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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Movie Star Mystery Photo

   Ap0ril 12, 2010, Mystery Photo

Los Angeles Times file photo

Our mystery guest is Janice Jarratt, who may be the biggest thing that never happened.  Please congratulate Bronski for identifying her!

April 30, 1932, Janice Jarratt

April 30, 1932: Janice Jarratt wins a trip to Los Angeles. 
Just a reminder on how this works: I post the mystery photo on Monday and reveal the answer on Friday ... or on Saturday if I have a hard time picking only five pictures; sometimes it's difficult to choose. To keep the mystery photo from getting lost in the other entries, I move it from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, etc., adding a photo every day.

I have to approve all comments, so if your guess is posted immediately, that means you're wrong. (And if a wrong guess has already been submitted by someone else, there's no point in submitting it again).

If you're right, you will have to wait until Friday. There's no need to submit your guess five times. Once is enough. The only reward is bragging rights. 

The answer to last week's mystery star: Kitty Doner!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

Sept. 1, 1936, Janice Jarratt

Sept. 1, 1936: Janice Jarratt came to Los Angeles as “the most photographed girl in the world” and appeared in “Kid Millions” as one of the Goldwyn girls of 1934. 

Aprl 15, 2010, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: Jarratt in a publicity photo for “Kid Millions.”

And another picture of our baffling mystery woman!


Aug. 17, 1936: She worked as a model in New York, was queen of the Texas Centennial and signed a contract with Universal in 1936.

April 14, 2010, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo

And here’s our mystery woman at the train station in the days when luggage might include a rifle or shotgun in a tooled-leather case.

Feb. 7, 1937, Janice Jarratt

Feb. 7, 1937: Jarratt and Martha O’Driscoll, right, were selected by Hal Mohr for “Class Prophecy.” The Times said the movie, tentatively starring Deanna Durbin,  was based on a story by Eleanore Griffin and adapted by Eve Greene and Joseph Fields.  The film was eventually made as “When Love Is Young,” with Virginia Bruce.

In February 1937, The Times’ Read Kendall reported that Jarratt was “really in love for the first time in her life” with another young Universal contract player, Bob Wilcox.  The next month, however, she announced her retirement from the screen following her engagement to former G-Man Melvin Purvis, an attorney practicing in San Francisco.

April 20, 1937, Janice Jarratt

April 20, 1937: Jarratt is to marry Melvin Purvis.

April 13, 2010, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo


April 27, 1937: Two days before she was to marry Purvis, Jarratt failed to appear at a prenuptial party. The hostess announced that the wedding had been canceled.

March 17, 1937, Janice Jarratt, Melvin Purvis

March 17, 1937: Is it any surprise that this engagement didn’t work out? I mean, really!

June 6, 1937, Janice Jarratt

June 6, 1937: Jarratt evidently continued modeling …

March 10, 1939, Janice Jarratt

… before marrying engineer Thomas Deely in 1939.
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Comments (42)

Nina Foch

Constance Bennet

Eve left out the Breen family, who were part and parcel of the Donner party. A Breen descendent, who is a journalist, has written about his family eating "finger food." There has been a Donner family reunion every other year at Donner Pass. I do not know what they eat.

Phyllis Brooks

Virginia Patton?

Jan Wiley.

Janice Logan

sylvia sidney

Ruth Hussey

Dorothy Christy?

Janice Jarratt

Anne Shirley

I am stumped. I've tried looking at multiple sources, and found no photos of this woman. I was thinking today that maybe she was Carole Lombard's stand-in, or even someone who might have starred in Westerns because of the gun, but finding nothing.

Speaking of guns, here's a link to a Discovery article about the Donner Party which says they didn't eat people, but probably ate every animal they had, including the family dog.

Well, bless her little cotton socks, I've never heard of her.

C'mon--play fair! An uncredited role in *one* film and anyone is supposed to figure out who this "Mystery Movie Star" is? Mystery? Yes! Movie Star? Hardly. Would love to know how Bronski divined her identity. Is he or she related to her?

I'm from Texas, how didn't I get her? I looked at models and even thought of Martha O'Driscoll. On to next week.

Foul! One movie under her stylishly thin belt and an uncredted role at that? And she's our Movie STAR Mystery Photo(s) of the week? Gee whiz, guys, I'm as happy as the next guy to rack my brain over some obscure bit player but one role? uncredited? Good looking girl though. Seems flighty.



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