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From the files of the forgotten


MyFavoriteFilms
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I had an idea for a weekly series which I will contain on this thread...devoted to film performers whose work may not be known by many. I will likely be spotlighting women, since their careers tend to be overlooked and more easily forgotten.

 

*****

*FILE 001: HATTIE NOEL*

 

Recently, I was watching an RKO B-film starring Alan Marshal. The title was MARRIED AND IN LOVE. All the leads were good and the film actually had a rather small cast. But there was one supporting actress who just knocked my socks off: Hattie Noel.

 

Perhaps there are plenty of people who know about Hattie Noel...but until recently, I had not ever heard of her. I guess she was up for Mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND but lost that part to the other Hattie. So she never really achieved widespread fame like other African American actresses of her era-- you know, the kind who usually did comic relief as domestic servants in movies. But, like Ethel Waters, she had a singing career and she also danced. In fact, she became the human inspiration for the character of Hyacinth Hippo in Disney's FANTASIA.

 

I think what I really like about her in MARRIED AND IN LOVE is how fearless her comedy is on screen. She doesn't care if the others are laughing at her, rather than laughing with her; it liberates her to be even funnier. And I sense a deep compassion and human decency in her, more than you find in similar-type actresses.

 

I hope I have a chance to see more of her movies on TCM. However, there aren't too many of them. She only has 15 film credits during a span of four years (1939-1943). She did not do television, so we are just limited to her film appearances, even though she was around until 1969.

 

There is no wiki page for her, and photographs of her on the internet are not of the best quality.

 

Anyway, I dedicate this first tribute to her, to Hattie Noel-- born Celeste Noel, from Saint Martin Parish, Louisiana.

 

A list of her films on the TCM database:

http://www.tcm.com:80/tcmdb/participant.jsp?spid=141707&apid=67804&category=filmography&action=more

 

(She plays the Gordons' maid in KINGS ROW which will be broadcast on September 11th.)

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*FILE 002: HILO HATTIE*

 

She was originally called Clarissa Haili but this Hawaiian-born musical talent took on the name Hilo Hattie and became known as the 'Polynesian Sophie Tucker.' In the 1940s, she gained a large and loyal following on radio and thru appearances in hit motion pictures. Her success continued in later years on television, and a biography was written about her near the end of her life.

 

She is widely recalled for her hula dancing and two signature tunes. They are 'The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai' and 'When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop.' She performs Cockeyed Mayor in Fox's SONG OF THE ISLANDS.

 

Hilo Hattie did not make a lot of film appearances, and her filmography is rather short with only eight titles. These include the above-mentioned Betty Grable picture, as well as TAHITI NIGHTS (which will be airing on TCM in November). There is also a turn in Elvis Presley's BLUE HAWAII, which was her last big screen effort.

 

She was introduced to a new generation of fans in the late 1960s on the CBS crime drama Hawaii Five-O. When not appearing before the cameras, she spent a large part of her career touring and performing on stage. She was one of those entertainers who never forgot her origins and often returned to Honolulu, which is where she died in the late 1970s.

 

Today, Hilo Hattie has the distinct honor of having a hybrid orchid named after her. She is also the inspiration for a line of clothing, with nine Hilo Hattie retail stores in the U.S.

 

To find show times for TAHITI NIGHTS on the TCM database:

http://www.tcm.com:80/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=92214

 

clarabio.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks Tracey...you're a sweetheart. What a treat!

 

This will be an on-going thread. I have found hundreds of actors that don't even get mentioned now.

 

By posting their pictures, a brief bio and some links like you have done, my goal is that hopefully classic film enthusaists can begin to rediscover them and their unique talents.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks Tracey...you're a sweetheart. What a treat!

>

> This will be an on-going thread. I have found hundreds of actors that don't even get mentioned now.

>

> By posting their pictures, a brief bio and some links like you have done, my goal is that hopefully classic film enthusaists can begin to rediscover them and their unique talents.

 

No problem. Seems like an interstng thread!

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