Irving Lahrheim, stage name Bert Lahr, was an American actor of stage and screen and comedian. Lahr is best known for his role as the Cowardly Lion, as well as his counterpart Kansas farmworker "Zeke", in the MGM adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, he was well known for his explosive humor, but adapted well to dramatic roles and his work in burlesque, on Broadway. Lahr was born in New York City, the son of Augusta and Jacob Lahrheim, his parents were German Jewish immigrants. Lahr grew up in the Yorkville section of Manhattan. Dropping out of school at 15 to join a juvenile vaudeville act, Lahr worked up to top billing working for the Columbia Amusement Company. In 1927 he debuted on Broadway in Delmar's Revels, he played to packed houses, performing classic routines such as "The Song of the Woodman". Lahr had his first major success in a stage musical playing the prize fighter hero of Hold Everything!. Other musicals followed, notably Flying High, Florenz Ziegfeld's Hot-Cha! and The Show is On in which he co-starred with Beatrice Lillie.
In 1939, he co-starred as Louis Blore alongside Ethel Merman in the Broadway production of DuBarry Was a Lady. Lahr made his feature film debut in 1931's Flying High, playing the oddball aviator he had played on stage, he signed with New York-based Educational Pictures for a series of two-reel comedies. When that series ended, he went to Hollywood to work in feature films. Aside from The Wizard of Oz, his movie career was limited. In the 1944 patriotic film Meet the People, Lahr uttered the phrase "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" Popularized by cartoon character Snagglepuss. Lahr's most famous role was that of the Cowardly Lion in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1939 adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Lahr was signed to play the role on July 25, Lahr's lion costume was composed of lion fur and, under the high-intensity lighting required for Oz's Technicolor scenes, the costume was unbearably hot. Lahr contributed ad-lib comedic lines for his character. Many of Lahr's scenes took several takes because other cast members Garland, couldn't complete the scenes without laughing.
The Cowardly Lion is the only character who sings two solo song numbers-"If I Only Had the Nerve", performed after the initial meeting with Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man in the forest, "If I Were King of the Forest", performed while he and the others are awaiting their audience with the Wizard. "The Wizard of Oz" was Lahr's 17th movie. When warned that Hollywood had a habit of typecasting actors, Lahr replied, "Yeah, but how many parts are there for lions?" An original Cowardly Lion costume worn by Lahr in The Wizard of Oz is in the holdings of The Comisar Collection, the largest collection of television artifacts and memorabilia in the world. In June 2013, Lahr's original reading script for The Wizard of Oz, bequeathed to his great-grandson, was appraised with an insurance value of $150,000 on PBS's Antiques Roadshow in an episode filmed in Detroit, Michigan. Lahr made the transition to straight theater, he got a script of Waiting for Godot, was impressed but unsure of how the revolutionary play would be received in the United States.
It was somewhat obscure and intellectual. He co-starred in the US premiere of Waiting for Godot in 1956 at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, playing Estragon to Tom Ewell's Vladimir; the performance bombed, with audience members walking out in large numbers, the critics did not treat it kindly. In his book Notes on a Cowardly Lion, John Lahr states that the problems were caused by the choices of the director, including the decision to limit Bert's movement on stage. Lahr reprised his role in a short-lived Broadway run; this time, it was with a new director, Herbert Berghof, who had met with Beckett in Europe and discussed the play. The set was cleared, Bert was allowed more freedom in his performance. Advertisements were taken out urging intellectuals to support the play, a success and received enthusiastic ovations from the audience. Bert was praised and though he claimed he did not understand the play, others would disagree and say he understood it a great deal. Lahr appeared on television, including NBC's live version of the Cole Porter musical Let's Face It, the 1964 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Fantasticks, occasional appearances as the mystery guest on What's My Line?.
