Saturday, February 12, 2011

Great On Screen Couples: Jane Wyman & Jack Carson

For my next couple I chose a couple not too many people may realize how good they really were in the five films they made together. I'm speaking of Jane Wyman and Jack Carson. They co-starred in 5 films plus one more where Jane made a cameo as herself. They usually played either a married couple or boyfriend and girlfriend and always had the most engaging banter. Their first film together was 1942's Larceny, Inc which they were the supporting players to Edward G. Robinson. But they played boyfriend and girlfriend. I have yet to see this film so I can't really comment on it.

Now for their next film, Princess O'Rourke (1943), they did get to play a married couple. But once again they were secondary characters to stars Olivia de Havilland and Robert Cummings. But their chemistry was undeniable and they played well off one another. 

They would hit their stride with 1944's Make Your Own Bed and this time they were the leading stars. Jack would play a struggling detective looking to crack the big case so he could marry his long suffering girlfriend. Shades of Thin Man make this a memorable screwball comedy. The pair would team up again later on in the year for the extremely funny The Doughgirls which had them playing another married couple dealing with the wartime housing shortage in Washington, D.C and scads of colorful characters including Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Eve Arden, and Charlie Ruggles. By now Jack and Jane were operating like a well oiled machine as The Doughgirls remain their best film that I've seen of them yet.

In  fact, the producers of The Doughgirls must have thought so because they pretty much reunited the entire cast for 1946's comedy/drama One More Tomorrow, starring Jane, Jack, Ann Sheridan and Alexis Smith once again. Dennis Morgan was the newcomer who joined in on the fun. I haven't seen this film as of yet either.
Then Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan would make the surreal comedy It's A Great Feeling trying to make a star out of Doris Day. This is the film where loads of Hollywood stars show up in cameos as themselves and Jane shows up early for her brief appearance. Jack would later appear on Jane's TV show, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre in the mid 50's but as far as movies go, It's A Great Feeling would their last team up together. So while everyone may know the big couples like Bogie/Bacall, Tracy/Hepburn, and Gable/Harlow, do not miss out an underrated pair like Jane Wyman and Jack Carson. They truly deserve to be talked about and remembered just like the other couples.


  1. Wonderful post Monty, A fun piece of Jack Carson trivia:

    During the 1940s, Carson joined the Clyde Beatty circus as a clown and traveled around with their show. Audiences never knew it was him. "They loved me and my routines," he said.

  2. cool Dawn. I did not know that about Jack.

  3. I so agree with you about this duo! I never miss a movie with them. Fortunately, TCM had some days devoted to Wyman and Carson and showed lots of their films. I was planning a post about great movie pairs (not just couples) and Carson/Wyman are definitely on the list. I can't possibly top you so I will definitely point people to your excellent post.


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