Joan Blondell, Shining Star Forced to be a Satellite

“I don’t know what the secret to longevity as an actress is… maybe it’s the audience seeing itself in you.” … Joan Blondell

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Joanie should know. Joan Blondell, born Rose Joan Blondell on August 30, 1906, in NYC, lived her entire life performing on stage and screen. She died of leukemia on December 25, 1979 in Santa Monica, CA. It is bittersweet to honor this remarkable woman so close to what will be the 37th anniversary of her death this Christmas day.

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Joan was born to entertain audiences. She cut her teeth working with her comic parents on the vaudeville stages from age three to seventeen, while educated at the Professional Children’s School. She was a seasoned pro by the time she transitioned to the Ziegfeld Follies and then onto the Broadway stage.

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It was a Broadway production that paired her with James Cagney, which lead to five more celebrated film features, starting with John G. Adolfi’s SINNERS’ HOLIDAY (1931) where they reprised their stage roles. The other Blondell/Cagney paired films that followed are:  William Wellman’s OTHER MEN’S WOMEN (1931), William Wellman’s THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931), Howard Hawks’ THE CROWD ROARS (1932), Lloyd Bacon’s FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933), and HE WAS HER MAN (1934). The chemistry sizzle on the screen was visible between these two talents, making for memorable performances that launched both of their careers into an explosion of roles in the Pre-Code era. While they supposedly kept their romance limited to the screen, Cagney said she was the only woman other than his wife he ever loved.

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But to give you some perspective on just how much Blondell worked starting with the early talkies of the Pre-Codes and throughout the duration of the 1930s, she was in over fifty films during that decade alone. Most of this ridiculously busy schedule could be attributed to her contract with Warner Brothers. They kept her working fast and furious in roles at a time when being employed was a very good thing. And she enjoyed her WB family of co-star friends and filming crews immensely. The problem was, while she found herself in-demand and in work, she was not only typecast but stuck below the top tier of the marquee.

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While others demanded more and knew how to cause ripples within the political studio system in a persuasive way (like her good friend Bette Davis), Blondell thought of her job as a job. Joan punched the clock and went home when the job was done. She worked extremely hard, acted consistently professional, but didn’t desire to play the ambitious game.

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Working free of the studio playbook in the 1940s and 1950s, the work was less frequent and the pace less brutal; yet offered some meatier roles, such as Gail Richards in TOPPER RETURNS (1941), Aunt Sissy in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945), Zeena Krumbein in NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947), and Annie Rawlins in THE BLUE VEIL (1951) for which she was nominated for An Oscar, Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Even still, she struggled to garner critical acclaim in a way that moved her name up to the leading lady, mega star status.

The 1950s ushered in the television age and Joan Blondell was determined to be a player. The frequency of roles kept her busier but yet again, she found herself working harder, not smarter in struggling to move her name to the top position in billing.

The 1960s and 1970s brought memorable roles such as Jenny in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER (1971), Lady Fingers in THE CINCINNATI KID (1965), Sarah Goode in OPENING NIGHT (1977) and Dolly in THE CHAMP (1979). Her TV work continued with roles such as Lottie Hatfield in “Here Come the Brides.” Fans unaware of her saucy and leggy days as a Pre-Code platinum blonde may know her more for her later work such as Vi in GREASE (1978) or caught her in reruns from retro TV networks such her bit parts in 50’s TV westerns, Starsky and Hutch (1976), The Love Boat (1978), Fantasy Island (1979) and so much more.

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She worked right up until the end, even while battling the Leukemia that ultimately took her life in 1979, with her last role being Aunt Coll in THE WOMAN INSIDE (1981), released posthumously. With 160 acting credits to her name, and after publishing her popular 1972 autobiographical novel “Center Door Fancy,” Joan never quit.

Married three times, divorced three times, her first husband famed cinematographer George S. Barnes (m. 1933-1936) was a decision reflecting her “naive sophisticate”(as James Cagney called her) ways of a younger Joanie, fresh in her film career. Emotionally dysfunctional, this relationship was fated for disaster. Barnes was still married to his third wife as their romance grew and he assured her the marriage was on paper only and would be ended swiftly. During this time of officially divorcing his third wife and marrying Joan (he went on to marry for a total seven times), she became pregnant and he arranged for the termination. Their son and only child from the marriage, TV producer/director Norman Scott Barnes was born in 1934 but later changed his last name to Powell in 1938 when Barnes relinquished all parental rights and he was adopted by Joan’s second husband.

