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Who is the biggest Movie Star of All-Time?


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Exactly so. And on shows like Groucho's 'You Bet Your Life' --where contestants are drawn out to discuss their personal lives at length--I've seen the same thing. I think that program ran from '48 to '55? But yes, just as you say. People used to always know culture history.

One episode of YBYL, in particular, had me mist up. A wonderful bandleader and tune-smith of the 30s, Pinky Tomlin, appeared as a surprise contestant from the audience one night, to get up on stage and take the quiz; but he was not announced as Pinky Tomlin. He was introduced to Groucho by George Fenneman in his current incarnation; that of a red-haired, boyish-faced, but clearly middle-aged family man in the California oil business.

Gradually Groucho's questions bring this out. What did the man used to do before he was in the oil biz? etc. "I was a vocalist, and I wrote a bunch of songs," says Tomlin.

Then Groucho gets it at last. "You're not...you're not ...Pinky Tomlin, are you?" and the audience takes in an audible, collective, breath. Groucho, awed, reaches over to shake his hand fondly.

He asks if Pinky wouldn't mind rendering one of his hits before he departs; and Tomlin agrees, and when he opens his mouth the vocals are pitch-perfect; nearly undetectable from the original recording; as if its still the 1930s. Extraordinary.

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2 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Exactly so. And on shows like Groucho's 'You Bet Your Life' --where contestants are drawn out to discuss their personal lives at length--I've seen the same thing. I think that program ran from '48 to '55? But yes, just as you say. People used to always know culture history.

One episode of YBYL, in particular, had me mist up. A wonderful bandleader and tune-smith of the 30s, Pinky Tomlin, appeared as a surprise contestant from the audience one night, to get up on stage and take the quiz; but he was not announced as Pinky Tomlin. He was introduced to Groucho by George Fenneman in his current incarnation; that of a red-haired, boyish-faced, but clearly middle-aged family man in the California oil business.

Gradually Groucho's questions bring this out. What did the man used to do before he was in the oil biz? etc. "I was a vocalist, and I wrote a bunch of songs," says Tomlin.

Then Groucho gets it at last. "You're not...you're not ...Pinky Tomlin, are you?" and the audience takes in an audible, collective, breath. Groucho, awed, reaches over to shake his hand fondly.

He asks if Pinky wouldn't mind rendering one of his hits before he departs; and Tomlin agrees, and when he opens his mouth the vocals are pitch-perfect; nearly undetectable from the original recording; as if its still the 1930s. Extraordinary.

Great post. Thanks for writing this.

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10 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

People used to always know culture history.

Method actors talk about a thing called emotion memory, which I think relates to this.

Prior generations held on to their memories of things, with strong emotional resonance, because they had often been through hard times where they lost a lot. In some cases their shared culture and history was all they had to go on.

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Agreed. I'm a big believer in it, too. How can you ask a performer today to depict an "Okie"? They have no idea.

Friend of mine professes to believe that "a good actor doesn't have to experience anything in real life in order to portray it convincingly" but to this I say, "bologna". There's always a few exceptions, sure-- but they're not withstanding all the evidence to the contrary.

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21 hours ago, Dargo said:

Well N&N, when one considers that he WAS..ahem.."the leader of the club that's made for you and me", I suppose Mickey deserves at least some consideration here, huh!  ;)

(...you DID catch the reference here, didn't ya kid?!) 

Of course; I'm a Mouseketeer at heart. 

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  • 1 year later...

Humphrey Bogart has so many great movies : The African Queen, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca to name a few.

 

Cary Grant has a lot of very well known films too such as "Bringing up Baby", "North by Northwest", "To Catch a Thief", and "The Philadelphia Story".

 

Katherine Hepburn is the greatest Actress ever. With films like "Bringing up Baby", "Desk Set", "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", and "Adam's Rib", it is very hard to beat her filmography. 

 

Marilyn Monroe also had a huge impact in the film industry during her short life. From "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" to "Some Like it Hot", she made quite a few Classics that stand the test of time. 

 

Excluding personal opinion, I'd say Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn are the biggest movie stars ever based on their Filmography alone. 

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If lasting fame is the criterion for the "greatest" film star then, as far the studio system day actors are concerned, the answer has to be John Wayne. I still see a lot of Wayne DVDs for sale in Walmart, even of his small B westerns from the '30s.

 

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Well, TOM, the thread asks for the "biggest".  And, as  Rodney Dangerfield said in "Back To School".  ."Pound for pound MARLON BRANDO was the biggest star in Hollywood."  Or... words to that effect.  And going by that criteria, we'd have to include OLIVER HARDY and SIDNEY GREENSTREET.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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Personal opinions aside, most people today have no clue about the older films, actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, and many of the important film production people from the Golden Age of Film. When I drive for Uber and when I have the chance to share my ideas about favorite films or important films the conversation usually turns to more recent actors/films. Most people I meet have no clue about older films and they usually will say that they don't like black and white films. When they ask me what my favorite film is and I say 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, they usually say they have never heard of the film or who Errol Flynn was.

