Leading lady in 30's and 40's Hollywood low-budgeters. She is
best remembered as Dale Arden, the hero's girlfriend, in two of the three
"Flash Gordon" serials of that era. (Carol Hughes portrayed Dale Arden
in the third.)
- Eleanor Lovegren
Date of birth
25 March 1916,
Belmont, Massachusetts, USA
Date of death
24 February 1991,
Sherman Oaks, California, USA.
"A Conversation with Jean Rogers, the
girl who was Dale Arden"
by Jim Sulski.
of fantastic cinema best remember the late Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, the
ever-imperiled heroine who appeared in those now-classic science fiction serials
"Flash Gordon" (1936) and "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars"
(1938). Much of the continuing popularity of these films can be attributed to
Ms. Rogers' considerable beauty and charm. For many a young man, she was,
literally, the stuff dreams are made of.
Jean Rogers was born Eleanor Dorothy Lovegren on March 25,
1916 in Belmont, Massachusetts. As a teenager, she won a local beauty
contest sponsored by Paramount Pictures and made the transition to Hollywood
with a role in "Eight Girls in a Boat" (1933). Prompted by movie
producer Charles Rogers, Jean secured the lead in Universal's "Stormy"
(1935). The studio signed her to a contract and cast her in such serials
as "Tailspin Tommy and the Great Air Mystery" (1935), "The
Adventures of Frank Merriwell" (1936), and "Ace Drummond" (1936).
But it was her portrayal of Dale Arden in the Flash Gordon serials that brought
her stardom. After lead roles in features like "Conflict" (1936)
with John Wayne, and "Night Key" (1937) with Boris Karloff, she left
Universal for 20th Century-Fox.
As a Fox contract player, Rogers was seen in "Heaven With a Barbed Wire
Fence" (1939), "Charlie Chan in Panama" (1940), "Viva Cisco
Kid" (1940), and other programmers. In 1941 shw was signed by MGM;
her Metro efforts include "Dr. Kildare's Victory" (1941), "Swing
Shift Maisie" (1943) and "Whistling in Brooklyn" (1943). By
the end of the decade, Rogers chose family life over her movie career; a
supporting role in "The Second Woman" (1951) was her final screen
After retiring from films, she pursued her interest in painting (selling many of
her sketches and watercolor artwork), worked as a journalist, and made
occasional appearances at nostalgia conventions. Rogers died in 1991; she
was 74. In this 1979 interview, Jean recalls the role that brought her
FAX: How did Eleanor Dorothy Lovegren become Jean Rogers?
ROGERS: When I first started in the business, Universal Studios gave me
about five minutes to pick out a screen name. I thought, "Oh my God,
what should I pick?" Well, I took the last name of Charles
Rogers--he's the one who brought me out to California. Jean was the name
of a childhood friend who lived down the street from me. I liked her name
better than mine.
FAX: Dale Arden is considered to be one of the great movie heroines.
Are you glad to have played the role?
ROGERS: Oh, yes. I never thought that the popularity of it would
come back like it has. It was my favorite serial and it was quite an
experience, although Buster (Crabbe) and I both thought the whole thing was
nuts. At the time, who could think of Mars and outer space and all that.
FAX: How did you get the part?
ROGERS: What happens when you're under contract--which I was--is that you
have to do what they tell you to do. And they told me to do the part.
Which was fine with me because I was just starting my career and I was anxious
to do anything. The studio wanted to keep you working because they were
paying you. Then they wanted to make me a serial queen. They also
asked me to take the part because they said I needed the experience--and they
I played a part in "My Man Godfrey" (1936), but I suppose there was
nothing else up for me just then because it was just a small part. When
the studio is paying you, they don't want you to sit back for two weeks until a
lead comes along. You have to do what they say.
FAX: Had you ever been a fan of the "Flash Gordon" comic strip?
ROGERS: Well, sort of. I can't say that I was an avid reader but I
did follow it.
FAX: How much of yourself did you put into the Dale Arden character?
ROGERS: As much as the director told me to.
FAX: Among your screen roles, was Dale Arden one of your easier assignments?