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Her second marriage to actor Dick Powell (m. 1936-1944) was more stable but tepid in romance. In addition to adopting Norman, they had a child together, Ellen Powell, who is known for her makeup department work in film and tv, such as her Emmy nominated work in hair styling.

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Joan and Dick made ten musicals together. But after they both had grown weary of the incessant typecasting of formulaic musicals each began over a decade prior, just as they attempted to move their careers in more dramatic roles, their marriage also became stagnant. Right up until the time Dick left Joan for actress June Allyson. In this same pivotal year Dick Powell left one marriage for another, he left his sugary musicals and boyish charm behind with MURDER MY SWEET (1944), launching a dramatically different type in his cinematic world with film noir and never looked back.

Her last husband (m. 1947-1950), producer Michael Todd was said to be physically abusive and a financial mess, thanks to heavy gambling and repeatedly poor investments. She found this relationship to be her most passionate. Great for the bedroom initially but later his behavior revealed itself into abuse. His chaotic ways also wiped out her savings. So she continued to work for the next three decades-because financially she had to.

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She wasn’t always lucky in love or ambition, but certainly made up for it in talent, enduring work ethic and generosity of spirit. Time after time, this unforgettable performer played second-fiddle, the rapid-fire, sharp-tongued best friend, the second lead, the snarky office gal, the lingerie-clad roomie, the sharp opportunist, the frowzy, lovable saloon owner, the gangster’s girlfriend, the wise aunt, and the down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is scene-stealer. She was all these nuances of woman and more. She mastered tv and film, Pre-Codes, dramas, and comedies. But she never truly reached the well-deserved splendor of consistent top billing.

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While I admire the entire breadth of Joan Blondell’s work, I am always biased towards her early days of Pre-Codes. You couldn’t find a better pair of sexy gams in those Busby Berkley musicals and she delivered such hilariously sassy lines with the perfect punch. Take a look at her delicious delivery of “As long as they’ve got sidewalks, YOU’VE got a job!” as she proceeds to kick the woman out the door, right in the tuchus, in Lloyd Bacon’s FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933) or her haunting “My Forgotten Man” in Mervyn LeRoy’s THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933. There are too many to list here (because the woman was a damn work-horse during those years!) But no matter how small the role, Joan Blondell made it her own and she made it memorable. So yes, Joanie, you did know the secret to longevity as actress, and perhaps your greatest role in life was that of survivor- a role this audience member and countless other fans can relate.

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*This was my contribution to the What A Character! Blogathon, hosted by Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club, and yours truly. Please review all three days for a recap of fantastic character actor tributes… THANK YOU & ENJOY!! 🙂

day one: kellee

day two: aurora

day three: paula

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Victor McLaglen – A Man as Big as the Screen

*The following is a guest post by my husband Gary, aka Santa on twitter as @SantaIsThinking

I signed up for the What A Character! Blogathon to write a post on one of my favorite character actors, Victor McLaglen (pronounced Muh-clog-len, not Mack-loff-len) because he appears in my favorite movies, adorns one of my walls at home, and reminds me in so many ways of my dad.

As I did research on him I realized that plenty had been written on him so what could I possibly add to that? He’s very loved by so many. So I decided, as I sit here with a Guinness, to focus on two things that I find most interesting about him, his adventurous youth and his big screen (grin) charm. vm-image-1

Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen (10 December 1886 – 7 November 1959)

His Adventurous Youth – Boers, Boxing, and Baghdad

Victor McLaglen was big enough at 14 to enlist in the English Army to fight the Boers. (Sounds like a young English lad’s dream, until he was found out a short time after and had to exit the Army.) When he was 18, he moved to Canada, became a wrestler and a boxer and toured with circuses, vaudeville and Wild West shows.

