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  #51  
Old 11-22-2016, 06:51 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Van Heflin graduated from college, and then picked up a master's, before hitting it big in the movies: his supporting role in 1941's JOHNNY EAGER got him an Oscar, and in 1942 he got his first starring role in KID GLOVE KILLER; and he then followed up with top-billed roles in GRAND CENTRAL MURDER and TENNESSEE JOHNSON.

Anyhow, after WWII Heflin was still out there in the public eye: getting second billing under Barbara Stanwyck, and then second billing under Joan Crawford, and then second billing under Lana Turner; and then back to top billing, over Susan Hayward, in '48; and then back to second billing, under Jennifer Jones, in '49.
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  #52  
Old 11-23-2016, 06:39 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Lloyd Bridges graduated from UCLA in the 1930s, and in the 1940s started getting top billing by playing a criminal on the run from the law in Trapped when he wasn't busy playing Phil Corrigan, Secret Agent X-9, in Secret Agent X-9.

(And, sure, he was second-billed to his leading lady in Secret Service Investigator, as you can see by looking at the movie poster -- but just look at that movie poster! He's the dynamic man of action, and she's the small head staring into the distance?)

Last edited by The Other Waldo Pepper; 11-23-2016 at 06:42 AM..
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  #53  
Old 11-24-2016, 08:10 AM
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Berkeley grad Donald Woods got top billing in Road Gang (as the crusading newsman sentenced to hard labor) and in The Talent Scout (as the agent who can make that girl a STAR; a STAR!) and in The Florentine Dagger (as the guy who doesn't know if he's a killer) and in The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (as, well, Perry Mason).

Anyhow, after that he moved on to comedic second billing as the straight man to the incredible Lupe Vélez in The Girl From Mexico -- which soon led to them reprising their roles as newlyweds in Mexican Spitfire, and then promptly coming back for more of the same in Mexican Spitfire Out West.

Granted, he then got second-billed to the dog in 1949's The Return of Rin Tin Tin. But, hey, that still counts, right?
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  #54  
Old 11-25-2016, 06:51 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Martha Scott graduated from the University of Michigan before racking up an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in her screen debut in 1940; she was second-billed to William Holden in that one -- and after being second-billed to Cary Grant later that year, she was top-billed as the star of CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP in 1941; and so it went as the '40s went on: she'd get second billing as Fredric March's leading lady in one movie, and second billing as John Wayne's in another; and then she'd get right back to earning top billing, as the star of STRANGE BARGAIN.

And so on.
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  #55  
Old 11-26-2016, 12:04 AM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Polish-born writer of many Dixie-oriented songs for film and stage, as well as over 200 hits including 'Happy Days Are Here Again', Jack Yellen; University of Michigan, class of 1913.

Last edited by Nawth Chucka; 11-26-2016 at 12:05 AM..
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  #56  
Old 11-26-2016, 12:23 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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Something to remember is that back before about 1950, you could be in an advanced academic program in high school that was very rigorous (high schools were more about preparing people for specific careers than they are now, and had large vocational wings, rigorous academic wings, and secretarial schools, accounting schools, etc.), and you had a major, and graduated with a diploma to pursue a career. Many women and some men graduated with teaching certificates. You could have a degree in accounting from high school, or be prepared to enter law school, depending on the school.

Irene Dunne earned a high school diploma to teach art, but then won a contest, and was awarded a prestigious scholarship to the Chicago Musical College (a conservatory), where she graduated in 1926.

That's not quite the same thing as a four-year degree, but she was very accomplished academically, and known around the studios as very bright, and a shrewd negotiator. Her career was very early in the studio system: her first major film was in 1930, and her last in 1952, with some TV credits as well. She managed to remain a free agent during a large part of the studio system, and as a result, made quire a lot more money per film than most people.
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  #57  
Old 11-26-2016, 01:09 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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At that, it's my understanding that Margaret Hamilton earned a teaching certificate at college before achieving cinematic immortality as the Wicked Witch of the West. (And, speaking of on-screen witches: Agnes Moorehead simply got an undergraduate degree in biology before picking up a master's and working as a teacher for years before racking up those three Academy Award nominations in the '40s.)
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  #58  
Old 11-26-2016, 01:16 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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(Which brings to mind Wellesley grad Anne Revere -- who also got three Oscar noms in the '40s, but who further cemented her bona fides by winning one of 'em.)
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  #59  
Old 11-26-2016, 01:49 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Something to remember is that back before about 1950, you could be in an advanced academic program in high school that was very rigorous (high schools were more about preparing people for specific careers than they are now, and had large vocational wings, rigorous academic wings, and secretarial schools, accounting schools, etc.), and you had a major, and graduated with a diploma to pursue a career. Many women and some men graduated with teaching certificates. You could have a degree in accounting from high school, or be prepared to enter law school, depending on the school.
Of course, some things maybe never change: Robert Paige graduated from West Point, and naturally went on to -- well, top billing in FRONTIER BADMAN and GET GOING and FIRED WIFE and THE RED STALLION and FLYING G-MEN, and second billing under his leading lady in HER PRIMITIVE MAN and BLONDE ICE and CAN'T HELP SINGING and TANGIER and ALMOST MARRIED.

