Future Favorites — Armida (1937) 🇺🇸

February 08, 2022

A membership in that select Hollywood society of actors and actresses who have inherited their talents from their parents — and there are very few today who can claim that distinction — belongs to the diminutive Mexican pepper-pot, the vivacious Armida...

by John Schwarzkopf

Her father, Joaquin Vendrell, was for years a leading man on the Spanish and Spanish-speaking stages, before he settled down in the little town of La Colorado in the Mexican State of Sonora...

There, six Vendrell kiddies first saw light. Maria, Angela, Dolores, Conchita, Joaquin and Lydia... there, too, came a seventh entertainer, Armida... a girl with sufficient personality for the State to declare a holiday whenever one of her plays or pictures opened in a local playhouse.

“I was only four years of age,” said Armida, “when the manager of Pantages Theatre in San Diego wanted me to appear in his kid’s show on the stage... my parents and the entire town of La Colorado were tickled pink to think that I should be sought out to perform in front of a real audience... and for money, too... They gave me one hundred dollars for my very first appearance.”

But papa Vendrell didn’t want his talented daughter to be hindered or helped by the name he had made for himself... so she was billed simply as Armida — with no hint as to whether that was her first or last name...

Little Armida made such a smash hit in the show she was kept there for two years... her trouping blood came to the fore when her father’s finances went bad... and she decided that she would try her hand at real stage work... from that point on, Armida’s troubles were at an end.

Gus Edwards, who discovered her in Los Angeles, took her to New York and placed her in one of his shows... so thrilled was the blasé New York audience over this peppery actress they bought out the show for one year’s run... And that was all Hollywood needed... a talent scout approached Edwards with the idea of trying to catch the girl’s chili flavor on the celluloid film...

Armida’s screen rise has been the steady building type... starting in “General Crack” in 1930, she appeared later with Frank Fay in Under the “Texas Moon,” then with Warner Baxter in “Under the Pampas Moon”... 

She is presently up to her smooth little neck in camera shots and temperamental lines as the leading lady opposite John Beal in RKO’s “Mexican Quarter” ... and with Gus Edwards’ coaching and the inherent talent from her father and the line of Spanish stage performers from which he sprang, Armida should have a long way to go in this business... and she will, too.

Source: Motion Picture Magazine, September 1937