I had to do some research, because I am not that well read on literature of the 1930s. Torchy Blane (1937 - 1939) had a short movie life, just nine films in three years. She should be remembered. All actors and actresses in B-Movies should.
Torchy was a strong woman who worked as a reporter. She was close friends (as close as you could get in the Hays Code days) with police detective Steve McBride (also 1937 - 1939). The pair would get involved with one crime or another, and Torchy always seemed to solve it before her beau. Talk about a role model for young women.
The movies were made by Warner Brothers and First National Films, and they were all about an hour long, making them true B-Movies. They would be shown along with a feature and a cartoon or newsreel, back in the day. Quite a value for your admission fee, but we were still in the depression and this type of entertainment helped everyone feel better. (You may also get a piece of "depression glass" at the theater as a thank you gift. I have a nice set of depression glass ice cream cups!)
Back to Torchy. The first three films were all in 1937 and starred Glenda Farrell (1904 - 1971) and Barton MacLane (1902 - 1969) as Torchy and Steve. They were, Smart Blonde, Fly Away Baby, and Adventurous Blonde. I guess Torchy was a blonde.
In Smart Blonde we see Jane Wyman (1917 - 2007) in a bit part. Wyman played Torchy in the very last film in the series. We also find the ever popular Tom Kennedy (1885 - 1965) as another cop, and he is the only actor to appear in all nine Torchy films.
Most of the cast are people you find in other B-Movies, and are not household names today. I suspect that is the case for the entire series. But if you can find these films, watch the small parts. You will find gems like Fred "Snowflake" Toones (1906 - 1962) who has 213 titles listed on IMDb, including The Gold Diggers of 1937 (released in 1936) starring Dick Powell (1904 - 1963) and Joan Blondell (1906 - 1979), and Way Out West (1937) starring Laurel and Hardy. I would like to see his film, Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge (1937) with Gene Autry (1907 - 1998) and Smiley Burnette (1911 - 1967).
In Fly Away Baby, Torchy goes around the world to get her story. Along the way she meets some great Bit Actors including Gordon Oliver (1910 - 1995). Oliver appeared in Jezebel and Blondie (both in 1938), and has 45 titles on his list. She also meets Lane Chandler (1899 - 1972) who has 376 roles in his career.
Adventurous Blonde was next with rival newspapers staging a fake murder that turns out to be real. Guess who solves the crime? Look for Anne Nagel (1915 - 1966) who was in a total of 86 roles in her career. She was in My Little Chickadee (1940), Blondie's Holiday (1947), and Mighty Joe Young (1949), among her other work.
More Torchy tomorrow.