Tagged: James Finlayson Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:09 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Edward Everett Horton, , , , James Finlayson, , Mantan Moreland, , , S. Z. Sakall, Way Out West,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: WHAT A CHARACTER (ACTOR)! 

    “Nobody needs a mink coat but the mink.” –S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, character actor (Feb. 2, 1883-Feb. 12, 1955)

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There have been so many great male character actors in Hollywood Golden Age history that, for this post, I’m going to narrow the field to¬†comedic character actors….and even then, I’ll probably leave out some of your favorites. Of course, if you don’t have any old comedy film favorites, you’re probably not an old comedy film fan, so you’re excused (even though that’s no excuse….actually, you should be ashamed of yourself).

    Leaving that aside, let’s move on, starting with the author of the above quote….a quote which probably didn’t go over too well with most of the Hollywood glamour girls he knew — speaking of which, did you know that Sakall was born in, and is strictly from, Hungary (btw, he was also in Casablanca). Here’s more scuttlebutt about Cuddles but…it’s not a lot:

    Next, Laurel & Hardy fans will remember the trademark ‘double-take’ look of this gent, who appeared in many of their films, including here in one of their best, WAY OUT WEST:

    Remember double features (two films for the price of one in movie houses of the 1930s-50s)? Here’s a double feature of two great comedic actors for the price of one in a scene from SHALL WE DANCE, one of three Astaire-Rogers movies in which they appeared together:

    If you’re a fan of Charlie Chan movies, you may recall the pop-eyed comic who played Chan’s chauffeur in over a dozen films, as well as parts in Preston Sturges’ THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942), CABIN IN THE SKY (1943), CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1944), and many others. Here he is in a scene from THE SCARLET CLUE (1945):

    In closing, I’ll mention several other great comedic character actors I could’ve/should’ve profiled here, but I have to stop somewhere: William Demarest, Edgar Kennedy, Frank Morgan, Franklin Pangborn, Erik Rhodes, Victor Moore, and many more. Thank you, one and all, for bringing character to comedy.

     
    • masercot 4:38 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Fine examples! Might I add Tom Kennedy?

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:50 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely! I remember the name but couldn’t place the face until I checked — how could I have forgotten? I saw him in many a Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy and Three Stooges movie. My bad!

        Liked by 2 people

        • masercot 8:59 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink

          It was a time when any big Irishman could find work in the movies… My favorite line of his? “I feel a poem coming on”

          Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 4:28 pm on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I never knew the names of any of these actors, though I remember all of their appearances. I loved the banter in the last clip. That comedic timing is priceless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:00 pm on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I believe that that banter came straight out of an old vaudeville skit which Mantan Moreland probably performed many times previously. An oldie but goody!

      Like

    • Silver Screenings 11:37 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      These posts are treats. Thanks for curating these lists and choosing such fab videos to share with us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:20 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your comments, SS. I very much enjoyed doing this series of posts, time-consuming though it was to do the work of putting them together.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 10:29 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          Oh yes, I can imagine the hours spent in this series. The end result is fabulous: A tour through classic Hollywood.

          Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 11:18 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Memorable picks! Love them all!!ūüíē‚̧ԳŹ

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Billy Gilbert, , , , Grady Sutton, Hattie McDaniel, , James Finlayson, , , , , , ,   

    A PAST OF CHARACTERS 

    For some time, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do a post on one-of-a-kind¬†character actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, most of them long forgotten except to old¬†film buffs like myself. There are¬†familiar¬†exceptions, of course —¬†non-starring actors who appeared in classic films which continue to be shown today, such as Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ) and Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet (Ugarte/Joel Cairo and the fat man, respectively,¬†in CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON). But today I want to focus on the rule, not the well-remembered¬†exceptions.

    It was while researching April 5th birthdays for notables born on this date (and finding the likes of Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis and Gregory Peck) that I¬†saw among them¬†a long forgotten character actor whose name¬†(Grady Sutton, born 4/5/1906)¬†rang a bell….so I¬†decided to¬†do such a post today and include him among those I pay tribute to. To make it a bit (player) more interesting, I’ll list six names, followed by¬†clips (not¬†in the same order)¬†of scenes in which they separately appear. Can you¬†spot one of the six¬†in each¬†clip?

