Friday, December 01, 2006

DVD this week

Some producers put good character actors to work better than others. In the early 1980s, the producers of tv's St. Elsewhere did a very good job of putting very good character actors to work. The first season of this landmark series arrived on DVD this past Tuesday from Fox. All of the episodes from the 1982-83 season are included on four discs. Just some of the great character people on view during this first season include James Hong, Robert Costanzo, Dick O'Neill, Pearl Shear, Peter Hobbs, Pat Corley, Alan Oppenheimer, and Elizabeth Kerr, all faces that you would know, even if you don't know the names. By the way, on what 1970s sitcom did Elizabeth Kerr play a grandmother?

You know this face...

You know this face, but what's the name?
  • He ran the newspaper on tv's Dennis the Menace.
  • He was Dodge City's telegrapher on Gunsmoke.
  • He worked for famed director John Ford several times, including the films Sergeant Rutledge, The Horse Soldiers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Cheyenne Autumn.
  • He even did an episode of Star Trek !
You know the face, but what's his name? And what else do you know about him?

Parley Baer

That's right, it's Parley Baer.

This veteran character actor was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in August 1914. One of his great loves (besides dramatic radio) was the circus, and he even owned one for a while. His wife Ernestine Clarke was a former circus performer. They were married from 1946 until her death in 2000. In an episode of tv's Streets of San Francisco, Parley played a circus ringmaster. The episode used Parley's own circus as the backdrop for the storyline. He estimated that between 1932 and 1962 he appeared on 15,000 radio shows. Parley called it "the most nearly perfect medium for an actor". He continued to work in film and television until a stroke took away his speech in 1997. He died of stroke complications in November of 2002, having been in show business for more than sixty years.

What are your favorite Parley Baer performances?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

You know this face...

You know this face, but what's the name?
  • He was the voice of Chester on the radio version of Gunsmoke.
  • He was Darby, a friend of Ozzie & Harriet, on their television show in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • For a while, he was the Mayor of Mayberry.
  • He was the voice of the Keebler Elf in television commercials of the 1980s.
What's his name? And what else do you know about him?