The Law of Contact

So's Your Aunt Emma (April 17, 1942)

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Zasu Pitts in So's Your Aunt Emma
 

Released on April 17, 1942: Two gangsters battle over control of New York City until a little old lady from the country convinces them that she is a bigger gangster than they are, and proves it!

Produced by Lindsley Parsons

Directed by Jean Yarbrough

The Actors: Zasu Pitts (Aunt Emma Bates), Roger Pryor (Terry Connors), Warren Hymer (Joe Gormley, Gus Hammond henchman), Douglas Fowley (Gus Hammond), Gwen Kenyon (Maris), Elizabeth Russell (Zelda LaFontaine), Tristram Coffin (Flower Henderson), Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart (Mickey O'Banion), Stanley Blystone (Detective Lieutenant Miller), Dick Elliott (Evans, newspaper city editor), Eleanor Counts (Gracie, nightclub hostess), Jack Mulhall (newspaper reporter Burns), Jack Chefe (waiter), Lew Davis (cigar counterman), George DeNormand (fight referee), Lester Dorr (Gus Hammond henchman Herman 'Duke' Miles), George Eldredge (Mickey's trainer Jake), Donald Kerr (sailor in telephone booth), Wilbur Mack (newspaper copy boy), Irving Mitchell (Rex Crenshaw), Gene O'Donnell (Flower henchman Steve), Wheeler Oakman (Blackie Hale, Flower's trigger man)

 

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Aunt Emma Paints the Town

Rulandus Pitts fought in the Civil War for the 76th New York Infantry. He lost a leg in the war and was given some land in Kansas territory to start a new life with his family. Rulandus had two sisters, Eliza and Susan, and while in Kansas he had four children. One of his baby girls was named after his two sisters, Eliza Susan Pitts.

In 1903, when Eliza Susan was nine, the family left Kansas for California, and Eliza Susan took an interest in school theater performances. She was good enough that soon she got work in the new moving pictures being made in Hollywood, becoming a frequent actor in silent pictures. When silent pictures became stories with sound, many of the silent actors left the business because their voice was not what audiences expected when they saw them on screen.

Eliza Susan had a meek, mild, dishwater voice that would impress no one, but instead of keeping her out of the talking motion pictures, her soft timid voice and the meek personality that went with it became the trademark that led to her cult-like comedy fame. In 1933 the first animated cartoon of Popeye the sailor was created, and his girlfriend Olivy Oyl was styled after the thin body and distinctive voice style of Zasu Pitts.

In this crime comedy she is an old maid gone to the big city to meet the son of a fellow that courted her many years ago, and she gets involved with gangsters, a newspaper reporter and a boxer. By the way, Eliza Susan took the ‘za’ from Eliza, and the ‘Su’ from Susan, using the stage name Zasu Pitts. In 1963 she wrote a book about her acting days, and informs us that the way she prefers folk to pronounce her name is ‘Say Zoo’ . . . Go figure. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Zasu Pitts
Zasu Pitts
The actors playing old maid Bonita and old maid Abigail
The actors playing old maid Bonita and old maid Abigail
Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart and Douglas Fowley
Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart and Douglas Fowley
Bud McTaggart and Elizabeth Russell
Bud McTaggart and Elizabeth Russell
Bud McTaggart and Elizabeth Russell
Bud McTaggart and Elizabeth Russell
Newspaper story about the fight
Newspaper story about the fight
Dick Elliott
Dick Elliott
Douglas Fowley and Roger Pryor
Douglas Fowley and Roger Pryor
Douglas Fowley
Douglas Fowley
Douglas Fowley
Douglas Fowley
Eleanor Counts and Douglas Fowley
Eleanor Counts and Douglas Fowley
Eleanor Counts and Roger Pryor
Eleanor Counts and Roger Pryor
Eleanor Counts and Roger Pryor
Eleanor Counts and Roger Pryor
Eleanor Counts and Stanley Blystone
Eleanor Counts and Stanley Blystone
Eleanor Counts and Wheeler Oakman
Eleanor Counts and Wheeler Oakman
Eleanor Counts
Eleanor Counts
Elizabeth Russell and Gwen Kenyon
Elizabeth Russell and Gwen Kenyon
Elizabeth Russell and Wheeler Oakman
Elizabeth Russell and Wheeler Oakman
Elizabeth Russell
Elizabeth Russell
Elizabeth Russell
Elizabeth Russell
Gwen Kenyon
Gwen Kenyon
Gwen Kenyon and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon, Zasu Pitts and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon, Zasu Pitts and Roger Pryor
Gwen Kenyon
Gwen Kenyon
Gwen Kenyon
Gwen Kenyon
Irving Mitchell and Roger Pryor
Irving Mitchell and Roger Pryor
Lester Dorr, Warren Hymer and Douglas Fowley
Lester Dorr, Warren Hymer and Douglas Fowley
Lester Dorr and Warren Hymer
Lester Dorr and Warren Hymer
Bud McTaggart and Wheeler Oakman
Bud McTaggart and Wheeler Oakman
Bud McTaggart and Zasu Pitts
Bud McTaggart and Zasu Pitts
Mike the ticket seller for the fight
Mike the ticket seller for the fight
Roger Pryor and Dick Elliott
Roger Pryor and Dick Elliott
Roger Pryor and Donald Kerr
Roger Pryor and Donald Kerr
Roger Pryor and Zasu Pitts
Roger Pryor and Zasu Pitts
Roger Pryor
Roger Pryor
Roger Pryor
Roger Pryor
Stanley BLystone and Douglas Fowler
Stanley BLystone and Douglas Fowler
Stanley Blystone and Roger Pryor
Stanley Blystone and Roger Pryor
Stanley Blystone
Stanley Blystone
Tristram Coffin
Tristram Coffin
Tristram Coffin and Elizabeth Russell
Tristram Coffin and Elizabeth Russell
Tristram Coffin
Tristram Coffin
Tristram Coffin
Tristram Coffin
Wheeler Oakman and Tristram Coffin
Wheeler Oakman and Tristram Coffin
Wheeler Oakman
Wheeler Oakman
Wilbur Mack and Dick Elliott
Wilbur Mack and Dick Elliott
Zasu Pitts
Zasu Pitts