That sentence kind of got away from me, there.
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  #60  
Old 11-26-2016, 07:38 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Originally Posted by the other waldo pepper View Post
of course, some things maybe never change: Robert paige graduated from west point, and naturally went on to -- well, top billing in frontier badman and get going and fired wife and the red stallion and flying g-men, and second billing under his leading lady in her primitive man and blonde ice and can't help singing and tangier and almost married.

That sentence kind of got away from me, there.
you don't say

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  #61  
Old 11-26-2016, 08:18 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
you don't say
Huh. How'd ya selectively de-capitalize all of that stuff?

Well, no point in me dwelling on it; as long as I'm here, let me make quick mention of how Macdonald Carey graduated from the University of Iowa and then landed a whole bunch of not-quite-a-guy-you'd-give-top-billing-to roles in Hollywood in the '40s: he was second-billed to Betty Hutton in DREAM GIRL, as he was to Paulette Goddard in HAZARD; and he was second-billed if he was doing a war movie like WAKE ISLAND, or a western like STREETS OF LAREDO, or a musical comedy like SALUTE FOR THREE; and he was of course third-billed in THE GREAT GATSBY, because you not only need a guy like Alan Ladd at #1, but you also need a leading lady at #2 as Daisy Buchanan before you get to a guy like Carey at #3 as Nick Carraway.

(#4 in that one was, naturally, the Jordan Baker role -- ably fielded, in this case, by University of Michigan grad Ruth Hussey, who likewise had plenty of second-billed credits but who'd just earned top billing the year before, in I, JANE DOE -- sure as she'd been top-billed in WITHIN THE LAW before that, and sure as she'd picked up an Oscar nomination in between.)

(Thing is, that kind of implies that Carey never got a top-billed star turn in a film in the '40s -- and that'd be wrong, since he got one in DR BROADWAY.)
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  #62  
Old 11-26-2016, 09:18 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Huh. How'd ya selectively de-capitalize all of that stuff?

I didn't, the board's software must have.

Last edited by Nawth Chucka; 11-26-2016 at 09:19 PM..
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  #63  
Old 11-26-2016, 09:45 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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I didn't, the board's software must have.
Weird.

Well, again, I have little desire to bump this without adding relevant and new stuff, so let me mention how Hugh Beaumont earned a Master of Theology degree before starring as private eye Michael Shayne in THREE ON A TICKET and coming back for another go-round as Shayne in TOO MANY WINNERS -- and beating typecasting, by then getting top billing as a money-laundering con artist in the film noir MONEY MADNESS -- but before that, before all five of his outings as Shayne in the '40s, he was already getting second billing under his leading lady in APOLOGY FOR MURDER and THE LADY CONFESSES.

And after all that it was the '50s, and he was A Little Hard On The Beaver Last Night.
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  #64  
Old 11-27-2016, 09:51 AM
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Monty Woolley graduated from (and then taught at) Yale before taking his signature Broadway role to the screen in The Man Who Came To Dinner before earning his first Oscar nomination, as a leading man, in The Pied Piper -- and then, after Woolley was top-billed over Ida Lupino in Life Begins At Eight-Thirty, and then over Grace Fields in Holy Matrimony, he took a supporting role in Since You Went Away; but (a) doing so earned him a second Oscar nomination, and (b) he then went right back to getting top billing, in Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

(He then settled down to supporting roles in Cary Grant movies -- but then the '40s ended, and he promptly bounced back to top billing in As Young As You Feel.)
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  #65  
Old 11-27-2016, 11:41 AM
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I'm enjoying the hell out of this thread.
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  #66  
Old 11-27-2016, 11:56 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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At that, it's my understanding that Margaret Hamilton earned a teaching certificate at college before achieving cinematic immortality as the Wicked Witch of the West.
Margaret Hamilton worked for several years as a kindergarten teacher, but then she got divorced, and divorced women couldn't work as teachers. She had a young son to support, and already lived in the Los Angeles area, so she went looking for work where no one cared if a person was divorced, and found enough success as a character actress, that she didn't need to wait tables, or anything like that.

She only got what amounted to bit parts as first, but she had a really good voice (probably from having been a teacher), so that when one person in a crowd scene needed to shout a line, she usually snagged it; it got her a higher pay rate then the rest of the walk-ons, and it got her noticed.

When you think about it, the way she did the lines in Wizard of Oz were just the way someone would read a "witch" voice in a story to a small child.
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  #67  
Old 11-27-2016, 12:12 PM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Margaret Hamilton worked for several years as a kindergarten teacher, but then she got divorced, and divorced women couldn't work as teachers. She had a young son to support, and already lived in the Los Angeles area, so she went looking for work where no one cared if a person was divorced, and found enough success as a character actress, that she didn't need to wait tables, or anything like that.

She only got what amounted to bit parts as first, but she had a really good voice (probably from having been a teacher), so that when one person in a crowd scene needed to shout a line, she usually snagged it; it got her a higher pay rate then the rest of the walk-ons, and it got her noticed.

