Under the Big Top (August 31, 1938)

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Anne Nagel in Under the Big Top
 

Released on August 31, 1938: (running time 58 minutes) Penny's bossy aunt pushes her to be the best flying trapeze artist in the world, but trouble arises when Penny falls in love.

Produced by William T. Lackey

Directed by Karl Brown

The Actors: Marjorie Main (Sara Post), Anne Nagel (Penny), Jack La Rue (Ricardo Le Grande), Grant Richards (Pablo Le Grande), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones (Juba), Betty Compson (Marie), Herbert Rawlinson (Herman, ringmaster), George Cleveland (Joe Sherman, clown), Rolfe Sedan (Pierre), Charlene Wyatt (Penny as a child), Harry Harvey (McCarthy, publicity man), Speed Hansen (Marty), Horace B. Carpenter (doctor), Mary MacLaren (nurse), Ralph Peters (bartender), James Sheridan (circus worker)

 

The Law of Contact

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Hard Work, Hard Words, and Flying Love

Stanley LeFevre Krebs was a Reformed Minister who believed that he could communicate with the spirit world. He wasn’t the kind of man who would perform ‘parlor tricks’ with the spirits, in fact he exposed several nationally know spiritual mediums, writing books that showed how they faked their séance meetings. He also wrote one of the first books explaining the art of hypnosis, and how fake spiritualists could use suggestion to imply spiritual contact.

In 1921, actress Marjorie Main married Dr. Krebs, who was twenty-six years older than she was. By all accounts, their relationship was not romantic, but it seems to have been a real, very close relationship. What he taught her about the spirit world remains a secret, but after his death in 1935, three years before she made this film, Marjorie Main continued talking to him, on stage, during filming, without missing a beat.

Occasionally, in the middle of a scene, in the middle of a dialogue, Marjorie Main would stop, turn and speak out loud to her departed husband, listening for his answer. Then she would turn to the director and tell him that she was ready to proceed, turning back to the cameras and actors, beginning again right where she left off in the dialogue.

In this circus adventure, Marjorie Main is the widow of a circus owner, and her hard-boiled personality tries to keep the circus together so that the performers can still earn a living. All of the performers and circus workers are accustomed to her angry, ‘life-is-tough, suck it up and get it done’ attitude. After all, it is the era of the Great Depression, and there are a lot of tough times to go around.

When her orphaned niece comes to live with her in the circus, she will discover that it is easier to tame a lion than the will of a young lady. In real life, Marjorie Main never had any children, and often commented that most of her famous roles were as a mother, and that took REAL acting skills! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.    

Anne Nagel
Anne Nagel
Anne Nagel, Marjorie Main
Anne Nagel, Marjorie Main
Charlene Wyatt
Charlene Wyatt
Charlene Wyatt, George Cleveland
Charlene Wyatt, George Cleveland
George Cleveland, Charlene Wyatt
George Cleveland, Charlene Wyatt
George Cleveland, Marjorie Main, Herbert Rawlinson
George Cleveland, Marjorie Main, Herbert Rawlinson
Grant Richards, Anne Nagel, Jack La Rue
Grant Richards, Anne Nagel, Jack La Rue
Herbert Rawlinson, Marjorie Main, George Cleveland
Herbert Rawlinson, Marjorie Main, George Cleveland
Jack La Rue
Jack La Rue
Jack La Rue, Marjorie Main
Jack La Rue, Marjorie Main
Jack La Rue
Jack La Rue
Marjorie Main
Marjorie Main
Mary MacLaren, Anne Nagel
Mary MacLaren, Anne Nagel
Rolfe Sedan, Betty Compson
Rolfe Sedan, Betty Compson
Marjorie Main, George Cleveland
Marjorie Main, George Cleveland