With Game Conductor Katherine Hartley
So you thought you knew everything there is to know about Ginger Rogers! Well, this is no picture of a serious careerist, it’s the fun-loving Ginger, who jumps into this old game of truth or consequences with the zest that makes her beloved by studio workers and stars alike. She coiled quits on six of the questions—the forfeits she paid an pictured on the opposite page, but think of all the fun in store for you imagining what her answers should have been.
Of what personal accomplishment are you most proud?
The sketch I did of Madame Maria Ouspenskaya is the one thing that really tickles me; it was one of the first sketches I undertook. I had seen her in a film with Garbo and had been interested by her face. I had never met her, but after I finished the sketch, working from a photograph—it took me three or four weeks altogether—I invited her to dinner so that she might see it, too. If she hadn’t liked it as much as I did, I believe I would never have recovered from the disappointment.
In what other actress have you noticed a resemblance to yourself?
Just recently in watching Priscilla Lane on the screen I had the funny feeling that I knew her—there was something so familiar about her. I realized then that it was because we are somewhat alike; not our features particularly, but our expressions, mannerisms or something—just what it is, I can’t explain.
What famous personality would you most prefer to meet and why?
There are so many I’d like to meet that I can’t name them all here, but I believe I’d feel most honored to meet Leopold Stokowski and Professor Albert Einstein. I’m sure I would have nothing of interest to say to them, but if I could only listen in on a conversa- tion they might be having with some- one else, someone else who would know how to probe them intelligently, that would be wonderful!
Have you ever taken part in a blind date and what were the circumstances?
No. Mysteries of that kind don’t interest me.
Do you ever read beauty articles, seeking some beauty secret for yourself?
I’m an easy mark for any and every advertisement which promises that a certain product will make me ravishing. If it’s a lipstick, I promptly send for a half dozen and then, after trying them briefly, I invariably return to my original stand-by.
When have you ever consciously imitated someone?
Never consciously, but I always unconsciously pick up the accent or intonation of the person with whom I am talking. Just recently, at lunch
with an European, he accused me of making fun of him, saying, “You talk at me, like me.” It took me twenty minutes to convince him that it was unintentional and that I was not ridiculing him. It’s a very embarrassing
When you have a man opponent at some sport, tennis for example, do you ever deliberately throw a game his way, on the theory that men do not like to be beaten by women?
I should say not! I love to beat a man and I always play to win. I get a big kick out of it And if he doesn’t enjoy it, so much the better! I’m for the woman-winner every time, in everything.
Which photographic angle of your face do you consider the best?
Do you mind if I say, “Behind the ears”? And I am not being facetious! I saw a rear view of my head for the first time on the screen just recently, and I couldn’t help it, I thought that view of me was kind of cute.
What is your most successful disguise for avoiding recognition in public?
I’ve tried everything, but nothing is fan-proof. The only really sure way to avoid recognition is not to go out.
What was the most tomboyish physical feat of your childhood?
I was runner-up in a broad-jumping contest once. But my greatest dream was to become a champion pole vaulter, though I never got any farther at that than over the back fence on the prop-stick for the washline.
What has caused your keenest embarrassment?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Let us reproduce one of your drawings.)
Caption: Imagine asking a gal Question 11! Well, Ginger wouldn’t answer—but she did let us print one of her drawings (top)—a sketch of Madame Ouspenskaya—good, too, we say.
Do you really enjoy opera, or do you go because it is the fashion?
I can’t say I enjoy all operas, but I only go to those I really like. I have seen eighteen different operas, and while I wouldn’t like to see all of those again, there are three of them which really appeal to me: La Tosca, Carmen and The Barber of Seville.
Are you a back-seat driver?
No, I’m as meek as a mouse because I know that most anyone drives better than I do.
With what man star, with whom you have not worked, would you most like to make a film?
In what ways do you enjoy being “elegant”?
I enjoy having a fabulous amount of nice lingerie, and two clean changes a day make me feel very luxurious.
When have you ever been a wall-flower?
So many times you wouldn’t believe it!
What other languages beside English do you speak?
Pig Latin! I took a postgraduate course from Jimmy Stewart who is a past master.
Who or what on the screen gives you the greatest pain?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Give us a picture of yourself showing how the well made up woman of 1939 does not look.)
Caption: Question 18 was another stopper, but the consequence really wasn’t meant to frighten little children. It’s how the well made up woman of 1939 does not look.
On a date, what typically feminine bluff have you indulged in recently?
Pretending to notice that I just that moment got a run in my hose when I knew that I had it an hour before.
In what difficult action shot have you recently used a double?
In “Carefree” a man double did some bicycle riding for me—not because I can’t ride, but because the riding had to be done downhill over a bumpy terrace and end in a spill.
With whom have you had a long feud and why?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Let us print a photo from your vacation album—in a most unglamorous pose.)
Caption: Feuding is something Ginger doesn’t talk about. Result: the forfeit on Question 21 is this unglamorous pose taken from her snapshot album.