When you think about it, the way she did the lines in Wizard of Oz were just the way someone would read a "witch" voice in a story to a small child.
Not true, she was already acting for years before her divorce (which happened around the time Oz was released) and she had been acting on stage before she went to Hollywood.
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  #68  
Old 11-27-2016, 02:35 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Not true, she was already acting for years before her divorce (which happened around the time Oz was released) and she had been acting on stage before she went to Hollywood.
Heck, IMDB says her screen debut was way back in 1933, with Another Language.

(IMDB also says that John Beal, who was also in that one, had already earned a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and was in Hat, Coat, and Glove with Hamilton in 1934; and was still boyish enough to play Marius in the 1935 film version of Les Misérables, the one with Fredric March as Jean Valjean and Charles Laughton as Inspector Javert; and that he was second-billed to Ann Shirley in 1936, but in 1937 graduated to top billing over Joan Fontaine in The Man Who Found Himself before he again got top billed in Doctors Don't Tell and One Thrilling Night.)

(His career then got interrupted by WWII service -- but after the war, he was back to getting top billing in Messenger of Peace and Key Witness; and then second billing, under Martha Vickers, in 1949's Alimony, which is still pretty good.)
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  #69  
Old 11-27-2016, 02:57 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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When you think about it, the way she did the lines in Wizard of Oz were just the way someone would read a "witch" voice in a story to a small child.
I wonder if she was the one who originated that particular voice as the standard witch voice.
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  #70  
Old 11-27-2016, 03:43 PM
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Christopher Lee nearly made it. He placed 11th for Eton, missing out by one place. He then went to Wellington, but his father ran out of money with one year remaining. Lee then joined the military.
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  #71  
Old 11-27-2016, 04:28 PM
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Christopher Lee nearly made it. He placed 11th for Eton, missing out by one place. He then went to Wellington, but his father ran out of money with one year remaining. Lee then joined the military.
Burgess Meredith arguably missed it even closer before joining the military as well; he dropped out of Amherst, but made such a name for himself on stage and screen that they promptly awarded him an honorary degree anyway -- in 1939, the year he was top-billed as George to Lon Chaney Jr as Lennie in Of Mice And Men).

Anyhow, you know the rest: film-noir leading-man roles in the '40s when he wasn't busy as Ernie Pyle in The Story of GI Joe; and then blacklisted in the '50s, before winning a Tony on Broadway and playing the Penguin on television in the '60s; and then earning Oscar nomination after Oscar nomination in the '70s.

That's a pretty weird career arc.
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  #72  
Old 11-28-2016, 07:32 AM
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Movie trivia buffs know that Cornell grad Franchot Tone was the third guy up for the Best Actor Oscar alongside his Mutiny On The Bounty co-stars -- and that obviously shouldn't have happened, sure as the next Oscar ceremony naturally saw the birth of the Best Supporting Actor category.

Thing is, Hollywood knew exactly what to do with Tone after Bounty: billing him second under Bette Davis in Dangerous. And then billing him second under Loretta Young, in The Unguarded Hour. And billing him second to Jean Harlow, in Suzy. And billing him second to Katharine Hepburn, in Quality Street. And billing him second to Myrna Loy, in Man-Proof. And second to Gladys George, in Love Is A Headache. And second to Joan Bennett, in The Wife Takes A Flyer. And second to Deanna Durbin, in His Butler's Sister. And second to Mary Martin, in True To Life. And second to Merle Oberon, in Dark Waters. And second to Lucille Ball, in Her Husband's Affairs. And second to an all-grown-up Shirley Temple, in Honeymoon. And second to his own wife, Joan Crawford, in The Bride Wore Red.

That's gotta be some kind of record, right? Was any other guy else second-billed to that many leading ladies of Hollywood's golden age? (For the exception that proves the rule, there's his role in Between Two Women -- where he was in a love triangle with Maureen O'Sullivan and Virginia Bruce, and so got top billing by dint of just sometimes sharing the screen with one and sometimes with the other.)

Thing is, Hollywood was fine with him as a man among men; it's just that, for every Trail of the Vigilantes where he was the star amidst gunslingers on horseback, there was a Moulin Rouge where he got billed second to Constance Bennett; and for every Five Graves To Cairo where he was the star thwarting Rommel in the desert, there was a The World Moves On where he got billed second to Madeleine Carroll. And, sure, he was the star fighting in the Pacific as the title character in Pilot #5 -- but even as the title character in The King Steps Out, Tone of course had to defer to Grace Moore as his top-billed leading lady.

That is a weirdly specific persona.
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  #73  
Old 11-28-2016, 07:34 PM
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At that, Nice Girl? featured Tone: second-billed to a leading lady, because, uh, the word "Girl" in the title? Dude never even stood a chance. He was second-billed to Franciska Gaal in The Girl Downstairs, and I've never heard of Franciska Gaal.

Where was I? Oh, right: along with Tone, that one featured Robert Benchley, who famously played Joe Doakes in maybe two dozen short comedy films in the '30s and '40s; one got nominated for an Oscar, another actually won one?

