Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Columbus Day post

Back in 2009, I did a Columbus Day Lazy List Post, not looking at Columbus himself, but at some of the things that are vaguely related to Columbus Day. Technically, of course, Columbus Day should be celebrated either on October 10, or October 21 if you convert for the fact that the Gregorian calendar had not yet been invented in 1492.

In looking at IMDb, I'm mildly surprised that Christopher Columbus doesn't show up more often as a character. Sure, there haven't been too many feature films made about Columbus, but since IMDb lists television episodes and shorts, I'd have thought Columbus showed up a bit more often there. As for the feature films, I remembered the movies released in 1992 in time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' most famous voyage: Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise starring GĂ©rard Depardiu as Columbus, and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, in which top billing goes not to Columbus, but to Marlon Brando playing Torquemada; Tom Selleck as King Ferdinand is also billed above Columbus. The one other Hollywood version of Columbus would be the 1949 film starring Fredric March, which I think last aired on TCM when March was Star of the Month, and which I didn't get around to watching. One other actor of note to play Columbus is... Albert Bassermann. Yes, they guy who gets kidnapped in Foreign Correspondent; he started his career making silent movies in Germany, which apparently included a 1923 film about Columbus.

As for shorts or cameos, you can see Christopher Columbus played by Anthony Dexter in a scene in the hilariously bad The Story of Mankind when it shows up this Thursday on TCM thanks to the presence of Star of the Month Vincent Price. More interesting might be the animated movies. Those who grew up watching the Looney Tunes shorts on Saturday morning, which were a staple on one of the US broadcast TV networks until about the mid-1990s, might recall Hare We Go from 1951, in which Bugs Bunny accompanies Columbus on that famous voyage, with even less historical accuracy than any of the feature films.

The other short that sounds interesting is another one for which Mel Blanc provides the voices: Hysterical High Spots in American History, from 1941. This one was produced by Walter Lantz of Woody Woodpecker fame, and distributed by Universal, which is probably why it never shows up anywhere. Columbus is one of several figures from American history who shows up in the seven or so minutes of the short.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I have an account with "StatCounter" (it's free) that gives pretty decent incoming traffic analysis of my blogs. I'm able to see how often a "googlebot" comes to the sites and when. Generally the traffic comes from legitimate users.

It's possible that the TCM airing of The Story of Film inspired an increased interest for the Keaton film. I have on my DVR several episodes of the documentary that I have not yet watched yet; I'm sure that when I finally get around to watching it, I'll be doing some research on the films mentioned.