Ruby Blaine: From Rodeos to Roach

The screen career of Ruby Blaine (1903-1976) was minimal, to put it baldly: just 16 silent films over a four year period. Our main point of interest is that her last four were Hal Roach comedies.

Blaine was raised in Kansas and Colorado. From age sixteen she began competing in rodeos and beauty pageants. She is said to have danced professionally in New York in 1923.

And then in 1925 her brief screen career began. Her first film was The Midnight Girl (1925) in which she supported LIla Lee and Bela Lugosi. In her earlier films, she was generally a supporting player, usually somewhere around sixth or lower in the billing. So few are her films we can list them all: Headlines (1925) with Alice Joyce; Children of the Whirlwind (1925) with Lionel Barrymore and Margueritte De La Motte; Bluebeard’s Seven Wives (1925) with Ben Lyon; The Quarterback (1926) with Richard Dix and Esther Ralston; D.W. Griffith’s The Sorrows of Satan (1926) with Adolphe Menjou, Ricardo Cortez, and Carol Dempster.

At this point, it was remembered that Blaine possessed western skills, and hence she co-starred in westerns throughout 1927: The Terror of Bar X with Bob Custer: and three with Kermit Maynard: Ridin’ Luck, Gun Hand Garrison, and Wild Born. She also had a supporting role in the melodrama Bitter Apples with Monte Blue and Myrna Loy.

Then the stint at Roach in 1928. The comedies she made for him were Our Gang’s School Begins, in which she played the teacher; Laurel and Hardy’s Two Tars, in which she plays one of the two girls (the other is Thelma Hill) out on a date with the team; and the Charley Chase comedies Is Everybody Happy? and The Booster.

That’s all she wrote, for films, anyway. In 1928 she married a millionaire named Irving Weinberg, although the union only lasted until 1930. (Weinberg went on to marry Betty Compson in 1933). Previously Blaine had been engaged to her agent Frank Orsatti, uncle of The Poseidon Adventure’s Ernie Orsatti, whom we wrote about here. According to IMDB (whence came many of our facts), Blaine worked as model and hostess in night clubs in New York after her divorce.

For more on entertainment history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic and silent comedy read  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.