The Unsung Joe: Where bit--part actors go when they die
December 11, 2007 5:51 PM   Subscribe

The Unsung Joe: Where bit-part actors go when they die. Biographies of the most obscure micro-stars of 1940s and '50s cinema, all remarkably well-researched and richly illustrated.
posted by jack_mo (28 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This looks good. Nice find, jack_mo.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:02 PM on December 11, 2007

An afternoon nostalgia
television show
you spoke in silhouette
(but they couldn't name you)
although the panel were
very polite to you
but I remembered you
from Friday nights 1969
ITV - you murdered every line
too old to be a child star
too young to take leads
four seasons passed
and they axed you
nervous juvenile
won't smile
What became of you?
did that swift eclipse torture you?
a star at eighteen
and then-suddenly gone
down to a few lines
in the back page of a teenage annual
oh but I remembered you
I looked up to you
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:11 PM on December 11, 2007

[this is exactly what the internet is for]
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 PM on December 11, 2007

[Faith] doesn't appear in the press again until she's 47 years old. On September 27, 1956, papers across America ran this story:

"Former Broadway Star Throws Self From Window in Despair"

Apparently, Faith had been out of work for some time and had gone to Chicago to look for work in skid row striptease spots. One night, after three weeks of refusals, she had an argument with her roommate about her decision to go back to live with her family in Erie, Pennsylvania. The argument ended when she ran from the room and threw herself from a third-floor window in the hallway. The next day, her roommate told reporters, "She wanted the spotlight again. She would have taken any kind of work in show business."

The police inventory of her belongings listed: "Miscellaneous clothing, one white metal ring, train ticket to Erie, Pa., and 85 cents".

posted by UbuRoivas at 6:22 PM on December 11, 2007

thank you so much, what a find!

there was a zine I used to pick up, called CineMad that featured one of these "lost" or forgotten about stars of the screen in each issue.. This reminds me to dig up my old copies..
posted by ethel at 6:25 PM on December 11, 2007

Nice find

All credit goes to my friend Hannah (via email, hence the lack of a 'via' link).
posted by jack_mo at 6:38 PM on December 11, 2007

This is fabulous stuff. I agree, this is the best of the internet. Obscure topics research with passion. The writing is even decent, always a plus but not necessary.
posted by maxwelton at 6:48 PM on December 11, 2007

Very cool.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:49 PM on December 11, 2007

Nice find. I find this shit fascinating.
posted by jonmc at 6:50 PM on December 11, 2007

See that blurry, indistinct shopper in front of Fred MacMurray's nose? That's him. That's Eddie Hall.

This site is way awesomer than I expected. This story in particular sounds like a time travel sci fi thing. Like maybe Parry Hall will turn out to be Eddie Hall himself or whatever. That makes no sense.
posted by DU at 7:07 PM on December 11, 2007

Excellent find.
posted by briank at 7:46 PM on December 11, 2007

Awesome, thanks!
posted by jtron at 8:21 PM on December 11, 2007

Awesome. Has anyone alerted Lileks yet?
posted by Ranucci at 8:40 PM on December 11, 2007

Excellent stuff, thanks.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2007

While looking for some character actor photos to cartoon I stumbled upon this site that has brief biographies of hundreds of GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS from the past 100 years. My only complaint was that it didn't have enough pictures.

For casual browsing I recommend starting at the beginning of the Collections of Biographies. Lots of faces you probably didn't know by name. It seems like most character actors of the fifties ended up on Bewitched at one time or another.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:46 PM on December 11, 2007

By 1948, things had got so bad that she sued a carnival boss who she claimed had tried to get her to break her contract by throwing tacks on the stage while she danced barefoot.

Oh, my.
posted by gimonca at 9:50 PM on December 11, 2007

These stills feature the remarkably menacing Lou Nova, a thespian whose previous career is as obvious as the squashed nose on his face. He doesn’t do a great deal in the film apart from loom, but he looms awfully well. In his 20 or so films, he played “Henchman”, “Fighter” “Second Muscleman” and guys with names such as “Butch”, “Bluey” and “Igor”. I imagine most of the roles involved a fair bit of looming. In Somewhere in the Night, however, he had the chance to loom under the atypical name of “Hubert”, which he must have enjoyed.

posted by gimonca at 9:57 PM on December 11, 2007

Thanks jack_mo. It's kind of sadly interesting observing the shadows around the stars. {and thanks Slack - lots of remembered faces in there}.
posted by peacay at 10:20 PM on December 11, 2007

I could be here all night... this is a really great find.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:08 PM on December 11, 2007

I gotta get me a really cool name like Faith Bacon.
posted by telstar at 11:47 PM on December 11, 2007

Wow, this is so amazingly better than I expected from the write-up (no offense, jack_mo, just didn't sound like my cup of tea). Thanks so much!
posted by barnacles at 12:53 AM on December 12, 2007

Wahey ! He's back !

Actings crazy, the tests people are subjected to are just amazing, really like nothing else -

( And Jack should know, he starred in a bit part on TV's late lamented Brookside, where he popped up as the Dole inspector who used to chase Sinbad the window cleaner about ).
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:33 AM on December 12, 2007

Wow, this is so amazingly better than I expected from the write-up (no offense, jack_mo, just didn't sound like my cup of tea)

Yeah, I started out with a post that said 'OMFG! This is the best website in the world! Woo!' but felt it better to tone it down... and ended up in boringland. Sorry for underselling it.

Sgt. - if only. Some friends of mine were extras in Brookie, but I never got the chance.
posted by jack_mo at 4:40 AM on December 12, 2007

Stunning post.

(And yes one can imagine the blogger blissfully trading noir talk with James Lileks into the wee hours as someone else mentioned).

Thanks very much - this is brilliant.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:18 AM on December 12, 2007

Ooh, choice. I agree, this is really what the internet is about. Or should be. Or was. I dunno, but this is good.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 5:27 AM on December 12, 2007

Fametracker's Hey! It's That Guy! is good, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:24 AM on December 12, 2007

Wow, agreed, interesting and amazing.
posted by PHINC at 7:40 AM on December 12, 2007

What a great find.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:07 PM on December 12, 2007

« Older Burnt Face Man   |   Life Is Short Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments