When I started this "Girl Friday" thing... I just assumed that everyone would be familiar with the actual term "Girl Friday".
I am reminded, though, of the old saying about what happens when you "ASSume" something.
"Girl Friday" is a term coined around 1940. It's a take off of "Man Friday", which was in turn derived from the fictional Robinson Crusoe story. The Native that Robinson Crusoe saves while stranded on a desert island was named Friday, as you may recall.
A Man Friday was a trusted, indispensable assistant.
In 1940, a movie was made based on a Broadway play featuring such an assistant, and the comedic lengths to which the boss went to keep the assistant from leaving his employ.
When they made the movie, however, they decided to change the "Man Friday" to a female role. Now, you can't very well refer to a woman as a "Man Friday", and thus was born the "Girl Friday". The very title of the movie was "His Girl Friday", and it stared Cary Grant, and this week's Girl Friday in the title role.
Rosalind Russell played the wise cracking, quick witted newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday. The basic plot of the movie sets her as the employee, and ex-wife, of the newspaper editor (Cary Grant). She threatens to quit the newspaper business in order to marry another man, and the general plot of the movie involves Cary Grant trying anything and everything to keep her on the job.
Ms. Russell had a long career, and is possibly best known in later years for her portrayal of Auntie Mame. I think my favorite Rosalind Russell film, though, is His Girl Friday.
After last week's lovelorn Lana Turner posting, you'll be happy to know that Ms. Russell married only once. That marriage lasted 35 years, and only ended due to her death in 1976.