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Verdugo Views: Buzz about the ‘Queen of the Bs’

Actress Gloria Talbott, who gained fame as “Queen of the Bs,” for her roles in sci-fi and horror films, was born into an illustrious Glendale family.

Thanks to reader John Hammell Jr., who emailed me with a tip that Talbott’s great-grandfather was one of our city founders, I went searching in Carroll Parcher’s “Glendale Area History,” and found several references to Benjamin F. Patterson, an Ohio native who brought his family here in 1882. (He was one of many who came west during a population boom).

He first bought 52 acres and then began adding more parcels, all in what was to become the city of Glendale.

There were about a dozen families living here then and each fall they gathered to observe Thanksgiving. Parcher recounts one such gathering at the home of Everett Chase.

“The dinner was served outdoors, on long tables under the pepper trees,” Parcher wrote.

Patterson was active in the Verdugo Water Co., supported the building of the Glendale Hotel and the development of a narrow gauge railroad to Los Angeles and helped establish the Bank of Glendale in 1905.

He was one of six men who recorded the plat for the town of Glendale in 1887. When the city was established on Feb. 7, 1906, Patterson’s son, Orrin E., was elected as marshal, the first to serve in that post.

The next year, the pioneering families gathered for a picnic, calling themselves the “Old Settlers Assn.,” the beginning of an annual tradition that lasted until recent years.

“Get-togethers among the early settlers were the rule rather than the exception,” Parcher noted. “People were far from former homes and together were building an entirely new community. They liked to meet with each other and talk about how far they had come.”

The Pattersons were members of the local Presbyterian Church, founded by 12 charter members two years after they arrived. A church was built in Tropico, but with so many people coming to town, they soon moved the building to two lots at Fourth (now Broadway) and C (now Cedar Street). Patterson donated one of the lots.

Orrin Patterson married and had a daughter, Dorothy. She married Charley Talbott, who operated a dry cleaning establishment. Their daughter Gloria was born in 1931.

Gloria Talbott attended Glendale High, sang in an a cappella group and with Girls’ Glee, was a song leader and in the honor society; plus, she appeared in the school plays.

According to IMDb, she also landed small parts in films such as “Maytime” in 1937, “Sweet and Lowdown” in 1943 and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” in 1945. After finishing school, she started her own dramatic group.

She wore the crown of “Miss Glendale” and married an aspiring young actor named Parrish before she turned 18 years old, according to a website, glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. After giving birth to a son and then divorcing, she returned to film, appearing in three movies in 1955, including a Humphrey Bogart comedy “We’re No Angels.”

Talbott later became known as a “Scream Queen,” through a number of horror films including “The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” in 1957 and “I Married a Monster from Outer Space” in 1958, according to Wikipedia, which also lists multiple television credits including roles in “The Adventures of Superman,” “Gunsmoke,” “Zorro,” “Perry Mason” and “Death Valley Days.”

She married Patrick Mullally, a dentist, in Los Angeles in 1970. They were married for 30 years.

Talbott, who died in 2000, is interred in the mausoleum at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Her plaque reads “Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmama, Gloria Talbott Mullally.”

To the Readers:

A B-movie is a low-budget commercial movie that is not an art house film, according to Wikipedia. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature.

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KATHERINE YAMADA can be reached at katherineyamada@gmail.com. or by mail at Verdugo Views, c/o News-Press, 202 W. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, address and phone number.


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