When you think about your very favorite classic movies, what makes them your favorites? The films worth watching multiple times, endlessly discussing, or just chilling out with…what makes them the cinematic equivalent of comfort food? Sure, great writing is key, but those lines are just words without the right actors delivering them. Beautiful costumes are great, but without the right actors wearing them, they’re just clothes. Stunning, authentic art direction and set design are wonderful, but empty, without the right actors inhabiting that world. And gorgeous cinematography can only hold your eye for so long, without the right actors being lit. And so on.
Chances are, it’s not just the perfect leads that win your go-to films their place in your heart — it’s their pals and sidekicks as well. The wise-cracking best friend or fellow chorine, cranky boss, sympathetic bartender, confirmed spinster secretary, intrepid cop, jealous girlfriend, second-in-command racketeer or bomber pilot, workaholic director…faces familiar from their appearances in many films over the years, their names — not so much. To take a couple obvious examples, what would Casablanca be without Dooley Wilson, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Conrad Veidt, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Madeleine LeBeau, John Qualen, and Leonid Kinskey? How about My Man Godfrey without Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Alan Mowbray, and Mischa Auer? Probably pretty good films, but just not the same, not as lovable, not as classic.
Thus the objective of the What A Character! Blogathon has always been to shed the spotlight on these lesser-known but equally talented thespians whose names usually appeared below the title, but who always elevated any kind of material. With all of that in mind we’re excited and honored to host this event for the sixth consecutive year and hope you’ll join us on December 15 – 17 in hopes of making this a historic tribute to the versatility and depth of supporting players.
Yours truly, Aurora of @CitizenScreen and this blog.
If a salute to lesser-known but essential Hollywood thespians is right up your movie alley, please review and adhere to these guidelines:
- Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.
- Don’t take it for granted we know exactly who you are or where your blog resides – please include the title and URL of your blog, also your Twitter handle if you have one.
- We will not accept repeats or previously published posts since there are so many greats worthy of attention, but your choices are not limited to classics. You can choose any character actor from any era and from the medium of television, which has featured talented regulars since the beginning, and continues to do so.
- Publish your What A Character! post on either December 15, 16, or 17, 2017. Let us know if you have a date preference; otherwise, we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
- Please include the What a Character! 2017 event banner included in this post on your blog to help us promote the event and include the banner in your What A Character! post. By the way, this year’s beautiful banner was created by Kellee and her secret artistic weapon.
- Please send any of us the direct link to your post once you have published it. Searching on social media sites can lead to missed entries. You can enter the link in the comments section or email it to me at Citizenscreenclassic (at) gmail.com
- HAVE FUN and spread the word!
Thanks to our friends at TCM for letting us borrow the phrase What A Character!
Participating Blogs and Character Actors
(In alpha order by character – more or less)
Caftan Woman – John Alexander
Movie Movie Blog Blog – Bruce Altman
LA Explorer – Eddie Anderson
Taking Up Room – Eve Arden
The Last Drive In – Martin Balsam
Old Hollywood Films – Beulah Bondi
Silver Screen Classics – Donald Crisp
A Person in the Dark – Reginald Denny
Classic Film Obsessions – Brian Donlevy
Watching Forever – Mildred Natwick
Silver Scenes – Connie Gilchrist
Wide Screen World – Alan Hale, Sr.
Cinephiled – Fay Holden and Sara Haden
The Old Hollywood Garden – Edward Everett Horton
Blog of the Darned – Charles Lane
Prowler Needs a Jump – Patrick Magee
Real Weegie Midget Reviews – Ian McShane
In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Agnes Moorehead
Wolfian Classic Movies Digest – Eugene Pallette
Carole & Co. – Nat Pendleton
Critica Retro – Porky Pig
Outspoken & Freckled – ZaSu Pitts
The William Powell Site – William Powell in Silent Character Roles
The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog – Michael Ripper
Movie Mom – Thelma Ritter
The Dream Book Blog – Elizabeth Russell
A Shroud of Thoughts – William Schallert
Silver Scenes – Henry Stephenson
Jack Deth at Paula’s Cinema Club – Daniel Stern in Breaking Away
Forgotten Hollywood – Woody Strode
Thoughts All Sorts – Mark Strong
Cinematic Scribblings – Haruko Sugimura
Hometowns to Hollywood – Clinton Sundberg
Once Upon a Screen – Mary Wickes
Silver Screenings – European Character Actors in Casablanca (1942)
Paula’s Cinema Club – Supporting Cast of Romance on the High Seas (1948)
The Midnite Drive-In – Cameos in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)