Saturday, August 13, 2011

Regis Toomey, 1898-1991

Today marks the birth anniversary of Regis Toomey, a name you might recognize if only because the man appeared in something like 70 movies in the 1930s, and almost as many in the 1940s; but a face you might not recognize because, having appeared in so many movies, the roles are mostly smaller ones. (He was one of the police detectives in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound? So says IMDb, and while I remember the appearance of the police in that movie, I don't remember any of the individual police.) Toomey also played police officers in The Big Sleep and The Devil and Miss Jones in the 1940s, as well as in several lesser-known 1930s movies. I guess that old trope about the Irish policeman rang true and Toomey, being of Irish descent, looked the part to play middle-aged Irish-American policemen. Anyhow, that's Toomey's face on the left.

Toomey is also part of a piece of trivia I first learned many years ago from one of those Guinness Book of World Records factoids, claiming that he had the longest screen kiss, in the 1941 movie You're in the Army Now, lasting just over three minutes with Jane Wyman. You'd wonder whether the censors administering the Production Code would let such a kiss get past, especially when you consider one of the pieces TCM shows on Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious about how they had to edit the kissing scenes between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Indeed, I couldn't find a reall three-minute kiss when I finally got to see You're in the Army Now on TCM; the closest there is is a scene that has Toomey and Wyman in the background looking like they're kissing, but there are cuts in that scene.

At any rate, if you want to see Regis Toomey, just turn on TCM, and you'll probably run into one of his movies within a day or two: apparently he was in both Dive Bomber and His Girl Friday which are on Sunday's schedule; also, the aforementioned The Big Sleep is part of Humphrey Bogart's day in Summer Under the Stars on Wednesday.

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