THANK YOU to ShowMag.com for a home page spotlight, and a really favorable review of Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. Here’s what reviewer Ben Miles writes:
First there was Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. It was a thin but readable study of character actors from cinema’s Golden Age. Now, author Manny Pacheco gives us more of the same in his sequel treatise, Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The names are (slightly) different but the premise is the same. Pacheco lets us in on the stories behind the familiar faces of actors and actresses we’ve seen on the silver screen over the years but may not have known their names – much less the lowdown on their lives.
For example, do you recall the actress Marjorie Main? She rose to Tinseltown prominence playing Ma Kettle in nearly a dozen Ma and Pa Kettle movies – winning an Oscar nomination for her first turn as Ma in 1947’s The Egg and I, opposite Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. Unfortunately for her, Main suffered from what today we would likely call obsessive-compulsive disorder to the point that her fixation with cleanliness would often be disrupting to the filmmaking process due to Main’s refusal to touch others or objects. Main’s obsession with being in a sterile environment, in order to avoid contact with germs, eventually ended her long Hollywood career.
ANDY DEVINE SYDNEY GREENSTREET PETER LORRE
Chapter One is titled Fat Man and Little Boy, and it spotlights both Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Interestingly, Greenstreet – who is best recalled as the plus-size thespian who played against Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca – didn’t begin his cinematic career until he was 62 years old, and it was over within eight years. Although Greenstreet and the diminutive Lorre (whose filmography and movie-land legend has arguably been more enduring than his counterpart) never had a scene together in Casablanca, Pacheco affectionately and accurately describes the two actors as motion pictures’ first odd couple. After all, movie fans still pair Greenstreet and Lorre in their collective celluloid remembrances.
In fifteen chapters and 161 densely written pages, Pacheco introduces (or reintroduces) us to a full community of twentieth century character actors, including Frank Morgan – who ended up playing The Wizard in the classic The Wizard of Oz only after the inimitable and often inebriated W.C. Fields turned down the role. Then there is Andy Devine – whose gravelly voice and gentle disposition made him a filmmaker’s favorite. Also included is the elegant Gilbert Roland, whose handsome visage graced such films as The Seahawk, with Errol Flynn, and The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, about the purported appearance of the Virgin Mary before three Portuguese children.
One of Pacheco’s stated goals of writing each edition of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is to intertwine actual history lessons with the true tales of these stalwart support players. For instance, we learn that S.Z. Sakall – who so memorably played, Carl, the head waiter at Rick’s Café in Casablanca –was himself a Hungarian refugee who fled to America in 1939 to elude the Nazi takeover of his home continent. Also, it is instructive and enlightening to see a vintage (1944) photo of the swarthy Cesar Romero all decked out in his real life U.S. Navy uniform (Romero may be best remembered as the original Joker on television’s Batman series).
While Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is primarily aimed at fans of film, aficionados of fine acting, and history and trivia buffs, it also makes for good use as a reference guide or as a fun, pass-the-time reader. Forgotten Hollywood is available at bookstores, virtual and otherwise. For further information, visit www.forgottenhollywood.com.
Here’s a link to the review:
Until next time> “never forget”