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He fought under his own name and took on the nickname ‘Sharkey’ McLaglen. In 1909, he survived a 6-round exhibition bout with heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Commenting later on the fight, “He never knocked me down . . . but he sure beat the livin’ be-Jesus out of me.” In 1918, he was named the heavyweight champion of the British Army. For the record, Victor’s lifetime boxing record (as far as is known) was 11-6-1, with 9 KOs.

He returned to Britain in 1913 and enlisted in the Army, then served as captain (acting) with the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. Besides serving in WW1, other early chapters in his life included serving as a bodyguard for an Indian Rajah and later as Provost Marshal (head of Military Police) for the city of Baghdad. In the 1920’s, he was off to Hollywood.

His Career – Big Screen Grins and Bromance

Though a big man at 6’ 2 1/2” and broad-shouldered, it was his roguish charm and big toothy smile that took up most of the big screen. He often grinned and fought his was across the screen with the biggest Hollywood stars of the day (including Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, John Wayne, and Maureen O’Hara). The ease and charm with which he interacted with his co-stars served to compliment and enhance their own substantial on-screen charisma.

Victor appeared as MacChesney, in the original bromance adventure movie Gunda Din (1939). The chemistry he had with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks is why this film is in my top 5 films of all time. His comic timing and dialogue delivery was on par with his co-actors. If you’ve not seen it, rent it or buy it. And if you have seen it, might be time to watch it again (so says my Guinness). As you watch these three British sergeants and their native water bearer take on a murder cult in colonial British India, you’ll see a “best buds” heroic action movie DNA that has been passed down and continues to make ripples through many more modern flicks (and not just that poor Temple of Doom movie.)

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In The Quite Man (1952), McLaglen (now late in his career) played the role of Squire “Red” Will Danaher, resident loud-mouthed brother to Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara.) In it, Victor squares off with Sean Thornton (John Wayne) over his sister, a farmstead, and that ornery Irish pride. It’s got romance, drinking, brawling, and… brawling. And the extended cast is a who’s who of some of the best character actors of the day. By the time this was filmed, Victor was 64, but he still gave John Wayne a run for his money with his hulking physical presence and personality (though John Ford and Wayne did have to take it easy on him during filming). His performance got him his second Academy nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

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This post isn’t an exhaustive overview of McLaglen’s life and family; others have done a better job of that. Rather it’s a feel-good loving tribute to someone I love watching on film. But if you want a few other notable movies to watch to get his range, try The Informer (1935) for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) another great pairing with Ford and John Wayne and The Lost Patrol (1934). The last Pre-Code feature has Boris Karloff in it and is a great survival story.

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McLaglen received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. I discovered his films in the early 70’s with my dad and continue to re-watch them today with my Irish wife. That lovable, hard-nosed character actor will always have a place in my heart…and I hope he can find a place in yours.

This is my entry to the 2016 What A Character! Blogathon, hosted by Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled, Aurora at Once Upon A Screen, and Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club, taking place all this weekend. Check all three day’s of posts this weekend for other fascinating character actor profiles. Catch me as @santaisthinking on Twitter.

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It’s here! 5th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON: Day 1

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The day has finally arrived to honor those unsung heroes of the silver screen, the character actor. For the 5th year, the classic film obsessed trio of Aurora aka @CitizenScreen of ONCE UPON A SCREEN, Paula aka @TCM_Party & @Paula_Guthat of PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB and yours truly, Kellee aka @Irishjayhawk66 of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED bring you this film community tribute to the marvelous scene-stealers.

DAY ONE:

Movies Silently profiles the popular character actor known for his soothing voice, EDWARD EVERETT HORTON in one of his early talkies, After The Silents: LONELY WIVES 1931.

The Wonderful World of Cinema explains How Arthur Kennedy Changed My Cinematic Life.  As Virginie writes, “Arthur Kennedy was Arthur Kennedy, he couldn’t have been anybody else and nobody could have been him.”

Real Weegie Midget Reviews revisits a tribute post with Looking Back at the Actor, the Voice and Movies of ALAN RICKMAN.

Jack Deth, as guest blogger on Paulas Cinema Club, offers up a “Shot and a Chaser” of two works of M. EMMET WALSH:

As he summarizes, “Though I was well-versed in Walsh’s work prior to these initial meetings, it’s these two roles which reached out, took hold, and shook me to this actor’s grossly underestimated talents.”

