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Keenan Wynn


mrroberts
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I just thought I would try to start a little thread on something that actually has something to do with movies (actors, films, etc).  I don't  think I 've ever seen a thread or any discussion on this fine actor. Last night I just caught a glimpse of Keenan Wynn on an old episode of ROUTE 66.  It got me to thinking about how many films and tv shows this guy appeared on over his long career. He is considered a character/supporting actor and in most cases he makes a strong presence with his work.  He played a wide range of roles, serious and comedic. Sometimes a lovable buffoon type, sometimes a diabolical villain/heavy.  The son of famed vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn,  Keenan toiled for years in bit parts in films. One of his early films that I am familiar with is  SONG OF THE THIN MAN (last Powell/Loy film). Keenan was in a number of noir type films, military themed films, light comedies, etc. He always was working so his talents were obviously appreciated. In later years he got in several Disney comedies (always the despicable villain) , DR STRANGELOVE  (as Bat Guano ), THE GREAT RACE.  And yet he played strong supporting roles in dark  films like WARNING SHOT and POINT BLANK (TCM has played this Lee Marvin film a lot lately, eh?)  I could go on, anyone else care to add.

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I just thought I would try to start a little thread on something that actually has something to do with movies (actors, films, etc).  I don't  think I 've ever seen a thread or any discussion on this fine actor. Last night I just caught a glimpse of Keenan Wynn on an old episode of ROUTE 66.  It got me to thinking about how many films and tv shows this guy appeared on over his long career. He is considered a character/supporting actor and in most cases he makes a strong presence with his work.  He played a wide range of roles, serious and comedic. Sometimes a lovable buffoon type, sometimes a diabolical villain/heavy.  The son of famed vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn,  Keenan toiled for years in bit parts in films. One of his early films that I am familiar with is  SONG OF THE THIN MAN (last Powell/Loy film). Keenan was in a number of noir type films, military themed films, light comedies, etc. He always was working so his talents were obviously appreciated. In later years he got in several Disney comedies (always the despicable villain) , DR STRANGELOVE  (as Bat Guano ), THE GREAT RACE.  And yet he played strong supporting roles in dark  films like WARNING SHOT and POINT BLANK (TCM has played this Lee Marvin film a lot lately, eh?)  I could go on, anyone else care to add.

 

Wynn was a fine actor that,  as you note,  was very convincing as a lot of different type of characters.   A movie where he didn't have a big part but made an impact was in Phone Call from a Stranger.   This Wynn persona was fairly common;  the fast talking over friendly guy that was borderline annoying but not to a degree that one would dislike him.  

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Keenan Wynn fans should check out the 1962 TV drama "The Man In The Funny Suit", a behind the scenes look at the live production of Rod Serling's "Requiem For A Heavyweight" in 1956, and especially the ordeal facing Ed Wynn in his comeback role. Ed, Keenan, and Serling all appear as themselves. Last time I looked it was on YT.

 

For that matter watch "Requiem" itself, in which father and son Wynn are both superb as a boxing trainer and manager respectively. IMHO it's much better than the film version -- Gleason and Rooney are excellent substitutes for the Wynns, but a hamming Anthony Quinn is no match for Jack Palance in the original.

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Yep, Keenan was pretty good in all those different kind'a roles, AND not a bad song & dance man "neitha"...

 

 

(...hey, I said "not a bad" song & dance man here...I DIDN'T say a "GREAT" song & dance man, remember?!) ;)

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AND btw, Keenan was quite the motorcycle enthusiast back in the day.

 

Here he is with his friend Lee somethin'-or-other...who both rode the correct brand of motorcycle.

 

keenan_wynn_lee_marvin_triumph_motorcycl

 

 

(...that would be a TRIUMPH motorcycle, of course) ;)

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 Oh and btw Mr.R...

...Last night I just caught a glimpse of Keenan Wynn on an old episode of ROUTE 66. 

 

I finally caught that ROUTE 66 episode "A Cage in Search of a Bird" with Duryea and "my first crush" Stefanie the other night, and which I believe it was you who advised me about a while back. Liked it. Thanks.

 

(...Stirling Silliphant...imaginative writer, eh?!)

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Thanks for starting this thread MrRoberts.....I'm a Keenan fan too. What versatility! Too bad he was more of a "charactor" than a leading man-I think he was pretty handsome as a young buck. Read his credits on IMDB-he was in EVERYTHING!

 

There's no doubt dad Ed was a comedian-Keenan's full name; Francis Xavier Aloysius Jeramiah Keenan Wynn.

 

He brought realism to every role he had, from a drunk, to the bad guy, to the guy-next-door. I often mention he is the one who starts singing "There's No Business Like Show Business" in Annie Get Your Gun. I love his smooth delivery with a gravelly voice.

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AND btw, Keenan was quite the motorcycle enthusiast back in the day.

 

Here he is with his friend Lee somethin'-or-other...who both rode the correct brand of motorcycle.

 

 

(...that would be a TRIUMPH motorcycle, of course) ;)

 

So Keenan was friends with a guy that treated women poorly.  Oh no another actor I can no longer watch!   :D

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I too enjoy Keenan Wynn in many movies/shows.  I was a big Quincey, ME fan and the "Whatever Happened to Morris Perlmutter?" episode was memorable - not for the story (can't remember anything about it), but for Wynn's performance.  Recall a scene where his character worries about losing control of his mind as touching.

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Btw, I don't know if anyone remembers this, but every time someone starts a thread about wishing for "Character Actor SOTM or SUTS honoree programming" on TCM, I will usually mention Keenan's name within it.

