Thanks to MAE WEST, movie-buffs will never forget Rochelle Hudson, who played Sally Glynn on the 1933 classic "She Done Him Wrong." We're thinking about her because she was born in March — — on 6 March perhaps in 1914.
• • Unfortunately, the skidrow barrooms saw far too many Sally Glynns.
• • Mae West knew the stories about the notorious Bowery "resort" near Houston Street, namely McGurk's Suicide Hall [295 Bowery]. The second chapter of "Diamond Lil" (a 256-page novelization of the play published by Macaulay in 1932) is Suicide Hall.
• • Mae West understood that the Bowery boy and his female counterpart — — the "Tough Girl" — — had to be made amusing before they would be accepted as entertainment. And so by the time Diamond Lil sashays inside Suicide Hall, bejeweled and gowned, the sinister setting had been properly de-fanged.
• • The real Suicide Hall was no place for a nice girl. According to an article [13 May 1999] in The New York Times, the building had been a hotel during the Civil War, catering to returning soldiers. By the 1890s it was a brothel and a dive where . . . a half-dozen destitute courtesans drank carbolic acid and died. John H. McGurk, the owner of the saloon on the ground floor, then capitalized on the notoriety of the place by renaming it McGurk’s Suicide Hall.
• • In the original Broadway production of "Diamond Lil" [1928-1929], the troubled young Sally was portrayed by Lois Jesson. The fresh-faced stage actress, who had graduated from Mansfield High School (the class of 1917) in Richland County, Ohio, stayed active in legitimate theatre in New York City for five years after her 1928 debut.
• • Paramount Pictures, who re-cast most of the roles when making "She Done Him Wrong" , saw a glimmer of Sally Glynn in Rochelle Hudson.
• • Oklahoma City native Rochelle Hudson [6 March 1914? — 17 January 1972] was active in the entertainment scene from the 1930s—1960s.
• • Rochelle Hudson's career began when a friend of her mother's, who had connections with the studio of 20th Century Fox, got the 16-year-old signed to a contract in 1930. At first, the teenager was trained by Fox's voice coach, who then farmed her out for singing work on radio and voice-overs in Warner Brothers' popular cartoon "Bosko." Hudson's first flicker of credit on the silver screen, on loan to RKO Pictures, was as Carmen in "Fanny Foley Herself" .
• • Often shoe-horned into sunny girl-next-door parts, Hudson was also effectively cast as tomboys and slatterns.
• • By December 1932, Rochelle Hudson (now in Paramount's hands) got her chance to walk into Suicide Hall — — Gus Jordan's saloon — — and leave an indelible impression on celluloid.
• • As in Mae's play, Sally Glynn enters with torn clothes. In silhouette, she attempts suicide but is prevented, and brought to Lady Lou's boudoir upstairs to recover. Intuitively, Mae West's character senses this is a romantic problem. When Sally wonders how she knows it is man-woe, Lady Lou replies: "You know, it takes two to get one in trouble."
• • Lou asks: "What was he? Married?"
• • Sally replies: "Yes, but I didn't know."
• • Lou explains: "Men's all alike — — married or single. It's their game. I happen to be smart enough to play it their way. You'll come to it."
• • Ever optimistic, Lady Lou suggests that Sally gets a new wardrobe and a change of attitude: "Always remember to smile. You'll never have anything to worry about. Forget about this guy. See that you get a good one the next time."
• • Sally frets that she's a goner: "Who'd want me after what I've done?"
• • Lou replies: "Listen, when women go wrong, men go right after them."
• • Lou explains to Gus Jordan, Serge Stanieff, and Rita what the commotion was: "Some guy done her wrong. The story's so old it should have been set to music long ago."
• • Rita demonstrates interest in the wronged girl, thinking she might be useful to them in their underworld schemes: "What a sweet, innocent face?... Can you sing and dance, perhaps? ... Well, but you'd be willing to learn... Then I think I can find you a very nice position. Have you heard perhaps of the Barbary Coast?"
• • Gus and Rita tell Lou that they will help Sally Glynn, though obviously they have evil intentions — — and (supposedly) Lou is unaware of their criminal designs. But one look at Lady Lou and the audience may doubt anything could escape her.
• • After doing herself credit as the wretched luckless Sally, Rochelle Hudson went forward to co-star in "Wild Boys of the Road" , portray Cosette in "Les Misérables" , and play Natalie Wood's mother in the iconic "Rebel Without a Cause" .
• • Notable roles for Rochelle Hudson also included: Claudette Colbert's adult daughter in "Imitation of Life" ; Richard Cromwell's love interest in the Will Rogers (a fellow Oklahoman) showcase "Life Begins at 40" ; and the daughter of carnival barker W.C. Fields in "Poppy" .
• • Man woes pursued her in real life, though; she went to the altar four times.
• • After her heyday in the 1930s, Rochelle Hudson's career dwindled into "B"-picture leads. TV kept her busy for awhile. She co-starred on the 1954 sitcom "That's My Boy" and made appearances in many anthology series.
• • In 1967, she retired from show business for good and used her contacts as a real estate agent to the stars.
• • Pneumonia and a love for the bottle hastened an early curtain. She died on 17 January 1972 in Palm Desert, California when she about 57.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West's co-star • • Rochelle Hudson • •