He performed in commercials, including a memorable series for Lay's potato chips during its long-running "Betcha can't eat just one" campaign with Lahr appearing in multiple costumes. He was not afraid to take on the classics in television performances of Androcles and the Lion and the School for Wives, he performed as Moonface Martin in a television version of Anything Goes, with Ethel Merman reprising her role as Reno Sweeney and Frank Sinatra as Billy Crocker. In 1959, he played Mr. O'Malley in an adaptation of Barnaby for General Electric Theater. In 1963, he appeared as Go-Go Garrity in the episode "Is Mr. Martian Coming Back" on NBC's medical drama The Eleventh Hour. Among his numerous Broadway roles, Lahr starred as Skid in the Broadway revival of Burlesque from 1946 to 1948 and played multiple roles, including Queen Victoria, in the original Broadway musical Two on the Aisle from 1951 to 1952. In late 1955 his name was mentioned by Larry Fine as a possible replacement for Shemp Howard
Joe E. Brown
Joseph Evans Brown was an American actor and comedian, remembered for his amiable screen persona, comic timing, enormous elastic-mouth smile. He was one of the most popular American comedians in the 1930s and 1940s, with films like A Midsummer Night's Dream, Earthworm Tractors, Alibi Ike. In his career Brown starred in Some Like It Hot, as Osgood Fielding III, in which he utters the famous punchline, "Well, nobody's perfect." Brown was born on July 28, 1891, in Holgate, where he has a street named after him, Joe E. Brown Avenue. Holgate is near Toledo, into a large family of Welsh descent, he spent most of his childhood in Toledo. In 1902, at the age of ten, he joined a troupe of circus tumblers known as the Five Marvelous Ashtons, who toured the country on both the circus and vaudeville circuits, he became a professional baseball player. Despite his skill, he declined an opportunity to sign with the New York Yankees to pursue his career as an entertainer. After three seasons he returned to the circus went into Vaudeville and starred on Broadway.
He added comedy to his act, transformed himself into a comedian. He moved to Broadway in the 1920s. In late 1928, Brown began starting the next year with Warner Bros.. He became a favorite with child audiences, shot to stardom after appearing in the first all-color all-talking musical comedy On with the Show, he starred in a number of lavish Technicolor Warner Brothers musical comedies including: Sally, Hold Everything, Song of the West, Going Wild. By 1931, Brown had become such a star that his name was billed above the title in the films in which he appeared, he appeared in Fireman, Save My Child, a comedy in which he played a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, in Elmer, the Great with Patricia Ellis and Claire Dodd and Alibi Ike with Olivia de Havilland, in both of which he portrayed ballplayers with the Chicago Cubs. In 1933 he starred in Son of a Sailor with Thelma Todd. In 1934, Brown starred in A Very Honorable Guy with Alice White and Robert Barrat, in The Circus Clown again with Patricia Ellis and with Dorothy Burgess, with Maxine Doyle in Six-Day Bike Rider.
Brown was one of the few vaudeville comedians to appear in a Shakespeare film. He starred in Polo Joe with Carol Hughes and Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, in Sons o' Guns. In 1933 and 1936, he became one of the top ten earners in films, he was sufficiently well known internationally by this point to be depicted in comic strips in the British comic Film Fun for twenty years from 1933. He left Warner Brothers to work for producer David L. Loew, starring in When's Your Birthday?. In 1938, he starred in The Gladiator, a loose film adaptation of Philip Gordon Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator that influenced the creation of Superman, he switched to making "B" pictures. In 1939, Brown testified before the House Immigration Committee in support of a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish refugee children into the US, he adopted two refugee children. Aged 50 when the US entered World War II, Brown himself was too old to enlist. Both of his biological sons served in the military during the war. In 1942, Captain Don E. Brown, was killed when his Douglas A-20 Havoc crashed near Palm Springs, California.
