Sue Sue Applegate wrote: How did Mary feel about the sequel to The Trouble With Angels, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows? Were you able to visit with some of her costars from the sequel like Susan Saint James, Stella Stevens, Barbara Hunter or Hilary Thompson? It would seem that it might have been a much more difficult shoot because of all the location work.
Hi, Christy. Mary loved both of these films. For one thing, she enjoyed playing nuns because these parts gave her a chance to reinforce positive images of religious life; Mary was a devout Episcopalian. For another, she really liked Rosalind Russell. (In several heart-to-heart talks, Mary helped Russell decide to disclose her rheumatoid arthritis publicly.)
But it wasn’t Russell who Mary was most drawn to on these films; that would be Binnie Barnes, one of the other primary nuns and the wife of Columbia producer Mike Frankovich. Barnes was in both the original and the sequel, and she and Mary spent most of their down-time on the set together.
To promote the sequel, Columbia arranged a national contest to select young girls who would appear in small roles. Mary, Barnes and one of the producers flew to seven cities in seven days in 1967, selecting a winner in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. They made TV and radio appearances and drew attention from newspapers along the way. Mary and Barnes never worked together again but remained very fond of each other. Almost 30 yrs later, Barnes, in a wheelchair, attended Mary’s funeral.
Mary had little interaction with the other two primary nuns, Dolores Sutton or Marge Redmond, both of whom I interviewed. But Mary was close to the films’ producers, Bill Frye and Jim Wharton, who had also hired her for an erudite but now-forgotten TV show, Halls of Ivy
. (The book’s cover photo is from that show.) She so favored them that she asked them to be pallbearers when her mother died. Frye, now in his 90s, living in Palm Desert, offered several of the book's most interesting anecdotes.
Yes, the films had a lot of location shooting –- much of the cast traveled to Santa Fe and Philadelphia and possibly other cities that I can’t recall this morning –- but Mary, in her late 50s at this point, was not troubled by the travel. Only in later years, like when she had to be in cold Canada at age 84 to shoot Little Women
, was location-shooting problematic. By then, she was legally blind.