Then, Theresa of CINEMAVEN’S Essays From The Couch takes on a “Mighty Roman”, RUTH ROMAN, in her performance in “Tomorrow Is Another Day” 1951. 

As she describes Roman, “There’s a touch of danger in her. Her performances are believable and with conviction. I’m not quite sure why she really wasn’t a bigger star.” Read more to see what Theresa unveils.

Next, Thoughts All Sorts examines the many character lives of MICHAEL WINCOTT.

As this blogger aptly scribes on Wincott, “There was something about him that just drew me in…Or, maybe it’s just that he’s a great artist, understated but vital.” We couldn’t agree more.

Next up, The Last Drive In views All Kinds of Observable Differences in the World of RUTH GORDON for us.

As this blogger writes, “There’s a vast dimension and range to Ruth Gordon’s work both her screenwriting and her acting, the effects leave a glowing trail like a shooting star.” Amen to that!


I will continue to update this list throughout the day and don’t forget to look on twitter for contributor shout-outs, too. So check back frequently! These participating writers continue to educate and dazzle us so I encourage you to not only read, but give lovely feedback, to these fine folks.

Look for day two and day three of this mega blogging event via my co-hosts, Aurora and Paula… much more to enjoy throughout the entire weekend!

A huge THANK YOU to all the contributors and my cinematic charming co-hosts! … Kellee

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Announcement: 5th annual WHAT A CHARACTER Blogathon

“What’s great about being a character actor is you know that you can survive forever. It’s not about the gloss of your eyebrows.” – Martin Short

We’re back for a fifth consecutive year to honor the versatility and depth of supporting players with the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon.  Based on a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon is an event that many look forward to each year.  Your enthusiasm for paying tribute to the oft nameless faces that appear in countless beloved classic movies is admirable.  Aurora, Paula and I extend a sincere thanks to all the bloggers who have joined us in the previous four years and invite you all to help us make the fifth anniversary extra special.

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By now you know the drill.  This is for the Louise Beavers and Eddie Andersons of the world, the names that never appeared above the title.  If this is right up your movie alley then give us a shout out…
Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled and (@IrishJayhawk66) and Kellee Pratt

Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club and (@Paula_Guthat) and Paula Guthat

Aurora at Once Upon a Screen and (@CitizenScreen) and Citizen Screen

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And please adhere to the following:

-Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.
-We will not accept repeats since there are so many greats worthy of attention, but your choices are not limited to classics. You can choose any character actor from any era and from the medium of television, which featured a number of talented regulars.  Scroll down to see the list of chosen characters.
-Don’t take it for granted we know exactly who you are or where your blog resides – please include the title and url to your blog.
-Publish the post for either December 16, 17 & 18.  Let us know if you have a date preference, otherwise we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
-Please include one of Paula’s beautiful event banners on your blog to help us promote the event and include it in your post.
-It would be really helpful if you can send any of us the direct link to your post.  Searching on social media sites can lead to missed entries.

HAVE FUN and spread the word!

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#WhatACharacter Roll Call

Outspoken & Freckled – Joan Blondell

Cindy Bruchman – Eileen Brennan

Blogferatu – John Carradine

Film Noir Archive – Elisha Cook, Jr.

Wanna Be Film Critic – Jack Davenport

Critica Retro – Margaret Dumont

Shadows and Satin – Hope Emerson

Immortal Ephemera – Stanley Fields

The Last Drive In – Ruth Gordon

Old Hollywood Films – Sidney Greenstreet

Once Upon a Screen – Edmund Gwenn

The Midnight Drive-In – John Hillerman

Movies Silently – Edward Everett Horton

The Wonderful World of Cinema – Arthur Kennedy

A Shroud Of Thoughts – Charles Lane

Gary Pratt/ guest post on Outspoken & Freckled – Victor Mclaglen

Anna, Look! – Ben Mendelsohn

In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Agnes Morehead

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – Mildred Natwick

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest – Una O’Connor

RealweegieMidgit Reviews – Alan Rickman

Life’s Daily Lessons – Margaret Rutherford

Christina Wehner – Takashi Shimura

Movie Movie Blog Blog – JK Simmons

CineMaven’s Essays From The Couch – Art Smith

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – George Tobias

Jack Deth/ guest post on Paula’s Cinema Club – M Emmett Walsh

Blog Of The Darned – David Wayne

Thoughts All Sorts – Michael Wincott

Caftan Woman – Cora Witherspoon

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A big thank you – HAPPY BLOGGING!