When you are eating alone are you ever careless about your table manners?
Yes, I eat fast and furiously—but then my table manners are nothing to brag about even when I’m with others. When I’m hungry I like to eat, not
At what age, and in what circumstances did you have your first unrequited love?
He was in knee pants and I was still wearing socks.
If a surprise caller found you ungroomed, in old clothes, with your hair not fixed and your face not made up. Would you try to excuse yourself or pass it off with nonchalance?
I have done both. It all depends on the caller.
When a book is being discussed, have you ever pretended to have read it when you have not, and how did you bluff your way through?
I usually try to switch the conversation to some book which I have read—it’s the safest way out.
With whom do you most enjoy going out?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Have a picture taken riding “no hands” on your bicycle.)
Caption: Rumor has it that there is only one answer to Question 26, but Ginger preferred to have a picture taken riding “no hands” on her bicycle rather than reveal her secret.
Do you notice men’s clothes and do you consider smart dressing important for a man?
Are you a good speller?
I can’t spell anything! I can’t even write a letter without resorting to the dictionary.
Do risque jokes amuse you?
Very seldom, and I prefer not to be told them.
In what ways are you easily embarrassed?
When someone tries to tell me one.
What is your disposition when you get up in the morning?
Who is the best dancer with whom you have ever danced off the screen?
George Murphy. I have only danced with him once, but I believe he is perfect.
Have you any immediate plans to alter your marital situation?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Write something for us in Pig Latin.)
Caption: The example of Ginger’s Pig Latin is her punishment for refusing to answer.
[Translation: Talking pig latin is a fine art… It is also fun because you can say what you want and people don’t know what you say or do they?]
What kind of bridge player are you?
I have progressed beyond the auction stage.
How many song records made by yourself do you have in your own collection, and which is. your favorite?
I have them all, but none is my favorite. I only play the records to hear my mistakes— and then I always swear I’ll never make another!
Are you subject to freckles?
Yes. Nice big fat ones, and what’s more, I like ’em!
What early experience has most affected your life or philosophy?
Going into the movies!
What T.L (Trade Last) have you recently exchanged with a friend?
I can’t remember, but I have one for Margaret Lindsay.
Are you a good loser?
Yes, I think I am. My friends tell me I am anyway.
In what ways are you stubborn?
I never say die on anything!
Are you the kind of reader who can’t refrain from glancing at the end, before finishing a book?
I never do. I like to be surprised.
What subjects do you film most with your candid camera?
Do you dislike candid camera shots of yourself?
Yes. I feel that it is unfair for a photographer to take advantage of an actress by photographing her when she is not prepared—particularly if she is disheveled, as in the wind at a polo match—and I have on occasions tried to beg out of such shots. It’s not a question of being a bad sport, because I feel the same way when a cameraman takes the same unfair advantage of other actresses, too. Showing an actress at her worst accomplishes nothing—and it disappoints the fans as well.
What household task do you usually perform?
As long as I must be honest, none. Not that I can’t, but I don’t have the time for it these days.
On what occasions do you drop your dignity and shout and yell?
At prize fights and wrestling matches.
At which do you think you are the greatest success, as hostess or as guest?
Hostessing doesn’t seem to be in my line. I’m always a guest, even at my own parties.
Has any of your artwork ever been sold?
Do you have any of your own art efforts displayed in your home?
I have two framed and hanging in the library; the sketch of Madame Ouspenskaya and one of Irving Berlin.
What unkindness have you ever done which you now regret?
I always regret having blamed somebody for something without waiting to hear both sides of a story. It’s snap judgment, I suppose.
What curriculum did you follow in high school?
I was afraid you’d ask me that one—I never got to high school!
What small failing of your girlhood have you had to overcome?
Chewing my fingernails.
Now that Fred Astaire has left RKO, where you have made so many pictures together, do you believe that you will ever make another dancing picture?
I suppose so. I would like to concentrate on dramatic roles, but I am told that I shouldn’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg—or something to that effect—so I won’t be surprised, if I get a call for another dancing picture even before my legs and feet have rested up from the last one.
What extravagance might be called your weakness?
My weakness is nice hose and shoes, but it can’t be called an extravagance because early in my career I waged a battle to have the studio supply me with them, since my dancing is so hard on shoes and stockings.
What things give you the jitters?
Hangnails and scraping sounds.
When you arrive at the age of thirty, will you be inclined to admit it, or will you hope to hide it?
I’ll admit it I guess, but quietly. I don’t see any reason for wearing it on my shirt front.
What slang phrase or exclamation is most characteristic of you?
There are two: “Oh gosh” and “For goodness sakes alive!”
Do you prefer men companions of your own age, or older, and why?
I like them about thirty; still young enough to be gay, yet old enough to be serious.
What one word would you choose to best describe your personality?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Write a limerick, using your own name Virginia, beginning “There was a young girl named Virginia.”)
Caption: The limerick is forfeit on question 58.