WHAT A CHARACTER! blogathon 2013

No role is too small for the great actors who often appear in the periphery of our beloved classic films.  For the second year in a row we put them front and center.  Hosted by Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and (@IrishJayHawk66), Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and (@Paula_Guthat) and Aurora, of Once Upon a Screen and (@CitizenScreen) it’s the WHAT A CHARACTER! blogathon!


This event was conceived from the phrase used by our home of the classics, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and it proved to be a smash hit with bloggers and readers alike last year.  The enthusiasm and appreciation for the great character actors overwhelmed us so we’re back to lend praise to the many more we love or love to hate, those who make us laugh, or who cause us to simply smile in recognition.

  • Can you count how many scenes Barry Fitzgerald stole from the likes of Duke Wayne?
  • Would Gone with the Wind be as memorable without the talents of Hattie McDaniel or Thomas Mitchell?
  • We’d have no reference to cling to if not for Eve Arden reminding us that “alligators eat their young” in Mildred Pierce.

To those and the many others whose work we admire we dedicate WHAT A CHARACTER!

If you’re interested in participating, and we certainly hope you are, please adhere to the following:

  • Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.  Although we’re inclined to limit these to those considered “traditional” classic actors – or before 1970 just to choose a point of reference – if you’ve an actor in mind after that time, that’s acceptable as well.
  • Please include your twitter or FB tag, email address and blog name & URL.
  • Publish the post for either November 9, 10 or 11.  Let us know if you have a date preference, otherwise we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
  • Please include the blogathon graphic on your blog to help us publicize the event.
  • Include the graphic and link to one of the host sites in your WHAT A CHARACTER! post
  • If possible, please send any of the hosts the direct link to your WHAT A CHARACTER! post by the day before your due date.  Otherwise we’ll simply link to your site’s home page.
  • HAVE FUN and spread the word!  There are many great characters worthy of attention.

A big thank you – HAPPY BLOGGING!


Participating blogs and their chosen actors so far…

(listed alphabetically by character actor)

Edward Arnold – The Girl with the White Parasol

Irving Bacon – Speakeasy

Martin Balsam – You Gotta Get a Critic

Florence Bates – Christy’s Inkwells

Eric Blore – Portraits by Jenni

Ernest Borgnine in MartySilver Screenings

Joe E. Brown – Wide Screen World

Timothy Carey – Furious Cinema

Walter Connolly – Carole & Co.

Elisha Cook, Jr. – Sales on Film

Jane Darwell – Pam on Once Upon a Screen

Harry Davenport – Once Upon a Screen

Bruce Dern – Kerry on Paula’s Cinema Club

Joyce Grenfell – Caftan Woman

Sara Haden – The Great Katharine Hepburn

Hugh Herbert – Immortal Ephemera

Sterling Holloway – Sittin’ On a Backyard Fence

John Hoyt – The Skeins

Lionel Jeffries – Silver Scenes

Roscoe Karns – Classic Movie Hub

Pert Kelton – The Skeins

Jesse Royce Landis – MaesMusings on Once Upon a Screen

Sheldon Leonard – A Shroud of Thoughts

Sam Levene – Tales of the Easily Distracted

Peter Lorre – TV’s Fault

Mary MacLaren – I Love Terrible Movies

Tully Marshall – Movies, Silently

Hattie McDaniel – Outspoken & Freckled

Frank McHugh – Paula’s Cinema Club

Una Merkel – Hepburnia

Dick Miller – Cinematic Catharsis

Thomas Mitchell – Joel’s Classic Film Passion

Agnes Moorehead – Movie Star Makeover

Jeanette Nolan – The Last Drive-In

Edna May Oliver – The “semi” Daily Maine

Eugene Pallette – Paula’s Cinema Club

Gail Patrick – Picture Spoilers

Nat Pendleton – Comet Over Hollywood

Jessie Ralph – The 5 AM Show

Tony Randall – Flick Chicks

Thelma Ritter – Family Friendly Reviews

Kenji Sahara – The Draconic Verses

Joe Sawyer – The Bogie Film Blog

Regis Toomey – She Blogged by Night

Stanley Tucci – Paula’s Cinema Club

Dame May Whitty – Silver Scenes

Hank Worden – Critica Retro


This blogathon is just one of the many exciting classic movie “happenings” this fall and winter.  For a comprehensive list of events, including classic film screenings throughout the country, visit the Classic Movie Hub events calendar.

