Charlotte Henry: From Alice to Ecila

If Charlotte Henry (1914-1980) seemed to have appeared from out of nowhere, she nearly did. A child model from Brooklyn, at age 14 she was cast in a Broadway production called Courage in 1928, and the film version in 1930. A musical called Harmony at Home beat Courage to the box office by a few months; in addition to Henry, it featured Marguerite Churchill, Dixie Lee, Buster Collier, Charles Eaton (brother of Doris and Mary) and Dot Farley.

Another couple of dozen pictures followed through 1937, including the title role in Paramount’s strange 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland, and the part of Bo Peep in Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934). By now she was 20 and aging out of kiddie parts but she made a go of it for awhile, mostly in B movies fodder like Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) and the Frank Buck serial Jungle Menace (1937). The last film of her original run was Young Dynamite (1937).

For the next four years she worked strictly as a model and then was induced to return to films by getting the female lead in the East Side Kids movie Bowery Blitzkrieg (1941). Unfortunately this didn’t lead to more roles. After playing bit parts in a few more movies, she quit in 1942. In later years, she ran an employment agency, and was known for having the California state vanity license plate “ECILA”, which of course is “ALICE” — through the looking glass.