Anyhow, the guy eventually got top billing in full-length comedies-- in Snafu and, technically, The Reluctant Dragon -- after getting supporting roles in Fred Astaire movies and Rosalind Russell movies and so on, after garnering himself plenty of publicity as a radio personality and a member of the Algonquin Round Table and a writer for Vanity Fair and et cetera, after graduating from Harvard.
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  #74  
Old 11-29-2016, 07:15 AM
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Also a Harvard grad: Olympic boxer Don Terry, who got top billing in everything from WHEN G-MEN STEP IN to A FIGHT TO THE FINISH -- and, with Rita Hayworth as the pretty gal in a supporting role, PAID TO DANCE and WHO KILLED GAIL PRESTON?

But then WWII was in full swing, and he did what he's best known for: appearing as DON WINSLOW OF THE NAVY in '42, and DON WINSLOW OF THE COAST GUARD in '43. And he apparently never acted again after '43, since there was a war on for real and he was busy serving in the for-real Navy: was awarded the Purple Heart, promptly got promoted to Lieutenant Commander, returned to civilian life in '46 and set to making plenty of money in business and getting plenty active in philanthropy.
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  #75  
Old 11-30-2016, 07:24 AM
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Andrew Kennedy graduated from -- well, it wasn't Carnegie Mellon yet, but it was the Carnegie Institute of Technology, so he still gets listed as an alum.

Some would say he qualified for this thread the year DEATH OF A SALESMAN won the Tony for Best Play -- with Kennedy winning the Tony for originating the role of Biff on Broadway, opposite Lee J Cobb as Willy Loman -- because that's the year he earned his first of his five Oscar nominations; but others would say, no, he qualified before that, when he was top-billed in movies like KNOCKOUT and STRANGE ALIBI.

And, granted, in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, Kennedy was only third-billed after Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland -- but that's still pretty high-profile, and who else could've done better against that star power? Hey, even Claude Rains had no chance of getting billed between Flynn and Brenda Marshall in THE SEA HAWK, so it's scant surprise that Kennedy got billed second to leading lady Marshall the following year, in HIGHWAY WEST. (Several years later, in '49, he was still getting second billing under leading lady Barbara Hale; but, again, that's still pretty good.)
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  #76  
Old 12-01-2016, 01:18 AM
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Dinah Shore of course had THE DINAH SHORE SHOW on television from 1951 to 1957, which of course doesn't count, but which is the sort of thing that of course doesn't just happen; she was the top-charting female vocalist of the '40s, belting out a string of #1 hits and getting second billing in a Danny Kaye movie and otherwise putting her name out there -- including, well, landing her own radio show.

Anyhow, well before all of that Shore was apparently the first Jewish cheerleader at Vanderbilt University, where she earned a degree in sociology.
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  #77  
Old 12-02-2016, 08:00 PM
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In the '20s, Broadway actor Conrad Nagel hit it big in silent films: sometimes getting billed second to a leading lady like Greta Garbo or Norma Shearer or Myrna Loy, but often enough getting movie-star top billing as a genuine matinee idol.

Some folks had a hard time going from silent films to talkies; but, again, Nagel's background was Broadway, so his voice served him just fine in the '30s: still getting second billing to various leading ladies, but also scoring top billing at least a dozen times -- even aside from his four star turns as hero investigator Alan O'Connor.

In fact, Nagel's voice was so great that the celeb was a natural for emcee work; after hosting Oscar ceremony after Oscar ceremony, he hosted a radio show from '37 to '47 before he started hosting a TV show in '48 and '49. (I mean, he of course kept at that gig in the '50s; it's just that it goes beyond the scope of the thread.)

Anyhow, before all of that he graduated from Highland Park College.
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  #78  
Old 12-03-2016, 08:23 AM
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Dane Clark graduated from Cornell (and, apparently, even got a law degree) before getting supporting roles on screen in the early '40s -- that's him with Cary Grant in DESTINATION: TOKYO, and with Bogie in ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC, and with John Garfield in PRIDE OF THE MARINES -- before leading-man status came his way: getting top-billed in 1946's HER KIND OF MAN, and 1947's THAT WAY WITH WOMEN, and 1948's EMBRACEABLE YOU; and, okay, he was second-billed to Laraine Day in 1949's WITHOUT HONOR before he promptly went back to top billing in the 1950 western BARRICADE, but that's hardly the point.

The point is, he was top-billed in 1940s films like WHIPLASH and MOONRISE, and it's irrelevant to this thread that he then spent the 1950s likewise getting top-billed in, well, THE GAMBLER AND THE LADY, NEVER TRUST A GAMBLER, THE MAN IS ARMED, THE TOUGHEST MAN ALIVE, PAID TO KILL, GUNMAN IN THE STREETS, MASSACRE, and other films with titles that can surely be lined up to form a whole movie plot.
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  #79  
Old 12-04-2016, 01:15 AM
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Clark was also second-billed in GOD IS MY CO-PILOT to Dennis Morgan -- a guy who also qualifies for this thread, as he graduated from Carroll College before fielding a variety of leading-man roles in the '40s: he was top-billed in TEAR GAS SQUAD as a nightclub singer turned police cadet, which is kind of a weird combination; and he and his leading lady did that SHINE ON HARVEST MOON biopic, which just so happened to be about, well, vaudeville performers; and he was top-billed in Warner's attempt to ape Paramount's buddy comedy formula, cheerfully swapping Hope and Crosby for Morgan and Carson as song-and-dance men in TWO GUYS FROM TEXAS; and he was top-billed as the guy rallying locals to fight the Nazis in DESERT SONG when he wasn't pretending to be an innocuous nightclub singer, which...