    1. Eric Blore
    2. Margaret Dumont
    3. James Finlayson
    4. Billy Gilbert
    5. Hattie McDaniel
    6. Grady Sutton

    a. 

    b.

    c.

    d.

    e.

    f.

    How many could you identify? Hint: the names match the clips in reverse order; e.g.,
    1. Eric Blore¬†is the British valet being “summoned” in “f.” For more on Blore, click here:
    Eric Blore: What a Character!

    2. Margaret Dumont (clip “e”)¬†should pose no recognition¬†problem for Marx Brothers fans. For those who aren’t Marxists, mark this: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241669/bio

    3. James Finlayson (clip “d”) should pose no recognition problem for Laurel & Hardy fans. When you can’t imagine any other actor in his L & H¬†roles, you know he was¬†truly unique: http://www.wayoutwest.org/finlayson/

    4. Billy Gilbert is the man (Pettibone) in the middle in this¬†clip (“c”) from HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940). Like Finlayson and Dumont, another one-of-a-kinder: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0317970/

    5. Hattie McDaniel (clip “b”)¬†plays Aunt Tempy¬†and sings “Sooner or Later” opposite James Baskett (as Uncle Remus) in this scene from Walt Disney’s¬†SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946). Best known role: Mammy, in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939): http://www.biography.com/people/hattie-mcdaniel-38433

    6. Grady Sutton (clip “a”) plays new assistant (Chester) to W.C. Fields in this scene from YOU CAN’T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (1939). He was also a Fields foil in¬†MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (1935) and THE BANK DICK (1940).

    Yes, my friends, there were great character actors¬†in the land of make-believe¬†in those days. If¬†some were but¬†“bit” players, they¬†made their small parts singularly indispensable. We shall not see their like again.

     
    • Don Frankel 7:39 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know I was thinking Hattie McDaniel is well known. I mean she has an Academy Award and she had her own TV show… and then I realized, no I’m just old enough to remember. But these are those great actors that would pop up in all those old movies and they were very believable in all their roles.

      There’s another actor in the Billy Gilbert clip and wasn’t he the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street?

      Like

      • mistermuse 9:43 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Don, you’re right about the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street being the same actor (Gene Lockhart) as the sheriff (the man with no hat) in the Billy Gilbert clip. Lockhart appeared in many films and was interesting in his own right, but Gilbert and the other guy in that clip (Clarence Kolb) steal the scene. Their fast-paced exchange, especially in the last 20 seconds or so of the clip, is hilarious.

        Like

    • arekhill1 9:22 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll just take my “F,” please.

      Like

      • mistermuse 10:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        In my classroom, you get an “A” just for showing up (or, if you prefer, an “a” for “arekhill1”). You also deserve an “A” for Attendance (as in perfect attendance).

        Like

    • M√©l@nie 1:53 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      wonderful and emotional tribute to those non-starring actors of several classic films(“films-culte in French!) – we call them “personnages secondaires”(secondary roles)… they play small parts, but most of the times they’re great actors who have contributed to the success of the film…

      • * *

      I’ve seen all these movies, but I must have watched “Casablanca” 4-5 times, and I’ve never been tired of it!!! ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:12 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        For those of us who either grew up with, or later came to appreciate, those old movies and the essential part the non-starring actors played in them, we know the part they have played in making our lives richer. Vive le Casablanca and all the rest! ūüôā

        Like

    • linnetmoss 6:36 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love Erik Blore, whom I know from the Astaire-Rogers films. Another brilliant comic actor along these lines is Erik Rhodes (“Your wife is safe with Tonetti! He prefer spaghetti!”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:21 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Coincidentally, I was going to include Erik Rhodes in my “cast of characters,” but decided to limit the number to six in order to keep the post to a reasonable (however arbitrary that may be) length. Rhodes was absolutely wonderful in that role, and I well remember the lines you quote!

      Like

    • RMW 11:33 pm on April 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Character” actors make a very good living without all the hassles of being “stars.” If I had another life to live that is one of the careers I think would be very satisfying to me. Would not want to be a “star” for any amount of money.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on April 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree. A few of the stars in the old days (like Greta Garbo) sought to be virtual recluses outside the studios, but I’m sure even trying to avoid the spotlight was a hassle.

        Liked by 1 person

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