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Performers who knew W.C. Fields -


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and are still alive!

 

This is a topic for all fans of Fields.

 

I just was checking the IMDb index for Fields in "The Bank Dick" and "NGASAEB" and found to my delight that some of his fellow performers from these two films, who are still living...are:

 

Gloria Jean, Butch and Buddy, Susan Miller [who played Mrs. Hemogloben's daughter in NGASAEB], and Emil Van Horn who played Gargo the Gorilla.

 

Now according to IMDb, Emil Van Horn seemed to spend his whole career playing men in gorilla suits, but I would still like to see him interviewed. Who knows what tales he could tell about the filming.

 

Instead of reading books about Fields by people who never knew him, I sure would like TCM to go interview someone like Gloria Jean, who actually worked with him and who perhaps still lives in California.

 

Sure I've seen both of these movies a million times, but I decided to watch both last nite on TCM, and I almost fell off the couch a few times, at some of the remarks made by Fields, that I'd forgotten. My favorite bits were his exchanges with his horrible family [Cora, Una and Evelyn] and mother-in-law [the wonderful Jessie Ralph]...the exchanges with the surly waitress at the restaurant, any scenes with Grady Sutton, the famous scene stealing drunkard Jack Norton, as the tipsy movie director, Minerva Urecal cleaning up Pangborn's office, and Miss Plupp.

 

Oh yes, and Jack [Tiny] Lipson as the Turk on the plane, and getting to see Jan Duggan in the bank scenes, and Fields apprehending the little boy in a cowboy suit. I liked when Fields would make those vile asides about people, as in saying "Clever comment" about the man in the bank talking about the weather to the teller. if anyone else said it, probably would not be so funny, but Fields is a stitch.

 

I want to thank TCM for showing anything Fields, and though I have most of his stuff on video, does anyone know why so little is on dvd? It's high time that some of his mid-30's classics be rereleased, for the enjoyment of all.

 

Oh, I forgot...the bit where he was using the soda straws trying to roll the cherry into his gaping mouth, was priceless. I first saw these films on a double bill when I was sixteen, and my parents took our entire family to a downtown revival and Fields festival. They are just as funny now, as when I first had the pleasure of seeing them. An elderly relative of mine actually saw Fields on stage in vaudeville, along with Houdini and boy do I envy her!

 

When did you have your first taste of Fields?

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I don't remember the first film of his that I saw, but the first time I really noticed him and his comedic genius is when I saw "It's a Gift." I think that movie is his best. The scene when he's on the back porch is priceless. And, (a bit of trivia here) the original name of the film was to be "Back Porch." I also love the scene when the family unknowingly picnics on the millionaire's lawn, and wind up trashing the place.

 

And therealfuster - a bunch of his films were recently released onto DVD in a box set. It includes "The Bank Dick," "It's a Gift," "International House," "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man," and "My Little Chickadee," with Mae West. But I know what you mean about his other films, I would LOVE to see "Man on the Flying Trapeze" again, and I've never seen "The Old Fashioned Way," and "You're Telling Me," both of which look funny. Another film of his on DVD is "Six of a Kind," co-starring Mary Boland and Burns and Allen. It's on a disc that also includes two other Burns and Allen movies.

 

And speaking of Gloria Jean, she does live in California, and currently sells her signed photos on Ebay under the seller name "gloriajean." Go to ebay and search by seller by that name, and you can see them. She sells them for about $10 each. You can email her through there too, but when I emailed, I got a response from someone else, either an assistant or perhaps her daughter. I had asked if she planned on selling any other mementos from her career, but she's only selling the signed photos. I agree that TCM should seek her out for an interview. Besides her memories of Fields, I'd also like to hear her talk about her experience on making "Copacabana" with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda.

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I appreciate the Gloria Jean info.

 

I will agree..."It's a Gift" has so many classic Fieldsian moments, and I first saw it while in grade school, and I remember my father just cracking up while watching the segment where Fields makes the mansion lawn his own picnic site. And this was probably after having seen the film like ten times already.

 

That is the hallmark of good comedy to me. It is funny even after you've seen it the first time and the surprise is gone, or how ever many times you've seen it, even if it be twenty times.

 

Isn't there a bit, in "It's a Gift" where his little boy sits under him, while Fields is standing eating a sandwich very sloppily, and the kid keeps eating the bread crumb bits that fall from above, like a baby bird in a nest?

 

I seem to remember some inane comments by Fields about bumbershoots, or something that has to do with the weather, and his wife basically telling him to can it.

 

I do have the boxed set you mention, and it is marvelous, being that one does not often get to see that wacky "International House" with that earlier incarnation of Paris Hilton, Peggy Hopkins Joyce.

 

If you have never seen "The Old Fashioned Way" you are in for a great treat. Personally I put it in the top five of his films, as it has so many great bits, including his fine pairing with Baby Leroy, who throws great spoonfuls of food on Fields, which is fun to watch. I believe his name in the film is Baby Albert.

 

Though I am also a Chaplin and Keaton fan, I will put Fields in a separate category of humor, being that Chaplin and Keaton were visually amusing and could bring pathos to any comic role, but in auditory humor of a most perverse manner, Fields is the King! His running commentary during the films, is always a scream, besides that he is also visually amusing.

 

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Hi therealfuster -

 

The info I gave you about Gloria Jean was slightly wrong. Her ebay name is "gloriajean414" You can look her up by seller under that name.

 

And I know the scene you're thinking of in "It's a Gift." It also occurs during the mansion lawn picnic, where his son sits under him eating what falls from his sandwich. I also love when he fights with the dog over the feather pillow and eventually it rips sending feathers everywhere. In my opinion, the funniest part of that whole segment is when they first drive onto the property, and as he's driving, he takes his eyes off the road, and crashes into a Romanesque style statue, breaking it and knocking it over. It's hilarious, and that should've indicated to them that they weren't in a public park!

 

My favorite part is the very end, when he's sitting with the dog at the table, preparing his drink. There he is, the same simple man, in all his glory.

 

I love "International House" too, mostly for the great cast. Although, I'm not to familiar with Peggy Hopkins Joyce. What's the similarity between she and Paris Hilton?

 

And I agree with you about Fields being in his own class of comedy. He was a genius who had his own style. There never has been or ever will be anyone else like him.

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