Blonde Betty Hutton Sings Duet With Red-Haired Self
By Frederick C. Othman | Associated Press
May 29, 1944

This piece is going to be complicated; it involves two Betty Huttons and how can anybody expect you to understand what’s going on, when the writer doesn’t exactly understand himself?

There’s this Miss Hutton (if you’re still with us) playing two WAVES, one red-haired, the other blonde. The boys are making with the double talk about split screens and synchronous recordings.

“And four times a day they wash my hair to make me one gal or the other,” said Miss Hutton, who was at the moment under the hands of the demon hair dresser, Nellie Manley, being turned into a blonde, which she was in the first place.

“Every morning,” continued the Hutton, “I come to work and say: ‘Who am I?’ Sometimes they get mixed up and I wind up being the wrong one.”

Miss Hutton plays the two top fans of Frankie-Swoonie Sinatra. Bing Crosby plays Sinatra and he joins the navy to get away from his admirers. He hardly puts on his sailor suit before he discovers the two Miss Huttons have joined the navy before him. Things go on from there, with Sonny Tufts adding to the confusion, to make a movie that will be entitled “Here Come the Waves.”

Miss Hutton asked director Mark Sandrich to explain the fancy stuff and then she ruined the idea by calling for the boys to turn on the playback machine. They turned it on. The music started. “And that’s me singing a duet with myself,” she said. “That high voice you hear, that’s the blonde me, singing the song. That low voice, that’s also me, singing the harmony. I sing the harmony to myself without earphones. It threw me, trying to sing while I listened to myself sing something else.”

If you’re still with us (and we wouldn’t blame you for turning the page and reading something with some sense to it about what’s going on in Italy) we can report that as a WAVE, Miss Hutton is something. If all WAVES looked as she looks, the distaff side of the navy would be a beauty chorus. She has, however, some advice to submit, respectfully, to the secretary of the navy.

“These WAVE hats,” she said, “They’re not good. The navy has regulations about how far a girl’s hair must be from the back of her coat collar. Things like that. And all right, I suppose. But the navy says that when a girl puts on her hat, no hair can show in front. Whoever heard of a thing like that? Imagine a girl wearing a hat without any curls coming out from under. A rule like that makes it very difficult for a girl to look like herself with a hat on.” Get the idea, Mr. Secretary Forerestal? Change the hat rule and automatically the lady sailors become happy. As easy as that.

And you better not read any more of this, friends, because Sandrich has resumed the manufacture of this picture and there’s Miss Hutton, playing herself twice, taking bows in a night club. Everything is normal, except Miss Hutton. One of her is a lively blonde; the other is a sedate redhead.

This takes a lot of doing with the hair and the tape measures. If one Miss Hutton is a squillionth of an inch off her marks when she gets out of her chair, the other Miss Hutton is a blur. And, of course, vice versa. That’s because of the split screen (says Othman, who has only the vaguest idea of what he’s talking about).