...oh, I get it; that's not actually variety; it's He's A Music Guy; and so, yeah, he also did a romance picture where he got top billing over Janis Paige, and it was of course a musical; and he of course got top-billed in another movie, where of all things he played a tenor; and he was top-billed in yet another movie doing the nightclub thing yet again, because of course he was; and so on, and so on.

(That degree from Carroll College? Music; and, decades later, they even gave him the Distinguished Alumnus Award -- because, really, what more can you do with a degree like that, beyond parlaying it into a full-on movie-star career?)
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:00 AM
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Of course, I'm being unfair to Morgan; he was perfectly capable in a top-billed role in straight-up drama (as he did in '48, with TO THE VICTOR) or comedy (as he did before that, in '41, with KISSES FOR BREAKFAST). But he was also perfectly capable handling a supporting role -- as he did in the '30s, with KING OF ALCATRAZ.

Top billing in that one went to Gail Patrick, who (a) had been top-billed the year before, in HER HUSBAND LIES; and who (b) followed up a year later by once again getting top billing: as a crusading lady lawyer, in DISBARRED.

She went on to get top billing in WOMEN IN BONDAGE in the '40s -- and to get plenty of supporting roles in the '40s, in BREWSTER'S MILLIONS and MY FAVORITE WIFE and CALENDAR GIRL and so on -- but let me now stop yammering on and on about that to make explicit that she'd of course earned a college degree in Alabama, sure as her alma mater of course eventually started offering an award named after her.
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  #81  
Old 12-04-2016, 02:14 AM
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And, so long as I have this going: in '39, Patrick was second-billed to John Howard in GRAND JURY SECRETS; and he qualifies for this thread as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Case Western Reserve University who went on to star in SUBMARINE RAIDER and in ISLE OF MISSING MEN and in A TRAGEDY AT MIDNIGHT and in at least half a dozen outings as Bulldog Drummond. (For bonus points, he was also the guy who was up against Cary Grant for Katharine Hepburn's favor in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.)
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  #82  
Old 12-04-2016, 02:32 AM
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At that: John Howard was in GREEN HELL with George Bancroft, who graduated from the Naval Academy before earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1930 before getting top billing in BLOOD MONEY and LADY AND GENT and ELMER AND ELSIE and RACKETEERS IN EXILE and otherwise keeping busy in the '30s and '40s.
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  #83  
Old 12-04-2016, 03:00 AM
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And, just to six-degrees-of-separation this for another step, Bancroft appeared in PARAMOUNT ON PARADE, as did Charles "Buddy" Rogers -- who graduated from the University of Kansas, which to this day offers a Charles "Buddy" Rogers scholarship.

Rogers was of course second-billed to Clara Bow in WINGS, the first film that ever won an Oscar for Best Picture; and he was top-billed as Abie, the nice Jewish boy marrying an Irish Catholic girl in ABIE'S IRISH ROSE; and top-billed in everything else from HALFWAY TO HEAVEN to SAFETY IN NUMBERS to ALONG CAME YOUTH before he took over for Donald Woods in the role of Dennis Lindsay in the MEXICAN SPITFIRE movie franchise -- in MEXICAN SPITFIRE'S BABY, and in MEXICAN SPITFIRE AT SEA, and in MEXICAN SPITFIRE SEES A GHOST -- and since Donald Woods has already been mentioned, figure that just about brings this full circle.
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  #84  
Old 12-05-2016, 11:45 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Richard Carlson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, earning a graduate degree and teaching drama easy as getting work on Broadway, before he of course started picking up credits in Hollywood.

I mean, granted, if the title of the movie is "DANCING CO-ED", then he'd get billed second to Lana Turner as the co-ed; that goes without saying. And if the title of the movie is "NO, NO, NANETTE", then he's billed second to the actress playing Nanette. And he's second-billed to Anne Shirley in "WEST POINT WIDOW", because, well, that's her; and he's second-billed in "THE AFFAIRS OF MARTHA", because he's not Martha; and he's second-billed to his leading lady du jour in "BEHIND LOCKED DOORS" and "WINTER CARNIVAL" and "FLY BY NIGHT" because -- I dunno, inertia?

Look, he was second-billed to Frank Morgan in "A STRANGER IN TOWN"; it's just his thing, generally speaking; he was third-billed in an Abbott and Costello feature, but that's basically the same idea. Still, he was top-billed in "HIGHWAYS BY NIGHT" and "MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY" -- which shows that he wasn't just putting his face and name out there as co-star material, but as a star in his own right.

