This post is for lovers of EVE ARDEN – and cats!
It’s not clear whose idea it was to drape a white cat round the shoulders of Eve Arden in STAGE DOOR, but the shot is one you always remember from that great movie.
What can you say an about this cat, called Henry in the film, but whose real name was Whitey. In the still below, he seems oblivious of the cameras and is having a soothing nap.
Has there ever been an animal performer so relaxed and natural on screen.
In a 2012 issue of the magazine, “Classic Images”, there as an article about the film’s director,Gregory La Cava, written by Richard C. Reid.
According to this article Eve Arden had inherited two cats from the Pound and suggested to La Cava that he let her character,’Eve’ have a cat named Henry who turns out to be a pregnant Henrietta!
The article goes on to say that it was Eve’s idea to put the cat around her shoulder, to free up her hands to eat peanuts.
In the book, EVE ARDEN, A CHRONICLE OF ALL FILM,TV,RADIO AND STAGE PERFORMANCES (by David C. Tucker), Eve is quoted from an interview in Family Circle magazine:
“I found out they were paying the cat $150 a week, which was more than I got.!”
In this scene, Eve points to the fur stole Ginger is wearing and warns Henry that could happen to him if he is a bad cat.
Notice how Henry is taking note!
The aspiring actresses of the Footlights Club. Eve on the left with Henry, Lucille Ball , Ginger Rogers.
Henry enjoys the conversation.
Ginger,as Jean, has just rushed out after hearing of a job offer. Eve says,
“She hasn’t worked in so long, if she does get the job, it’ll practically amount to a comeback.”
According to cinema cats.com, ‘Whitey’ was a veteran feline actor. Another article said, “Whitey’s acting ambitions probably never included playing a neck piece!”
One article said, “He responds to silent signals and will meow or purr readily on cue”
This cat should have been Oscar-nominated, a special cat award!
At the end, Eve is without Henry. – she’s in the pet hospital having kittens – Henrietta, that is!
A 1944 article said that Eve kept Whitey at the end of shooting. But I also read that Whitey scratched Eve every day!