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"Hoodlum Girls" - Teen Girls Coming-of-Age Adventure
released on October 10, 1944
The Actors: Joy Reese (Katy White), Warren Burr (Frank Monahan), Kay Morley (Laura White), Michael Owen (Al Simpson), Rod Rogers (Lester), Edwin Brian (Harry Ketchall), Julie Duncan (Peggy Baker), Sheila Roberts (Jitterbug dancer), Johnny Duncan (Jitterbug dancer), Ed Cassidy (Mr. White), Mary Arden (Amy Clark, juvenile police officer), Duke Johnson (nightclub manager Tom), Lindsay Bourquin (member of the novelty act One Good Turn Deserves Another), Laverne Thompson (member of the novelty act One Good Turn Deserves Another), Betty Phares (member of the novelty act One Good Turn Deserves Another), Karl Kiffe (Jive Club drummer), Don Weston (entertainer Don Weston, bartender)
Teen Girls at the Jive Club, or Never put the Punch Bowl Next to the Window
This 1944 drama would make a fine episode of a family television show like Leave it to Beaver, or The Waltons, or whatever family show is currently popular that features teenagers and their problems of moving from childhood to adulthood. A great way to spend an idle rainy afternoon or evening. Before you watch, let me tell you about a couple of the actors.
The stars of the story are two teenage sisters, one still very much an ‘innocent’ child, and the other a wild girl who wants the fast life with the hip boys that like nightclubs, booze and crime. Before you watch, you might need a tutorial on the teenage language of 1944 when ‘hashtag’ was just a ‘pound sign’.
The teens living in Detroit need a place to spend their idle time and policewoman Mrs. Clark suggests that they set up a Jive Club for the teenagers. What is ‘Jive’ you ask? Jive is the slang word for the new style of fast dancing that was replacing the slow dancing cheek-to-cheek swirls of their parents. At the Jive Club the poison ivy girls can maybe snag a stag . . . . You’re on your own for that one.
Between the dialogue of the story we will enjoy some of the nightclub entertainment of the day. First up is seventeen-year-old Karl Kiffe, a drummer who would later play for the folk who made Las Vegas famous, like Dinah Shore, Wayne Newton, Andy Williams and others.
In the teenage Jive Club a teenage girl and boy display the newest rage, the Jitterbug. The 21 year old boy is Johnny Duncan. As a youngster in the Great Depression he learned to dance and would enter dance contests and teach tap dancing for enough money to save his parents’ farm. Johnny started acting, and would appear in movies with the East Side Kids, Humphry Bogart and Rita Hayworth, and later became good friends and spent his time on the weekends with Jimmy Cagney, Lee Marvin anc Clark Gable. Johnny just passed at the age of 92 this past February (2016).
There are more fascinating facts about the actors and performers in this story, but they will wait until another time. For now, it is time to pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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