Todd Gault's Movie Serial Experience

Todd Gault's Film Serial Experience: Movie serials, cliffhangers and reviews. A gallery of movie serial stars.
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"The Fighting Marines"; Mascot, 1935.

It is amazing the number of big name stars that come through the serials on their way to bigger things. Canadian born Anne Rutherford, who had come to Hollywood from the stage, played in several low budget films and one serial before signing with MGM in 1937. Her films before going to the biggest of the major studios were westerns like Ghost City (1932) and Melody Trail (1935). Her one serial was Mascot's The Fighting Marines (1935), helping the title characters hunt down a sabotuer called the Tiger Shark.

Though she appeared in such prestige pictures as Gone with the Wind (1939) as Careen O'Hara and Pride and Prejudice (1940), Rutherford is probably best known for her portrayal of Polly Benedict in ten Andy Hardy films, starting with Judge Hardy's Children (1938), and leaving after Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942). Other films include Red Skelton's Whistling Trilogy Whistling in the Dark (1941), Whistling in Dixie (1942), and Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) as well as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and Operation Hayride (1950).

Her marriage to 20th Century Fox producer William Dozier ended her acting career as she retired to family life, but as usually happens with popular actresses, they never completely retire. Rutherford began appearing on the screen again in They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), Won Ton Ton: The Dog That Saved Hollywood (1976), and regularly appeared on The Bob Newhart Show as Suzanne Pleshette's mother.

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