Tagged: Fred MacMurray Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 2:23 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fred MacMurray, , , Remember The Night, Shirley MacLaine,   


    No, this isn’t a post about the Apple of your eye(s), computer-wise — nor is this a post about a Mac big enough to contribute to a heart attack (calories/cholesterol-wise). This is about a guy who’s the apple of my eye, versatile actor-wise:

    Today being MacMurray‘s birthday (August 30, 1908), I thought I’d honor the memory of perhaps the most underrated movie star of Hollywood’s Golden Era, starting with the above clip and continuing with the trailer for one of the most underrated films of his era:

    Next, when it comes to film noir, it doesn’t get any better than this all-time classic with a powerhouse cast (including MacMurray, who was reluctant to play the role), director (Billy Wilder), and screenwriter (Raymond Chandler), from the James M. Cain novel:

    Speaking of “Double” and classic films, how about two Macs (including Shirley MacLaine) in one of my all-time favorites….

    We end with this from near the start of Fred’s career (before becoming an actor):


    • Rosaliene Bacchus 2:50 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Never saw any of these Hollywood classics. Will check them out when the opportunity arises.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:30 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        It may be hard to find REMEMBER THE NIGHT (the full 1940 movie) online for free, but it does appear occasionally on TCM. It’s such a good film that it’s well worth paying for it if necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

    • GP Cox 3:15 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      He was always one of my favorites. A real down-to-earth kind a guy – but talented too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 3:46 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Agreed. He was so believable in a wide variety of roles that he didn’t seem to be acting, compared to guys who essentially played themselves and were very good at it, like John Wayne (not to be critical, because no one “played himself” better, but he was no Fred MacMurray).

        Liked by 2 people

        • GP Cox 7:14 am on August 31, 2019 Permalink

          John Wayne (no disrespect intended), I’m afraid did not play himself – he avoided war and confrontation in real life.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 9:00 am on August 31, 2019 Permalink

          Although my previous comment put “played himself” in quotation marks (to indicate that that was the impression, if not the reality, he gave), perhaps “played his own persona” would’ve been more accurate. In any case, he obviously lacked the wide-ranging acting talent of Fred MacMurray.


    • Elizabeth 4:29 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I will love him always as the absent minded professor of my childhood.

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 8:50 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Fred had charm and talent by the truck load … maybe I need to find these old classics, thanks for the reminder! Particularly liked that tribute to him by his ‘son’ ‚̧

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:10 pm on August 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You can’t go wrong with any of those three old classics, Kate, but unless you’re a film noir fan, DOUBLE INDEMNITY is probably the one you could put last on your list. In my opinion, the other two are ‘must-sees’ for ANY mature film fan.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mlrover 6:12 am on August 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Wasn’t he in The Egg and I with C. Colbert? That movie made a star out of Marjorie Maine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:58 am on August 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, he was. Marjorie Main was well known before The Egg and I (in supporting roles). For example, remember her in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and THE HARVEY GIRLS? Her film career dates back to the early 1930s, but I don’t think she became The Star in any film until the MA AND PA KETTLE series from 1949 to 1957.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mlrover 1:17 pm on September 2, 2019 Permalink

          My favorite line of hers from the E&I is at the table when she tells one of her horde of kids something and the answers back that it isn’t his name. She comes back with “Whoever you are, do it.” That’s paraphrasing but I still laugh remembering it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 3:50 pm on September 2, 2019 Permalink

          I haven’t seen the E& I in decades, so I tried to find a clip of the scene you describe. The best I could come up with is this trailer which includes part of that scene:


    • mlrover 8:58 am on September 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks!!! I always admired Colbert’s energy on the screen. She often had a tension that mesmerized. And those big eyes. You must have enjoyed Fred in My Three Sons.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 6:22 pm on September 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      He was one of the best, Fred was. Comedy or drama ‚Äď and singing, too!

      Loved this tribute to one of my favourite actors. ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:53 pm on September 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Speaking of Fred and comedy, check out the clip from MURDER HE SAYS in the comments section of my Sept. 11 post NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS — it’s LOL funny!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thom Hickey 4:22 pm on October 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply


      Great to see such a fine and under valued actor celebrated here.

      Regards Thom

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:38 pm on October 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Thom. I should do more posts on undervalued actors and actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Problem is, almost no one knows who they are anymore!

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:32 pm on October 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You talked me into it, Thom. It’s time to get my act(ors) together and do it! Perhaps I’ll even do a series of posts about them. Stay tuned.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Art Tatum, , Fred MacMurray, , , , Johnny Horton, Keystone Kops, Mack Sennett, , North to Alaska, , speakeasies, Ward Bond   


    I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” –Gloria Swanson (as Norma Desmond)

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *¬†* * * * * * * * * * * * *

    How many of these¬†former “big”¬†names do you recognize?

    TEXAS GUINAN (1933)
    GEORGE M. COHAN (1942)
    ART TATUM (1956)
    JOHNNY HORTON (1960)
    MACK SENNETT (1960)
    WARD BOND (1960)
    GUY LOMBARDO (1977)
    FRED MacMURRAY (1991)

    If you’re not into the movies and music of the past,¬†you may¬†remember few, if any, of the foregoing (year 0f death follows their names).¬†Because time drives a hard bargain with fame, they’ve faded away¬†in the rearview mirror….but on this day, we back up to see them¬†BIG again — or as big as such¬†look-backs provide. Why on¬†this particular¬†day? As it happens, the above have one thing in common: they¬†lived but five days into the last November of their lives.

    TEXAS GUINAN, born Waco, TX, 1884. Flamboyant, brassy “Queen of the Night Clubs”¬†in NYC¬†during the Roaring Twenties. Started in vaudeville, sang, and¬†was in silent movies before becoming hostess of Texas Guinan Club and other NYC speakeasies during Prohibition. Famous trademark greeting to incoming customers: “Hello, suckers!” She bade them¬†goodbye November 5, 1933.

