BEFORE THERE WAS RITA HAYWORTH, THERE WAS RITA CANSINO! This is a look at the films of Margarita Carmen Cansino, before her transformation into Rita Hayworth.
The Family Cansino:
Her father was Eduardo Cansino, born in Castilleja de la Cuesta, province of Seville, Andalusia, Spain. Eduardo was a Spanish dancer and when he came to the United States, he became a member of the "Ziegfeld Follies".
His sister was Spanish dancer, Elsa Cansino, and his dancing partner, she would dance in two forgotten silent movies.
Above, Eduardo and Elsa Cansino known in the "Ziegfield Follies" as "The Cansinos".
Above, Eduardo and Elsa Cansino known in the "Ziegfield Follies" as "The Cansinos".
Her half Irish, half British mother was born in Washington D.C., and was popular dancer and vaudevillian Volga Margaret Hayworth. In 1916 while appearing in the "Ziegfeld Follies", Volga met Eduardo, and in 1917, the two were married, and she became the third members of "The Cansinos".
Above, Volga Hayworth.
Margarita Carmen Cansino was born on October 17, 1918, in Brookyln, New York. She would have two younger brothers, Eduardo, Jr. and Vernon.
Her Grandfather Antonio Cansino's dancing school was located in Madrid and world renown, as was the fact he popularized the "Bolero". Father wanted daughter to follow in the family profession. He started training Margarita at the age of three-and-a-half,
According to biographers Edward Z. Epstein and Joe Morella, 1983's, "Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth", she is quoted as saying about this time:
I didn't like it very much ... but I didn't have the courage to tell my father, so I began taking the lessons. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that was my girlhood.During this period of her life, Margarita would attend dancing lessons taught by her Uncle Angel Casino in an area of "Carnegie Hall". Where he had a dancing school and practice hall.
Opposite of her father's wishes, Margarita's mother had hoped she would take up acting like her Uncle Vinton Hayworth, who sometimes used the name Jack Arnold.
On September 20, 1923, at the "Winter Garden Theatre" in New York City, the production "The Greenwich Village Follies" opened. The follies, which was a review in two-acts, ran into January 1924 for 140 performances. Among the performers were "The Cansinos".
The Primary Organizational Members of "The Cansinos", were Eduardo, Volga, Angel, and Margarita Cansino, and not sister Elsa, but this was based upon their appearance in "The Greenwich Village Follies". As this listing is looking back in time, Margarita was listed as "Rita Cansino".
Above, is opera singer Anna Case, in a still from a 1926, 10-minute, "Vitaphone Short", from Warner Brothers, shot in New York City. The short is entitled, "La Fiesta", and behind Anna Case, "The Cansinos" danced as she sang. Some biographers have stated that 8-years-old, Margarita, was one of the dancers and this was her first on-screen performance.
After viewing her screen test, Margarita Carmen Cansino was signed to a six-month contract, but with one slight change. She was now billed as "Rita Cansino"!
Zanuck informed Sheehan that he was replacing Rita Casino on "Ramona" with Lorretta Young, adding, he was not renewing Rita's contract after the six months expired.
The film's star was Warner Baxter, who had been playing "The Cisco Kid", and was now playing an Argentinian gaucho. His co-star was Ketti Gallian, a French actress born in Nice, France.
The plot has Baxter raising a horse, Gallian and her fiancée show up, and he falls for her. The fiancée steals the horse and enters it in a race in Buenos Aires under a false name. Baxter arrives and gets his horse back, leaving Gallian with her crooked fiancée.
The movie was described as a Musical Western and 11th billed; Rita Cansino portrayed the dancer "Carmen".
Above, Warner Baxter and 16-years-old Rita Cansino below, Rita Cansino.
I could not locate how Rita Cansino's role of "Nayda" fit into the story. Which is about a missing archeologist and a cursed mummy's tomb leading to a hidden treasure.
Above the leading ladies, Rita Cansino, and Pat Paterson as "Carol Anderson".
"Dante's Inferno" was the last feature film made by the "Fox Film Corporation" and starting with the next motion picture, they were all "20th Century Fox" productions.