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Last Day of the 2015 WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon

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Elsa is beside herself and so are we. It is bittersweet to see the last day arrive for our 4th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. We’ve come to realize you love this blogathon as much as we do. With good reason- why not celebrate those fun, quirky character actors that take those small roles and steal every scene? So here we have arrived to the third and final day to honor character actors of new and old.

Let’s kick it off with…

LOUISE BEAVERS, who according to GIRLS DO FILM, “imbued each role with subtlety and a certain dignity, forcing audiences to acknowledge her characters despite the stereotype.” A must-read on that character actor you may not know the name, but you undoubtedly know her.

MOVIE CLASSICS unravels the mystery behind the allusive “unnamed old woman” who starred on stage and over 70 films, ZEFFIE TILBURY. A fascinating read!

SHADOWS AND SATIN adds WILLIAM CONRAD into her month-long Noirvember event with a profile on the prolific star of radio and TV but as she scribes, “he should also be honored for the versatility that allowed him to wear the hats of producer, director, executive, and one of the greatest screen heavies of film noir.”

MOVIE FAN FARE! brings us a delightful look at MARIA OUSPENSKAYA: (Screen) Life Begins at 60, “whose passion for acting took her from the remotest regions of her native Russia to the Broadway stage and the highest accolades of Hollywood.” Talk about a true character.

CRITICA RETRO educates us on the great Brazilian character actor WILSON GREY who “is proof that it does not take the protagonist to be memorable – and leave their mark forever in the history of cinema.”

IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD goes deep with a tribute to the legendary ETHEL BARRYMORE: A PROMINENT STAPLE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY who is “remembered as one of the brightest stars to ever have her presence grace the stage and screen.” We couldn’t agree more.

SMITTEN KITTEN VINTAGE takes a peek at the hilarious JOE E. BROWN who as Rhonda points out, “will always be remembered for his giant smile and his comedic timing. I will remember him as a man who could make me laugh by just being himself.”

WAC co-hostess with the most-ess Aurora of ONCE UPON A SCREEN provides us with fantastic insight on THE ROTUND and GRAVEL VOICED OL RELIABLE EUGENE PALLETTE . As she astutely observes, “the admiration for Pallette is warranted as his rotund frame and gravel-voiced delivery will reliably continue to entertain for as long as we have classic movies to enjoy.”

I SEE A DARK THEATER provides a insight into THE MARVELOUS MARSHA HUNT who has… “always been a fighter. In fact, she continues to be one to this day with the signature elegance and humility she’s possessed for the past 98 years.”

BLOG OF THE DARNED presents “When You Have To Shoot, Shoot, Don’t Talk- What a Character Blogathon: ELI WALLACH.” As he puts it, “I think that is the sign of really great actor, he makes whatever he’s in that much better. Old or young, that’s what Eli Wallach did.”

HOMETOWNS TO HOLLYWOOD gives us a career perspective on a character actor favorite… the beautiful, funny and sometimes troubled life of UNA MERKEL 

I urge you to check back here throughout the day as more terrific posts come tumbling in. I will update as they come in.

*announcement post

*day one posts

*day two posts

In the meantime…

On behalf of my fellow co-hosts Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club, and myself- we THANK YOU for joining in, reading on and celebrating with us this love and appreciation of those fabulous character actors!

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What a Character, Franklin Pangborn

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A nance, effeminate, fussbudget, aesthete or pansy performer. Franklin Pangborn was called many names but ‘successful and inspirational trailblazer’ of the character acting world suits much better. He possessed that readily recognizable face in films spanning across the first half of the twentieth century. Often playing a role of a man in the service industry, countless times he stole small scenes on the big screen.

