In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.
Bowers is about to describe his first Hollywood encounter – with Walter Pidgeon. So in Part 11, I began gathering information to compile a timeline on Pidgeon’s life in 1946.
Photo: Walter Pidgeon, Maria Felix and Yvonne de Carlo attend Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico City as published in the Milwaukee Journal, May 8, 1946.
Here’s what we find in the New York Times:
Jan. 20, 1946: Fred Stanley reports that MGM is scouting locations in Washington for “Beloved Stranger.” Two-thirds of the production was to be filmed on location, Stanley says.
Jan. 31: The NYT also reports on the short film “The American Creed.”
Feb. 11: The NYT’s radio listings include Cavalcade of America: “Remembered Day, Abe Lincoln’s Answer”; with Pidgeon and others on WEAF
Feb. 14: The NYT also writes about a movie star junket – including Pidgeon – on TWA’s nonstop service from Los Angeles to New York.
Feb. 17: Greer Garson mentions Pidgeon in an interview.
March 20: Brief mention of Claudette Colbert and Pidgeon in “The Secret Heart.”
March 26: Another brief on “The Secret Heart.”
March 31: An interesting feature on construction of the set for Warner Bros.’ “Life With Father” on the “Viennese Nights” street mentions Pidgeon.
April 1: NYT’s radio listings include “Information Please,” with Pidgeon, Fred Allen and Walter Dietz, WEAF.
April 12: Brief mention of “The Secret Heart.”
Aug. 11: “Holiday in Mexico” is playing in New York.
Aug. 16: Bosley Crowther reviews “Holiday in Mexico.”
Sept. 12: Pidgeon is cast in MGM’s “If Winter Comes,” set to film in late October or early November.
Sept. 15: Radio listing for Sept. 16: “Radio Theatre” “Madame Curie” with Garson, Pidgeon and others, WABC.
Sept. 23: Pidgeon, Mickey Rooney, Frank Shields and Yvon Petra play an exhibition match on “how not to play tennis” at the Los Angeles Tennis Club.”
Nov. 25: “Radio Theatre”: “Mrs. Parkington,” with Garson and Pidgeon, WCBS.
Dec. 22: “The Secret Heart” opens Christmas Day in New York.
Dec.26: Bosley Crowther reviews “The Secret Heart.”
But wait. There’s more.
Let’s check Google’s news archives.
March 25: Walter Winchell reports:Walter Pidgeon staying up until half-past eleven again with the Waldorf’s Theodore Sauciers. A passing half-wit, discovering the star, exclaimed: “Oooh, Ray Milland!”
March 31: The Chicago Tribune (a pay site) appears to list a radio show. Details on an OTR (old time radio) website list “The Radio Hall of Fame” on ABC; Walter Pidgeon, Jean Sabion, Martha Tilton, Minerva Pious.
April 14: The Chicago Tribune has another radio listing for Pidgeon and Martha Scott. This turns out to be “Theater Guild on the Air” with a production of “Seven Keys to Baldpate.”
Aug. 2: Hedda Hopper reports that Pidgeon attended a party given by Dolly Walker at her Italian villa.
Aug. 18: Hopper reports that “Walter Pidgeon, as soon as he finishes his present picture, will hop to the River Cliff ranch outside Denver. Billy Smythe, former CBS man, made it one of the finest dude ranches in the country. Guests can catch rainbow trout by the dozens. Sounds like paradise.
And interestingly enough an Internet radio site lists still another radio program featuring Pidgeon:
Sept. 23: “Screen Guild Theater,” “Susan and God” with Bette Davis.
It’s entirely possible that this isn’t everything but it’s at least a start in compiling a timeline. In the next, I’ll combine everything and see how it’s shaping up.