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We Need Some New "What A Character(s)"


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Just watched the delightful salute to Edna May Oliver and was reminded how much

I love all the "What A Character" segments. There are so many more to be done.

Please, please, please, TCM, create some new "What A Character" segments!!

(I've always thought the open to "What A Character" using the old photo booth

is so clever!) Tons of wonderful chracter actors left to be saluted. Start with Nat Pendleton,

follow up with Una Merkel, C. Aubrey Smith etc. etc. etc.

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Believe it or not, Time Warner is not exactly "hurting" and I think they could afford

to create some new "What A Character" segments as well as improve the message board

interface. It's called "the cost of doing business" but clearly TCM isn't allowed to spend

a nickel on doing any of the things a network (and its website) should be doing to

maintain and enhance its audience base. Greedy corporate parent = no new programming/promos

or upgrades to the website. It didn't used to be like this.

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*Wanda Mae Silverback*






Born to Spanish parents at the Bronx Zoo, Wanda Mae Gorilla (pronouned go – REE –ya)

changed her name to the more patrician-sounding Silverback before becoming a fixture in

1940s MGM comedies.


Usually cast as the heroine’s quick-tempered, dangerously-violent and easily spooked best

friend, second cousin or laundress, Wanda Mae’s “trademark” became site gags involving

her great strength – tearing doors off their hinges, tipping over automobiles and, on one

memorable occasion, throwing George Sanders off the top of his ego.


While some of her co-stars found Wanda Mae’s displays of temperment endearing (cast

and crew reportedly applauded when she tore veteran comedy director Del Roy Dooth in

half) others found her intimidating to work with and a few complained about the smell.


Her 4-year marriage to Cheeta, co-star of the Tarzan movies, ended in a scandalous

divorce when Wanda Mae insisted on naming Maureen O’Sullivan as co-respondent. Her

career was eventually sidetracked by a weight problem and the scandal of her near-fatal

assault of famed costume designer Gilbert Adrian who was attempting to fit her for a fur

coat when he slipped with a pin.


By the 1960s Wanda Mae was reduced to working as an unbilled extra in films like

Tarzan Conquers Gaul.


Wanda Mae Silverback ... What a character !



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  • 2 weeks later...

> {quote:title=lydecker wrote:}{quote}This is completely "by memory" (not the most reliable source, I admit) but these are the ones

> I recall:


> Eve Arden

> Hattie McDaniel

> Guy Kibbee

> Rags Ragland

> Edna May Oliver

> Beulah Bondi

Off the top of my head, I recall


Frank McHugh

William Frawley

Conrad Veidt

Mary Wickes

S.Z. "Cuddles" Zakall

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Finance, many might know who they are by SIGHT, as many of those great character actors I myself didn't know by name till years later. Such as the great Charles Lane, Burt Mustin, Percy Kelton, Mary Wickes and many others.






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