By "Kay" we are of course referring to the tall and terrific Kay Francis, who was born Jan. 13, 1905 in Oklahoma City (in the territory of Oklahoma; it didn't become a state until 1907). Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is honoring her today by showing nine films.
While Francis has been one of the major beneficiaries of the pre-Code revival, TCM today is focusing on her later work. Most of these films aren't well known ("In Name Only" isn't included), so chances are you haven't come across these movies unless you saw TCM's celebration of Francis as its star of the month for September 2008, a month before her friend Carole Lombard got similar treatment for the centennial of her birth). In fact, all nine of these films were shown that month. Here's what I wrote about them at the time, with today's schedule (all times Eastern)
* 7 a.m. -- "The Goose And The Gander" (1935) Kay's a divorcee who can't stop meddling in her ex-husband's affairs. With George Brent.
* 8:15 a.m. -- "Another Dawn" (1937). Kay's an officer's wife at a British outpost in Africa who falls for another man. With Errol Flynn. The title is sort of an industry in-joke, as for several years "Another Dawn" was used on movie theater marquees in films as sort of a generic title.
* 9:30 a.m. -- "Comet Over Broadway" (1938). Another "B" film for Francis, a backstage murder yarn directed by Busby Berkeley (no big dance sequences here, though). By the way, this movie inspired a blog called "Comet Over Hollywood" (http://pickensj.blogspot.com/); the blog had previously been called "Living On Velvet," the title of another Francis film. Moreover, there's the fine pre-Code blog "Trouble In Paradise" (http://precodecinema.blogspot.com/).
* 10:45 a.m. -- "My Bill" (1938). Kay plays an impoverished widow with four children, one of whom is Bonita Granville.
* noon -- "Secrets Of An Actress" (1938). A leading lady falls for a married architect who's invested in her play. With George Brent and Ian Hunter; directed by William Keighley.
* 1:15 p.m. -- "Women Are Like That" (1938). A couple reunite years after breaking up. One of the "B" pictures Warners relegated Francis to in the late 1930s. With Pat O'Brien and Ralph Forbes.
* 2:45 p.m. -- "It's A Date" (1940). Kay plays a singer vying for a stage part -- and a man -- against her daughter, played by Deanna Durbin. With Walter Pidgeon.
* 4:30 p.m. -- "The Feminine Touch" (1941). A good second lead role for Francis in this romantic comedy co-starring Rosalind Russell and Don Ameche and directed by Woody Van Dyke.
* 6:15 p.m. -- "Always In My Heart" (1942). A convict returns home to find his family has forgotten him. With Walter Huston and Gloria Warren.
Francis-related Web sites and blogs are popping up all over the place. A few include "Kay Francis' Life And Career" (http://www.kayfrancisfilms.com/), "The Kay Francis Web Site" (http://www.kayfrancis.com/), "The Kay Francis Fan Page" (http://www.kayfrancis.net/), and "I Can't Wait To Be Forgotten" (http://www.kayfrancisbiography.com/), the title of one of several books about this fascinating woman. Sorry, Kay hasn't been forgotten...but I bet she'd secretly be pleased.
We'll leave you with this rarity -- Kay Francis, in color, a portrait taken in 1936: