This Day in Ann Dvorak History: Begins Production on “College Coach”

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 249

When Ann Dvorak returned from her extended honeymoon abroad in March of 1933, she made amends with Warner Bros., signed a new contract with them, and was ready to get in front of the cameras again. Instead, she waited…and waited.

Towards the end of the summer, the studio loaned Ann out to Paramount for The Way to Love, co-starring Maurice Chevalier. Then, they let her wait a while longer. Finally, they cast her as the leading lady in College Coach opposite Pat O’Brien and Lyle Talbot. Ann began production on September 6, 1933, and while the role was small and uneventful, at least she was working again.


  1. Mike September 6, 2013

    I have not seen either “The Way to Love” or “College Coach” (am I missing anything noteworthy, outside of Ann’s appearance?), though both titles are familiar to me for other reasons. During previous periods of my movie watching career I have been “all in” with Carole Lombard – who I know turned down the offer to appear with Chevalier in “WTL”, and John Wayne – who is listed as a bit player in “CC”. “Way to Love” would seemingly be a solid assignment for Ann, since the early 30s were Chevalier’s peak years.

    Again because of anticipation of the upcoming book, I decided to dvr “Life of Her Own” today, and will watch sometime over the weekend. As has been previously discussed here, there will be a temptation to halt the proceedings after Ann’s character makes her way too soon departure.

  2. admin September 6, 2013

    Personally, I think “The Way to Love” is kind of an odd film, though it’s an unusual role for Ann. I guess it’s worth watching at least once. I have only sat through it twice. An initial viewing years ago and a re-watch while writing the book.

    “College Coach” is disappointing in terms of Dvorak because she’s hardly in it. I guess it’s worth watching and it’s interesting enough to realize that college football has been a huge, and sometimes corrupt, deal for a long time. You could blink and miss John Wayne.

    I have watched “A Life of Her Own” in its entirety once…once.

  3. Scott September 6, 2013

    That “College Coach”-related observation that “it’s interesting enough to realize that college football has been a huge, and sometimes corrupt, deal for a long time”, makes me think of “Horsefeathers”, with the Marx Brothers, that came out just the year before.

    Part of the plot of “Horsefeathers” dealt with Frank Wagstaff (Zeppo Marx) inveigling his father, Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley College, to (illegally, of course) recruit professional football players to play on the Huxley team in order to improve the school’s moribund football program.

    So you’re probably right.

    And seeing as how the college football season is set to start for most schools this weekend, Mike (being a big John Wayne fan) is no doubt aware that he (then known as Marion ‘Duke’ Morrison) played college football at USC in 1926. Where he was a teammate with his lifelong friend, Ward Bond.

  4. Mike September 6, 2013

    You can leave out the “probably” with college football (or basketball, for that matter) being sometimes corrupt. Big time college athletics at the major conferences, and their supposed oversight body – the NCAA – reek of corruption. Which makes “Horsefeathers” fresh and timely 80 years after it was first released. The Marx Bros. Paramount & first 2 MGM features are as good as movie comedy gets.

    Yeah, with the Duke, he actually got a starring role in a major Fox release in 1930 (“The Big Trail”) not long after leaving the USC campus. You have to give him credit for his sticktoitiveness during the decade as he labored thru bit parts and leads in Grade Z Westerns before finally getting another shot in A films (thanks to John Ford) with “Stagecoach”. I think I remember reading that when the AFI first came out with their 100 best films of all time (or whatever they called that list), that Ward Bond was the actor who appeared in the most titles. Who woulda guessed that?

    Christina, I know you have mentioned that your husband is from Des Moines, Iowa. Have you ever had the opportunity (or interest) to visit the John Wayne Birthplace Museum just west of the city, in Winterset? I made the pilgrimage, and must admit, it was a thrill. This was during my major “Wayne phase”; don’t think I’d get quite as excited with a visit today.

  5. admin September 7, 2013

    Back when I first posted about “College Coach” in 2007, I recommended “Horse Feathers” instead – Six years later, I still do! My inability to afford Marx Bros. memorabilia is one of the reasons I turned my attention to Ann, so I guess we can indirectly thank them (or the collectors with deep pockets) for this website and the Dvorak book.

    My husband would be very offended if I didn’t clarify that he’s from Pittsburgh and that the folks relocated to Des Moines a few years back to be near grandchildren. I have not visited the Wayne birthplace, though I suspect I would have a hard time dragging Josh there, esp since we have yet to visit the Hobo Museum.

  6. Scott September 7, 2013

    One of the more memorable roles that John Wayne had during that aforementioned ‘sticktoitiveness’ phase, right around the time he appeared in “College Coach”, was as one of Barbara Stanwyck’s conquests in that quintessential Warner Brothers pre-Code film “Baby Face”.

    And, in case you were wondering, here is the list of the AFI “100 Years … 100 Movies” in which Ward Bond made an appearance in — (drum roll, please) …

    “It Happened One Night”
    “The Maltese Falcon”
    “The Grapes Of Wrath”
    “It’s A Wonderful Life”
    “Gone With The Wind” and
    “The Searchers” (as the Reverend Captain Samuel Clayton — my favorite Ward Bond role by a wide mile, and one of my favorite supporting roles in any film, ever.)

  7. Mike September 8, 2013

    I’d say make it a long weekend, starting out from Des Moines, heading west to Winterset for the Wayne museum. Continue westerly to Denison, for a stop at the Donna Reed Museum. Stay the nite, then up NW to Britt for the “Hobo”. If either of you are baseball fans, a trek to the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville could probably be squeezed in.

    Scott, I certainly have watched and enjoyed “Baby Face”; as you say, prime, pre-code Stanwyck.

    BTW, I think you can add “Bringing Up Baby” to that Ward Bond list. He was terrific in “The Searchers”, but I prefer the (smaller) role in “Maltese Falcon”, where he acted as peacemaker between fellow cop Barton McLaine & Sam Spade.

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