Thursday, July 24, 2008

Movie Stars in Children's Books

“Ginger Rogers and the Riddle of the Scarlet Cloak” was a book for pre-teens during the 1940s, published by the Whitman Publishing Company. In an era when movie fan magazines and studio publicity men were batting around truth and lies for older kids and adult fans like a badminton game, the younger kids were fed pure pleasant fantasy to peak their interest in Hollywood stars and ensure their patronage for years to come.

Not only did Ginger Rogers have mysteries to solve, but Deanna Durbin and Ann Rutherford also had a go round at “Deanna Durbin and the Adventure of the Blue Valley,” and “Ann Rutherford and the Key to Nightmare Hall.” Clearly, you don’t need Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes when you have Deanna Durbin and Ann Rutherford on the case.

Joining the sorority of sister actresses who sleuthed when they weren’t shooting a picture, was “Jane Withers and the Hidden Room” and “Bonita Granville and the Mystery of Star Island.”

I don’t know if any young male stars were featured in any of the Whitman books, but if you know, or if you’ve read any of these potboilers, I’d like to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning Deanna Durbin who is my very favourite actress and singer. Deanna is on the cover of a number of different books which have become collectables. For those who are interested in Deanna Durbin, just copy & paste the following link in your web browser to see my little collection:

Best wishes,

Alex (Administrator).

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Hi, Alex. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your link for more on Deanna Durbin collectibles. I think most of us are familiar with the successful merchandising of Shirley Temple, but I wonder how many other stars were used for this kind of commercial endeavor.

Maggie said...

I have a copy of "Ginger Rogers and the Riddle of the Scarlet Cloak", which was written by her mother, Lela. At the back, there is a list of other Whitman titles. They used lots of stars in their novels. Here are a few:
Betty Grable and the House with the Iron Shutters
Judy Garland and the Hodoo Costume
Shirley Temple and the Spirit of Dragonwood
Roy Rogers and the Gopher Creek Gunman
Gene Autry and the Redwood Pirates
and many more. Shoot me an email and I can scan the page, if you like.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Hi, Maggie, thanks for stopping by. I had no idea "Ginger Rogers and the Riddle of the Scarlet Cloak" was written by her mother. So, I see the boys got into the act after all with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. I suppose that would be a good tie with their B-western adventure movies. Great stuff, thanks for filling us in. Love the titles.

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