquent Daughters, 1944)

Sheilah Roberts (mistakenly listed as "Sheila Roberts") appeared as "waitress" in Delinquent Daughters (1944), a PRC potboiler that also included the delightful Fifi D'Orsay, Margia Dean, and Patricia Knox (see an earlier post). Sheilah danced the jitterbug in Ghost Catchers (1944) and was Billy Gilbert's "stooge" in Three of a Kind (1944). In her other films she was a model and a barmaid. And that, as they say, was that. Truth be told, I have included Miss Roberts here solely because I have the photograph shown above. And, perhaps, because of the following tidbit that appeared in the August 25, 1961 Long Beach Press-Telegram:

"Mrs. Sheilah Roberts Murison, film actress, has been named assistant secretary for the 1966 Long Beach Planet of Man International Exposition. She plans to move to Long Beach shortly."

That was followed in due course (April 23, 1964) by this even more interesting notice in the same publication:


"-The California Worlds Fair settled in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday a long smouldering argument with a former actress when Judge Donald A. Odell denied a suit by Sheilah Roberts Murison. The fair then withdrew a counter-suit.

"Judge Odell denied a petition from Mrs. Murison seeking [Indecipherable amount] from the fair organization, representing a $250 weekly salary she said was due since being hired in 196L as executive secretary and promotional assistant. Tuesday, the fair entered a counter-suit for $1.5 million against Mrs. Murison charging that she had damaged the organisation by making derogatory statements against the project."

After which Sheilah Roberts Murison seems to have faded from view. At least until now.

Delinquent Daughters

One of those three or four day quickie jobs from PRC about wild teenagers who stay out too long and frequent such dives as Fifi D'Orsay's honky tonk before being pointed in the right direction by kindly Judge Frank McGlynn, Sr., Delinquent Daughters straddles the fence between cautionary melodrama and outright exploitation. But it pretty much does that without the cooperation of the aforementioned Sheilah Roberts who, although billed on screen, is just a background extra. Approximately fifteen minutes into the turgid proceedings, the action, if you can call it that, turns to Fifi D'Orsay's roadhouse where two waitresses, a blonde (Sheilah) and a brunette (Belle Thomas), work the crowd in the background. No dialogue and no closeups. Why were they billed? In contrast, an unbilled Patricia Knox enjoys a nice scene playing Teala Loring's mother. A truly bizarre casting choice when you consider that Miss Knox was three years younger than Miss Loring. But there you have it: Delinquent Daughters never makes much sense but is actually quite entertaining in its own pedestrian way. (The film is in public domain and may be watched legally online.)

… and their men: Parker Gee

Known as “The Silvery Baritone,” Tennessean Parker Gee (1904-1984) enjoyed a lengthy career in all manner of show business that included headlining a 1930 Stillwell tour, appearing opposite Paris music hall star Annette, “making her first tour of America,” in “Frolics of France” (1940), and sharing a bill with burlesque queen Betty Rowland and future Stooge Joe De Rita (1945). Gee's screen career seems to have been a matter of too late and too little, his role as a crusading reporter helping square-jawed policeman Joe Devlin turn delinquents into fine and upstanding kids in Delinquent Daughters proving a milestone of sorts. But he sustained an active nightclub career that included a long partnership with Johnny DeArco, the “Two Singing Comedians.”

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