The Ominous Octopus

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dona Drake

Dona Drake played a gangster's wife on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN in 1953. But she was also in a lot of other things. And being called "Chicken" on the Superman show even seems to be related to another comic book.

Dona Drake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia    
Dona Drake
Dona Drake.jpg
BornEunice Westmoreland
(1914-11-15)November 15, 1914
Miami, Florida, U.S.
DiedJune 20, 1989(1989-06-20) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesRita Rio, Una Velon, Rita Shaw[1]
OccupationActress, singer, dancer
Years active1933–1977
Spouse(s)William Travilla (1944-1989) (her death)
Dona Drake (November 15, 1914 – June 20, 1989) was an American singer, dancer and film actress in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born Eunice Westmoreland in Miami, Florida, in 1914. Entering show business in the 1930s, she used the names Una Velon, Rita Rio and Rita Shaw.[1] She settled on the stage name Dona Drake in the early 1940s. Studio publicity during her heyday incorrectly stated that Drake was of Mexican origin and was born Rita Novella.[2] (Novella was actually her mother's first name.)
Because of her dark hair and Latin-looking features, Drake generally played Latin or other "ethnic" types. She is perhaps best known for playing the American Indian maid of Bette Davis in Beyond the Forest. She also appeared as an Arab girl opposite Bob Hope in Road to Morocco in 1942. Her biggest "non-ethnic" role was the second female lead in the 1949 comedy The Girl from Jones Beach, playing opposite Eddie Bracken. She died in 1989.


Film and television
1935Moonlight and MelodyRitacredited as Rita Rio
1936Strike Me PinkMademoiselle Fificredited as Rita Rio
1938Sweet ShoeRita Riocredited as Rita Rio
1938Beautiful, But DummiesModelcredited as Rita Ray
1939Gals and GallonsOrchestra Leadercredited as Rita Rio
1939Rita Rio and Her OrchestraRita Rioplayed self in this 10 minute short[3]
1941I Look at YouRita Rio
1941Fresh as a FreshmanRita Rio
1941Aloma of the South SeasNeafirst film credit as Dona Drake[2]
1941Louisiana PurchaseBeatrice
1942Road to MoroccoMihirmahcredited as Dona Drake
1943Star Spangled Rhythmherselfperforms song "On the Swing Shift" with Marjorie Reynolds and Betty Jane Rhodes
1943Salute for ThreeDona Drake and Her Girl Bandcredited as Dona Drake
1943Let's Face It!Muriel
1944Hot RhythmMary Adams
1946Without ReservationsDolores Ortega
1946Dangerous MillionsElena Valdez
1948Another Part of the ForestLaurette Sincee
1948So This Is New YorkKate Goff
1949The Doolins of OklahomaCattle Annie
1949The Girl from Jones BeachConnie Martin
1949Beyond the ForestJenny
1950Fortunes of Captain BloodPepita Maria Rosados
1951ValentinoMaria Torres
1952Kansas City ConfidentialTeresa
1953The Bandits of CorsicaZelda
1953Son of Belle StarrDolores
1953Down Laredo WayNarita
1953Adventures of SupermanJoyceepisode 35 "The Dog Who Knew Superman" 9th episode of 1953; aired 14 November
1954Superman Flies AgainJoycetheatrical re-release of 3 episodes of the television series included episode 35[4][5]
1954Princess of the NileMirva
1954City DetectiveFrancesca1 episode
1955Soldiers of FortuneCheu1 episode
1955The Lone WolfLee1 episode


External links

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Dona Drake played a Jean Harlow - type blonde on an episode of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, "The Dog Who Knew Superman".  And she had even been a contemporary of Jean Harlow's in the thirties, although she didn't used to play the same type.

They did put a lot of emphasis on Jean Harlow's breasts in the thirties, despite Gary Grossman's claims about this not being something that was done prior to the 1950's.

What about Dona Drake?

Here is a 1943 picture of Dona Drake.

Reblogged from http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/roundup/roundup121043.html

                                                       NICE TO GET LOST WITH

Delectable Dona Drake doesn't know a thing about sailing a yacht. But let's not quibble, men. Anything that enables the young lady to show here - ah - charms to such an advantage is sufficient excuse for us. At the moment, she's the Roundup's Girl With Whom We'd Like to Get Lost on a Yacht.

 So much for Gary Grossman.

Some of the people you see on early television shows were really outstanding ( are ya listenin', Grossman? ) and could do so much more then they did on those shows. Dona Drake used to be a bandleader with an all-girl orchestra as "Rita Rio".

 Sometimes the girls in this group were called "The Girl Friends".

 A tobacco card from the thirties.

New Year's day.
 Valentine's day
I don't have a date on this one.

 THE GIRL FROM JONES BEACH - Ronald Reagan, Virginia Mayo, Eddie Bracken, and Dona Drake.

 I can remember seeing this movie on television back before Reagan was president.

The "Rio Rita" of the comics bears some resemblance to "Rita Rio", as Dona Drake used to call herself,

but this character was originally called "Senorita Rio",

and the name "Rio Rita" came from a musical to begin with.

The Abbott and Costello version.
So I'm not sure if there's any connection there.

But I think being called "Chicken" may well have been because of MY FRIEND IRMA,

which was a television show at the time as well as a comic book and a radio program ( which was what it was to begin with ).
Dona Drake was also associated with Marie Wilson, according to a trivia item from the Internet movie database:

"In early 1940 she toured - as Rita Rio - with her "All Girl Orchestra" with actresses Marie Wilson and Toby Wing (who was essentially retired) and Faith Bacon (from the Earl Carroll Vanities) across the United States. The actresses made numerous appearances for the Infantile Paralysis Fund and Tuberculosis campaign during the tour."

Infantile Paralysis ( Polio ) was a big problem at the time. But thanks to the efforts made to fight against this disease, it isn't as big of a problem today. And Dona Drake and her friends had a part in the triumph.

"The Dog That Hated Superman":

Dona Drake:



1 comment:

  1. Call her Dona or Rita (or even Eunice,) by any name she was as cute, sexy, and delightful...also one hell of an all-around entertainer!