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September 14, 2009


Ivan G. Shreve Jr.

Very nicely done article on one of my favorite character actresses. For the record, Jody plays the sarcastic waitress who waits on W.C. Fields in The Great Man's Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941). You can also see her in several episodes of the Dragnet revival series, telecast on NBC from 1967-70.


Thanks, Ivan. I've also seen her in a tiny role in Hellzapoppin (1941), but I've never seen any of the 1960s Dragnet. She really got an awful lot of work in the 40s, right up until the blacklist -- and absolutely none of it seems to have endangered democracy in the west or been designed to bring about Communist revolution in America. Such a shame she was hit so hard.

(By the way, I like your blog. Anyone who's reading this so go and check out www.thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.com NOW!)


Small minded, grand-standing politicians can do significant damage as they squat on the constitution. Good on Jody for standing up to them and thanks for the story.

Cliff Weimer

Wow. You GO Jody.... It wouldn't have been hard to make the HUAC look ridiculous and anti-American, but few did it because they worried about their careers. Too bad she didn't get to tell the Committee how W.C. Fields had attempted to guess her weight.

Listener Kliph Nesteroff

Jeez, this was fantastic. Great research, great writing. Decided to look her up while watching her douse Cliff "Ukulele ike" Edwards with a hot towel on the face in Flowing Gold. Thanks for your hard work. Great stuff.

diarmid mogg

Its good of you to comment,Kliph-- I appreciate it.(By the way, afriend sent me your article on Woody Allen last week, and I liked it a lot!)

Listener Kliph Nesteroff

While we're at it, can you tell me how you get your newspaper screengrabs? i use the google news archives a lot for my articles but am not sure how to go about getting the pics.

diarmid mogg

It depends what machine and system youre using. If youre using a PC, your keyboard might have a key near the top right that says Prt Sc on it -- that stands for print screen, and will take capture a snapshot of everything on your screen. Not that youll notice that anythings happened. Once youve pressed that key, open up whatever image manipulation programme you use (I think Microsoft Photo Editor comes with Windows), go to the Edit menu and select Paste as new file (or create new file or something similar). The screen capture will appear in a new window. Use the crop tool to select the part you want, then crop it to that size (using thecrop command, which will be either under the Edit menu or the Image menu, depending on what package youre using). Save the file.

If you dont have a Prt Sc key on your keyboard, youll have to create a screen capture using an image manipulation programme (I use Photo Studio) or a specific screen capture programme (something called !Quick Screen Capture seems to be quite good, and is free to download). If you have a screen capture facility in your photo editing software, it will probably be under the File menu, and will be called something like Capture Image.

I hope thats helpful -- feel free to get in touch if you need any help with any of that, or if you need me to clarify anything I might have said in a less than clear way...


What a wonderful article about Jody Gilbert.I have been a fan of hers for years and years and this is the first time I have seen such an informative article. I knew nothing of her early work before Willard.except she had done the film with WC Fields.
everytime I saw in a program it was usually a weight related role.ie Sanford and Son,Lifeguard and my favorite appearence of Jody Gilbert was on Night Gallery.where she herself called the character she was playing....FAT lady

diarmid mogg

Im very glad that you came across the article, in that case! Theres a lot to be found out about these people who lived their lives at the fringes of the movie industry, and its often much more interesting than the stories of the big stars, I reckon. Thanks for commenting!


Wow. You have some great stories here! This would make a great TV show!

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