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Author Topic: Actor's Names ... and all that  (Read 510 times)

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Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Actor's Names ... and all that
« on: December 16, 2016, 04:12:56 PM »
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  • I was doing some piddling on our site here when it was mentioned that Ted Healy's wife was Betty Healy.  ....   Now, as far as I know, Ted Healy was NEVER Ted Healy. He was born Ernest Nash right here in my home state of Texas (the town of Kaufman. if you were curious).

    Okay, I understand about stage names, they are just as fake as the actors pretending to be someone else is. But ... to be remembered as somebody you only pretended to be on TV? "Ted and Betty Healy" ... is it such a great risk to personal well being to adopt a fake stage name? I'm just curious ... I have witnessed it all my life that actors REAL NAMES were very different from their stage names ... with the very real exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    I realize that our boy's adopted the last name of "Howard" only because the decidedly English speaking public they were presenting themselves to could not say "Horowitz" in the proper Jewish dialect, or that it was just a mouthful of consonants, who knows what goes thru directoral and produceoral  minds. The same can be said for Larry Fine's name ... his was Feinberg. In his defense, I think he was just wanting to have his name be tripping easily off the tongue.
    The tacks won't come out! Well, they went in ... maybe they're income tacks.

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 10:33:58 AM »
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  • Maybe in the olden days, some actors and actresses did not want certain people to know what they were doing.  These days with information so readily available, there isn't much of a need to change names, unless they look like the bottom line of an eye chart.  (I am thinking of a married couple in my bowling league, along with the lovely Julia Chalene Newmeyer of "Batman" fame.)  What would the Dynamic Duo of William West Anderson and Bert John Gervis Jr. think of this?

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 10:44:46 AM »
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  • I realize that our boy's adopted the last name of "Howard" only because the decidedly English speaking public they were presenting themselves to could not say "Horowitz" in the proper Jewish dialect, or that it was just a mouthful of consonants, who knows what goes thru directoral and produceoral  minds. The same can be said for Larry Fine's name ... his was Feinberg. In his defense, I think he was just wanting to have his name be tripping easily off the tongue.
    And I guess Joseph Wardell just thought his mother's maiden name sounded better.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

    Many would rather believe a lie because truth demands a response.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 07:32:56 PM »
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  • The convolutions through which Johnny Sullivan became Fred Allen or Arthur Jefferson became Stan Laurel or Jack Roy(and Roy wasn't his real last name either ) became  Rodney Dangerfield or Kirk Douglas became Kirk Douglas from a Russian name that is almost unreadable, never mind unpronounceable, seem to be a series of random accidents more than anything else.  Nattie Birnbaum became George Burns after having performed under scores of other names.  Some of you may remember his doing routines about his aliases, they're certainly all over his books, which incidentally are still very funny.  Smith and Dale performed under those names for fifty years  after having found a pile of business cards on sale for practically nothing in a print shop.  Some actors did have their names changed by movie studio execs, willingly in the case of Jim Bumgardner to James Garner, for example, but there were many routes to stage and/or screen names.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 09:07:30 AM »
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  • It took me a while to remember this one, but there's a tradition that supposedly started in British live theater that if an actor played two roles, the second role was listed in the program as being played by Walter Plinge, a fictitious name.  This doesn't mean much, except the concept expanded a bit, and was sometimes used as an alias by an actor who was, maybe, wanted by the police or had deserted his family, or the army, or whatever, or just wanted to pursue an acting career with no questions asked.  This means a little bit more since it turns up as a tidbit of trivia in a couple of Laurel and Hardy shorts:  The safecracker in The Midnight Patrol and Hardy's butler in Me And My Pal were played by an actor billed occasionally in other movies, not those two shorts, as Walter Plinge.  Thus the Walter Plinge concept may have come across the pond with Stan Laurel and/or some of his expat British friends.
         There are holes in this story ( I got it off the Laurel and Hardy Forum, where it is discussed glancingly, offering barely any more detail than I've given here, and only as part of a sentence or two about that safecracker actor who, it is implied and not, unfortunately, discussed, led a very interesting and possibly very shady life ) and if anybody has got any knowledge that would flesh this out I think it would be very interesting and entertaining.  One final tidbit that I have is that in the final credits of a Robin Williams movie, I don't know which one, one actor in a minor role is listed as Walter Plinge.

    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #5 on: December 21, 2016, 05:07:23 PM »
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  • This means a little bit more since it turns up as a tidbit of trivia in a couple of Laurel and Hardy shorts:  The safecracker in The Midnight Patrol and Hardy's butler in Me And My Pal were played by an actor billed occasionally in other movies, not those two shorts, as Walter Plinge.  Thus the Walter Plinge concept may have come across the pond with Stan Laurel and/or some of his expat British friends.
         There are holes in this story ( I got it off the Laurel and Hardy Forum, where it is discussed glancingly, offering barely any more detail than I've given here, and only as part of a sentence or two about that safecracker actor who, it is implied and not, unfortunately, discussed, led a very interesting and possibly very shady life ) and if anybody has got any knowledge that would flesh this out I think it would be very interesting and entertaining.

    You speak of Frank Terry (born Frank Ernest Edwards, aka Nat Clifford, Pat Ford, etc.), who actually appears in a pair of Stooge shorts (THREE LITTLE BEERS and THREE SMART SAPS).

    Indeed, he has one "haliba'" story: http://www.charlieconnelly.com/the-global-misadventures-of-nat-clifford/
    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
    « Reply #6 on: December 21, 2016, 05:27:36 PM »
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  • G C, once again I am astounded at your erudition and speed of execution.  Thanks.

     


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