Virginia Karns: Memorable as Mother Goose

I am pleased to get you a little more info on Virginia Karns (1907-1990) than is generally available in any single place on the internet, for what that’s worth to ya. Those who know Karns at all undoubtedly know her as Mother Goose in March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) with Laurel and Hardy, in which she looked like this:

This was Karns’ last movie in what turned out to be an extremely short film career. She was with Hal Roach for less than a year, also appearing in supporting roles in Four Parts with Charley Chase, Soup and Fish with Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly and Music in Your Hair with Billy Gilbert, all in 1934.

Prior to her Roach stint she was in a vaudeville duo with a guy named Eddie Stanley called Stanley and Ginger. Their act was preserved on a Vitaphone short in 1929. Whether this is the same Eddie Stanley who sang on Eddie Cantor’s radio show Texaco Town, and/or the same one who wrote the lyrics to the Rosemary Clooney tune “Botch-a-Me” remains to be confirmed.

In 1935, Karns married a politico named R. William Patterson and returned to her hometown of Dayton, where Patterson became Mayor and Karns had a local TV show. In her very last years she got involved with Sons of the Desert Laurel and Hardy fan conventions. A fan’s account of his interactions with her is here.

To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy film, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.