The Very Thought of You

Eleanor Parker and Andrea King in "The Very Thought of You," Warner Bros., 1944.

Eleanor Parker and Andrea King in “The Very Thought of You,” Warner Bros., 1944.

When production began on “The Very Thought of You” (Warner Bros., 1944), Georgette McKee was more than a little nervous. It was her first featured role under her new studio contract, and it would also mark the first time her name would appear on screen. But just exactly what that name would be was troublesome for the star-to-be. Jack Warner had hastily christened her Georgia King. This was far less than thrilling. In fact, she thought it sounded more like a burlesque southern stripper than a serious actress. Filming began, and “Georgia” was able to convince her director Delmer Daves to speak to Mr. Warner about reconsidering. To everyone’s surprise, it worked. And Georgia was renamed “Andrea” before the credits had been completed. Thus, Andrea King made her screen debut. And what a debut! Louella Parsons was quick to point out in her syndicated newspaper column upon the release of the film that Andrea had “scored a home run” with her stunning performance, a feat that sent Warners studio executives scrambling to make the most of their new discovery.

“The Very Thought of You” is a wartime drama told from the point of view of the Wheelers, a dysfunctional family on the home front, torn apart by the emotional ravages of World War II. Dennis Morgan and Dane Clark play soldiers on leave in Pasadena, California. Dennis’s character, Sgt. David Stewart, is in love with Janet Wheeler (played by Eleanor Parker), and it’s their love story that is at the core of the film.

But the two talented leading players are surrounded by an incredible supporting cast. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler are portrayed by established character actors Henry Travers and Beulah Bondi — a full two years before they appeared together again in the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” as Clarence the Angel and Ma Bailey, respectively. Faye Emerson is Cora, Dane Clark’s love interest, and the Wheeler family is rounded out by John Alvin as Cal, Georgia Lee Settle as Ellie, and our own Andrea King as tempestuous Molly Wheeler.

Left to right: Georgia Lee Settle, Beulah Bondi, Eleanor Parker, Dennis Morgan, Marianne O'Brien, John Alvin, Henry Travers, and Andrea King in "The Very Thought of You." Warner Bros., 1944.

Left to right: Georgia Lee Settle, Beulah Bondi, Eleanor Parker, Dennis Morgan, Marianne O’Brien, John Alvin, Henry Travers, and Andrea King in “The Very Thought of You.” Warner Bros., 1944.

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