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Oct 14, 2018

We've got a bona fide Foy Unit gem for you this week on the podcast - courtesy of screenwriter Crane Wilbur, director William C. McGann, and a personality-studded cast which includes studio up-and-comer Jane Bryan, show fave Sheila Bromley, Sig Ruman in The Wedding Night  demon patriarch-mode, lovable contract players Elisabeth Risdon, Dorothy Peterson, and Henry O'Neil - plus wildcards Susan Hayward & Esther Dale. Girls on Probation is an archetypal late-30s Warner Brothers programmer, a tale of sinners and saints in the hands of an angry class system - with nothing but the emerging New Deal agencies to keep our protagonist out of the flames.  
It's not all progressivism and light, though - not by a long shot. For one thing, there's something awfully wrong with the film's condemnatory attitude towards Hilda Engstrom's matriarchal family - an observation which affords the panel an opportunity to heap opprobrium upon Philip Wylie and his mid-20th century Jordan Peterson-style stunts. Other topics include: Dickie Jones/Dickie Moore, what might have been for Jane Bryan, and our collective sense of the rapidly crystallizing Reagan persona: the brashly virtuous Midwesterner whose path to success-without-regrets is greased by Ideology. 

Also: Gareth discusses Michael Rogin's Ronald Reagan,' the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology (1987) 

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"Driving Reagan theme' by Gareth Hedges