ROGERS: Oh, yes. All I had to say was "Flash, where are you
going?" and "Ooohh, Flash!"
FAX: Buster Crabbe once said that although the atmosphere on the set was
never tongue-in-cheek, everybody always had great fun.
ROGERS: That's right. It was fun to show up every morning because
you never really knew what was going on. You kind of went from day to day.
There was never much dialogue in the films to speak of. A lot of times
they'd say, "There's not much to say tomorrow," and they wouldn't give
us any pages to memorize for the next day."
FAX: While you were making the first "Flash Gordon" serial, did
you wonder what the public's reaction would be?
ROGERS: I just thought that they might say it was too incredible. I
thought they were going to laugh at it and say, "Well, isn't this
silly." It all seemed so hard to believe. I thought the writer
of the serial had lost his mind. (laughs) Naturally, I changed my mind when the
film got great response.
The costumes and the sets were fantastic. There wasn't very much nudity in
those days and I have to say my costume was a little brief in the first serial.
I don't think the Hayes Office (censorship board) paid much attention to what
went on in serials.
FAX: Was it more hectic to work in a serial, as opposed to a feature?
ROGERS: Yes. For a serial, they always had two units working with
two directors. As I recall, sometimes you'd be working for the first unit,
then you would scoot to the stage or back lot for the second unit. They
didn't waste any time. But I found it interesting, and Buster was wonderful
to work with. We got along just fine.
FAX: What was Charles Middleton like?
ROGERS: He was actually a very nice, gentle man--the exact opposite of
Ming the Merciless. (laughs)
FAX: What ever happened to Priscilla Lawson, who played
ROGERS: We all sort of agree that she has passed away, unfortunately.
There seems to be different stories. I heard she passed away quite a few
years ago. Now somebody else said she was in a bad car accident.
Nobody seems to have been able to find her.
FAX: You appeared in the first and second "Flash Gordon"
serials, but not the third.
ROGERS: Yes, because Universal wanted to make me a serial queen. I
did so many of them that I said to myself, "I'm not going to improve my
acting career if I stay in serials." I wanted to get out of serials,
to do something else, and the studio people were nice enough to let me do that.
And then I played the lead with John Wayne in "Conflict."
FAX: And you went on to appear in such films as "Night Key" with
ROGERS: Karloff was such a nice person and a great actor. If I had
trouble with a scene, I would ask him what he thought. Of the many actors
I've known, Karloff was the most gentle, kind and considerate.
FAX: So you enjoyed the transition from serials to features?
ROGERS: It became more interesting. I knew I wouldn't get any place
by staying in serials. I wanted better parts; the more experience I had,
the better I felt about my acting.
FAX: Do you ever watch the "Flash Gordon" serials on
ROGERS: Yes. They played on local television, then they took the
serials and made features from them. I thought it was a great editing job;
they were as interesting as they could get.
But it was strange--the reaction I got from friends who saw it. They
thought something was lost because they had known the films originally as
serials. They missed the suspense of the movie being a cliffhanger.
FAX: What do you think of the intense current interest in science
ROGERS: I can't think of anybody who's not interested; you just gotta be.
I'm a science fiction fan, to a certain extent, although I haven't seen
"Star Wars." I just never go to movies.
FAX: Looking back, are you happy to have had the role of Dale Arden?
ROGERS: Yes. When I see the old serials on television, I can't
believe it's me--that's a lot of years ago. But I'm glad I did it. I
had a very nice career.