Before the USO was organized, Brown spent a great deal of time traveling, at his own expense, to entertain troops in the South Pacific, including Guadalcanal, New Zealand and Australia, as well as the Caribbean and Alaska. He was the first before Bob Hope made similar journeys. Brown spent many nights working and meeting servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen, he wrote of his experiences entertaining the troops in his book Mine. On his return to the US, Brown brought sacks of letters, making sure they were delivered by the Post Office Department, he gave shows in all weather conditions, many in hospitals, sometimes doing his entire show for a single dying soldier. He would sign autographs for everyone. For his services to morale, Brown became one of only two civilians to be awarded the Bronze Star during World War II, his concern for the troops continued into the Korean War, as evidenced by a newsreel featuring his appeal for blood donations to aid the US and UN troops there, featured in the season 4 episode of M*A*S*H titled "Deluge".
In 1948, he was awarded a Special Tony Award for his work in the touring company of Harvey. He had a cameo appearance in Around the World in 80 Days, as the Fort Kearney stationmaster talking to Fogg and his entourage in a small town in Nebraska. In the epic film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World, he cameoed as a union official giving a speech at a construction site in the climactic scene. On television, he was the mystery guest on What's My Line? during the January 11, 1953, episode. His best known postwar role was that of aging millionaire Osgood Fielding III in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy, Some Like It Hot. Fielding falls for Daphne, played by Jack Lemmon in drag. Another of his notable postwar roles was that of "Cap'n Andy Hawkes" in MGM's 1951 remake of Show Boat, a role that he reprised onstage in the 1961 New York City Center revival of the musical and on tour; the musical film version included such
Across the Pacific (1926 film)
Across the Pacific is a lost 1926 American silent romantic adventure film produced by Warner Bros. directed by Roy del Ruth and starring Monte Blue. It was based on a 1900 by J. J. McCloskey; the play had been filmed before in 1914 with Dorothy Dalton. It is unknown. After his father brings disgrace on his family, Monte joins the Spanish–American War and goes with his regiment to the Philippines. Although he has a sweetheart back home, Claire Marsh, Monte is enlisted to romance a half-caste girl, who knows the whereabouts of the Philippine leader Emilio Aguinaldo. Monte must keep up the ruse when Claire comes to the islands to visit him, he gets the information he needs, but not before he is branded a deserter and has to prove his mettle on the battlefield. When the insurrection is squelched and Aguinaldo is captured, Monte is able to explain everything to Claire, the couple is reunited. Monte Blue as Monte Jane Winton as Claire Marsh Myrna Loy as Roma Charles Stevens as Emilio Aguinaldo Tom Wilson as Tom Walter McGrail as Captain Grover Herbert Prior as Colonel Marsh Edgar Kennedy as Corporal Ryan Theodore Lorch as Aguinaldo's Agent According to Warner Bros records the film earned $252,000 domestically and $100,000 foreign.
List of early Warner Bros. sound and talking features Across the Pacific on IMDb Across the Pacific at AllMovie lobby poster in French lobby card Across the Pacific at the Internet Broadway Database
Hogan's Alley (film)
Hogan's Alley is a 1925 American silent comedy film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It was an early directing assignment for Roy Del Ruth and starred Monte Blue, Patsy Ruth Miller, Ben Turpin; this film is a precursor to the silent film One Round Hogan, a Monte Blue boxing vehicle. Although he wins the championship by a knockout, prizefighter Lefty O'Brien is not a happy man because he broke his left hand on the jaw of his opponent, who ended up hurt. Lefty has a girlfriend, but her father is opposed to their getting married; when she is treated for an injury by Dr. Franklin, he attempts to sweep her off her feet. Lefty and her dad need to come to her rescue. Monte Blue as Lefty O'Brien Patsy Ruth Miller as Patsy Ryan Willard Louis as Michael Ryan Louise Fazenda as Dolly Ben Turpin as A stranger Heinie Conklin as The stranger's friend Max Davidson as Clothier Herbert Spencer Griswold as The Texas Kid Frank Hagney as Battling Savage Nigel Barrie as Dr. Emmett Franklin Mary Carr as Mother Ryan Frank Bond as Al Murphy Hogan's Alley survives in an incomplete or abridged version in Archives du Film du CNC France.
