Soup’s On! My Favorite Pre-Code Dinner Guests
Last week, you may recall, I listed 10 characters from the classic film noir era that I would most like to invite to a dinner party. I had such a good time planning my guest list, and even more fun reading your suggestions, that I decided to throw another soiree, this time inviting characters from pre-Code. So come along with me again (won’t you?) as we pull up to the table with some saucy dames and dashing gents from the world of pre-Code. Pass the potatoes and please try to refrain from taking off your clothes for no apparent reason…
1. Mortie (Ben Lyon) in Night Nurse (1931)
A good-hearted guy who lived a little left of the law, Mortie and his bootlegging connections could furnish all the booze we’d need – and I could count on him to keep an eye out for any bad guys who might show up at the door.
2. Mary Keaton (Joan Blondell) in Three on a Match (1932)
Mary was the type you could dish the dirt with – you just know that she would be privy to some good gossip and more than willing to share.
3. Space Hanlon (Lee Tracy) in Bombshell (1933)
Space was a fast-talking con man from way back, but I’ll wager that he’d keep my guests in stitches with his unique gift of gab. (If we could understand what he was saying!)
4. Sally (Una Merkel) in Red-Headed Woman (1932)
I could count on Sally to tell it like it is, just in case the rice doesn’t have enough salt or the roast is overcooked. She certainly didn’t bite her tongue!
5. Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) in Twentieth Century (1934)
He’s a bit full of himself, it’s true – but, boy, I’ll bet he’s got some stories of backstage Broadway that would curl your hair!
6. Amanda Prynne (Norma Shearer) in Private Lives (1931)
She’s a hoot. And so stylish and classy. Just don’t make her mad, or you might end up with a phonograph record broken over your head.
7. Stew Smith (Robert Williams) in Platinum Blonde (1931)
What a guy! Down to earth, funny, smart, laid back, full of tales of the rich and famous. And so cute!
8. Carlotta Vance (Marie Dressler) in Dinner at Eight (1933)
First off, she’s one who can appreciate a good dinner. Plus, she’d be a scintillating conversationalist, what with her vast experience on the stage – able to provide an elegantly impressive presence, but also just as likely to kick off her shoes and toss back a highball. (Maybe one made with hooch provided by Mortie!)
9. Vantine (Jean Harlow) in Red Dust (1932)
She may have been from the other side of the tracks, with a somewhat unsavory occupation, but she’d be so much fun! (And you know that she’d love my Gorgonzola veggie dip.)
10. Don (Robert Montgomery) in The Divorcee (1930)
Talk about the life of the party! And I might be able to convince him to stick around for a while after the other guests leave. (Ahem.)
And that’s my guest list of pre-Code characters – what a night it would be! Who would you invite?