Sunday, August 1, 2010

B-Movie Phantom: The Phillipa Fallon Story Part 9

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Around the time of her triumph in High School Confidential!, Phillipa Fallon appeared in the industry casting publication, the Academy Players Directory, for the very first time.[1] Her publicity photograph, along with the name and telephone numbers of her talent agency, Paul Small Artists, Ltd., appears on page 103 of the 79th edition of the directory issued in 1958. Phillipa, who would turn 35 in August of 1958, is in the Leading Women section surrounded by hundreds of other actresses, most of whom the contemporary reader would be hard-pressed to recognize. She and her agents could not have known it at the time, but Phillipa had already had the best role of her career.

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In July of 1959 production began on Albert Zugsmith’s biblical sex comedy The Private Lives of Adam and Eve. Zugsmith co-directed the incoherent, poorly shot film with Mickey Rooney who also stars as the devil. The movie’s plot revolves around a modern couple played by Martin Milner and Mamie Van Doren who fantasize that they are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The film opens with a bizarre title sequence in which Paul Anka drives a car with his feet while singing the theme song.

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Rooney spends most of his screen time dressed in dime store Satan drag surrounded by a harem of women known as “The Devil’s Familiars.” Phillipa, in the non-speaking role of Desire, can be seen approximately thirty-seven minutes into the movie giving the devil a pedicure. It was a thankless role and, quite understandably, her last.


Fallon-PrivateLives-Pedicure-2 Phillipa Fallon, unfortunately, at lower left working on Mickey Rooney’s cloven hoof

1960, the year that Private Lives was released (and condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency), was also the last year that Phillipa paid to have her listing in the Players Directory. Her final entry appears in issue number 85 on page 125. Her agents are identified as Len Kaplan and Mark Harris of the William Schuller Agency. Unfortunately, both of these men are deceased so they could not be asked for details about how Phillipa came to be cast in such a terrible movie. Mickey Rooney, seemingly immortal, did not respond to our inquiries for an interview, but he has probably forgotten about the film by now anyway.

Fallon-PrivateLives-Still L-R: Ziva Rodann, Mickey Rooney, Phillipa Fallon (w/hand on Rooney’s shoulder), Nancy Root, Theona Bryant

Phillipa had made three movies, all for Albert Zugsmith, and she was now ready to move on. Her new focus would be on her songwriting career, politics and a long campaign against fluoridation…


[1] CONELRAD reviewed the Academy Players Directory for the period 1941 (the year Fallon arrived in Hollywood) through 1960. We searched under all of her known aliases. We found that she appears in issues 79 through issue 81 and issues 83 through 85. Her agency affiliation changes from Paul Small Artists, Ltd. to William Schuller in issue number 83 (after not appearing at all in issue number 82). In issue number 80 (1958, page 105) Fallon’s listing immediately precedes another tragic actress, Frances Farmer:

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5 comments:

  1. Cant wait for the next installment, when is it coming please?

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  2. Yes, wondering about the final chapters in her story ... ?????

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  3. It's years later, and some of us are on the edges of our collective seats. What happened to her? There's virtually nothing on her IMDB profile!

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  4. Yes, it would be fine to continue and complete the profile. More, please.

    ReplyDelete