Clothing and Costumes Worn by Child Actors: J

Figure 1.--This image shows Jacki Jenkins photographed about 1944. Notice the stripped "T"-shirt with suspender pants. Not very stylishm but certainly the way many American boys dressed in the 1940s.

Information about child actors also provodes a great deal of fashion information. Both clothes these children wore as well as the costumes they wore in their films and shows provide much valuable information. These childrens often dressed very fashionably so information about them provides insights into contemprary fashions. The costumes they wore in films also provides useful information--although it must be treated more cautiously. HBC is preparing an alphabetical listing of child actors in movies, plays, and television.

Jacoby, Billy - (US)

Appeared on several sitcoms, including "Alice," and "Benson, " and in several movies, most notably "Beastmaster."

Jarman Jr., Claude - (US, 1934)

Born in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a child star in the late 1940s. He won a special Academy Award for his film debut in "The Yearling" (1946). And he deserved it. He delivered a beautiful performance. He also played a memorable role in "Intruder in the Dust" (1949), but without the boyish charm. He had a relatively short lived career. He was in 11 films, the last one in 1956.

Jenkins, Jackie "Butch" - (US, 1937- )

Born August 19, 1937, in Los Angeles. Freckled little charmer of MGM films in the 1940s. Jackie was one of the most unpolished-looking youths ever to appear before the camera, this freckled, buck toothed, red headed youngster enjoyed a brief, but high voltage career at MGM in some outstanding 1940s films. His father was a captain in the U.S. Ferry Command and his mother was actress Doris Dudley. The family moved a great deal in his earlier years, including a stint in the West Indies. Apparently, Jackie was playing on a California beach when he was spotted by a MGM director. The director asked him if he wanted to be a movie actor. Jackie relied, No, I'd rather play." His mother, however, thought it a splendid idea. Thus Jackie joined Mickey Rooney in "Human Comedy" (1943). The movie is still considered memorable Americana. Jackie's performance caused quire a stir. One magazine gushed, ... the screen's newest menace, the freckled-faced guy who as Ulysses, stole Mr. Saroyan's hit picture right out from under the noses of seasoned veterans .. the baby faced wonder American audiences took one look at and loved." MGM was delighted, they now had a child star who wasn't the aristocratic, sensitive type (Freddie Bartholomew) or a beautiful, well bread youngster (Elizabeth Taylor). Butch was more in the tradition of Mickey Rooney, a down-to-earth, all American kid. MGM quickly signed him to a term contract. Insouciant cuteness was Jackie's stock in trade, and the asset was well displayed in several MGM offerings. In "National Velvet" (1944) he played the younger brother who swallows his tooth, but manages to retrieve it. Set in England, he wears shorts. In "An American Romance" (1944) the rambunctious boy played the son of a steel tycoon. In the Americana-flavored "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945) he appeared with Margaret O'Brien, then the top child star on the Culver City lot. His studio publicists emphasized his precociousness. One magazine reported, "His weekly allowance of 5 cents, and every cent he can wrangle on the side, goes for comic books. He can't read, but the pictures fascinate him. .... He's completely unself-conscious and once went to a rodeo with his pants half ripped off. They caught on the bus. And pooh-pooh to those who gazed upon the rear of one Jackie Jenkins. To those he `gives looks.'" But Jackie did not charm everyone. Even before he became a star, the Santa Monica beach guard dubbed him "the holy terror." Darryl Hickman, who attended the MGM school with him recalls him as "the most miserable kid I've ever known." Jackie received good reviews for "My Brother Talks to Horses" (1946). He looked rather cute done up in a sailor suit in the color musical "Summer Holiday" (1948) playing Mickey Rooney's younger brother. That was the same part that Mickey had played in an earlier version called "Ah, Wilderness" (1933). Some child stars grow up weak to temptation, others can not replace outgrown cuteness with other talents. Still others mature as to mundane a personality to capture audience interest. In the case of Jackie, the nemesis was two-fold: a vocal studder and a mother who could clearly foresee the dangers Hollywood held. But when Jackie's school work began to suffer from his film career and a stutter began increasingly to invade his line delivery, his mother, who had a first hand knowledge of show business, withdrew him from the acting field. The fans protested, but she held firm. Jackie now supervises a Texas water system and owns car washes. His most famous film was "National Velvet." Jackie confides that "I never regretted leaving the film business and am very grateful for my mother taking me away from it. I enjoyed the first few years of acting in movies, but I certainly don't miss it." If I heard a TV item correctly, like many other child stars, he has gotten into trouble, I think for shop lifting.

Jensel, Jackie - (France, 1941?- )

Jackie was raised in a French night club. Frank Capra went to France to find two orphans for his Bing Crosby movie, "Here Comes the Groom" (1951). They finally settled on 10-year old Jackie who was a real whirlwind. Capra brought him home so he could learn a little English living with his son. The boy, however, taught Capra's son to play poker and craps and insisted on wine to drink. He was apparently used to vintage wine and quite knowledgeable about it. I don't know what he wore in France or during his American stay, but for the movie he wore a short pants suit with knee socks and beret.


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Created: October 17, 2000
Last updated: November 8, 2002