Hal Roach & The Ping Girl

Carole Landis 1940

In the Fall of 1939 director Hal Roach gave twenty year old Carole the lead role in his science fiction film One Million B.C. Although the movie got mixed reviews the publicity Carole received made her a star. Hal Roach was so impressed with her performance that he signed her to a seven year contract. After finishing One Million B.C. she was cast opposite John Hubbard in the comedy Turnabout. She and John were teamed up again in Road Show. Then she starred in Topper Returns, a sequel to the hit movie Topper. During the Spring of 1940 she was loaned to Paramount to make the drama Mystery Sea Raider. She was now earning $750 a week! While working at the Roach studio she lost nearly twenty pounds and dyed her hair platinum blonde. She also had cosmetic surgery on her nose. When she wasn't on a movie set Carole spent her time dancing at nightclubs and taking night classes.

Carole Landis 1940Carole Landis

Carole Landis

She had brief relationships with assistant director Hal Roach Jr. and agent Pat DiCicco. After a whirlwind romance she married yacht broker Willis Hunt on July 4, 1940. They divorced just four months later. Frank Seltzer, Hal Roach's head of publicity, decided that Carole needed a catchy nickname to promote herself. He chose "The Ping Girl: Because She Makes You Purr". The idea came from an automobile ad slogan that said "change ping to purr". Carole hated this nickname probably because the word "ping" was also slang for a male erection. When Hal Roach threw a party at Ciro's to introduce her as "The Ping Girl" she refused to attend. She said  "I was never consulted  about the scheme nor do I approve the appellation they would like to inflict upon me. For these reasons I will not be present at my own reception to ping, purr, or even coo."

Carole Landis PingCarole Landis

Carole Landis

 Carole was so upset that she sent letters to all the newspaper editors to complain. She wrote:

 "This is the lament of a fugitive from a leg-art career. I want a fair chance to prove myself something more than a curvaceous cutie. I want to get out of bathing suits and into something more substantial. Unfortunately the publicity department of my studio does not agree. They have conceive the brilliant idea of selling me to the public as "The Ping Girl" - because she makes you purr. This flash of genius is to be illustrated with a series of pictures out of their files suggestive of anything but acting talent. I haven't any legal redress. There isn't I am advised any way to stop the publicity department. Therefore I am asking you to help me nip the scheme in the right place - in the pages of your newspaper."

She also asked that the newspapers not publish any more of her bathing suit pin-ups. Her protest got her a lot of attention and some critics thought it was all just a publicity stunt. In December of 1940 she left Hal Roach's studio and signed a new contract with 20th Century Fox.

Carole LandisCarole Landis

Carole Landis



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Carole Landis

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