“Squadron Leader X” Lobby Card

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 175

When Ann Dvorak was in England during World War II, she made two films co-starring Eric Portman that were distributed by RKO – Squadron Leader X and Escape to Danger. Both films are considered “lost” and sought after, with former being on the British Film Institute’s list of most wanted films. I was once contacted by an RKO lawyer trying to find the film. Talk about desperate!

Even though both films were shown in American theaters, memorabilia from Escape to Danger seems to be much more plentiful. I have quite a few pieces from that film, including lobby cards, both half sheets, and a few stills. The one-sheet for Squadron Leader X pops up every so often, but I only have two photos and one of them was just purchased a couple of months back. About nine years ago, I had the opportunity to buy the entire lobby card set from Squadron Leader X and purchased it site unseen. Ann is one of the stars after all, so I figured she’d be good for at least three of the seven scene cards, and definitely the title card.

I remember the day the lobby car set came. My sister and I were leaving somewhere and we stopped off at the mailbox on the way to the car. My apartment was upstairs and the mailbox on the ground floor, so rather than going back up, we hopped in the car and I tore into the package. One by one we looked at each card while I kept shrieking from behind the steering wheel, “She HAS to be on at least one of these.” And she was…on ONE of them. Eight cards, and Ann Dvorak is only on one of them. Well, at least it’s a really pretty card.

The bright side of it all is that I have never come across this card again, so if I hadn’t taken the plunge and bought the whole set, I probably would not be able to share it now.


  1. Mike June 24, 2013

    Boy you are a serious collector!

    So were the contemporary reviews of these movies favorable? Are we missing out on seeing some minor classics, or above average films?

  2. Scott June 24, 2013

    One of the areas, or aspects, of Ann’s life that I’m most anticipating reading about in the book, is her life in England during WW2. And how, or in what ways, it may changed her.

    Was it challenging finding it?

  3. admin June 24, 2013

    The reviews were favorable. More so for “Squadron Leader X” than “Escape to Danger.” They sound like fairly big roles for Ann, especially “Escape to Danger,” so I feel like I am missing out. The other feature she made at the time, “This Was Paris,” was produced by Warner Bros and has survived. Sorry to say it’s nothing special.

  4. admin June 24, 2013

    Over the years, I pretty much stockpiled every bit of info I could find until I wrote the book. When I finally dove into the actual writing is when I would notice gaps and do supplemental research. Going into the War section, I figured it would be a thin chapter. Instead, I was amazed by how much I had found. I had so much info that I ended up having to break up that section into two chapters. It was by far my favorite part of writing the book. I developed a tremendous amount of respect for Ann and it’s one of the main aspects of her story that I hope readers will be surprised by.

  5. Scott June 24, 2013

    Along with her body of work itself and the ‘might-have-been’ aspects of her career, the bare bones knowledge of what I know of her life in WW2 England makes for as compelling a reason as any as to why Ann Dvorak is a more than worthy figure as a subject of interest.

    Delighted to hear of your enthusiasm for this part.

    You know, when Ann traveled to Abilene to attend the premiere of “Abilene Town” in 1946, she might have been able to carry on a very interesting conversation with the former Supreme Allied Commander (if he was, indeed, in attendance that night) about life in WW2 London. Certainly a lot more so than most any other Hollywood actress of the time.

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