Monday, July 3, 2017

1937-1938 Carole at Warner Brothers

In the spring of 1937 eighteen year old Carole auditioned for director Busby Berkeley. He was impressed with her dancing and her beauty. Busby gave her a small role in Varsity Show, the Warner Brothers musical he was directing. Carole appeared as in a few scenes and was featured in the musical finale. Off screen she started a highly publicized romance with Busby (who was 24 years older than her). He helped Carole get a contract at Warner Brothers for $50 a week. Since she was still considered a minor she actually had to got to court to get the contract approved.

She was given bit parts in more than a dozen films including Hollywood Hotel, Gold Diggers In Paris, The Patient In Room 18, and Blondes At Work. Although most of her parts were forgettable she was beginning to make a name for herself in Hollywood. Carole posed for dozens of publicity photos and became known for her sexy leg art. She said "It was the leg art that did the trick. Naughty leg art, if you happen to look at it in that light. You see when the boys needed someone to pose in a skin-tight white bathing suit, go sleigh riding in shorts, or climb a ladder in a skirt they would yell 'Get Landis!' and Landis was willin'. That made everybody happy except, maybe, the goody-goods and the bluenoses and I suspect they took a second peek now and then.".


While working at the studio Busby encouraged her to change her hair from platinum blonde to brunette. In 1938 she starred in the Warner Brother Academy radio show "Special Agent" and appeared on the cover of Pic magazine. That same year her estranged husband Irving Wheeler sued Busby Berkeley for alienation of affection. He lost the case but the bad publicity hurt Carole's reputation. When her contract ended in the summer Warner Brothers decided not to renew it. Soon after her relationship with Busby also came to an end. Nineteen year old Carole was now single and out of work.

Listen to Carole in Special Agent

With Busby Berkeley                                                                        

                  With Rosemary Lane                                                                                          

With Glenda Farrell

Carole on the Warner Brothers lot