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Posted: July 2nd, 2008, 3:36 pm
by nightwalker
Charles Butterworth.

Posted: July 2nd, 2008, 4:19 pm
by jdb1
nightwalker wrote:Charles Butterworth.

In fact, Butterworth and Robert Benchley were very good friends, and Benchley claimed that he first heard the remark about slipping out of a wet suit and into a dry martini from Butterworth.

At the time of his death, Butterworth was engaged to marry Natalie Schaffer, who was recently divorced from Louis Calhern. Schaffer played Olivia deHavilland's unloving mother in The Snake Pit, and later was part of the ensemble of castaways on Gilligan's Island. She never did remarry.

I'm always telling you all to try to catch Butterworth in some of the 1930s movies TCM shows - he really was a hoot in a quiet, low-key way. A sort of midwestern Percy Kilbride.

Posted: July 3rd, 2008, 8:59 am
by nightwalker
True. In fact, just to give one example, he singlehandedly saves the otherwise quite pedestrian FORSAKING ALL OTHERS, 1934, which was on not long ago, as Gable's buddy.

Posted: July 8th, 2008, 12:24 pm
by jdb1
We are gasping for breath here after two weeks of poor air quality. They keep predicting rain, but so far we haven't gotten much. A good storm would clear things up, but so far no joy. A new Mystery Guest has managed to make it to the podium:

Do you know me?

I studied drama in my native country, and as a very young man appeared in several movies there. However, the events of the day made me decide to withdraw from screen acting, and political action against my family drove me underground. When things calmed down I resumed acting, and was offered a part in a Hollywood movie to be directed by a very famous figure.

I was good looking and well-spoken in two languages. However, those looks and my way of speaking typecast me from the start, and all of the Hollywood movies I made cast me in essentially the same role -- sometimes a good character, sometimes bad, but always predictable. I could always be counted on to supply some romance to the proceedings, and I was quite popular. I continued to make movies in my native country as well; in those I was able to show a bit more range.

I appeared in the Hollywood version of several popular novels of my country. In one I seduced a naive and bored young housewife. In another, a very elaborate production, I got to sing and dance, and won the girl in the end. I am probably best know for that one, which is still shown frequently on TV today. I was in other musicals as well, but the one mentioned received the most accolades.

I made many guest appearances on American TV, and did at least one Broadway show as well. As I got older, I was able to break free somewhat from my previous typecasting and play character parts, although those characters were still the same type of person I played before, only a bit more interesting. I am now retired, and live in my native country.

Who am I?

Posted: July 8th, 2008, 1:37 pm
by ChiO
Louis Jourdan.

Loved his records with His Tympany Five. Caldonia!/What makes your big head so.... Oh, that was Louis Jordan?

Posted: July 8th, 2008, 2:08 pm
by jdb1
Either one is OK with me, but in this instance I meant the Frenchman, M. Jourdan.

At the beginning of his movie career in the early 1940s, he was ordered by the Fascist (Vichy) French government to appear pro-Nazi films, to which he responded by simply refusing making any more movies. When his family was menaced, and his father eventually taken prisoner, by the Gestapo, Jourdan joined the French Resistance.

After WWII, Jourdan resumed his film career, and was asked to come to Hollywood to appear in Hitchcock's The Parradine Case. That was the first of his many, many giggolo type roles in the U.S. He was the heartless seducer in Madame Bovary, and played similar roles in many movies. He has had a long career playing cads, playboys, and European aristocrats. Among the musicals he appeared in were Can-Can and GiGi.

Jourdan was known as an enthusiastic croquet player in Hollywood. And how many of those are there, I wonder? He now lives in the south of France, approaching his 90th birthday (his birthdate is listed variously as 1919 and 1920).

Posted: July 9th, 2008, 1:51 pm
by jdb1
Well, hello, new Mystery Guest, come right in.

Do you know me?

As a young man in a major southern city, I worked at a variety of jobs, but I also liked to participate in the local little theater. When my family moved to a large city in Texas, I joined a well-known regional theater company which was famous because of its dynamic female director. I did so well that I went on to New York, at first working at the New York Times, but not as a reporter. I auditioned and was accepted by the theater company of a popular expatriate English actor. I did Shakespeare, as well as other plays for him, dramas and comedies, in which I was equally comfortable. A bit later on I did Tennessee Williams. I won an award as most promising newcomer for that one. I then met and began to work for a very famous Broadway producer, and I got a part in the biggest hit of the day (a musical). I went on tour with the national company, and some time later I was tapped to recreate my role for the film version.