The above poster was designed to get the potential audience's attention and actually only referred to a 10-minute dream sequence. The motion picture starred Spencer Tracy as "Jim Carter", who takes over a fairground show depicting "Dante's Inferno" and makes more lurid. "Carter" marries the previous owner's daughter, "Betty McWade", portrayed by Claire Trevor.
7th billed, Rita Cansino appeared as a "Dancer" in one sequence of the motion picture with 8th billed, Gary Leon as the other "Dancer".
PIERNAS DE SEDA (SILK LEGS) released on October 4, 1935 in New York City
The uncredited Rita Cansino portrayed a Ballerina.
HI, GAUCHO! released October 11, 1935
PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER released on December 27, 1935
In the feature film, Rita Cansino portrayed an uncredited "Gypsy Girl".
The drama comes from the fact that "Paddy's" mother died before the girl could reach America and there are problems caused by her not having a parent with immigration. Even though she has two aunts working for the same family her mother did. There is love story between "Tamara" and the wealthy "Roy Ford", played by Pinky Tomlin, "Paddy's" mother's employer. In the end "Tamara" marries "Roy" and the two adopt the orphaned "Paddy O'Day" for the happy ending.
Above left to right, Rita Cansino, Ralph Morgan as "District Attorney Carey", and Claire Trevor.
Rita's contract with "20th Century Fox" had ended, but she was able to get a dancing role in an "RKO Picture".
Rita Cansino had just worked with the older brother Ralph and now was working with the younger brother, Frank Morgan, who in three years was "The Wizard of Oz", but now was "Mayor Dom Emillio Peerna". Second billed Morgan was the only actor remembered of the three leading actors of the movie. Charles Collins, between 1932 and 1984, only appeared on-screen 15 times. While, Budapest, Hungary, born ballerina, Steffi Duna, had 27 roles between 1932 and 1940 and ended who movie career.
Uncredited Rita Cansino was a "Specialty Dancer", but again, I couldn't locate her photo.
The screenplay was party based upon author Rex Stout's novel of the same name and his "League of Frightened Men". The picture starred Edward Arnold as "Nero Wolfe", and Lionel Stander portrayed "Wolfe's" trusted employee and friend, "Archie Goodwin".
Rita's one scene role was to start the detective on a case that would lead to the murder of a "Professor Edward Barlow", played by Boyd Irwin. "Maria" comes to "Nero Wolfe" to pay him to find her missing brother, "Carlo Maringola", played by the non-credited Juan Torena. "Carlo" will be found dead and the apparent murderer, but who is really behind all this?
"King" Cohn wasn't completely sold on Rita Casino and lent her out to a small independent studio. The young actress found herself in two "B" Westerns from "Poverty Row Studio", "Crescent Pictures Corporation". They had an office on Glower Street, in Hollywood, but no physical sound stages and rented stage space when needed.
REBELLION released on October 10, 1936
The motion picture starred an interesting, if only in name, "B" Western actor. Tom Keene portrayed "Captain John Carroll". He was born, George Duryea, which he used from 1923 to 1930, then he became Tom Keene, from 1930 to 1944, next, from 1944 through his final guest appearance on televisions "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", George Duryea was Richard Powers. The name he used for director Ed Wood, Jr's, 1957, "Plan 9 from Outer Space".
Duncan Renaldo portrayed "Ricardo Castillo". Renaldo is remembered by fans of early 1950's television portraying "The Cisco Kid", from 1950 through 1956. A piece of trivia is that Renaldo who played a majority of Hispanic roles was born in Romania. Duncan Reynaldo is the actor without a hat seen below.
OLD LOUISIANA released March 1, 1937
HIT THE SADDLE released March 3, 1937
My article, "An Overview of 'THE THREE MESQUITEERS': A Classic 'B' Western Series". may be read at:
Robert Livingston as "Stony Brooke".
Max Terhune as "Lullaby Joslin"
TROUBLE IN TEXAS released on March 6, 1937
Tex Ritter portrayed "Tex Masters". Ritter was, of course, a singing cowboy and this picture included him singing four songs. In 1952, his voice would be heard behind the opening credit sequence singing "The Ballad of High Noon" in the Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly picture, "High Noon".
Rita Cansino had third billing behind Tex Ritter and his horse "White Flash". She portrayed undercover policewoman "Carmen Serano".