Monday, September 2, 2013

Republic Pictures contract player ANN BALDWIN


Herbert I. Yates, founder and CEO of Republic Pictures, had a, shall we say offbeat? taste in women, a fact that became quite detrimental  to the prospects of the studio. Take, for example, Miss Dorothy Herbert, a circus bareback rider who wowed them on a horse but was far from a raving beauty when standing still. But Yates was apparently very attracted to her and forced her upon the producers of the serial MYSTERIOUS DOCTOR SATAN (1940). Happily, that was that for Miss Herbert who returned to the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus where she belonged. Not so Vera Hruba Ralston, the equally equine looking Czechoslovakian figure skater, who Yates not only made Queen of the Lot until John Wayne put his foot down but actually married. The beginning of the end of Republic Pictures as it turned out.

I admit to having absolutely no proof, but I would suggest that Ann Baldwin was in the same category as Dorothy Herbert and Vera Ralston. Again, not a raving beauty and certainly no actress in the accepted use of the word. But there she was, under term contract to the studio from 7-10-1939 to 4-9-1940. During that period she played a secretary in the opening chapter of one of Republic's finest chapterplays, DRUMS OF FU MANCHU (1940), and shared screen time with both Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. She is memorable in none of these films and appears to have left show business after the studio failed to renew her contract. 

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