During the pre-war period, the job of newspaper reporter was one of the few movie role models that portrayed intelligent, career-oriented women. Of these role models, Torchy Blane was perhaps the best known. The typical plot has the resilient, very-fast-talking Torchy solving the crime before her less-than-perceptive beau, the loud mouthed police detective Steve McBride.
In the final film of the series, Torchy Plays with Dynamite, Jane Wyman, who had previously played a bit part in the first film of the series, was Torchy, and Allen Jenkins was Lt. Steve McBride. A leftover Torchy Blane script was adapted into Private Detective, also starring Jane Wyman.
The only actor appearing in all nine Torchy Blane films was Tom Kennedy as Gahagan, McBride's slow-witted cop sidekick given to bursts of poetry.
Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel cited Glenda Farrell's portrayal of Torchy Blane as his inspiration for the personality of the character of Lois Lane, and the name of Lola Lane (who also played Torchy Blane) as his inspiration for Lois' name. Joanne Siegel, Jerry Siegel's wife and the original art model for Lois Lane, also cited Farrell's portrayal of Torchy Blane as Siegel's inspiration for Lois Lane.
|Released||Film title||Run time||Starring as|
|Torchy Blane||Steve McBride|
|1937||Smart Blonde||59 min||Glenda Farrell||Barton MacLane|
|Fly-Away Baby||60 min|
|The Adventurous Blonde||61 min|
|1938||Blondes At Work||63 min|
|Torchy Blane in Panama||59 min||Lola Lane||Paul Kelly|
|Torchy Gets Her Man||63 min||Glenda Farrell||Barton MacLane|
|1939||Torchy Blane in Chinatown||58 min|
|Torchy Runs for Mayor||60 min|
|Torchy Blane ... Playing with Dynamite||59 min||Jane Wyman||Allen Jenkins|
As of 2009, Turner Classic Movies have made a number of original trailers freely available online at their web site.
A DVD box set of all nine features has been released by Warner Archive.
- Letters to the Editor, Time magazine (May 30, 1988), pp. 6-7.
- Superman: The Complete History, the Life and Times of the Man of Steel, p. 20.
- Smart Blonde (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- Fly-Away Baby (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- The Adventurous Blonde (1937) at the Internet Movie Database
- Blondes at Work (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane in Panama (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Gets Her Man (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
- Thrilling detective
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