I did another musical for this producer, which ran for two years, and for which I won a Tony. I also recreated that role onscreen, and it is one I am remembered for. I continued to make movies, appear on the stage, and also appear occasionally on TV. In the early 1960s, I was offered my own series, and after some reservation, I accepted. It was a modest hit, and is another part I am often identified with. Although I appreciated my large fan base, I felt that the role typecast me, but after a short time I was in movies again, playing a wide variety of roles, everything from hobos to jurists. I seemed to work more and more as I got older. One of my best-remembered roles was in a teen movie. My scenes with my co-star (now a Really Big Star) are the most popular scenes of the movie, alhough we were not the lead players. I also played that role in a short-lived TV version of the movie.

Playing irrascible is what I did best, and I won an Emmy for doing just that, in a critically acclaimed dramatic TV series about small town life. I also guested in a long-lived cult favorite - in two different versions I played the same character.

Who am I?

Posted: July 9th, 2008, 5:56 pm
by Mr. O'Brady
Ray Walston??? "Picket Fences", "My Favorite Martian", Mr. Hand... :D

Posted: July 10th, 2008, 9:24 am
by jdb1
As The Fonz used to say: Correctamundo!

Walston was a member of the Houston Civic Theater, which was run by the dynamic Broadway producer/director Margo Jones. When he got to NYC, he worked first as a typesetter for The Times, and then joined the theater group of Maurice Evans. He landed the role of Luther Billis in George Abbott's national company of South Pacific, and played the part in London as well.

He also appeared as the devil in Abbott's production of Damn Yankees, which which he won a Tony. He recreated the roles of both the devil - "Mr. Applegate," and Luther Billis, in the movie versions.

Posted: September 9th, 2008, 3:43 pm
by jdb1
Summer Hiatus is over for our Mystery Guests. Does anyone feel like applying some brain power? My MG brain cells are a bit rusty, so here's a short one:

I was born in the Midwest, but moved with my family to the Pacific Northwest, where my father went into business, taking advantage of the surge in population due to the Gold Rush. Like many actors, I started out in law school. I performed in college plays, and when a repertory company came to town, I got a job and left with it. This company was run by the son of its founders, a man who became a very popular and long-lasting character actor in the movies.

I decided to try my luck in movies, after being offered a contract by a scout who saw me on the stage. I made some silents, but with the advent of sound, I found my niche. I was ideal for the films of the 30s, with my machine-gun delivery of dialog and my rather aggressive screen presence.

Although I made over 100 movies and did some television, there is one particular movie I am remembered for, a movie which is still discussed, and still regularly broadcast on televison.

In addition, I got to say one of the most famous lines in cinema, maybe as iconic as Clark Gable's last line in Gone With the Wind.

Who am I?

Posted: September 9th, 2008, 5:27 pm
by melwalton
Joe E Brown?

Posted: September 9th, 2008, 7:57 pm
by jdb1
melwalton wrote:Joe E Brown?
Good try, Mel, but not the one.

Our MG was known more for dramas and action pictures than for comedy, although he was in comedies as well. He is unfortunately all but forgotten now, except for that one movie.

The most famous movie our MG was in has sparked dozens of sequels, remakes and ripoffs. Its title character is one of the world's most famous figures, and is generally associated with another world-famous icon.

Hint: NYC gave a tribute to the 50th anniversary of this movie. The tribute involved both the title character and the associated icon, and could be seen for miles around.

Posted: September 10th, 2008, 5:39 am
by ChiO
Robert "It was beauty killed the beast" Armstrong

Posted: September 10th, 2008, 10:13 am
by jdb1
ChiO wrote:Robert "It was beauty killed the beast" Armstrong
Yipee Chi-O-Ay! You are correct.

The character actor who ran the rep company wherein Armstrong got his start was James Gleason.

Was anyone in NYC when King Kong celebrated its 50th anniversary? A huge rubber Kong was attached to the top of the Empire State Building, and you could see it from miles away. Cool.

Posted: September 10th, 2008, 12:06 pm
by jdb1
OK - see if you can identify this Mystery Guest:

I came from a prosperous Midwestern family and attended prep schools. While serving in the Army Air Corps in California, I had the opportunity to go on a blind date with a beautiful movie star. It's very likely the date was arranged because I was a good looking guy in uniform, and we looked good together, a fact that the photographers certainly noticed.

When the beautiful star and I got married, many said I was just trying to get into the movies myself. It wasn't long before I had a contract, and my wife and I appeared in two movies together. I then went on to make quite a few more, usually playing a clean-cut soldier or sailor.

The marriage didn't last very long, though, and I didn't handle the breakup very well. I began to drink more and more, and I couldn't get any leading man parts in first-class movies any more. My downward career spiral led me to low-budget movies, most of them of a certain popular genre. I made a lot of those. I became something of a cult favorite as a leading man in that kind of movie, and many are still shown on TV today.

Much to my chagrin, I'm still best known for being somebody's husband.

Who am I?