But, yeah: if you're making "TOO MANY GIRLS", and it's going to star Lucille Ball, then you give Richard Carlson second billing as her love interest. No, you just do.
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  #85  
Old 12-06-2016, 01:10 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Taking it a step further: Olympic medalist Nat Pendleton, Columbia Class of '16, was born for third billing. Like, if you're doing a movie where the amateur-sleuth hero gets top billing and his leading lady in at second, then you totally need a guy like Pendleton at third as the hapless cop with his sights set on the wrong suspect.

For the exception that proves the rule, note that Pendleton actually dropped to fourth billing doing the same schtick as the police lieutenant who gets outclassed when Maureen O'Sullivan called in William Powell and Myrna Loy, so Nick and Nora could run rings around the professional in THE THIN MAN; Pendleton reprised the thankless role in ANOTHER THIN MAN, but that's not really the point.

The point is, if it's Robert Young and Madge Evans trying to solve baseball-related murders, then it's Pendleton getting third-billed in DEATH ON THE DIAMOND. And if it's Jack Holt and Jean Arthur in THE DEFENSE RESTS, well, then there's Pendleton in the third-billed role likewise. And BURN 'EM UP O'CONNOR needs a leading man to play O'Connor, and a leading lady in the second-billed role -- and Pendleton in at third. SCARED TO DEATH cried out for Bela Lugosi as the lead -- and Pendleton in at third. Are you casting for a western? Maybe a musical? Yeah, you call a guy and a gal and, well, your third call is to Pendleton.

Even when he could've gotten the lead, in DECEPTION -- where he's playing the brawler who doesn't realize he's winning fixed fights -- he got billed third, because, hey, nice to have you as a special effect, but we need an interesting guy who can carry a movie as the crooked promoter. Pendleton getting top billing? C'mon.

Anyhow, he, uh, eventually got top billing, in 1941's TOP SERGEANT MULLIGAN and 1942's JAIL HOUSE BLUES. Hollywood figures stuff out eventually.
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  #86  
Old 12-07-2016, 08:02 AM
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Bud Collyer went from Williams College to Fordham Law School -- but when he "became a law clerk after his graduation, making as much in a month of radio as he did in a year of clerking convinced him to make broadcasting his career".

So: on radio and in the animated features at the movies, he was the voice of Superman; and on radio and on television, he was a game-show host -- all in the '40s.

(Actually, make that, uh, game-shows host.)
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  #87  
Old 12-08-2016, 07:35 AM
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After graduating from a New York boarding school and earning himself a degree at Dartmouth, polo player Irvine E. Baehr reinvented himself as Bob "Tex" Allen and put his riding-around-on-horseback skills to use in THE UNKNOWN RANGER -- picking up top billing, with the poster declaring "Meet Your New Thrill Favorite!" -- followed by top billing in RIO GRANDE RANGER, and top billing in RANGER COURAGE, and again in LAW OF THE RANGER, and RECKLESS RANGER, and THE RANGERS STEP IN.

The guy also got lots of other film work: as Dmitri, in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, with Peter Lorre; second-billed, as a RCMP Constable in FIGHTING SHADOWS; third-billed, after the leading lady, in a Boris Karloff horror movie; and third-billed again, likewise after the leading lady, in a Charles Bickford comedy; and so on.

But, yeah, he was in his element as a gunslinger -- and not just in westerns; he even got top billing in GUARD THAT GIRL, as a modern-day pistol-toting private eye.

(Well, when I say "modern-day", I of course mean "like, 1935". But still.)

(That said, how cool would a 1935 movie about a 2016 private eye have been?)
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  #88  
Old 12-09-2016, 08:03 AM
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After acting on Broadway in '38 and '39 and '40 and '41 and '42 and '43 and '44, Tusculum College grad Richard Kollmar (and his wife, Dorothy Kilgallen) hosted the Breakfast With Dorothy And Dick show in '45 and '46 and '47 and '48 and '49: the same years he was the lead on Boston Blackie.

While doing that on radio, he also acted on screen (third-billed, after the leading man and leading lady, as the Nazi war criminal in Close-Up, but that's still pretty high-profile) and even hosted Broadway Spotlight on TV -- all before 1950.

(A white guy could star as "Blackie", while his "Breakfast with Dick" show was pulling in an audience of twenty million? Man, the past is a foreign country.)
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  #89  
Old 12-10-2016, 07:37 AM
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You know, I've been giving Broadway performers short shrift -- mentioning that sort of thing in passing, on the way to other stuff.

But after he played Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac, and Othello in Othello, and Macbeth in Macbeth, and Hamlet in Hamlet, and so on, Walter Hampden was chosen from among all others to grace the cover of Time Magazine -- which I've just this week been reminded is still kind of a big deal nowadays, and, y'know, more so back then.

Sure, after that he fielded various movie roles in the '30s and '40s -- but he was still a leading man on Broadway then, too, is my point. And, yeah, Hampden hosted a radio show in '48 and '49 -- '49 being the year he started acting on TV, with starring roles on The Ford Theatre Hour and The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse -- but, of course, the guy was still acting on Broadway in '49, likewise; so is all the other stuff just icing on the cake, or is it the cake?