82 thoughts

      1. Aurora, is the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon a yearly thing now? How very cool! If nobody’s claimed it, I’d love to blog about Sam Levene. I’ve been wanting to write about him anyway in THE DARK PAGES anyway, if you wouldn’t mind my doing double-duty, so to speak! Please let me know. Either way, I know it’ll be a great Blogathon!

        1. Hi Dorian! I’m thrilled you’re participating and any duty from you is fabulous! Did that sound right???

          Mr. Levene is a great choice. If there’s an interest – and people seem to adore our characters, then we’ll certainly try to make this a yearly event. As long as it’s fun it’s OK by me!



  1. I love this event. It’s wonderful to pay homage to the unsung actors who fill in all those essential spaces in film and television. I’d love to do something about Jeanette Nolan… Am I in?

    1. I want to play! If he’s free, I’d love to blog about George Sanders. What a voice! From his role in ‘Rebecca’ to the voice of Shere Khan in ‘The Jungle Book’ to the narrator in ‘All about Eve’ –there’s a lot I could say. Whatta ya think?

  2. Oh I would enjoy writing for this blogathon. Please put me down for Eric Blore. I love the comedic movies I view all the more when I see his name in the cast! My blog is portraitsbyjenni@wordpress.com
    Since my post would also be for our local newspaper, I’d like to pick Nov. 9th, as that is closest to my publication date for the newspaper. Thanks!

  3. Hi Aurora! I would LOVE to write about Ernest Borgnine in “Marty”, if he isn’t already taken? Also, could I post on November 9 if the field isn’t too crowded already?

    SO HAPPY to see this blogathon return. Yay!

  4. Sign me up for Mary MacLaren, who had a small part in “Reefer Madness” (I do specialize in exploitation cinema!) and like 100+ other things before 1950, including “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Westward Ho” and the 1934 edition of Le Miz.

    1. First of all, HOORAY to you for admitting you had to look up an actor’s name! That happens to me all the time and often with actors I love! 😀 You got it and THANKS for joining us!


      1. Haha! Don’t worry! I need this other name to post on a site I contribute to, but sometimes I forget to change to Le when I comment on blogs!

  5. This sounds like a great idea. Is Peter Lorre taken? I’d love to give some more of my time to the man occasionally known as Joel Cairo.

    blog: tvsfault.wordpress.com
    twitter: @borntoslug

    Any chance I can check out some of last year’s entires?

    1. WOW! What a fantastic choice! Wish he’d occurred to me first! Anyway – you’re already on the list! Thanks for joining us! If you go into the “WHAT A CHARACTER” link right under this site’s title, all of last year’s entires are listed there and accessible.


      1. Alrightee…one month later and I narrowed the choice down to seven. I hate having to pass up on Charles Coburn and Louis Calhern but it looks like the Brits are not getting much spotlight, so I’d like to write about Dame May Whitty and Lionel Jeffries, two excellent character actors. Would it be alright to do both?

  6. Yes! So glad this is back! Had a great time talking about John Qualen last year. This year I have to do one of my favorites, Elisha Cook, Jr.! It’ll be at salesonfilm.blogspot.com. Thanks!

  7. How would you feel about a bit of Japanese representation? Because Kenji Sahara has been in more Toho special effects films than any other actor. He was also in many minor parts as well as a number of leads. I’d be happy to blog on him. He was actually very briefly on screen in the first Godzilla film in 1954, as well as having the male lead in Rodan a few years later.

  8. Sorry I’m a bit late on this, but I can’t believe no one has yet claimed Walter Connolly…so I will. (It helps that he appeared in several films made by the subject of my site, Carole Lombard, and thus would be an ideal fit for “Carole & Co.”) Do I have your seal of approval (and no, it doesn’t have to clap its fins)?

      1. You’re not late at all and I’m THRILLED that you are participating and with your choice! Outstanding all around. I’ll add you to the list later today.



          1. Thanks so much and I’d seen your blogathon but didn’t feel I’m sufficiently well-versed in silents to make a good argument. BUT, maybe I’ll give it a shot. I’ll let you know in the next couple of day. I LOVE the topic!


    1. Great choice, Josh and we’re happy to have you!! I probably won’t get to add you to the list until Saturday. Thanks so much – I happen to LOVE Mr. Balsam!


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