The Great Cora Sue Collins Mystery

Cora Sue Collins and Scrappy

January 2005
Maybe it’s inaccurate to call this a mystery. Maybe it’s just the story of a little girl (or two) who acted in movies and promoted one of them by posing with Scrappy toys. Read on, and judge for yourself. But first, examine the pictorial evidence:

Cora Sue and Scrappy

Cora Sue and Scrappy

Cora Sue and Scrappy

Cora Sue and Scrappy

What you’ve just seen are four promotional stills released in conjunction with the Columbia feature film Devil’s Squadron (1936). They show child actress Cora Sue Collins, who played Mary in the film, enjoying four Scrappy products: a box of crayons, a target game, a sandpail, and an extra-large paint set. (None of these items, by the way, are currently part of the Scrappyland archives–though with luck they will be someday.)

We haven’t seen this film, which also starred Richard Dix, Lloyd Nolan, and Karen Morley. Sounds like a war flick to us. We’d like to think it included a live-action/animation sequence featuring Scrappy, but we’re inclined to think that’s unlikely–and that these four stills are simply an example of cross-promotion between the studio’s features and short subjects. In any event, they stand as yet more evidence that Columbia put a lot of effort into marketing Scrappy.

And they show the many moods of Cora Sue: feigning interest in coloring, genial and self-confident, a little smug, and feigning interest in coloring again. Okay, that’s three moods.

Scrappy faded from view the moment he made his last cartoon, The Little Theatre, in 1941. Cora Sue, meanwhile, sallied on in Hollywood for a few more years before retiring at the age of eighteen. Whether she ever had another thing to do with Scrappy, we’re not sure.

We’re also not sure what she’s been up to since then, but she’s still with us and apparently still doing well. In fact, in April, 2004, she was one of several stars who attended the ceremony at which Ted Turner was given a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Here she is–still recognizably Cora Sue Collins-like as she addresses the crowd, though presumably not about her memories of Scrappy (photo from DailyCeleb.com):

Cora Sue

To confuse matters, Cora Sue wasn’t the only child star who flacked for Scrappy. Here’s Edith Fellows in a 1937 photo–courtesy of Jerry Beck–with another Scrappy item we don’t own:

Edith Fellows

All of this is interesting and enlightening, and it inevitably leaves us asking the two most obvious questions. Which are, of course: “So when is Scrappy getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?” and “Why didnt Ted Turner ever put Scrappy on the Cartoon Network?”

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