Kay Francis resisted the television at first, noting in her diary why she found it a bad medium (noting how horribly photographed her fellow contemporaries appeared on the small screen). But she didn’t resist for long. With her stage career dwindling down, and film offers practically non-existent, Kay Francis decided to venture into the television world but never found much interest in it. Her work included mostly guest appearances. (Unlike her friend Ruth Chatterton who had a major 1953 production of Hamlet, which cost a reportedly $180,000, then a record-high for a TV project.)
Unfortunately, none of Kay Francis’ early television appearances have survived.
Following this is a list of Kay Francis movies scheduled for air on Turner Classic Movies.
May 14, 1950. This is Show Business.
A variety show which was shown on Sundays on CBS, Kay appeared with Herb Shriner and Patice Munsel.
November 7, 1950. The Prudential Family Playhouse.
This show—formatted in a similar way to Robert Montgomery Presents—had actors performing small plays. In this episode, which aired on Tuesday on CBS, had the cast performing Call It a Day. Kay Francis is the only notable actor in the credits.
January 8, 1951. Hollywood Screen Test.
A talent show for Hollywood hopefuls, this episode aired on Monday on ABC. Kay and an unknown actor appeared in a skit titled “The Long Way Round.”
May 24, 1951. Betty Crocker Show.
Kay more than likely appeared as herself, since this was a show which basically featured cooking and cleaning tips for wannabe Stepford wives (it’s a joke).
June 4, 1951. Lux Video Theatre.
This series was a Television spin-off of the legendary Lux Radio Theatre (which featured Kay on several occasions). Kay’s skit was titled Consider the Lilies, and featured her then-lover Joel Ashley.
October 20, 1951. Beat the Clock.
A game show in which Kay’s appearance is unknown. (She probably just appeared as a special guest, nothing more.)
October 31, 1951. The Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show.
This series was co-hosted by Kay’s Feminine Touch (1941) costar, Don Ameche.
November 11, 1951. Celebrity Time.
Legendary stage actor Conrad Nagel hosted this program, a quiz/talk show.
April 2, 1952. The Stork Club.
Hosted by Sherman Billingsley, Kay appeared as an interviewed guest.
May 10, 1952. The Ken Murray Show.
A variety show which featured Kay in a skit with Lola Albright.
September 1, 1953. Anyone Can Win.
Hosted by Al Capp, this game show featured a celebrity hiding behind a mask, and panelists guessed who was underneath. Kay probably appeared as a masked guest.
December 24, 1954. Strike it Rich.
A CBS morning show. Kay tripped over a dolly track and injured herself. She filed a lawsuit against the studio, which was headlined in 1957 in Variety (June 14, 1957) and Billboard (June 17, 1957). [Thanks to Scott O’Brien for the info.]
Kay Francis on TCM:
A ** next to a title indicates a film of Kay’s which I think you should particularly try to see or record for later viewing.
**ONE WAY PASSAGE (1932) DECEMBER 12, 6:00 AM (ET)
THE COCOANUTS (1929) DECEMBER 31, 8:15 AM (ET)
Birthday Tribute to Kay on TCM!
January 13, 2016:
6:00 AM **A Notorious Affair (1930)
7:15 AM **Guilty Hands (1931)
8:30 AM **Jewel Robbery (1932)
9:45 AM **Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)
11:00 AM I Loved A Woman (1933)
12:45 PM **Mandalay (1934)
2:00 PM **Confession (1937)
3:30 PM **Stolen Holiday (1937)
5:00 PM **Another Dawn (1937)
6:15 PM Always In My Heart (1942)