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My Personal Tribute to Robert Cummings


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Best known as Paris Mitchell from Kings Row. He is in fact a minor actor, but by chance found his niche toward the end of his career as a comedian! Cummings was a natural in comedy. His 50's TV show "Love that Bob" is one of the best sitcoms ever! Better than Lucy! And on a par with Gleason's Ralph Kramden. Many years were wasted by both Bob and Hollywood trying to make him a serious actor. He was quite funny and natural just being Bob Collins photographer in 'Love that Bob!" Something Special for SURE!

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Dare I mention a Fox movie? One of my very favorite movies is Moon Over Miami starring Don Ameche, Betty Grable, Robert Cummings, Carole Landis, Jack Haley and Charlotte Greenwood. A must see for fans of any of these great stars. Is it just me, or is Fox color superior to any other?

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Moon Over Miami was my first exposure to Charlotte Greenwood, and I think it's a marvelous showcase for her talent. Amazing that she could still do her trademark sidekicks at 50! Her scenes with Jack Haley are magic. I wish Bob and Don would have done more than one film together; they played off each other so well as rivals for the affection of Betty Grable.

 

I also want to recommend two of his lesser known films, The Black Book (also starring Richard Basehart, Arlene Dahl, and an almost unrecognizable Charles McGraw shown occasionally on TCM) and The Chase (with not enough Peter Lorre). Bob was equally adept at comedy and drama, and I especially like him in a noir setting.

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Gee, I hate to be the fella who throws cold water over this Bob Cummings lovefest, but I'm like the old folks -- I have a hard time "loving that Bob," and in fact, can barely stand him. He's just too cheeky and ingratiating for my taste, not to mention someone who has that Bill Murray-ish quality of playing himself no matter what role he is in.

 

In *Saboteur*, which is a film I like for its set pieces more than for the film itself, he literally gnaws on the scenery in that closing courtroom scene; it's almost like a Bugs Bunny parody of someone doing a scene like that. I can't endure *The Petty Girl* - this brand of wink, wink, nudge, nudge sexy comedy makes a Charley Drew record seem almost taciturn by comparison. I start lookin' at my loafers, waiting for my lunch to reappear.

 

I caught an episode of *Love That Bob* on over-the-air TV when I lived in Los Angeles; there was a small public TV station that showed different old, obscure television shows every Friday I think. It was okay -- didn't really float my boat.

 

By all means, if you do love him, go ahead -- he needs fans. I just don't happen to be one of them.

 

spadeneal

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I hope you watched TCM's airing of The First Time with Bob and Barbara Hale. Both actors were so charming, so good, so funny in it. A movie worth seeing. Incidently, The First Time refers to a young couple and the rigors of parenthood for "The First Time." The narration is done by the little boy as he describes his parents' life after he comes along. Very cute, very early Fifties, very sweet, very well directed.

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