by Jim Sulski, published in Issue #46 of
Filmfax Magazine (Aug./Sept. 1994)
Filmography from imdb.com
- Deadly Ray from Mars (1966) (TV) .... Dale Arden
- Spaceship to the Unknown (1966) (TV) .... Dale Arden
- Second Woman, The (1951) .... Dodo Ferris
... aka Ellen (1951) (UK)
... aka Here Lies Love (1951)
... aka Twelve Miles Out (1951)
- Fighting Back (1948) .... June Sanders
- Speed to Spare (1948) .... Mary
- Backlash (1947) .... Catherine Morland
- Gay Blades (1946) .... Nancy Davis
- Hot Cargo (1946) .... Jerry Walters
- Great Mystic, The (1945) .... Ellen Randall
... aka Strange Mr. Gregory, The (1945)
- Rough, Tough and Ready (1945) .... Jo Matheson
... aka Men of the Deep (1945) (UK)
- Stranger in Town, A (1943) .... Lucy Gilbert, Grant's Secretary
- Swing Shift Maisie (1943) .... Iris Reed
... aka Girl in Overalls, The (1943) (UK)
- Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) .... Jean Pringle
- Pacific Rendezvous (1942) .... Elaine Carter
- Personalities (1942) (uncredited)
- Sunday Punch (1942) .... Judy Galestrum
- War Against Mrs. Hadley, The (1942) .... Patricia Hadley
- Design for Scandal (1941) .... Dotty
- Dr. Kildare's Victory (1941) .... Annabelle Kirk
... aka Doctor and the Debutante, The (1941) (UK)
- Brigham Young - Frontiersman (1940) .... Clara Young
... aka Brigham Young (1940)
... aka Brigham Young - Frontiersman (1940) (UK)
- Charlie Chan in Panama (1940) .... Kathi Lenesch
- Let's Make Music (1940) .... Abby Adams
- Viva Cisco Kid (1940) .... Joan Allen
- Yesterday's Heroes (1940) .... Lee
- Man Who Wouldn't Talk, The (1940) .... Alice Stetson
- Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939) .... Anita
- Hotel for Women (1939)
... aka Elsa Maxwell's Hotel for Women (1939)
- Inside Story (1939) .... June White
- Stop, Look and Love (1939)
- Always in Trouble (1938) .... Virginia Darlington
- Time Out for Murder (1938) .... Helen Thomas
- While New York Sleeps (1938) .... Judy King
- Mars Attacks the World (1938) .... Dale Arden
- Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) .... Dale Arden
... aka Deadly Ray From Mars (1938) (USA: recut version)
... aka Flash Gordon: Mars Attacks the World (1938) (USA: video title)
... aka Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars (1938)
- Mysterious Crossing (1937) .... Yvonne Fontaine
- Night Key (1937) .... Joan Mallory
- Reported Missing (1937) .... Jean Clayton
- Secret Agent X-9 (1937) .... Shara Graustark
- When Love Is Young (1937) .... Irene Henry
- Wildcatter, The (1937) .... Helen Conlon
- Ace Drummond (1936) .... Peggy Trainor
- Adventures of Frank Merriwell, The (1936) .... Elsie Belwood
- Don't Get Personal (1936) .... Blondy
- Flash Gordon (1936/I) .... Dale Arden
... aka Flash Gordon: Rocketship (1936) (USA: recut version)
... aka Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (1936) (USA: video title)
... aka Space Soldiers (1936) (USA: TV title)
... aka Spaceship to the Unknown (1936) (USA: recut version)
- Flash Gordon (1936/II) .... Dale Arden
... aka Atomic Rocketship (1936)
... aka Rocketship (1936)
- Conflict (1936) .... Maude
- Two in a Crowd (1936) (uncredited) .... Undetermined Role
- My Man Godfrey (1936) (uncredited) .... Girl
- Great Air Mystery, The (1935) .... Betty Lou
... aka Tailspin Tommy in The Great Air Mystery (1935)
- Fighting Youth (1935)
- Stormy (1935) .... Kerry Dorn
- His Night Out (1935) (uncredited) .... Information
- Manhattan Moon (1935)
... aka Sing Me a Love Song (1935) (UK)
- Eight Girls in a Boat (1934)
Date of birth
17 January 1910,
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of death (details)
8 August 1995,
Burbank, California, USA.
Actress Carol Hughes was 13 years old when she
married comic actor Frank Faylen. Hughes' own film career began in 1936: while
sometimes enjoying full supporting roles, e.g. Frank McHugh's nagging wife in
Three Men on a Horse (1936), she generally made do with bits, such as the
Modiste Salon salesgirl in 1939's The Women. In 1940, Hughes replaced Jean
Rogers in the role of Dale Arden in the third and last of Universal's
"Flash Gordon" serials, *Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars. She retired from
films in the early 1950s, after playing Gil Lamb's leading lady in a series of
RKO Radio 2-reelers. Carol Hughes is the mother of actress Carol Faylen, who
appeared in the 1964 TV sitcom The Bing Crosby Show as Crosby's daughter
By Hal Erickson All
* Conquers the Universe 1940.