Hogan's Alley at the American Film Institute Catalog Hogan's Alley on IMDb Hogan's Alley at AllMovie
A theater, theatre or playhouse, is a structure where theatrical works or plays are performed, or other performances such as musical concerts may be produced. While a theater is not required for performance, a theater serves to define the performance and audience spaces; the facility is traditionally organized to provide support areas for performers, the technical crew and the audience members. There are as many types of theaters. Theaters may be built for a certain types of productions, they may serve for more general performance needs or they may be adapted or converted for use as a theater, they may range from open-air amphitheaters to ornate, cathedral-like structures to simple, undecorated rooms or black box theaters. Some theaters may have a fixed acting area, while some theaters, such as black box theaters, may not, allowing the director and designers to construct an acting area suitable for the production; the most important of these areas is the acting space known as the stage. In some theaters proscenium theaters, arena theaters and amphitheaters, this area is permanent part of the structure.
In a blackbox theater the acting area is undefined so that each theater may adapt to a production. In addition to these acting spaces, there may be offstage spaces as well; these include wings on either side of a proscenium stage where props and scenery may be stored as well as a place for actors awaiting an entrance. A Prompter's box may be found backstage. In an amphitheater, an area behind the stage may be designated for such uses while a blackbox theater may have spaces outside of the actual theater designated for such uses. A theater will incorporate other spaces intended for the performers and other personnel. A booth facing the stage may be incorporated into the house where lighting and sound personnel may view the show and run their respective instruments. Other rooms in the building may be used for dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, spaces for constructing sets and costumes, as well as storage. There are two main entrances: one at the front, used by the audience, that leads into the back of the audience, sometimes first going through a ticket booth.
The second is called the stage door, it is accessible from backstage. This is the means by which the cast and crew enter and exit the theater, fans wait outside it after the show in order to get autographs, called "stage dooring"; this term can be used to refer to going to a lot of shows or living in a big theater city, such as New York or Chicago. All theaters provide a space for an audience; the audience is separated from the performers by the proscenium arch. In proscenium theaters and amphitheaters, the proscenium arch, like the stage, is a permanent feature of the structure; this area is known as the house. Like the stage in a blackbox theater, this area is defined by the production The seating areas can include some or all of the following: Stalls or arena: the lower flat area below or at the same level as the stage; the word parterre is sometimes used to refer to a particular subset of this area. In North American usage this is the rear seating block beneath the gallery whereas in Britain it can mean either the area in front near the orchestra pit, or the whole of the stalls.
The term can refer to the side stalls in some usages. Derived from the gardening term parterre, the usage refers to the sectioned pattern of both the seats of an auditorium and of the planted beds seen in garden construction. Throughout the 18th century the term was used to refer to the theater audience who occupied the parterre. Balconies or galleries: one or more raised seating platforms towards the rear of the auditorium. In larger theaters, multiple levels are stacked vertically behind the stalls; the first level is called the dress circle or grand circle. The next level may be the loge, from the French version of loggia. A second tier inserted beneath the main balcony may be the mezzanine; the highest platform, or upper circle, is sometimes known as the gods in large opera houses, where the seats can be high and a long distance from the stage. Boxes: placed to the front and above the level of the stage, they are separate rooms with an open viewing area which seat up to five people. These seats are considered the most prestigious of the house.
A "state box" or "royal box" is sometimes provided for dignitaries. House seats: these are "the best seats in the house", giving the best view of the stage. Though each theater's layout is different, these are in the center of the stalls; these seats are traditionally reserved for the cast and crew to invite family members and others. If they are not used, they go on sale on the day of the performance. Greek theater buildings were called a theatron; the theaters were open-air structures constructed on the slopes of hills. They consisted of three principal elements: the orchestra, the skene, the audience; the centerpiece of the theater was the orchestra, or "dancing place", a large circular or rectangular area. The orchestra was the site of the choral performances, the religious rites, the acting. An altar was located in the middle of the orchestra. Behind the orchestra was a large rectangular building called the skene, it was used as a "backstage" area where actors could change their costumes and masks, but also
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades passed before sound motion pictures were made commercially practical. Reliable synchronization was difficult to achieve with the early sound-on-disc systems, amplification and recording quality were inadequate. Innovations in sound-on-film led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology, which took place in 1923; the primary steps in the commercialization of sound cinema were taken in the mid- to late 1920s. At first, the sound films which included synchronized dialogue, known as "talking pictures", or "talkies", were shorts; the earliest feature-length movies with recorded sound included effects. The first feature film presented as a talkie was The Jazz Singer, released in October 1927. A major hit, it was made with Vitaphone, at the time the leading brand of sound-on-disc technology.
