Kirk Douglas was a descendant of Jewish Russian parents from what is now in Belarus and was raised in a tough area of New York. He went on to be perhaps one of the greatest actors in American history. He performed a little on Broadway until he joined the Navy in 1941. At the end of the war, he returned to acting and was cast in the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946). The next role was in a film noir masterpiece title Out of the Past (1947). This was followed by a roll in I Walk Alone (1948), marking the first of seven times he would work alongside Burt Lancaster. In Champion (1949) he played an untrustworthy boxer. Douglas was cast as painter Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956). This was followed by the western Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) with Lancaster. In 1957, he played a French Colonel in Stanley Kubrick’s intense anti-war drama Paths of Glory (1957). In 1960, … Continue reading
Charles Laughton had seen a screen test of Maureen O’Hara and was twitterpated by her beautiful eyes. Just so were clear that Charles Laughton of Spartacus (1960), Witness for the Prosecution Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). The Bounty wasn’t the only role where he was Captain. He also played the lead role in both Captain Kidd (1945) and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952).
At 19 O’Hara was cast in her first marquee role in Jamaica Inn (1939) which was directed by none other that Alfred Hitchcock and that same year she was cast as Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) where her beauty caught the attention of the Hunchback who was played by Laughton. She went on to make 5 films with Wayne and had a total over 60 during her career. In addition to her looks, she was very athletic which was utilized in many of her movies, including At Sword’s Point (1952) where … Continue reading
Bela Lugosi was born Be’la Ferenc Dezso Blasko in 1882 in Lugos, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania). During WWI Lugosi was an infantry lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Yes, that is correct, it’s the other side. Since he was active in the Actors Union during the Hungarian Revolution of 1919 he was forced to leave his homeland. For a time he continued to act in Berlin but left for America in 1920. he arrived in New Orleans in December 1920. This makes me wonder, where the rats disappearing on the boat and did he mingle with the Crescent city vampires.
After working on the stage for three years he got his first silent screen role in America, he had been in a dozen or so in Hungary. By 1927, he was back on Broadway in the role of “Dracula.” It has always been rumored the Lon Chaney Sr. was the first choice for the role but died before shooting began. There is some controversy with this a Chaney was under contract … Continue reading
Clint Eastwood was born in California in 1930. He got his start in the movies as an uncredited actor in Revenge of the Creature (1955). His big breakthrough came out when he got a role as Rowdy Yates in 1959.
Eastwood made three movies in Italy that kicked his career into high gear. These movies dubbed as spaghetti westerns are; A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).
These westerns allowed Eastwood to take his tough guy act to bigger audiences. He made more westerns including the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969). He also made a few WWII movies with some of the bigger stars of the time.
Beginning in 1971 he began directing and taking full leading men roles such as The Beguiled and Play Misty for Me. This was also the beginning of the Dirty Harry film series – go ahead make my day punk.
He continued to make movies through the 70s but High Plains Drifter (1973) … Continue reading
Jan-Michael Vincent was born in Colorado near the end of World War II but he was raised in California. He was in the National Guard when he was discovered by a talent scout that was struck by his good looks. He first appeared on-screen in The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk (1967). This was followed by Journey to Shiloh (1968) and then on “Danger Island” a Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning TV show that was part of “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” 1968.
Vincent was a handsome young actor that was a force to be reckoned with from the 1970-1980s. However, his star power seemed to wane as quickly as it rose. He was often cast as a lone force fighting the system. He worked in movies such as The Undefeated (1969) with John Wayne and Rock Hudson. In Tribes (1970) where he played a young Marine recruit in conflict with his drill instructor. In White Line Fever (1975) he took on … Continue reading
Paul Fix is an actor you should know. With well over 300 movie and television credits, he may be best-known for his role as Marshal Micah Torrance on the “Rifleman” 1958-1963 television series. However, he was much more. A quality actor that was never overstated and adapted to the roles as they changed over time. Fix was born in New York to German immigrants. His father was a brew-mister but he as well as Fix’s mother died before World War II. At the age of 17, he was sent to live with him married sisters.
At the age of 17 he joined the US Navy and was active in World War I. Fix was an able-bodied seaman (untrained but could be used for any job on the ship) on the troopship U.S.S. Mount Vernon. His ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the French coast. Fortunately, the ship ran aground and did not sink. Following the war, Fix married his girlfriend who was known as Taddy. The couple moved to … Continue reading
Bruce Cabot is well known to you whether you know it or not. Moving from a leading man to a sidekick role Cabot became a regular feature in most John Wayne movies such as The Comancheros (1961), Hatari! (1962), McLintock! (1963), In Harm’s Way (1965), The War Wagon (1967), The Green Berets (1968), Hellfighters (1969), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), and Big Jake (1971), a movie that has more quotable lines than an episode of Game of Thrones. Cabot became Wayne’s on-screen and off-screen drink buddy.
Bruce Cabot was the leading man and hero in King Kong (1933) but somehow he never made the transition to leading man. Bruce Cabot auditioned for the role of The Ringo Kid in Stagecoach (1939). John Wayne was eventually cast in the John Ford western and became on of the most important actors in Hollywood. Bruce Cabot was reduced to supporting roles from then on out. This clearly illustrated the main … Continue reading
Fay Wray, was a Canadian born actress that played the love interest in westerns during the silent years but made the transition to talkies. Fay stated that director Cooper said he would cast her with the tallest dark haired leading man in Hollywood. Wray though he was talking about Clark Gable. Of course he was refereeing to the 25 foot tall ape (King Kong 1931).
Peter Jackson asked Wray to do a cameo in King Kong (2005). Wray said no as her Kong was the real one. Ms. Wray died before Jackson started shooting the new film. Actor Jack Black as Carl Denham paid tribute to Wray by saying he hired Ann Darrow because Wray was not available.
King Kong (1933)
Burgess Meredith was a character actor that had a great long and varied career. The older crowd knows him as the Penguin from the “Batman” television show. A slightly younger crowd will remember him as Mick in the Rocky series. However, I like to remember him from Of Mice and Men (1939) and a light little comedy Foul Play (1978) where he was cast with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.
Meredith served in the Air Corp during WWII
1995 Grumpier Old Men – Grandpa Gustafson
1993 Grumpy Old Men – Grandpa Gustafson
1990 Rocky V – Mickey Goldmill
1982 Rocky III – Mickey Goldmill
1981 Clash of the Titans – Ammon
1979 Rocky II – Mickey
1978 Foul Play – Mr. Hennessey
1976 Rocky – Mickey
In Harm’s Way (1965 ) – Commander Egan Powell
Of Mice and Men (1939)- George Milton
Yvonne De Carlo was a Canadian actress that is best known for an unusual television role of Lily Munster in the 1964 runaway TV show “The Munsters.” In this role, she played a mother vampire married to a bumbling Frankenstein with a human niece and a werewolf son. Naturally, they had a live-in vampire grandpa for laughs.
Now I know that this is a movie podcast but there are a few connections that I have to make to close some loops. The werewolf son, Eddie, shows some signs of being part vampire such as sleeping in a drawer, having a widow’s peak, and hanging upside down. He was often seen with his werewolf doll named Woof-Woof, which looks an awful lot like Lon Chaney, Jr.’s character Larry Talbot from The Wolf Man (1941).
Until 1940, Yvonne appeared in three unbilled parts in short films. Finally, she got a part in a feature. Her big break came with Salome Where She Danced (1945). One of her small but important roles was … Continue reading