This Day in GINGEROLOGY - August 21st

1874: Edmund Mortimer (born Edmund Mortimer Olson), who starred with Ginger in the films “Flying Down to Rio” (as Nightclub Patron), “Upperworld” (as Banquet Guest), “Change of Heart” (as Man Reading Paper in Brisbane’s Office), “Swing Time” (as Roulette Player), “Stage Door” (as Actor in Powell’s Waiting Room), “Vivacious Lady” (as Library Committee Member), “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle” (as Nightclub Extra), “The Major and the Minor” (Cadet Ball Guest), and “I’ll Be Seeing You” (as Floorwalker in Women’s Shop), was born in New York City.

1891: Bert Roach (born Egbert Roach), who starred with Ginger in the films “Hat Check Girl” (as Party Guest), “Rafter Romance” (as Drunken Tenant), and “Once Upon a Honeymoon” (as Ship Bartender), was born in Washington, D.C.

1901: Albert S. Rogell, who directed the Ginger films “The Tip-Off”, “Suicide Fleet”, and “Carnival Boat”, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

2015: FXM RETRO aired “Teenage Rebel”.


Next GingerFilm(s) (on TCM - all times Eastern):

September 12, 2017 @ 2:30 P.M. Upperworld
September 25, 2017 @ 3:00 A.M. Twist of Fate
October 12, 2017 @ 8:45 A.M. Week-End at the Waldorf

Next GingerFilm(s) (on FXM Retro - all times Eastern) - NOTE - the FXM Retro site is kinda 'cryptic' as far as specific times, so please check local listings for 'specific times':

...No Films Scheduled...


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ginger's Blonde years - 1931 - 1939ish

...Well, the public has spoken on Beth's poll, quite loudly... 9 out of 10 Gingerologists agree... Blonde!!! Which is really quite hard to argue with...(I think I was just playing 'Devil's Advocate' for the 'underdog' choice of Brunette...still like it tho...) but, there is no doubt blonde is best for Ginger.
As such, the goal here is to give 'Blonde' the same treatment I gave to 'Brunette' years a few days ago, along with a few of my favorite VKM blonde pics heretofore not seen on this blog (and believe me, there are MANY more pics where those came from!!!).

Ginger's original hair color, circa 1930, was described by VKM herself as "...a deep chestnut with a touch of henna. Under my mother's supervision, a touch of Egyptian Red was added...". However, for Ginger's first movie with RKO-Pathe (later RKO Radio pictures), "The Tip-Off", producer Charles Rogers (no relation to Ginger) wanted Ginger's hair to be 'lighter'. The hairdresser decided that meant 'blonde' - and thus the beginning of VKM Light! But not without a bit of motherly resistance... Lela Rogers, Ginger's mom, was less than enthusiastic about the change. "Mother was so furious she was ready to sue everyone!" But, after a few intense days of 'negotiating' between Lela and the studio heads, the Blonde Ginger was starting to catch on, even with Lelee... and Ginger was generally pleased with the change from the get-go.

Ginger's career was off and running, and over the next few years, basically doing short contracts with different studios, made many movies, including a staggering nine in 1933 alone... of those, one of what would be many memorable 'blonde' VKM roles, "Gold Diggers of 1933", was that of 'Fay Fortune' performing "We're in the Money" - the 'extreme' close-up in the 'pig latin' stanza was one of many great 'blonde' moments (meant in a GOOD way!) that Ginger would contribute to the world.
Of course, 1933 also heralded the teaming of Ginger with Fred... in which she would remain as a blonde throughout the 'initial' nine movie series (with obviously some variance in 'tone' from time to time... ranging from 'strawberry' to 'platinum') - thus making 'Ginger Blonde' iconic, and quite hard to argue with, on any level. Of course, some moments in the series really seemed to place her in the 'red-haired' category, such as certain scenes in "The Castles" and as implied in the tune at the end of "Swing Time"... but is most likely what is now known as 'strawberry blonde'.
Ginger stated that "...I believed the (blonde) color softened my expression and enhanced my looks..."; no doubt it does allow her beautiful eyes to stand out more, as well as her full lips - which just made her that much more devastating in black and white.

Ginger remained some shade of blonde until "Primrose Path" in 1940, when she 'switched' to 'brunette'; she would remain 'non-blonde' until roughly 1943, when she 'lightened' back up for the movie "Tender Comrade". She would generally remain blonde to the end of her movie career, as well as the 'documented' bulk of her Broadway career.
As mentioned in the 'brunette' post, each Ginger hair color seemed to work to great effect for whatever role she was in, and she pulled off both styles in grand fashion, IMHO. While she made some great movies as a 'brunette', one cannot argue that, 70+ years later, even the most 'unknowledgeable' folks out there with regards to Ginger will most likely note that "she's a blonde"... and I guess that ultimately puts the debate to rest, friends.


  1. Nice post! Besides my strain to read yellow on white, I enjoyed it. (My computer likes to intensify the colours on the screen, so I'm sure the yellow is far more vibrant here than on your computer.)
    Not only do I like her hair blonde, but I like it curly like in the 30s. My favourites are in Romance In Manhattan and "Hard to Handle" from Roberta.


  2. Thanks, Lauren! I was a bit hesitant to use the 'blonde' text color for that very reason, but figured I would give it a shot, since the 'brunette' was done in the 'brown' text...sorry for the 'lack of contrast'(I tried, to no avail, to figure out how to change the background color, which would have helped...)
    Well, again, there's no real 'wrong' answer as to her hair color, but blonde is hard to deny for her. I just finished watching 'Don't Bet on Love', and she had the 'basic' curly blonde style in that...just intensely cute.
    I could not find any color photos of her as a 'young' blonde ('33-'39ish)...guess that was just before color film came out...there are, however, quite a few 'color blonde' pix which must be in the late 40s and sooner. Her hair 'style' changed quite a bit in the mid 40's, though...still fine, but not as...well, 'Gingery' as that 'first' blonde era.


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