    GEORGE M. COHAN, born Providence, RI, 1878. One of the early greats of the Broadway stage as an actor, composer, lyricist, librettist, director and producer. Wrote primarily nostalgic and patriotic songs, including the WWI hit Over There. James Cagney won Academy Award for his portrayal of Cohan in the 1942 film YANKEE DOODLE DANDY:

    ART TATUM, born Toledo, OH, 1910. All-time great jazz pianist, despite being blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. Described by some critics¬†as given to over-embellishment in later¬†career (“played too many notes”), but he wasn’t one to not change with the times (for better or worse).

    JOHNNY HORTON, born Los Angeles, 1925. Popular country music and rockabilly singer known for his “saga songs” such as 1959 hit The Battle of New Orleans.¬†Killed in crash by drunk driver Nov. 5, 1960.¬†Here he sings the title song from my favorite John Wayne film:

    MACK SENNETT, born Quebec, Canada, 1880. Pioneer in¬† the field of slapstick comedy, famed creator of Keystone Kops in early¬†silent film era. Among famous¬†actors who got their start with Sennett were Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, W. C. Fields and the aforementioned Gloria Swanson. They don’t make ’em like this anymore!

    WARD BOND, born Bendelman, NE, 1903. One of¬†Hollywood’s most iconic character actors, particularly in¬†films directed by John Ford. Bond and John Wayne were¬†members of the USC football team when they were picked by Ford as extras for the film Salute in 1928. The three became lifelong friends and made many pictures together, including The Grapes of Wrath, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and The Quiet Man.

    GUY LOMBARDO, born Ontario, Canada, 1902. Leader of the most commercially successful and long-lasting “sweet” (some might say “Mickey Mouse”)¬†dance band of all time. Theme song Auld Lang Syne¬†was a New Year’s Eve staple for decades.¬†Slogan: “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven” (I don’t know what kind of music’s¬†on the other side, but when it’s time to go, I¬†may chance the long way around).

    FRED MacMURRAY, born Kankakee, IL, 1908.¬†Last but least-long deceased (Nov. 5, 1991) of those listed; many of us remember this versatile actor from his roles in such great¬†films as Double Indemnity¬†and The Apartment¬†over the course of¬†a near-50 year career….but I suspect few are aware that he started out as a saxophone player and band vocalist in the early 1930s. Here he is with the Gus Arnheim band in 1930:

    That’s¬†a wrap¬†until November 10. Take five.




    • Don Frankel 8:13 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Never heard of Texas Guinan but I knew everyone else which means… I’m old.

      Ah ha so you’re favorite John Wayne movie is North to Alaska and I didn’t have to google it either. “North to Alaska, North to Russia’s home.” Great comedy with Stewart Granger who was born James Stewart, the absolutely beautiful Capucine, and one of those boy idols of the time I think it was Fabian. Also in it was Ernie Kovacks as the evil, claim jumper.

      Funny how both of our favorite John Wayne movies are ones where he’s not the usual John Wayne character. Your’s a comedy and mine The Searchers where he’s actually the bad guy.

      Oh well I’ll have to go to google now for the song…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:50 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, a great song, and a great rendition of it, bear repeating any day, so I listened to it again (you apparently didn’t realize that Horton sings it on the North to Alaska clip in my post)! As for the movie, I remember how odd some of the casting seemed at the time (Fabian and Ernie Kovacs in particular), but somehow it worked and the movie is terrific.


    • arekhill1 9:58 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Four. Does that mean I’m still middle-aged?


    • mistermuse 11:10 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d say that depends on which four you got. If Guy Lombardo was one of them, you’re definitely on the cusp of old fartdom, as you so elegantly described it (in your own blogpost today). On the other hand, if you recognized Art Tatum, you’re a cool cat with most of your nine lives still ahead of you. If you got both, I don’t know where you’re at, but it sounds like the middle of something – maybe age.


    • Joseph Nebus 6:37 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I was able to identify seven, although I couldn’t tell you why I remembered Art Tatum’s name. Texas Guinan once you described I think I remember now from TravSD’s outstanding book No Applause, Please, Just Throw Money and his travsd.wordpress.com blog about vaudeville and performing history.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:43 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t read the book you describe, but I do own GANGSTERS AND GOLD DIGGERS, a book about old New York during the Jazz Age, by Jerome Charyn. It tells of Texas Guinan (backed by gangsters Owen Madden and Larry Fey) opening in 1924 the El Fey, one of the first Manhattan nightclubs, “where caf√© society is born, that curious mingling of high and low — sophomores from Yale, chorus girls, crime and sports reporters, impresarios, white jazz singers, bootleggers, millionaires, movie stars, playboys, heiresses, gamblers, politicians, composers, and playwrights. At the El Fey one could find Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, George Gershwin, Gloria Swanson, Mae West, Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell, [etc.]. She would arrive at two in the morning, a bleached blonde wearing diamonds and a salmon-colored dress, climb on a chair, blow a police whistle, shout “Hello, suckers!” and the fun would begin.”


    • literaryeyes 9:01 pm on November 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I read about Tex Guinan and the nightclubs of Broadway recently in a book called New York Confidential! Those were roaring times. Of the others I didn’t know Art Tatum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:07 pm on November 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve found that few non-jazz lovers are familiar with even the greatest names in jazz history (unless they were also big names beyond jazz, such as Louis Armstrong)….so I’m not surprised that you didn’t know Art Tatum. Hey, I know very few names in contemporary pop music, but somehow I manage to have a very fulfilling life! ūüôā


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