Filmography from imdb.com
- Peril from the
Planet Mongo (1966) (TV) .... Dale Arden
- Purple Death from Outer Space
(1966) (TV) .... Dale Arden
... aka Purple Death from Outer Space 1940 (1966) (TV) (promotional title)
- And Baby Makes Two
- Scaramouche (1952) ....
- D.O.A. (1950) .... Kitty
- Stagecoach Kid
(1949) .... Birdie
- Slightly French (1949) ....
- Every Girl Should Be Married
(1948) (uncredited) .... Girl at counter
- Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer,
The (1947) .... Florence
... aka Bachelor Knight (1947) (UK)
- Beautiful Cheat, The (1946)
... aka What a Woman! (1946) (UK)
- Blondie Knows Best (1946) (uncredited)
.... Gloria Evans
- Girl on the Spot (1946) (uncredited)
- Home in Oklahoma (1946)
.... Jan Holloway
- Joe Palooka, Champ (1946)
.... Mrs. Van Praag
- Jungle Raiders (1945) ....
- Naughty Nineties, The (1945)
(uncredited) .... Tessie
- Pillow to Post (1945) ....
- Red Dragon, The (1945) ....
- Weekend Pass (1944) ....
- My Son, the Hero (1943)
- She's for Me (1943) ....
- What's Buzzin', Cousin? (1943)
- Lucky Jordan (1942) (uncredited)
.... Girl in back room
- Miracle Kid, The (1942)
- Ship Ahoy (1942) ....
- I Married an Angel (1942) (uncredited)
.... Willie's Morning Lady
- Desperate Cargo (1941) ....
- I'll Wait for You (1941)
.... Sally Travers
- Scattergood Baines (1941)
.... Helen Parker
- Top Sergeant Mulligan (1941)
- Under Fiesta Stars (1941)
- Emergency Landing (1941)
... aka Robot Pilot (1941)
- Girl, a Guy, and a Gob, A
(1941) (uncredited) .... Dance Hall Girl
... aka Navy Steps Out, The (1941) (UK)
- Flash Gordon Conquers the
Universe (1940) .... Dale Arden
... aka Perils from the Planet Mongo (1940) (USA: recut version)
... aka Purple Death from Outer Space (1940) (USA: recut version)
... aka Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe (1955) (USA: TV title)
- Married and in Love (1940)
.... Woman in Bar
- Border Legion, The (1940)
... aka West of the Badlands (1940)
- Flight Angels (1940) ....
- Women, The (1939)
.... Salesgirl at Modiste Salon
- Day the Bookies Wept, The
(1939) .... Patsy
- Love Affair (1939) ....
- Gold Mine In the Sky (1938)
.... Cody Langham
- Under Western Stars (1938)
.... Eleanor Fairbanks
- Man from Music Mountain (1938)
.... Helen Foster
- Meet the Boy Friend (1937)
.... Jane Delaney
- Ready, Willing and Able (1937)
- Westland Case, The (1937)
.... Emily Lou Mason
- Renfrew of the Royal Mounted
(1937) .... Virginia Bronson
- Marry the Girl (1937) ....
- Ever Since Eve (1937) (uncredited)
- Case of the Velvet Claws, The
(1936) .... Esther Linton
- Polo Joe (1936) .... Mary
- Stage Struck (1936) ....
- Three Men on a Horse (1936)
.... Audrey Trowbridge
- Earthworm Tractors (1936)
.... Sally Blair
... aka Natural Born Salesman, A (1936) (UK)
- Golden Arrow, The (1936)
.... Hortense 'Hattie' Burke-Meyers
- Times Square Playboy (1936)
(uncredited) .... Phyllis, a Secretary
... aka Broadway Playboy (1936) (USA)
... aka Gentleman from Big Bend, The (1936) (USA)
- Singing Kid, The (1936) (uncredited)
.... Mary Lou
- Ceiling Zero (1935) ....
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