Anyhow, before all of that he graduated from NYU.
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  #90  
Old 12-11-2016, 09:30 AM
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Another guy who got lots of Broadway workbefore earning his first film credits was Cornell grad Dan Duryea (who did it by just taking his role in The Little Foxes from stage to screen, even as they swapped out Tallulah Bankhead for Bette Davis).

Anyhow, he started getting third-billed in, well, call 'em love-triangle movies: be it That Other Woman, a romantic comedy where a secretary pursues her boss while another guy pursues her; or The Great Flamarion, a film noir about a vaudeville trick-shot artist and the woman he loves and the husband who has to be killed; or Scarlet Street, where Duryea's gal is after Edward G. Robinson's money.

My point is, you obviously need a third-billed guy in movies like that; but my other point is, Duryea made such an impression in that last supporting role there that they started building movies around him. Just look at the poster for the picture he did a year a later: sure, that's his name in big block letters; and that's his face, because he's top-billed -- but you can't miss the big letters at the top of the poster: "Duryea! ..That fascinating tough-guy of 'Scarlet Street'!

He followed that up with another top-billed role -- where, again, sure, display his name and his face as you'd expect, and then throw in some helpful scripting up top: ROUGH GUY DURYEA - TOUGH GUY BENDIX meet FIST TO FIST!

Anyhow, after that Duryea was the title character in Black Bart -- which, granted, only got him second billing; but sometimes the leading lady in a western is just that interesting, y'know? Duryea then got second billing in Another Part Of The Forest and River Lady; which, again, for a guy who'd parlayed a third-billed role into the selling point of his own star turn (a) is pretty terrific, and (b) goes a long way to explaining why he was back to top billing in 1950's The Underworld Story and then Chicago Calling and Al Jennings of Oklahoma in 1951: he was a known quantity, his face and name were out there, folks saw in him in stuff that was more high-profile than -- well, his third-billed roles in 1940s flicks like Larceny and Criss Cross and Johnny Stool Pigeon and Too Late For Tears , but that's muddying the waters.

(And I'm not sure if he was second- or third-billed in 1949's Manhandled -- IMDB says third; the poster, second -- but I'm not sure it matters.)
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  #91  
Old 12-12-2016, 07:00 AM
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In the 1920s, University of Utah grad Reed Howes got top billing in a bunch of silent movies that sounded like the names of proto-superheroes -- be it THE SCORCHER, or THE CYCLONE CAVALIER, or THE HIGH FLYER, or SUPER SPEED, or HIGH SPEED LEE, or THE NIGHT OWL, or THE SNOB BUSTER, or THE DANGEROUS DUDE, and so on.

Anyhow, he was still at it in the 1930s -- because, well, if you've been top-billed as MORAN OF THE MOUNTED, why not get top-billed as TERRY OF THE 'TIMES', right? Howes had been top-billed as THE BASHFUL BUCCANEER back when -- so who else would you tap for a leading role in MILLION DOLLAR HAUL ten years later?

So, yeah: he'd get billed second to his leading lady in ANYBODY's BLONDE; but then he'd get right back to top billing in DEVIL ON DECK a year later. And et cetera.
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  #92  
Old 12-13-2016, 12:52 AM
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Back in '39, UNC grad Kay Kyser had a show on NBC radio and was top-billed over Adolphe Menjou in That's Right - You're Wrong; the show kept running in '40, when Kyser was top-billed over Peter Lorre in You'll Find Out; it kept running in '41, when Kyser was top-billed over John Barrymore in Playmates; it kept running in '42, when Kyser was top-billed over Ellen Drew in My Favorite Spy; it kept running in '43, when Kyser was top-billed over Marilyn Maxwell in Swing Fever; it even kept running in '44, when Kyser was top-billed over Ann Miller in Carolina Blues.

Heck, that radio show was still running in '49 -- at which point NBC (a) was getting serious about television, and so (b) of course let Kyser host the show on TV; he was still hosting it in '50, but that's of course beyond the scope of the thread.

(Not beyond the scope of the thread: Kyser teaming up with Batman in the '40s.)
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  #93  
Old 12-14-2016, 02:11 PM
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Charles Butterworth graduated from Notre Dame before acting on Broadway in the 1920s, and he kept at it on stage while acting on film in the '30s and '40s; he was third-billed under Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, and third-billed under Ronald Colman and Loretta Young in a BULLDOG DRUMMOND flick, just like he was third-billed under Mae West and Edmund Lowe, and third-billed under Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray, and third-billed under Margaret Sullavan and Henry Fonda, and so on, and so on.

He had a solid "Hey, It's That Guy" thing going on, is my point; you'd see Butterworth in a Fred Astaire movie, in a Ronald Reagan movie, in a Bob Hope movie, you name it. Anyhow, that led to second-billed roles -- in SIDE SHOW and MANHATTAN PARADE and THE SULTAN'S DAUGHTER and STUDENT TOUR -- and, eventually, he even made it to top-billed status, in BABY FACE HARRINGTON and WE WENT TO COLLEGE.
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  #94  
Old 12-15-2016, 07:03 AM
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Bert "There She Is, Miss America" Parks was hosting The Bert Parks Show on TV starting back in 1950, but that wouldn't have been built around him if he'd been an unknown; he only landed that gig because he'd already hosted Stop The Music on radio and on TV in the 1940s -- after already having hosted Break The Bank along with Party Line, and getting plenty of work on The Eddie Cantor Show -- and all after having graduated from Marist College.

