Thursday, July 28, 2011

More names and faces

Sometimes, I turn a film on a bit late and miss the opening credits. Part of the fun then becomes trying to recognize all the characters actors. And so it was when I flipped on Top Speed on TCM near the end this morning. I knew it was part of a birthday salute to Joe E. Brown, and he's extremely easy to recognize, thanks to his mouth. Frank McHugh was just as obvious, much as he was in Heat Lightning earlier this month. Most of the others, not so much; I think it's largely because the movie was made in 1930 and a lot of the people in the movie didn't have particularly memorable careers.

The opposite is seeing the names of old actors show up in the opening credits of something much later. I don't talk much about TV, but last night I just happened to turn on the local channel that shows "Retro TV" at the beginning of an episode of Starsky and Hutch. The credits were interesting for who the guest stars were. First wsa a special appearance from Joan Blondell, who was still as recognizable as she was in the 1930s, and not looking too much different from the way she does in The Cincinnati Kid or the promo for that film on trick card dealing which gets shown on TCM from time to time. Foster Brooks wasn't much of a movie actor, but his drunk shtick was just as easy to spot. On the other hand, there was George Tobias, a name that I recognized but whose face I couldn't spot. Looking him up on IMDb, it seems he was one of the smaller players on the TV sitcom Bewitched, which is where a lot of the photos of him lead. Since I don't watch too much in the way of TV series, I knew that wasn't where I'd seen him. And yet, he wasn't in that many bigger-name movies. Perhaps I was remembering the name from being the landlord in My Sister Eileen. Or maybe Yankee Doodle Dandy, except that I haven't seen either of those movies in some time.

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