Smashingly so

Marguerite Chapman may be unique in this regard: at the time she was “discovered” and pointed toward a career in modeling, she was working as a telephone switchboard operator. Weird things can happen to operators — I was once married to one, and apparently Roger Miller, dang him, apparently tried to pick her up — but usually not that weird.

Arriving in Hollywood in 1940, Chapman, then twenty-one, managed to snag a few small roles before Republic Pictures signed her for the female lead in a twelve-part serial. Spy Smasher was released in 1942, with the nation only just getting used to being at war, and it was a big hit, though high costs prevented it from turning much of a profit. The Smasher himself (Kane Richmond) got top billing, of course, but Chapman, as his fiancée, was billed second. For the rest of the Forties, she was booked for A-list roles. Her last appearance in a major motion picture was in 1955’s The Seven-Year Itch, as secretary to the woolgathering Tom Ewell, who spent his time crushing on Marilyn Monroe. She did one more film, Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1960 El Cheapo semi-SF tale The Amazing Transparent Man; weirdly, it was her second Invisible Man film. (The first? The Body Disappears, in 1941.)

Marguerite Chapman wrapped in a whole lot of nothing

Marguerite Chapman in a standard studio portrait

Marguerite Chapman does the backstroke

We return to 1955, with Ewell basically paying no attention to the Chapman charms:

Then again, it may have happened only in his mind.

1 comment »

  1. Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Birthday, Kelsey Chow! : The Other McCain »

    10 September 2018 · 8:02 pm

    […] Proof Positive’s Friday Night Babe is Sarah Wright, his Vintage Babe is Mary Frann, and Sex in Advertising is covered by Calvin Klein. At Dustbury, it’s Nicola Sturgeon and Marguerite Chapman. […]

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