Sound-on-film, would soon become the standard for talking pictures. By the early 1930s, the talkies were a global phenomenon. In the United States, they helped secure Hollywood's position as one of the world's most powerful cultural/commercial centers of influence. In Europe, the new development was treated with suspicion by many filmmakers and critics, who worried that a focus on dialogue would subvert the unique aesthetic virtues of soundless cinema. In Japan, where the popular film tradition integrated silent movie and live vocal performance, talking pictures were slow to take root. Conversely, in India, sound was the transformative element that led to the rapid expansion of the nation's film industry; the idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as the concept of cinema itself. On February 27, 1888, a couple of days after photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge gave a lecture not far from the laboratory of Thomas Edison, the two inventors met. Muybridge claimed that on this occasion, six years before the first commercial motion picture exhibition, he proposed a scheme for sound cinema that would combine his image-casting zoopraxiscope with Edison's recorded-sound technology.
No agreement was reached, but within a year Edison commissioned the development of the Kinetoscope a "peep-show" system, as a visual complement to his cylinder phonograph. The two devices were brought together as the Kinetophone in 1895, but individual, cabinet viewing of motion pictures was soon to be outmoded by successes in film projection. In 1899, a projected sound-film system known as Cinemacrophonograph or Phonorama, based on the work of Swiss-born inventor François Dussaud, was exhibited in Paris. An improved cylinder-based system, Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre, was developed by Clément-Maurice Gratioulet and Henri Lioret of France, allowing short films of theater and ballet excerpts to be presented at the Paris Exposition in 1900; these appear to be the first publicly exhibited films with projection of both image and recorded sound. Phonorama and yet another sound-film system—Théâtroscope—were presented at the Exposition. Three major problems persisted, leading to motion pictures and sound recording taking separate paths for a generation.
The primary issue was synchronization: pictures and sound were recorded and played back by separate devices, which were difficult to start and maintain in tandem. Sufficient playback volume was hard to achieve. While motion picture projectors soon allowed film to be shown to large theater audiences, audio technology before the development of electric amplification could not project satisfactorily to fill large spaces. There was the challenge of recording fidelity; the primitive systems of the era produced sound of low quality unless the performers were stationed directly in front of the cumbersome recording devices, imposing severe limits on the sort of films that could be created with live-recorded sound. Cinematic innovators attempted to cope with the fundamental synchronization problem in a variety of ways. An increasing number of motion picture systems relied on gramophone records—known as sound-on-disc technology. In 1902, Léon Gaumont demonstrated his sound-on-disc Chronophone, involving an electrical connection he had patented, to the French Photographic Society.
Four years Gaumont introduced the Elgéphone, a compressed-air amplification system based on the Auxetophone, developed by British inventors Horace Short and Charles Parsons. Despite high expectations, Gaumont's sound innovations had only limited commercial success—though improvements, they still did not satisfactorily address the three basic issues with sound film and were expensive as well. For some years, American inventor E. E. Norton's Cameraphone was the primary competitor to the Gaumont system. In 1913, Edison introduced a new cylinder-based synch-sound apparatus known, just like his 1895 system, as the Kinetophone; the phonograph was connected by an intricate arrangement of pulleys to the film projector, allowing—under ideal conditions—for synchronization. However, conditions were ra
Jack Curtis (actor)
Jack Curtis was an American actor of the silent era. He appeared in 157 films between 1915 and 1950, he was born in San Francisco and died in Hollywood, California. Jack Curtis on IMDb Jack Curtis contracts, 1937, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts