Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Friday, April 26, 2013
Recently I caught a television rerun of the 1937 movie “Stella Dallas,” wherein Barbara Stanwyck plays a low-class mom who steps out of her beloved daughter’s life to ensure the daughter’s happiness when she marries into society.
I had never seen the movie, but I was familiar with Stella.
The character, from the 1923 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty (and made into three different movies), became perhaps the first radio soap opera, running for 15 minutes each weekday from 1937 to 1955. I listened to it after coming home from grade school, as it often had mystery elements as many of those little shows did (even “Perry Mason” had been among them).
Now, finally, I know what inspired it: Stanwyck’s performance in that movie, where she walks away from her daughter in a tear-jerking finale that no doubt left viewers wanting to know what happened next.
The radio drama answered that — and also kept reinserting Stella into her daughter’s life, to protect her from future hazards the writers dreamed up. I lost contact with Stella when I moved on to radio shows like “Sky King” and the “Green Hornet,” and weekly western B-movies with Tim Holt , Lash LaRue and company.
What goes around comes around.
Now that I’ve seen the movie, I found that the actor playing the future husband of Stella’s daughter was none other than a pre-western Tim Holt!
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