A Great Movie

Jan 23, 2014

So, what does the Capster do on the afternoons when he's not playing bridge...

I love to watch old movies.  And, thanks to the internet, I love to google things about these movies while I am watching.  This afternoon I watched “The High and the Mighty”, a wonderful movie from 1954.  There are many aspects of the movie which I appreciated very much.

First off, the music score was written by Dimitri Tiomkin.  He is one of the greatest at writing memorable melodies for movies.  He wrote “High Noon”; “Rawhide”; and the haunting “High and the Mighty” theme, whistled by John Wayne.
 

The other thing I appreciated about this movie is something you never see any more in the movies of today.  Let me know the next time you recognize more than 4-5 characters in a current movie.  In “The High and the Mighty”, there are more than two dozen prominent actors that were easily recognizable.
 

John Wayne                       What more can you say?  Played football for USC with Ward Bond. 

Claire Trevor                      In two other of my favorite movies; “Stagecoach” with Wayne, and “Key Largo” with Bogart.

Laraine Day                         Got her start playing with George “the Chest” O’Brien, one of my favorite Western actors.  Married to Leo Durocher.

Robert Stack                      Loved him in the TV series “The Untouchables”.  I met him in L.A..  He said he learned French and Italian before English. 

Jan Sterling                         From a well-to-do family, but known for “sluttish” roles.  Once married to actor Paul Douglas.

Phil Harris                            Born in Linton, Indiana………never heard of it.

Ann Doran                          More than 500 movies from “The Three Stooges” to “Rebel Without a Cause”.

Robert Newton                 Most fame was as “Long John Silver” in Disney’s “Treasure Island”—shivver me timbers----aarghh.

David Brian                         Great actor.  In one of my favorite westerns (“The Springfield Rifle”) and had one of the great Star Trek roles (as John Gill, a Fuhrer-type).

Paul Kelly                             More than 400 movies—nobody knows his name---served two years in Q, for killing a fellow actor in a fist fight!

Sidney Blackmer               More than 120 movies---one of those “who is that guy” actors.  Attended the University of North Carolina.  Played Teddy Roosevelt many times. Julie Bishop                            Was in “Sands of Iwo Jima” with Wayne.  This great movie was directed by Alan Dwan (more than 1,000 movies to his credit).  Dwan was

                                                a Notre Dame Quarterback (1906)  and Electrical Engineering Graduate.

Pedro Gonzalez                You’ve seen him many times and don’t know his name.  Here’s an item from his Wikipedia bio:

 

In 1953, he appeared on the Groucho Marx quiz show You Bet Your Life under the name Ramiro G. Gonzalez, where his banter with Marx attracted notice. Marx asked him: "What does the 'G' stand for?" to which he replied "Gonzalez", and explained that both his parents had been surnamed "Gonzales" before being married. So Marx asked: "What does your wife call you: Ramiro or Gonzalez?" He replied "She calls me 'Pedro'", triggering audience laughter. After Gonzales performed a 15-second comic dance to strong applause, Marx complimented his guest's comedic skill, saying: "Pedro, we could do a great act together. We could make a fortune in vaudeville, you and I. What -- what would we call our act, you know, if we went out together? 'The Two Hot Tamales'?" After Pedro deadpanned "Gonzales-Gonzales and Marx", Groucho made an aside: "That's a nice billing. Two people in the act, and I get third place in the billing!"

 

John Howard                     Allegedly Phi Beta Kappa from Case-Western Reserve, so must have been very smart.  Won the Navy Cross and French Croix de Guerre for his military service on a minesweeper.  Played Fred McMurray’s boss in “My Three Sons” TV series.

Wally Brown                       Long-time radio and TV character.  Was in a Bela Lugosi movie….which I mention because I owned Bela’s final home in Hollywood.

William Campbell             Many movies.  First person to sing with Elvis (!) in a movie.  Once married to Judith Exner, who had dalliances with the mob and JFK.

John Qualen                       If you need a Norwegian, he’s your man.  Played Lars Rockne, in “Knute Rockne, All American”.

Paul Fix                                 A zillion movies (the Judge in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and TV shows (most fame as the Sheriff in “The Rifleman”).  John Wayne’s acting coach.

George Chandler             Another of those many “faces” known to us, but not by name.

Joy Kim                                 Only two movies, both with John Wayne.  He liked exotic women.  Hmm.

Michael Wellman             Only person in the credits with a skimpy resume, except Kim.

Douglas Fowley                Played Doc Holliday in many episodes of “The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp”.

Regis Toomey                    In 1941, and Jane Wyman had the longest screen kiss in cinema history: 3 minutes and 5 seconds, in “You’re in the Army Now.” 

Carl Switzer                        This is “Alfalfa” from the “Our Gang” comedies!  If you want to read something bizarre, read his Wiki bio, to see how he died.

Robert Keys                       Has a nice list of 40 some TV shows.

William Dewolf Hopper Great life story.  Won bronze star as Navy Frogman in WWII.  Famous as Paul Drake in “Perry Mason” series.  Mother was Hedda Hopper.  Was in three of my all-time favorite movies:  “Knute Rockne All American”; “Maltese Falcon; and “Stagecoach”.  Dewolf Hopper, his grandfather, was famous for his recitation of “Casey at the Bat”.

William Schallert               In the running for the most movie-TV credits all time.  May still be alive (92?).  I first recall him as “Mr. Pomfritt” on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”.

Julie Mitchum                    Brother of Robert Mitchum, who once did some time in the L.A. County Jail, in the Hall of Justice, a historic building where I once had an office.

Doe Avedon                       From her Wikipedia bio:  In the 1957 movie Funny Face, the role of Jo, played by Audrey Hepburn is based on the beginning of Dorcas's career as a model. The role of Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire was based on fashion photographerRichard Avedon, who became her husband and whose idea it was to change her name from Dorcas to Doe.

Karen Sharpe                     Married to famed Producer Stanley Kramer.  Had a recurring role in “Johnny Ringo”, which was the first TV series produced by Aaron Spelling.  In the 80’s, ABC was nicknamed “Aaron’s Broadcasting Company”.  Aaron owned Bing Crosby’s estate.  It was magnificent.  In the late 80’s, I did a security review on the property.  Aaron finally decided that he wanted to tear it down!  He then built a ridiculously large and expensive home in its place.  It was for sale by his widow, for $150 Million.  Sold for a mere $85 Mill.  Spelling decided not to implement the security plans suggested by me and a colleague.  Why?  He had two police cars parked in his driveway at all times.  Both cars had a door shield which said “Metro P.D.”.  They were props from “Charley’s Angels” or one of his other TV shows. 

John Smith                          He had a very nice film career.  A descendent of Peter Stuyvesant.

Robert Easton                   He was uncredited in this movie, but one of Hollywood’s leading voice coaches.  Lived in Toluca Lake, not far from my final L.A. home.  My daughters would go “trick or treating” in Toluca Lake because Bob Hope and Fonzie each had homes there…..and generous treats. 

Douglas Kennedy             I first paid attention to him because he went to Amherst with my high school Latin Teacher, who talked about him.  Kennedy was uncredited in the movie.  He played a minor supporting role.  He had his own TV Western Series (“Steve Donovan, Western Marshall”), in 1954.  Later he played a lot of gunfighters.


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