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Category Archives: films

Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter was born in 1890 at Indian Creek, Brown County, Texas to Harrison Boone Porter and the former Mary Alice Jones, both of whom were native Texans. Although it is sometimes discussed, as far as we can determine, she is not closely related either to explorer Daniel Boone or author William Sydney Porter (perhaps better known by his pen name as O. Henry). Her mother died when she was about two years old, after which she, her father and her siblings lived with her widowed grandmother, Catherine Anne Skaggs Porter in Kyle, Hays County, Texas. Her father was a school teacher and/or a farmer. Her grandmother died when Katherine was eleven years old out in Marfa, Texas when they were on a family visit there. Afterward, Katherine moved with her family wherever they were living until she married at age fifteen. She was very bright, but did not have an extensive formal education.

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Posted by on January 28, 2021 in biography, films

 

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Arthur “Dooley” Wilson

Arthur Wilson was born in Tyler, Smith County, Texas. There is some question about his actual date of birth, but it is often shown as being April 3, 1886 with his mother’s maiden name being Lamkin and his father’s name being Wilson. In some accounts he is shown as being younger, but in the 1900 federal census, he is listed as being fifteen, living south of downtown Tyler with his mother Manda Wilson and brother George. Accounts of his early life often state that by age twelve, Arthur was performing in minstrel shows and that his nickname was adopted in the 1920s from his performances singing an Irish tune “Mr. Dooley.”

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Posted by on October 29, 2020 in biography, black history, entertainers, films

 

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Ginger Rogers

The actress known as Ginger Rogers (Virginia Katherine McMath) was born July 16, 1911 to William Eddins McMath and the former Lela Emogene Owens in Independence, Missouri.  Her birth father was an electrical engineer and her mother was a reporter, scriptwriter and movie producer.  Her parents separated soon after she was born and Ginger was raised by her mother and maternal grandparents in Kansas City.  When she was nine years old, Lela married John Logan Rogers.  Ginger took her stepfather’s last name, although she was likely never formally adopted.  Her mother wrote for a local newspaper in Fort Worth, Texas covering entertainment, exposing Ginger to the field and the life of entertainment.  Ginger won a Charleston dance contest when she was fourteen years old and is known to have begun appearing in vaudeville shows after that.

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Posted by on October 1, 2020 in biography, entertainers, films

 

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Greer Garson

On August 6, 1939, the Harlingen, Texas Valley Morning Star read “Donat Stars In New Film” followed by the sub heading ‘Goodbye Mr. Chips” in Mercedes, Texas.  The article went on to describe the latest film of popular leading man Robert Donat.  Based on the James Hilton novel of the same name, the film tells the story of the life and teaching career of Charles Edward Chipping, a Latin teacher at a British boys’ school.  Donat’s character falls for and marries a beautiful and flashy young woman named Katherine, played by actress Greer Garson in her debut performance.  Revealed in a series of flashbacks, the film portrays the events in Chipping’s life and the individuals who were part of it.  Donat would go on to win an Oscar for Best Actor.  The film was the first major role in the long and successful career of Garson.  She was also nominated for an Oscar that year, but the award went instead to Vivian Leigh for her performance in “Gone With The Wind.”

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Posted by on July 16, 2020 in entertainers, films, schools

 

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Fess Parker, Jr.

Fess Elisha Parker, Jr. was born on August 16, 1924 in Fort Worth, Texas to Fess Parker, Sr. and Mackie Allen Parker.  His father had been born in California, but his mother was born in Texas.  His paternal grandparents Otis L. and Cora Lightfoot Parker had been a farming family in Comanche County, Texas and both are buried there.  Fess grew up in San Angelo and was a multi sport athlete there.  He graduated from San Angelo High School in 1939 and did a hitch in the United States Navy before coming back to Texas and enrolling at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene in 1943.

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Posted by on June 4, 2020 in biography, entertainers, films

 

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