The Early Years:

Born prior to the late nineteenth century in 1889 in Newark, New Jersey, much of his youth remains a mystery. He performed dramatic roles on the Broadway stage in handful of productions in the years 1911-1913 but not again until 1924, while serving in the first World War in the midst. He made his way into silent films but his career started kicking into high gear when he transitioned into talkies.

Pangborn kept busy in the 1930s, with over eighty appearances in films and shorts in the Pre-Code years alone. Some of his most notable films during the 30s include:

TOPPER TAKES A TRIP (1938) – hotel manager

JOY OF LIVING (1938) – orchestra leader

STAGE DOOR (1937) – “Harcourt”

EASY LIVING (1937) – “Van Buren”

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936) – the tailor

MY MAN GODFREY (1936) – “Guthrie”

IMITATION OF LIFE (1934) – “Mr. Carven”

DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933) – theatrical producer, “Mr. Douglas”

FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933) – hotel manager, “Hammerstein”

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By working with a parade of top directors like Frank Capra and Preston Sturges, Pangborn was finding himself not just in more and more films, but in roles of a very specific, and very comedic, type. He carried the look of “Droopy the dog” with his pronounced, dangly jowls, a thin mustache and the exaggerated mannerisms that just beg for comedy. He played characters of a variety of occupations but typically of the service, lower to mid management or hospitality field- but always with an air of culture, class and etiquette. The comedy kicks in when well-mannered, orderly Pangborn is interrupted with mayhem and chaos (as inevitably occurs every time). Then we see hilarity ensue as Franklin Pangborn loses his singular endeavor to maintain calm in the storm. As one would expect, this comedic skill was at its finest most especially for screwball comedies.

The 1940s brought even greater success as he perfected his craft. Audiences were delighted to see his popular, highly recognizable characterizations. Here is just a sampling of some impressive film highlights:

THE BANK DICK (1940) – “J Pinkerton Snoopington”

SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (1941) – “Mr. Casalsis”

NOW, VOYAGER (1942) – “Mr. Thompson”

THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) – manager

LOVER COME BACK (1946) – hotel clerk

Television:

The 1950s was the ideal transition into TV for Pangborn. It was the hottest medium of the day and he was all over it. He found greater success of steady work making appearances on the small screen more than the big screen during this decade. He appeared in fifteen TV series in the 50s, usually with return appearances on each show.  Some of his television highlights included:

“The Mickey Rooney Show” (1955)

“The Colgate Comedy Hour” (1955)

“Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson” (1955)

“The Jack Paar Tonight Show” (1957)

*Franklin Panghorn was actually the original voice announcer for the premiere broadcast of The Tonight Show and he made repeated appearances on the show that year.

“The Red Skelton Hour” (1958)

In addition to all of his TV work, he also had a big screen gig as the Marquis de Varennes in the mega star-studded film THE STORY OF MANKIND (1958).

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He was in good company with similarly styled characters like Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore. They say he influenced comedy greats that followed like Bert Lahr, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, Nathan Lane, and Rowan Atkinson. Top filmmakers wanted to work with him. He was a favorite of WC Fields and top comedy directors like Gregory La Cava, Frank Capra and Preston Sturges.

It’s hard to say how far his career could’ve reached with this continual success because his life was abruptly interrupted by cancer. He worked right up to his illness and died after surgery for removal his tumor. A sad and premature loss but I’m happy his quirky comedy legacy lives on forever via the silver screen.

This was my contribution to the 4th annual WHAT A CHARACTER BLOGATHON, proudly hosted by Paula of PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB, Aurora of ONCE UPON A SCREEN and me, Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED. Please explore all three day posts of the talented entries on each on theses sites.

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Announcement~4th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon

WE’RE BACK for number 4!