 

(...and with a filmography such as he has, I would think it wouldn't be THAT hard for TCM to have come about if and when that type of programming happens)

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Btw, I don't know if anyone remembers this, but every time someone starts a thread about wishing for "Character Actor SOTM or SUTS honoree programming" on TCM, I will usually mention Keenan's name within it.

 

While Keenan deserves his own day as part of SUTS,  TCM could get creative and instead of a standard SOTM with only one actor feature various family combinations like father \ son,  mother \ daughter,   bro \ sister,   etc.... avoiding the major star combos and instead supporting actors like Ed and Keenan Wynn.     e.g.  show 3 - 4 movies, two days a week that feature these type of family combinations.     There could even be a Barrymore day with Drew!  (just had to say that for DGF!).

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I just thought I would try to start a little thread on something that actually has something to do with movies (actors, films, etc).  I don't  think I 've ever seen a thread or any discussion on this fine actor. Last night I just caught a glimpse of Keenan Wynn on an old episode of ROUTE 66.  It got me to thinking about how many films and tv shows this guy appeared on over his long career. He is considered a character/supporting actor and in most cases he makes a strong presence with his work.  He played a wide range of roles, serious and comedic. Sometimes a lovable buffoon type, sometimes a diabolical villain/heavy.  The son of famed vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn,  Keenan toiled for years in bit parts in films. One of his early films that I am familiar with is  SONG OF THE THIN MAN (last Powell/Loy film). Keenan was in a number of noir type films, military themed films, light comedies, etc. He always was working so his talents were obviously appreciated. In later years he got in several Disney comedies (always the despicable villain) , DR STRANGELOVE  (as Bat Guano ), THE GREAT RACE.  And yet he played strong supporting roles in dark  films like WARNING SHOT and POINT BLANK (TCM has played this Lee Marvin film a lot lately, eh?)  I could go on, anyone else care to add.

Good thread.  Route 66 is shown on MeTV every night-late.  I ended up getting all the DVD sets.  But it is not your standard road shows.  Some episodes (most?) are very cerebral. But, I like 'em.  Some are just plain entertaining, even though basically serious.  The one with Keenan Wynne is one of those.  Sorry to get off the thread topic per se.  

Maybe TCM could do groups of Keenan Wynne and others movies as they did with Allison Hayes on Nov. 19.  I watched all of those.

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 Oh and btw Mr.R...

 

I finally caught that ROUTE 66 episode "A Cage in Search of a Bird" with Duryea and "my first crush" Stefanie the other night, and which I believe it was you who advised me about a while back. Liked it. Thanks.

 

(...Stirling Silliphant...imaginative writer, eh?!)

Dargo, you must watch HERBIE (the love bug)  RIDES AGAIN. That classic has Keenan Wynn,  and the always charming Stefanie in the same film!  Not to mention Helen Hayes and Ken (Capt. Parmenter ) Berry.   :)  We will have to establish an ongoing Stefanie alert site.

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Good thread.  Route 66 is shown on MeTV every night-late.  I ended up getting all the DVD sets.  But it is not your standard road shows.  Some episodes (most?) are very cerebral. But, I like 'em.  Some are just plain entertaining, even though basically serious.  The one with Keenan Wynne is one of those.  Sorry to get off the thread topic per se.  

Maybe TCM could do groups of Keenan Wynne and others movies as they did with Allison Hayes on Nov. 19.  I watched all of those.

 TCM does lots of those  unadvertised "mini tributes" to actors, usually during the daytime hours (often  as birthday tributes).  They may have done a Keenan Wynn day at sometime in the past, don't know . His birthday is July 27,  note to the TCM  programmers to plan for next year.

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I too enjoy Keenan Wynn in many movies/shows.  I was a big Quincey, ME fan and the "Whatever Happened to Morris Perlmutter?" episode was memorable - not for the story (can't remember anything about it), but for Wynn's performance.  Recall a scene where his character worries about losing control of his mind as touching.

We don't talk much about Keenan Wynn, but I used to think that he was in more films than just about anybody. He did a lot of TV, too.

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If one goes to the IMDb and looks there's 278 credits listed for Keenan Wynn.  I've no way of knowing if it's completely accurate or not -BUT- it is indicative that he worked a lot.

 

    I've no reason to think he'd not have well over 300 credits had he lived to be his dad's age (Ed Wynn lived to be 79; Keenan just 70).

   

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If one goes to the IMDb and looks there's 278 credits listed for Keenan Wynn.  I've no way of knowing if it's completely accurate or not -BUT- it is indicative that he worked a lot.

 

    I've no reason to think he'd not have well over 300 credits had he lived to be his dad's age (Ed Wynn lived to be 79; Keenan just 70).

 

278 threatrical movie credits?      I assume the 278 includes his made for T.V.  movies as well as his many T.V. show appearances.

 

Either way the guy got around and was very good at what he did.  

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Actually in his early days Keenan tried to distance himself from his father's slapstick comedy image.  Keenan's film career  got a boost from his first wife who was a more established actress.  Keenan always was on good terms with his dad Ed,   and later helped his father reestablish a new career as a character actor.  In spite of some serious health issues later in his life Keenan  worked steady right up to the end .

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Actually in his early days Keenan tried to distance himself from his father's slapstick comedy image.  Keenan's film career  got a boost from his first wife who was a more established actress.  Keenan always was on good terms with his dad Ed,   and later helped his father reestablish a new career as a character actor.  In spite of some serious health issues later in his life Keenan  worked steady right up to the end .

 

And least we forget, the "Wynn comic gene" would live on into a third generation, what with Keenan's son Ned authoring what many believe to be one of the funniest books written about Hollywood and growing up among the "stars": "We Will Always Live In Beverly Hills".

 

AND, with his brother Tracy being noted for writing the screenplays of 'The Longest Yard" and the TV movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman". 

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