Morgan le Fay On Screen: Pat Barton
In the same year as the release of the musical version of A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949), a film serial called The Adventures of Sir Galahad was released. It starred George Reeves who would go on to play Superman in the TV series The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958). In those days, film serials consisted of a series of short films telling a continuous story, in which each film served as a chapter usually ending on a cliffhanger, so that the audience would have to return to the cinema the next week to see the next installment.
In this particular series, the part of Morgan le Fay was played by an actress named Pat Barton. Unfortunately, I have been unable to discover anything about this actress besides her IMDb profile which lists only six films to her name along with The Adventures of Sir Gala
had. In these other films, she only appears in bit parts or as an extra such as “Cigarette Girl”, “Receptionist”, “Second Hat Check Girl” etc. You can find the link to her profile here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0059222/ Apart from this, I can find no other information about her anywhere on the internet. According to IMDb, her film career spanned a mere two years, from 1948 to 1950.
Three of her films were distributed by RKO Pictures: If You Knew Susie (1948), Mighty Joe Young (1949), and In a Lonely Place (1950). The rest of her films were produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures, including The Adventures of Sir Galahad: The Reckless Moment (1949), Holiday Affair (1949) and The Secret Fury (1950). With the exception of The Adventures of Sir Galahad, she is listed as “uncredited” in all of them.
So who was Pat Barton? Was she a contract player to the studios at the time? Why, in all her roles, with the exception of Morgan le Fay, was she uncredited? Why did her film career only last two years? What happened to her? Did she retire? Get married? Have children? Get fed up with Hollywood and leave? Change professions? Become ill? There is no date of birth for her, no biography anywhere to be found, no record of her that I can find online. Was Pat Barton even her real name? Is there anyone out there with any information abo
ut her? If so, do please get in touch.
What’s interesting about Barton’s portrayal of Morgan le Fay in The Adventures of Sir Galahad is that her character is not outright villainous but intriguingly ambiguous. While Merlin appears throughout to be Galahad’s adversary, Barton’s Morgan encourages Galahad on his quest to become a knight, assists him in escaping from a dungeon, and gives him a magic ring that bestows invisibility on its wearer. However, it would also seem that she plays a part in the theft of Excalibur and the abduction of Guinevere by the Black Knight, so we are never sure where her loyalties truly lie.
As I said, if there is anyone out there with any information about Pat Barton, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!