Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #001174: SHIRLEY DEANE

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Highly scarce and lovely original 8x10-inch sepia-tone matte-finish publicity portrait, dating to the 1930s, boldly signed and inscribed in black fountain pen for inveterate collector Joseph L. Rossa.  Just the second example we've ever encountered, in very good condition, with light corner wear.  Vivacious, sunny, blue-eyed singer and actress Shirley Deane showed real promise in her starring role in Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936) and subsequently landed the plum part of Bonnie Jones in the Jones Family film series of the 1930s.  Despite her peppy personality, good looks, acting talent, and lovely voice, as glimpsed in films like King of Burlesque (1936) and Nancy Steele Is Missing! (1937), her studio, 20th Century Fox, did not renew her contract when it expired in 1938, and she was was forced to earn a living in B-pictures.  Ironically, Deane's most memorable work was during this period, including Gene Autry's Prairie Moon (1938), the crime drama Undercover Agent (1939) and the wonderful role of Princess Aura in the sci-fi cliffhanger Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940).  It is a little-known fact that the leading lady was one of the top choices, alongside Una Merkel and Gloria Blondell, to play Blondie in the comedy series of the 1930s and 1940s, but the role was handed off to Penny Singleton when Merkel and Blondell were cast elsewhere and Deane became inexplicably ill.  She vanished from pictures before the Second World War, evaporating into complete obscurity, and her autograph is virtually nonexistent in any format.