Sunday, May 24, 2009

Evalyn Knapp

Born June 17, 1908, in Kansas City, Missouri, Pauline Evelyn Knapp began her career in the 1929 silent comedy short At The Dentist's. One might have thought that was to be her lot in film because that year saw her in ten other comedy shorts. Four more shorts followed in 1930, including Chills and Fever with Elisha Cook, Jr, his second film role, and Taxi Talks, starring 20 year old Spencer Tracy, in his second film role. Her first full fledged role was in Sinners' Holiday, also in 1930, and the cast included James Cagney in his screen debut. Two films in 1931 also included Cagney, Smart Money and The Millionaire. These roles helped her be named one of fourteen girls selected as WAMPAS Baby Stars for 1932.

With such a promising start, Evalyn (changed from Evelyn when at Warner Brothers) should have been able to break into the top ranks, but this was not to be the case. She found herself primarily in westerns and B programmers, including being paired opposite Ken Maynard in the 1934 film In Old Santa Fe. She also starred with John Wayne, not in a western, but a romantic comedy(!), His Private Secretary (1933). Other films of the early thirties included Night Mayor (1932) opposite Lee Tracy, Dance, Girl, Dance (1933), Corruption (1933), and Ladies Crave Excitement (1935). She was often the lead actress, but unfortunately not in "leading" pictures.

By 1943, with no prospects for ever getting in the the A ranks, Evalyn left film, married, and concentrated on family. As a side note, Evalyn was the younger sister of then well-known orchestra leader Orville Knapp (1904-1936) whose big songs were "Indigo" and "Accent on Youth." They initially appeared together in a dancing vaudeville act. Ironically, Orville, who was named after famed aeronautics pioneer 'Orville Wright', died in the crash of his private biplane.

Evalyn made 62 film appearances between 1929 and the final uncredited role in 1943's Two Weeks To Live. Evalyn died June 12, 1981, in Los Angeles, Ca.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Picture Play magazine - August, 1931

Silver Screen magazine - August, 1931

Britian's Picturegoer magazine - June, 1931

Publicity still, 1932

Publicity still, undated.

Lobby card for 1934's In Old Santa Fe.

Sinners' Holiday frame grabs.

Corruption frame grabs.

Evalyn's only serial, The Perils Of Pauline (her real first name)

Publicity still, undated.

Evalyn Knapp - What do you think - Allure?


Brad W said...

short answer: yes!

diane said...

She certainly looks a lot prettier
in your pictures than she did in
the movie I saw her in. It was a
nifty little programmer called "One
Frightened Night". She played "the
fake Doris Waverley" and she didn't
have much to do before she met a
grusome end. The star was Mary

El Prezidente said...

She's really cute!

Anonymous said...

Evalyn is actually my great-aunt. I don't know if it's true but my dad said that the story behind her leaving film was a little different than her just deciding to focus on family. She fell off a horse and injured her back. Her husband was her physician that took care of her after her fall. Her back was never 100% after that.

Brian Pinette said...

Evalyn Knapp - 6 films, 2 DVDs