Jason, Sybil. Signed by Warner Bros. in 1935 as an answer to the success of the Shirley Temple films at 20th Century Fox. Jason actually got her career going doing impersonations of Kay’s then-boy-toy Maurice Chevalier. Michael Curtiz directed her film debut in Little Big Shot (1935), and after she was cast in the more ambitious I Found Stella Parish, which starred Kay. Unfortunately, her career never picked up and by the time she was cast opposite Kay in 1938’s Comet Over Broadway, she had no future projects lined up. She later said, “I hadn’t been assigned to do a film for three months, and that wasn’t a good sign. Kay Francis helped me. She said she wouldn’t do Comet Over Broadway unless I played her daughter. She was kind” (BF).
Jason ended her career with two small roles in Shirley Temple films, 1939’s Little Princess and 1940’s Blue Bird (the latter which was the box office bomb that ended Temple’s own movie stardom). The two women remained life-long friends, and Jason continued to speak highly of Kay until her own death.
Jason also wrote a message for readers of Scott O’Brien’s KF bio, I Can’t Wait to Be Forgotten.
Jerome, Stuart. Employee at Warner Bros. during Kay’s contract dispute with the studio in 1938. He recalled her problems with management vividly in his gossipy autobiography, Those Crazy, Wonderful Years.
Jewel Robbery. Warner Bros., 1932. Directed by William Dieterle. William Powell and Kay star in this film which is as close to Lubitsch as any other studio ever got without using Ernst Lubitsch. Apparently, Darryl F. Zanuck had quite some problems with the direction of the film, feeling it too sophisticated. In a studio memo to Lucien Hubbard on March 26, 1932, he wrote, “Keep your eye very close on the rushes of Dieterle…as he has a habit of shooting his most important scenes with the camera moving or sweeping around or going back and forth, and you miss the important point of it all.” (WP)
In his words to Dieterle, he contrasted his own words, “the rushed continue to be very excellent and I like the manner in which you are continuing to put movement and action in all of the scenes… Keep this up: this is very fine.” (WP)
Johnson, Kay. Appeared opposite Kay Francis in 1930’s Passion Flower. The two had a brief fling the year before and Johnson told Kay she’s always love her (PL). Johnson later married director John Cromwell, having his children (one is actor James Cromwell).
[My personal note: Johnson, an excellent actress, had good roles in 1930’s Madame Satan (directed by Cecil B. DeMille during his stint at MGM) and 1932’s Thirtween Women. The latter is a personal favorite of mine in which Irene Dunne & Myrna Loy also star.]