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WHAT A CHARACTER! a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) so that we could dedicate a blogathon to those whose names few remember – the players who rarely got leading parts, exhibiting instead a versatility and depth many leading actors wished they had.  Aurora, Paula and I never tire of seeing them or paying tribute and as the previous three installments of this event proved, neither do you.  So, here we are with the fourth annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon.
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To say we’re thrilled is an understatement and we hope you’ll join us in spotlighting the Edmund Gwenns and Spring Byingtons of the world, the oft forgotten names that never appeared above the title.  If this is right up your movie alley then give us a shout out…

Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled and (@IrishJayHawk66) and Kellee Pratt

Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club and (@Paula_Guthat) and Paula Guthat

Aurora at Once Upon a Screen and (@CitizenScreen) and Citizen Screen

And please adhere to the following:

  • Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.  Since there are so many greats worthy of mention, we won’t take any repeats and we’re not limiting these to “classic” actors.  AND… since the medium of Television has featured such greats through the years as well we’re widening the field to include small-screen characters this year. 
  • Don’t take it for granted we know exactly who you are or where your blog resides – please include the title and url to your blog.
  • Publish the post for either November 14, 15 & 16.  Let us know if you have a date preference, otherwise we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
  • Please include the blogathon graphic on your blog to help us publicize the event and include it in your post.
  • It would be really helpful if you can send any of us the direct link to your post.  Searching on social media sites can lead to missed entries.
  • HAVE FUN and spread the word!  There are many great characters worthy of attention.

Participating blogs and chosen Character Actors

Now Voyaging ~ Robert Barrat
In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood ~ Ethel Barrymore

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Girls Do Film ~ Louise Beavers

Aperture Reviews ~ Whit Bissell
Movies, Silently ~ Elmer Booth
Smitten Kitten Vintage ~ Joe E. Brown
Caftan Woman ~ Harry Carey & Harry Carey Jr.
Speakeasy ~ Eduardo Ciannelli

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Phyllis Loves Classic Movies ~ Charles Coburn

Mother Time Musings ~ Gladys Cooper

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Tales Of The Easily Distracted ~ Lloyd Corigan (in BOSTON BLACKIE and THE BIG CLOCK)

Hometowns to Hollywood ~ Harry Davenport
Silver Screenings ~ Daffy Duck
Tales From the Border ~ Dwight Frye
Movie Movie Blog Blog ~ Ned Glass
Classic Film & TV Cafe ~ Sydney Greenstreet
Critica Retro ~ Wilson Grey
I See A Dark Theater ~ Marsha Hunt
The Motion Pictures ~ Allen Jenkins
Guest post on Once Upon a Screen ~ Tommy Lee Jones
Silver Scenes ~ Allyn Joslyn
Spellbound By Movies ~ Tom Kennedy
Immortal Ephemera ~ Guy Kibbee
CineMaven’s Essays From the Couch ~ Peter Lorre
The View From The Back Row ~ Marjorie Main
Second Sight Cinema ~ Dickie Moore
The Last Drive-In ~ Agnes Moorehead
A Shroud of Thoughts ~ Frank Morgan
Shadows and Satin ~ Clarence Muse
Joel’s Classic Film Passion ~ Una O’Connor
Outspoken & Freckled ~ Franklin Panghorn
Just a Cienast ~ John Qualen
Cinematic Catharsis ~ Michael Ripper

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Old Hollywood Films ~ SZ “Cuddles” Sakall

Portraits by Jenni ~ C. Aubrey Smith

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Le Mot Du Cinephiliaque ~ Harry Dean Stanton

BNoirDetour ~ Helen Walker
Once Upon a Screen ~ Mary Wickes
Wide Screen World ~ Shelley Winters
Sister Celluloid ~ Roland Young

A big THANK YOU – HAPPY BLOGGING!

wac1

The faces on the banner:

Row 1: (L-R) Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Margaret Dumont, Edward Arnold, Albert Dekker, Ann Miller, Leon Errol

Row 2: (L-R) Dan Duryea, Eugene Palette, Aline MacMahon, Charles Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Billie Burke

Row 3: (L-R) Spring Byington, Walter Brennan, Hattie McDaniel, Gene Lockhart, Margaret O’Brien, Edgar Kennedy

Row 4: (L-R) Eric Blore, Franklin Pangborn, Frank Morgan, Guy Kibbee, Gloria Grahame, Jane Darwell

Row 5: (L-R) Judith Anderson, Edward Everett Horton, Eve Arden, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Thelma Ritter, Louis Calhern

Row 6: (L-R) Charles Lane, Kim Hunter, David Wayne, Louise Beavers, Cecil Kellaway, Shemp Howard

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