It is rather disheartening to learn this, but that is the sign of the times. Now I am making a generalization here but I have to assume that due to everyone having tablets, and or cell phones and many people do watch movies on these devices and or watch Netflix, Hulu or any of the other streaming services, they are just not aware of older films.

I can remember growing up in the 1960's and the only way I can remember watching older films was when the films appeared on tv late at night or on other times like Sunday afternoons. And of course it was rare when my family went to see a movie, usually that was at the local drive-in theater.

Today as I just wrote, many people have many many other alternatives to watching films. Unfortunately most people watch only the new releases and if by chance they stumble upon an older film, it will usually be something like The Godfather films, or something like what they show on TNT or TBS, like the Avenger films.

That is why I think it is vitally important to have channels like TCM that will showcase older films from that bygone era. When I get a chance while driving, I touch upon TCM and tell people that if they have the channel in their cable packages they should give it a chance. Some people ARE knowledgeable about older films, but not many.

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The question has been asked and answered on various recent game-shows;   If one was to ask that question to a group of 1,000 Americans with around 10% within each of these 10 year age groups (20 -30,   30 -40,  40- 50 etc..),   I suspect the top reply (based on what I have seen on recent game shows)  would be Tom Cruise.

 

 

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16 hours ago, MusicalsGalore said:

Katherine Hepburn is the greatest Actress ever. With films like "Bringing up Baby", "Desk Set", "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", and "Adam's Rib", it is very hard to beat her filmography.  

I find this selection interesting;    So you view the 4 Hepburn films listed as being better films than these four:   The Letter,  All About Eve,  Jezebel,  and  Now, Voyager?

Hey,  I really like all of those 4 Hepburn films,  but I don't think they are overall,  better films than the 4 Davis listed (or even Kate best films).

I rank The Philadelphia Story,   Holiday,   The African Queen,  and  Pat and Mike higher.

   

 

 

 

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"All time" may be the question.  Can you compare Babe Ruth to a baseball star of today?

british-silent-screen-star-charlie-chapl

Above Charles Chaplin returns to London.  Nothing really comes close to the world-wide popularity of the silent star titans.  Douglas Fairbanks drew crowds of thousands when in Europe.

Silent films were universal and the stars of that era had a much bigger fan base than any actor since.

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2 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

"All time" may be the question.  Can you compare Babe Ruth to a baseball star of today?

british-silent-screen-star-charlie-chapl

Above Charles Chaplin returns to London.  Nothing really comes close to the world-wide popularity of the silent star titans.  Douglas Fairbanks drew crowds of thousands when in Europe.

Silent films were universal and the stars of that era had a much bigger fan base than any actor since.

The stars of today (as well as  many no-talent celebrities),  have a much larger following just on social media than any of the stars 'back in the day'.

The fan base may have been '"bigger" on a percentage-of-total-fans basis but not in absolute numbers.

 

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

The stars of today (as well as  many no-talent celebrities),  have a much larger following just on social media than any of the stars 'back in the day'.

The fan base may have been '"bigger" on a percentage-of-total-fans basis but not in absolute numbers.

 

I don't believe that for one moment.  Name a U.S. 'social media' movie star that is also the biggest star in Russia, Europe and every other country in the world - as were Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks.

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Just now, Bogie56 said:

I don't believe that for one moment.  Name a U.S. star that is also the biggest star in Russia, Europe and every other country in the world - as were Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks.

China today has 100 times the people than Russia and the EU had back in the 1910.     Thus I would say more people have seen Tom Cruise in a film than saw Chaplin or Douglas back then.

Remember one couldn't rent or stream a film back in 1910.    This limited world wide  distribution.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

China today has 100 times the people than Russia and the EU had back in the 1910.     Thus I would say more people have seen Tom Cruise in a film than saw Chaplin or Douglas back then.

Remember one couldn't rent or stream a film back in 1910.    This limited world wide  distribution.

 

 

You really think that people in China follow Tom Cruise movies on social media?  And to that extent.  100's of millions of Chinese?  Give me a break.

Everyone knew who Charlie Chaplin was.

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2 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

You really think that people in China follow Tom Cruise movies on social media?  And to that extent.  100's of millions of Chinese?  Give me a break.

I assume more Chinese have seen private copies of Tom Cruise movies than all the folks that have seen Chaplin on film since the beginning of time.

 

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1 minute ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I assume more Chinese have seen private copies of Tom Cruise movies than all the folks that have seen Chaplin on film since the beginning of time.

 

You need to watch the Kevn Brownlow series about the silents.   You have no idea what you're talking about I'm afraid and you are just guessing what appeals to the Chinese.  And the above 'private copies' has nothing to do with social media.

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