Good News/Dorothy McNulty

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

Danny

  • Posts: 280
  • Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 9:52 am
  • Location: San Francisco

Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostTue May 08, 2018 8:51 am

A century ago, there was a Laser Disc called DAWN OF SOUND. It contained a rich collection of early musicals from 1929-1930. There were plenty of film clips, some in two strip technicolor, which would interest anyone who appreciates early American musicals. I hope this has been released on DVD by now.

The musical numbers from GOOD NEWS (1930) are priceless, especially Dorothy McNulty singing and dancing to Varsity Drag. She gives a hyperkinetic dance number that results in her finally being escorted off the stage in a wheelchair. It can only be compared to Martha Raye on steroids.

My question is this. Dorothy McNulty eventually dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Penny Singleton to become known for appearing in the BLONDIE series. Was there any reason for this transformation? Was she in any way embarrassed by her clowning and cavorting? Or did she just want to reinvent herself?

Danny
Online
User avatar

Rick Lanham

  • Posts: 1983
  • Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:16 pm
  • Location: Gainesville, FL

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostTue May 08, 2018 9:30 am

I've just been looking at 1930s newspapers about her. A 1939 article says that she bleached her hair to get the part in the Blondie series. A couple of years earlier she began using the name Penny Singleton for some nursery rhymes she was writing, and which were published. At some time before that she had married an orthodondist Lawrence Scroggs Singleton.

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
Offline
User avatar

s.w.a.c.

  • Posts: 1941
  • Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:27 pm
  • Location: The Land of Evangeline

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostTue May 08, 2018 10:16 am

I still have those Dawn of Sound laserdisc sets (plus I was recently gifted with a Pioneer player that still works, and plays both sides without having to remove and flip the disc), a lot of great stuff on those, not sure how much of it has come out on DVD yet. They were my introduction to Golden Dawn, how could I ever forget?

I ordered the first set off eBay, when I got it, it looked like it had been dragged through the mud, literally. The box actually fell apart, and I had to clean each disc and place it in a plain cardboard sleeve since the box had become two flat pieces of cardboard. I complained, and the guy refunded my shipping costs, at least. The discs played fine after I cleaned them, so at least I had the films.
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!
Offline

moviepas

  • Posts: 1043
  • Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:51 am

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostWed May 09, 2018 5:01 am

I have the sets they released still but have not looked at them for years. The last times I used the laserdisc machine I was having tray closing problems but it allowed me to use it. So many years ago now. Wonder how many I have no longer play? Some had already started to play up on CAV sides(not the long play CLV sides).

Penny Singleton's brother is said to have developed the Teleprompter used in TV stations or the Cue Cards. Can't find any current reference to it. Penny was also the voice of Jane Jetson in the Hanna/Barbera The Jetson.
Offline
User avatar

Harlowgold

  • Posts: 462
  • Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostFri May 11, 2018 12:55 pm

Danny wrote:My question is this. Dorothy McNulty eventually dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Penny Singleton to become known for appearing in the BLONDIE series. Was there any reason for this transformation? Was she in any way embarrassed by her clowning and cavorting? Or did she just want to reinvent herself?

Danny


Love Ms. Singleton, one of my top 15 favorite movie actresses. She did not stay long in Hollywood after her first couple talkies - I believe she went back to the stage - but she was back in 1936 still as Dorothy McNulty and had a funny small part as a floozy night club singer in AFTER THE THIN MAN and I seem to recall she kept the McNulty moniker in at least one of her poverty row starrers that followed. However she was signed by Warner Bros. as a contract player in 1937 and rechristened Penny Singleton whether it was Warner Bros. decision or her own I don't think she ever elaborated (I can see why it was changed though after almost a decade working in films with only a handful of movies, keeping the name could give the stigma of a failed career when she could be a "newcomer" with a new name). The WB contract did not last long though she had very good parts in HARD TO GET, RACKET BUSTERS, and SWING YOUR LADY (the latter a mediocre hillbilly movie with Penny and Humphrey Bogart as squabbling city slickers in the sticks) and starred in one of the WB color musical shorts CAMPUS CINDERELLA (at age 30!) with Susan Hayward and Dorothy Comingmore in bits (and is bonus material on the BRINGING UP BABY dvd). Lucky break for her the WB contract was not renewed so she could audition for the BLONDIE series which Columbia started in 1938. She made 28 of them through 1950 - the only non Blondie movies she made after starting the series were 1941's GO WEST YOUNG LADY opposite Glenn Ford, a secondary part in 1946's YOUNG WIDOW (Jane Russell's second movie), and a billed part in 1964's THE BEST MAN where her part was cut from the film and she's basically just an extra in what remained). She was very active on stage albeit mostly summer stock, nightclubs, and dinner theatre and the like in the 1950's through 1960's and did occasionally tv work up to a MURDER SHE WROTE in the late 1980's. And of course her work as a union leader is well known. There's a nice discussion of Penny and her career on the broadcasting board via her 1950 Penny Singleton show radio series, as a few additional episodes of this program were recently discovered.
Offline
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5923
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostFri May 11, 2018 1:05 pm

We tend to forget that people can have very long and successful careers without leaving behind much of a resume on the IMDb features page. Radio, Broadway, night clubs, radio, regional theater, even teaching... Just because your name isn’t above the title on the latest blockbuster doesn’t mean you’re no one.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
— Joe Darion
Offline

FilmGauge

  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:43 pm
  • Location: Connecticut

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostFri May 11, 2018 6:26 pm

I remember having seen a gorgeous 35mm print of GOOD NEWS (1930) at the Cinecon in 1990. Penny Singleton was there in the audience watching with us; what a thrill! Great musical, but unfortunately missing the last reel. Still, it was great to see it. Perhaps the Warner Archive will consider releasing it one of these days.
Last edited by FilmGauge on Sat May 12, 2018 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Offline
User avatar

westegg

  • Posts: 1278
  • Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:13 am

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostSat May 12, 2018 5:56 am

FilmGauge wrote:I remember having seen a gorgeous 35mm print of GOOD NEWS (1930) at the Cinecon in 1930.


Please elaborate on your time machine!

:D
Offline

FilmGauge

  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:43 pm
  • Location: Connecticut

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostSat May 12, 2018 8:25 pm

westegg wrote:
FilmGauge wrote:I remember having seen a gorgeous 35mm print of GOOD NEWS (1930) at the Cinecon in 1930.


Please elaborate on your time machine!

:D

Sorry...I meant to type it was the 1990 Cinecon.
Offline
User avatar

aldiboronti

  • Posts: 208
  • Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:55 am
  • Location: Portsmouth, England

Re: Good News/Dorothy McNulty

PostSun May 13, 2018 11:56 am

Dorothy McNulty was amazing in that number but I'd give anything to have seen Zelma O'Neal doing it in the original Broadway production of Good News.

Return to Talking About Talkies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Rick Lanham and 13 guests