Torchy Blane, “The Lady Bloodhound With A Nose For News”…not to be confused with Torchy Todd, Bill Ward’s Good Girl Art comic series. Warner Brothers’ Torchy Blane was based on detective novelist Frederick Nebel’s MacBride & Kennedystories, changing the a-bit-too-saucy Kennedy character to a woman named Teresa ‘Torchy’ Blane – strong-willed, hard-nosed and nosy, wisecracking but a little less sizzling, in keeping with the constraints of the Hays Code.
The series started in 1937 with Smart Blonde, with Glenda Farrell (director Frank MacDonald’s only choice for the Torchy role) paired with Barton MaClane playing partner Steve McBride. The two made 7 of the 9 Torchy films, all of which were produced between 1937 and 1939. Glenda Farrell had already played hard-nosed reporters in a couple of films, and was determined to portray the character based on real women reporters she’d met, instead of the more broadly comic approach the studio intended. Pretty pleased to see TCM recently running a string of Glenda Farrell’s films, and getting the chance to enjoy some of these Torchy flicks. The films are available on a DVD boxed set…Hmmm, do I still have time to drop hints with friends and family for Xmas gifts?