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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Second Bananas


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16 replies to this topic

#1 cinemaspeak59

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:05 AM

Eric Blore and Edward Everett Horton are two that come to mind. They had great comedic talents, and were particularly good in The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935) 


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#2 LawrenceA

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 12:57 PM

A couple of years ago there was a full copy of The Blue Veil up on YouTube. It was from a VHS recording off of a TV showing, complete with the occasional station identifiers on screen. The same copy is apparently the source for a number of bootleg tapes and DVD's floating around the second-hand market.

 

I was lucky enough to see it on YouTube, for which I am grateful, to mark it off of the Oscar list. I think it was taken down since then, though. 


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#3 Terrence1

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 12:51 PM

I also have been waiting for years to see "The Blue Veil" again.  I hope someday they can work out the problems on this.  I didn't realize that it was Jane Wyman's favorite.  She is wonderful in it and this gave her a well-deserved Oscar nomination.  I remember when I was much younger being moved to tears while watching it.  A great cast and a very involving plot.


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#4 TopBilled

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 08:59 AM

Don't know "The Blue Veil" but I'll look for it. I'm assuming it's not a comedy if she was nominated. TCM recently showed "Angel Baby", which was pretty trashy, but Joan also had a decent dramatic role in that.

 

THE BLUE VEIL is a melodrama starring Jane Wyman. It is near impossible to find, unless you can locate it with an international vendor. For years the film has been tangled up in litigation (rights issues). It's never been released on home video and has never aired on TCM.

 

In a May 1987 cliffhanger of Falcon Crest, Jane Wyman's character was revealed to be the mother of David Selby's character. For a flashback of the birth scene, they used a black-and-white clip from THE BLUE VEIL. It was Wyman's favorite film and she was probably able to pull strings to borrow the footage. This scene is the only thing from the movie that seems to be available to watch.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#5 DougieB

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 07:00 AM

Dougie, you're absolutely right about Joan Blondell and the later years in her career.  She also received her only Oscar nomination during this period for "The Blue Veil".

Don't know "The Blue Veil" but I'll look for it. I'm assuming it's not a comedy if she was nominated. TCM recently showed "Angel Baby", which was pretty trashy, but Joan also had a decent dramatic role in that.


"When Fortuna spins you downward, go out to a movie and get more out of life."...Ignatious J. Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces


#6 Terrence1

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:52 AM

Dougie, you're absolutely right about Joan Blondell and the later years in her career.  She also received her only Oscar nomination during this period for "The Blue Veil".


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#7 DougieB

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:11 AM

During the 1950's, Joan Blondell had a nice late career as a second banana. I loved her trying to keep Jayne Mansfield's Rita Marlowe from going off the rails in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?". And especially her great sympatico comic byplay with Katharine Hepburn in "Desk Set". TCM just showed "The Opposite Sex", in which she probably had the least showy role, but she held her own with some pretty flashy women. She always makes me smile in those roles as women who were past their prime but still had character and the wit to express it.

 

P.S. "The Opposite Sex" just reminded me of Charlotte Greenwood and what a great second banana she was, especially when paired with someone like Edward Everett Horton (a stellar second banana himself) in those 20th Century-Fox Technicolor musicals.


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"When Fortuna spins you downward, go out to a movie and get more out of life."...Ignatious J. Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces


#8 TopBilled

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 11:47 AM

I was fortunate enough to see him in the sequel to "Bye Bye Birdie", which was called "Bring Back Birdie" on Broadway with Chita Rivera.

 

I'm sure you had a great time watching them perform.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#9 rayban

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 11:46 AM

Universal was still using him in Sandra Dee pictures in the 60s. He had become a supporting player by that point, but he still had cachet. 

I was fortunate enough to see him in the sequel to "Bye Bye Birdie", which was called "Bring Back Birdie" on Broadway with Chita Rivera.


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#10 TopBilled

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 11:05 AM

Donald O'Connor was certainly A STAR at his home studio, Universal-International.

 

Universal was still using him in Sandra Dee pictures in the 60s. He had become a supporting player by that point, but he still had cachet. 


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#11 rayban

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 10:46 AM

Great topic!  I love your selection of Donald O'Connor-- though keep in mind that over at Universal, his home studio, he was not a second banana. Only during this loanout to MGM where he was third-billed.

 

When I think of second bananas, I think of the thankless jobs played by the comic relief guys in all those Republic westerns. Look at how Gabby Hayes played second banana to Roy Rogers in countless pictures. Or Andy Devine. And Smiley Burnette was always the second banana to Gene Autry, and so was Pat Buttram and Sterling Holloway. Those men are unsung heroes.

Donald O'Connor was certainly A STAR at his home studio, Universal-International.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#12 rayban

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 10:36 AM

One of my favorite second bananas is Eugene Pallette.

 

He had only to move across the screen and start to speak.

 

He'd always grap my attention.

 

He was just inherently funny.

 

Was he even trying?

 

Or just being himself?

 

Did he ever come close to a starring role?

 

I hope so.

 

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#13 Terrence1

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:00 PM

Dougie, I agree about the wonderful Eve Arden.  She could do it all.  In Hollywood there is even a term known as "the Eve Arden type".  That says  lot for her.  I don't have a favorite role, but I did enjoy her Russian in "The Doughgirls".  In her autobiography, she says that her performance in that movie led to her being offered a seven-year contract with the studio.


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#14 DougieB

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:10 AM

My personal favorite would be Eve Arden. Sometimes her seconday characters outshone everyone else on screen. She had that rare ability to make her co-stars perhaps seem funnier than they actually may have been, which made her a go-to person for second banana roles. Even when required to do the virtually impossible, such as her Russian "comrade" in "The Doughgirls", she gave it her all. And she held up well in drama, dishing up wisecracks and a shoulder to cry on in "Mildred Pierce", as well as her late career tour-de-force in "Anatomy of a Murder", my favorite of all her roles.


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#15 TopBilled

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 11:00 AM

Something ironic I wanted to mention in this thread--

 

Phil Silvers usually played a second banana in studios' A films. But he is (appropriately) the star in the independently produced comedy TOP BANANA.


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#16 TopBilled

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 05:47 PM

Great topic!  I love your selection of Donald O'Connor-- though keep in mind that over at Universal, his home studio, he was not a second banana. Only during this loanout to MGM where he was third-billed.

 

When I think of second bananas, I think of the thankless jobs played by the comic relief guys in all those Republic westerns. Look at how Gabby Hayes played second banana to Roy Rogers in countless pictures. Or Andy Devine. And Smiley Burnette was always the second banana to Gene Autry, and so was Pat Buttram and Sterling Holloway. Those men are unsung heroes.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#17 JamesStewartFan95

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 09:00 PM

Who is your favorite second banana in a comedy film?

 

My pick is Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain because of his under appreciated ability to hold his own against Gene Kelly.


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