(In the '50s, Parks took over hosting Double Or Nothing from Walter O'Keefe, who'd handled that in the '40s before hosting the first Emmy Awards Ceremony on TV back in '49; O'Keefe had graduated cum laude from Notre Dame before fielding so much radio work -- including, well, The Walter O'Keefe Program -- that he of course wound up getting a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame for it.)
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  #95  
Old 12-16-2016, 07:05 AM
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Howard Hawks was so big a deal that -- well, look at the poster for RED RIVER, where his name is displayed a lot more prominently than star John Wayne's. Or the poster for CORVETTE K-225, where he swung it with regard to Randolph Scott.

In between those, Hawks got fairly impressive publicity -- yes, on posters, but I'm really just using that as a proxy for his actual fame -- for movies like THE BIG SLEEP and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT; before those, he was earning an Oscar nomination for directing SERGEANT YORK and otherwise getting his name out there with, y'know, stuff like BRINGING UP BABY and HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

And before all of that, Hawks earned a degree from Cornell. (But, again: look at the poster for John Garfield's movie AIR FORCE; which name stands out?)
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  #96  
Old 12-17-2016, 08:46 AM
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Harold "Chic" Johnson doesn't count, because he dropped out of college.

But his comedy partner, John "Ole" Olsen? Yeah, he counts, earning a degree from Northwestern University before they got famous as Olsen and Johnson: working the vaudeville circuit and doing their zany schtick on Broadway in HELLZAPOPPIN before getting billed as co-leads in -- well, the movie version of HELLZAPOPPIN, of course; but also in COUNTRY GENTLEMEN and in ALL OVER TOWN and in CRAZY HOUSE and in GHOST CATCHERS and in SEE MY LAWYER, and all before the two of 'em got their own short-lived variety show on television in '49.

That's not counting theatrical shorts, you understand; just half-a-dozen feature films where top billing simply went to Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson.
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  #97  
Old 12-17-2016, 11:43 AM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Waldo, I'd suggest that you need another hobby, but I'm enjoying this one far too much.
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  #98  
Old 12-17-2016, 11:57 AM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Another guy who got lots of Broadway workbefore earning his first film credits was Cornell grad Dan Duryea (who did it by just taking his role in The Little Foxes from stage to screen, even as they swapped out Tallulah Bankhead for Bette Davis).
Tough choice. As a casting director do you go with Queen Bitch of the Universe or a Princess Bitch who liked to take her clothes off at parties?

As I recall, "Tallulah, dear, you have such lovely frocks. Why don't you wear them?"
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  #99  
Old 12-18-2016, 06:58 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
Waldo, I'd suggest that you need another hobby, but I'm enjoying this one far too much.
Well, so long as I enjoy it too, reckon I'm going to keep learning.

Take, f'rinstance, Ralph Edwards -- Berkeley Class of '35, BA in English -- who hosted TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES and THIS IS YOUR LIFE on the radio for years in the '40s before doing likewise on television in the '50s, and who thus earned separate stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television and radio.

I hadn't known he got so big that he started getting tapped for leading-man movie work -- getting billed second to his leading lady in THE BAMBOO BLONDE in '46 and BEAT THE BAND and '47. And, even a few days ago, I demonstrably hadn't known he got so big that they put him on the cover of Superman's comic in '48, and built the issue's story around Edwards interactions with our hero and Lois Lane -- because I would've totally dovetailed that with the Kay Kyser-and-Batman post.
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  #100  
Old 12-18-2016, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
Tough choice. As a casting director do you go with Queen Bitch of the Universe or a Princess Bitch who liked to take her clothes off at parties?

As I recall, "Tallulah, dear, you have such lovely frocks. Why don't you wear them?"
Guess it was an easy call to cast Herbert Marshall second to Bette Davis in that one, though -- since he was billed second to her the year before, in THE LETTER. And back before that, he'd been billed second to Barbara Stanwyck in ALWAYS GOODBYE and in BREAKFAST FOR TWO; and he'd been billed second to Marlene Dietrich, in ANGEL and in BLONDE VENUS; and he'd been billed second to Claudette Colbert, in ZAZA and in SECRETS OF A SECRETARY, and he'd been billed second to Katharine Hepburn and to Greta Garbo and to Norma Shearer and to Margaret Sullavan and et cetera -- all after he'd graduated from St. Mary's College, and fought in WWI.

(I mean, he also got top billing a bunch of times -- in ADVENTURE IN WASHINGTON, and WOMAN AGAINST WOMAN, and MAKE WAY FOR A LADY, and FORGOTTEN FACES, and TILL WE MEET AGAIN, and IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK, and EVENINGS FOR SALE, and THE SOLITAIRE MAN, and BACHELOR'S FOLLY, and MICHAEL AND MARY, and so on, and so on -- but if you need a guy who can ably field the second-billed role under everyone from Susan Peters to Shirley Temple, then, yeah, it's him.)
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