Saturday, November 5, 2011

Betty Caldwell (Jinx Money, 1948)

A former employee of the Iowa Hardware Mutual Insurance Co. in her hometown of Mason City, IA and the young wife of Air Force Captain Truman Caldwell, Betty Caldwell (nee Chapman and born 1923) had begun her show business career the usual way: in local Little Theater. She became a model and a cover girl and was "The Girl of the Future" of the Southern California Industrial Exposition in 1945 when discovered, screentested and awarded a 7-year contract by independent producer Hunt Stromberg. Her only role of any importance while with Stromberg was on loan to United Artists for the episodic On Our Merry Way 1948), in which she appeared in a segment opposite Fred MacMurray. It wasn't enough and, divorced from Captain Caldwell, she married a San Fernando Valley hotel owner and retired to raise their two daughters. She passed away at the age of 79 at Toluca Lake, CA, in 2002.

Jinx Money (Monogram, 1948)

The folks back in Mason City, Iowa, were very proud of their native Hollywood star, Betty Caldwell, and Jinx Money earned quite a few write-ups. Sadly, Betty's actual performance was nothing much to write home about. She plays a moll but, naturally, the comedy is a vehicle for the ubiquitous Bowery Boys, who this time took money laundering to a whole new level. As the money-hungry girlfriend of John Eldredge's gambler (“my mink is more than a year old,” she complaints to her beau) Betty is mostly seen in Sheldon Leonard's smoky dive and Eldredge's typical Monogram Pictures flat and, frankly, looks like she could use some fresh air. Unlike popular B-Movie regular Wanda McKay, who turns up as a very glamorous-looking Salvation Army lass. Jinx Money, a typical Bowery Boys movie -- not the best but far from the worst -- proved Betty Caldwell's final film.

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