Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beverly Crane - A "Talking Titles" Twin

Beverly Crane, along with twin sister Bettymae Crane, were best known for their introductory talking titles presentation of Hal Roach comedies shorts, including those of Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang.

The Crane Sisters had been "lost" for years, and were on the "whatever happened to?" list of people who worked in Roach movies. In 1994, at the Sons of the Desert Convention in Tarrytown, NY, I met Brad, who had his own Sons "Tent" in Dayton, Ohio, "A-Haunting We Will Go". Brad was very interested in the research I'd been doing, finding "lost players". He mentioned The Crane Sisters to me, and I'd never even given them a thought.

Shortly after the Convention, I went to the NY Public Library on one of my periodic research trips, accompanied by my good friend Peter. I had the usual list of people to look up, and the Cranes were on it. The library had a clippings folder for them, and while there was not much in it, one important news item was there - a marriage announcement (I don't remember the year, but I believe it was the 1940s) of Beverly Crane, to an Earl C. Trees of Ohio. To a "people locater" as myself, news like this can be very pivotal in finding the subject. Peter was doing his own research, but he shared my excitement about the possibility I’d be able to locate Beverly now that I had some useful info.

When I returned home, I made use of a CD-Rom set I had, a national phone directory. I placed the disc containing listings for Ohio into the computer's drive, and entered the name "Trees". To my delight, the name "E.C. Trees" popped up. I called, and a woman's voice answered. Remembering that the news item was many years old, and that things can change a lot in those years, I cautiously told her I was trying to find an actress named Beverly Crane. She replied, "Well that's me, but I was a dancer, not an actress." Bingo! I'd found her! After a brief chat, during which she told me Bettymae had died a few years earlier, I called Brad and passed along the information. He was pleasantly surprised to know that Beverly lived within an hour's drive, and eventually met her and her husband, and had them as guests at some of his Tent meetings. You can read about one of his visits with Beverly at her home here.

I never did meet Beverly, but Brad kindly got four photos signed for me: a close-up and long shot with Bettymae on the "talking titles" set; a photo of the twins in a dance pose; and on stage with comics Olsen and Johnson.

1 comment:

catsafterme said...

I was my pleasure to get the signed photos for you. Getting to know Beverly and her husband was a great thrill and I have you to thank for finding her.