By: Robert Baral
I was her next door neighbor and I know—she’s just reverting to type!
For Jane Alice Peters (Fort Wayne, her birthplace, still calls her by that rippling, simply chosen name) was always a tomboy. Of the type who would pass up a French doll for a cheap football purchased downtown at the sporting goods store. She didn’t care a whoop for paper cutouts, making Valentines or the usual pastimes of juveniles living in the West End neighborhood. She liked to tear out of her house (and she really tore down the steps) away from the maid’s watching eye and proceed to the center parkway across the street, and root for her brother’s winning baseball team.
And today…she’s being herself again for the first time in years. No starched front for her. Blast the command of Hollywood tradition, that a top-bracket star be holier than thou. Especially when out hot-spotting over the weekend. She’ll laugh at the top of her voice, if she wants to!
Before going to California years ago, Carole lived with her family on Rockhill Street. (A plaque now marks this residence…thanks to Russell Birdwell last year.) Her two brothers, Frederic and Stuart, dominated the household more or less, because they were older. Girls were scarce around Rockhill Street, so it was natural for the golden-haired to be enlisted for a cop and robber spree. She was happier running than walking!
Twice a month, “The Adventures of Kathlyn” were shown at the old Colonial Theater (corner Calhoun and Washington Boulevard). This was on Friday nights, and the next morning would have Carole (or rather Jane Alice, at this period) playing anything from Kathlyn Williams’ duenna to King Umballa’s No. 1 slavey. Kindergarten classes in between at the Washington School (just six blocks away)…with hardly a thought of California.
The trip, first planned as just a regular vacation jaunt, turned into an extended stay. Two years, three, then…(during the War) a few public appearances passing out programs at Red Cross social functions midst Beverly Hills’ palm trees.
First thoughts of a new name cropped up then in this new, exciting atmosphere. A numerologist did the final trick and Jane Alice Peters passed out of the picture.
The next years, during the grooming grind, Carole went through the standard process of building up that new moniker. Drilling the final “e” into her public and doing many strange stunts to attract attention as a high-powered sex exponent. Suddenly, the screwball era fell into her lap…and Carole just as suddenly found this release, as the ripe moment actually to be herself. And after all these years, too.
She’ll trade you those slacks for her new Banton concoction. Really, she’s always been a corking good sport!