Paula Stone: Left No Stone Unturned

Paula Stone (1912-1997) was the daughter of Broadway and vaudeville legend Fred Stone and sister of Dorothy Stone, but she made her own “ripples” as well.

Naturally, she started out in her dad’s shows. As a teenager she made her debut in the Chicago production of Stepping Stones (1923) and she also performed in Criss-Cross in New York (1926). In Ripples (1930) she enjoyed a proper featured part alongside her talented family. Her next shows were Smiling Faces (1931) and A Church Mouse (1933).

From here she embarked on a brief movie career, mostly in westerns, musicals, and mysteries. Over four years Stone appeared in Hop-a-Long Cassidy (1935), Two Against the World (1936), Treachery Rides the Range (1936), The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936), Trailin’ West (1936), Red Lights Ahead (1936), Swing It Professor (1937), Atlantic Flight (1937), The Girl Said No (1937), Skyline Revue (1938), Convicts at Large (1938), Idiots Delight (1939) and Laugh it Off (1939).

In 1939 she married big band leader Duke Daly, who was killed in action during a bombing raid over Germany four years later. Paula entertained troops as a singer along with her father during the World War II years. After the war, she married Michael Sloane and the pair of them produced Broadway musicals and plays together, some of them quite well known. The shows Stone co-produced were The Red Mill (1945-47), Sweethearts (1947), Top Banana (1951-52) with Phil Silvers, Carnival in Flanders (1953, written by Preston Sturges), and Rumple (1957).

At the same time, she’d become a Broadcast personality. From 1945 through 1949, she hosted a a radio talk show on the Mutual network called Leave it to the Girls, a kind of prototypical version of The View, which featured female panelists like Dorothy Kilgallen, Constance Bennett, Hedda Hopper, and Maggi McNellis. When the show moved to NBC in 1949, McNellis took over as host.

In 1954 Stone began working with Broadway Angels, the organization for female theatre investors, and hosting their local New York tv program Angel Auditions. 

To find out more about the history of show business, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.