The Cat Creeps

1946

A black cat is suspected of being possessed by the spirit of a dead girl

Cast:

Lois Collier .... Gay Elliott
Fred Brady .... Terry Patrick
Paul Kelly .... Ken Grady
Noah Beery Jr. .... 'Pidge' Laurie
Douglass Dumbrille .... Tom McGalvey, attorney
Rose Hobart .... Connie Palmer
Jonathan Hale .... Walter Elliott
Vera Lewis .... Cora Williams
Iris Clive .... Kyra Goran
William B. Davidson .... James Walsh, publisher
Arthur Loft .... Sampler, the editor
Jerry Jerome .... Politch, slick reporter

Lois Collier

Born Madelyn Jones in Sally, South Carolina on March 31, 1919. Her childhood dream was to be a missionary in China, but a taste of acting in school plays soon changed her mind and she decided on a career on stage. Her mother was supportive of her decision, and while her daughter was attending college in South Carolina, entered her picture in a Contest sponsored by CBS Radio for a part in a radio play in Hollywood. She won the part, and took the name of the character she played, Lois Collier, as her professional name. Lois landed more radio work, and soon began playing small parts in local stage productions. After signing the Republic contract, she achieved success in the popular "3 Mesquiteers" westerns. Collier appeared in seven of the titles, more than any other leading lady in the long running series. It was on stage, however, where she was spotted by a scout for Universal Pictuers and given a seven-year contract. In 1943, the appealing actress signed on with Universal, hoping for parts in larger productions. Instead, she wound up primarily appearing in programmers such as "Get Going" and "She's for Me", both in 1943. She held the second female lead in the best of the Maria Montez adventure films, "Cobra Woman." She also joined Loretta Young, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Anne Gwynne and Evelyn Ankers in the wartime drama "Ladie's Courageous." Collier also made a brief unbilled appearance in the musical extravaganza "Follow the Boys." She then joined her "Ladies Courageous" co-stars Gwynne and Ankers in the Inner Sanctum thriller "Weird Woman." The story was based on the Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife, which was later remade as "Burn, Witch, Burn" with Janet Blair in 1962. Collier's next horror film assignment was "Jungle Woman," the sequel to the 1943 thriller "Captive Wild Woman." By 1945, Ankers and Gwynne, Universal's two most prolific leading ladies of the genre, had departed the studio. Collier would be called upon to fill the void created by their absence. She found herself cast in the musical mystery "The Crimson Canary." Besides her work in horror and mystery features, Collier co-starred in the Abbott and Costello comedy classic "The Naughty Nineties" that same year. Also that year, Collier appeared in the musical comedy "Penthouse Rhythm." Another teaming with Norris was to follow, that being the thirteen-chapter serial "Jungle Queen." Collier began 1946 by appearing in yet another mystery, this one entitled "Girl on the Spot." She then found herself menaced by a homicidal fiend in "The Cat Creeps." She next co-starred with Don Porter in the western, "Wild Beauty." The Technicolor adventure "Slave Girl" with Yvonne De Carlo, released in 1947, was to be her last Universal film. A mid 1946 merger with International Pictures had brought an end to the more standardized programmers of the previous ownership. From that point forward the production of "B" films came to an end, and all subsequent projects were to be more upscale faire. After leaving Universal-International, Collier continued her screen career into the 1950's. Among her more memorable credits of the period was the Marx Brother's comedy "A Night in Casablanca." Released in 1946, it also featured Charles Drake and Sig Ruman. While not on par with Graucho, Chico and Harpo's laugh fests of the previous decade, it perhaps ranks as their finest work of the 1940's. Collier also returned to Republic for the 1950 cliffhanger "Flying Disc Man from Mars." Despite her successful film career, the role Collier would come to be most identified with was to come in 1951. That year, she was signed for the role of Mary Wesley in the hit television series "Boston Blackie." The program aired until 1953. A few other television guest appearances in the mid 1950's followed, until she retired completely before the end of the decade. After residing in Beverly Hills for several years, Collier eventually moved to the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. Suffering from Alzheimer's, she passed away at age 80 on October 27, 1999. Her charm and beauty continues to remain fondly remembered by fans of the era.

Rose Hobart

The daughter of a cellist with the New York Symphony Rose was born in New York City on 1 May 1906. Rose Hobart's first brush with the arts was a model for several Woodstock-based artists like George Bellows. Splitting her time with her divorced parents, Hobart was educated in boarding schools all over the country. At 15, she began her stage career as a performer in the Chautaqua tent-show circuit. During the 1920s, she appeared on stage with such notables as Eva Le Gallienne, Noel Coward and Ina Claire; in 1929, she replaced Katharine Hepburn in the first Broadway staging of Death Takes a Holiday. She came to films in 1930, once again as a replacement, this time for Janet Gaynor in Frank Borzage's production of Liliom. She went on to appear in over 40 additional films, both in the A and B category. When artist Joseph Cornell re-cut "East of Borneo"(1931) into an avant-garde silent short, he re-titled it "Rose Hobart" after the female lead. Many of her leading lady roles were decorative but colorless (e.g. the "good" girl in 1931's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde); she became a much more fascinating screen presence when she began portraying spiteful other women, castrating wives and subtle villainesses. After 1949's Bride of Vengeance, Rose Hobart was involuntarily retired from films, the victim of the Hollywood blacklist. She spent the rest of her professional life as an acting counselor,she returned to acting in the 1960s on TV's "Peyton Place." She appeared in a student film, "Rancho California", in 1988. n 1994 she wrote her autobiography titled "A Steady Digression to a Fixed Point." For many years she has resided at the Motion Picture and Television Country House, where she edited "Haven News", the journal of the Motion Picture Country Home. Rose Hobart died 29 August 2000 inWoodland Hills, California, of natural causes.

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