Friday, October 19, 2012

The Gladiator, Part 2

We aren't yet done with this subject. There are still a few more stout blows left to be dealt to the deceased steed of renowned speed. 

Why should people like Roy Thomas and Alan Moore be the only ones to partake of this fine excercise?

And so I say that to me it sounds like Joe E. Brown in the movie THE GLADIATOR seems somewhat closer to Superman than the character in the book as Joe E. Brown goes from "mild-mannered" to "super", while Hugo Danner doesn't sound so mild, it sounds as if he was smugly superior all along and only was more sneaky to begin with.

The mild-mannered type was represented in the movies by Harold Loyd, who seems to have been another likely source of inspiration for Superman as he not only played daredevils who climbed buildings, but wore glasses and resembled Clark Kent. But the mild-mannered character was also frequently essayed by Joe E. Brown.

Joe E. Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joe E. Brown

from the trailer for the film
Bright Lights (1935)
BornJoseph Evans Brown
(1891-07-28)July 28, 1891
Holgate, Ohio, USA
DiedJuly 6, 1973(1973-07-06) (aged 81)
Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Years active1928-1964
Spouse(s)Kathryn Francis McGraw
(1915-1973; his death; 4 children)
Joseph Evans Brown (July 28, 1891 – July 6, 1973)[1][2] was an American actor and comedian, remembered for his amiable screen persona, comic timing, and enormous smile. In 1902 at the age of nine, he joined a troupe of circus tumblers known as the Five Marvelous Ashtons who toured the country on both the circus and vaudeville circuits. Later he became a professional baseball player. After three seasons he returned to the circus, then went into Vaudeville and finally starred on Broadway. He gradually added comedy into his act and transformed himself into a comedian. He moved to Broadway in the 1920s first appearing in the musical comedy Jim Jam Jems.


Joseph Evans Brown was born on July 28, 1891, in Holgate, Ohio, near Toledo. He spent most of his childhood in Toledo. He performed as a tumbler in vaudeville shots as a child. He was skilled baseball player and declined an opportunity to sign with the New York Yankees to pursue his career as an entertainer.

 Film career

In late 1928, Brown began making films, starting the next year with Warner Bros.. He quickly shot to stardom after appearing in the first all-color all-talking musical comedy On with the Show (1929). He starred in a number of lavish Technicolor Warner Brothers musical comedies including: Sally (1929), Hold Everything (1930), and Song of the West (1930),"Going Wild (1930)". By 1931, Joe E. Brown had become such a star that his name began to appear alone above the title of the movies in which he appeared.
He followed in Fireman, Save My Child (1932), a comedy in which he played a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, with Elmer, the Great (1933) with Patricia Ellis and Claire Dodd, and Alibi Ike (1935) with Olivia de Havilland, in both of which he portrayed ballplayers with the Chicago Cubs.
In 1933 he starred in Son of a Sailor with Jean Muir and Thelma Todd. In 1934, Brown starred in A Very Honorable Guy with Alice White and Robert Barrat, and in The Circus Clown again with Patricia Ellis and with Dorothy Burgess and with Maxine Doyle in Six-Day Bike Rider. Brown was one of the few vaudeville comedians to appear in a Shakespeare film; he played Francis Flute in the Max Reinhardt/William Dieterle film version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), and was highly praised for his performance. He starred in Polo Joe (1936) with Carol Hughes and Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, and Sons O' Guns. In 1933 and 1936, he managed to become one of the top ten earners in films. He was sufficiently well known internationally by this point to be depicted in comic strips in the British comic Film Fun for twenty years from 1933.
He left Warner Brothers to work for producer David L. Loew, starring in When's Your Birthday? (1937). In 1938, he starred in The Gladiator, a loose film-adaptation of Philip Gordon Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator, which influenced the creation of Superman.[3] He gradually switched to making "B" pictures.

 World War II

Joe E. Brown and Irving Leroy Ress (right) c. 1950
In 1939, Brown testified before the House Immigration Committee in support of a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish refugee children into the US, and he later adopted two refugee children.[4] In 1942 Brown's son, Captain Don E. Brown, was killed when his military plane crashed near Palm Springs, California.[5] During WWII, he spent a great deal of time entertaining troops, spending many nights working and meeting servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen. He wrote of his experiences entertaining the troops in his book Your Kids and Mine.
Joe E. Brown's own two sons were in the military service. At 50, he was too old to enlist. Likable and gregarious, Brown traveled thousands of miles at his own expense to entertain American troops. He was the first to do so, traveling to both the Carribean and Alaska before Bob Hope or the USO were organized.
On his return to the States he brought sacks of letters, making sure they were delivered by the Post Office Department. He gave shows in all weather conditions, many in hospitals, sometimes doing his entire show for a single dying soldier. He would sign autographs for everyone. Brown was one of only two civilians to be awarded the Bronze Star in WWII.

 Postwar work

In 1948, he was awarded a Special Tony Award for his work in the touring company of Harvey.[6]
He had a cameo appearance in Around the World in 80 Days (1956), as a stationmaster talking to Fogg (David Niven) and his entourage in a small town in Nebraska. In the similarly epic film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), he cameoed as a union official giving a speech at a construction site in the climactic scene. He was the Mystery Guest on What's My Line? during the January 11, 1953 episode.
His best known postwar role was that of aging millionaire Osgood Fielding III in Some Like It Hot (1959), the comedy directed by Billy Wilder. Fielding falls for Daphne (Jerry), played by Jack Lemmon in drag, and gets to say one of the most celebrated punchlines in film history. Another of his notable postwar roles was that of "Cap'n Andy Hawkes" in MGM's 1951 remake of Show Boat, a role that he reprised onstage in the 1961 New York City Center revival of the musical, and on tour. The musical film version included such prominent costars as Ava Gardner, Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. Brown performed several dance routines in the film, and famed choreographer Gower Champion appeared along with first wife Marge.

Brown with fellow comedian Buster Keaton in a 1962 episode of Route 66.
Brown was a sports enthusiast, both in film and personally. Some of his best films were the "baseball trilogy" which consisted of Fireman, Save My Child (1932), Elmer the Great (1933) and Alibi Ike (1935). He was also a television and radio broadcaster for the New York Yankees in 1953. His son, Joe L. Brown, inherited an interest in baseball, becoming the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than twenty years. Brown also spent Ty Cobb's last days with him before he died, discussing his life.
Brown's sports enthusiasm also led to him becoming the first president of PONY Baseball and Softball (at the time named Pony League) when the organization was incorporated in 1953. He continued in the post until late 1964 when he retired. Later he traveled additional thousands of miles telling the story of PONY League, hoping to interest adults in organizing baseball programs for young people. He was also a fan of Thoroughbred horse racing, a regular at Del Mar Racetrack and the races at Santa Anita.

 In popular culture

He was caricatured in the Disney cartoons Mickey's Gala Premiere (1933), Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938), and The Autograph Hound (1939). All of them contain a scene in which he is seen laughing so loud that his mouth opens extremely wide.
He was impersonated by Daws Butler for the title character of the Peter Potamus cartoon.

 Later life, family, and legacy

He had four children: two sons, Don Evan Brown (December 25, 1916 — October 8, 1942, Captain United States Army Air Force, killed during pilot training) and Joe LeRoy "Joe L." Brown (September 1, 1918 — August 15, 2010), and two daughters, Mary Katherine Ann (b. 1930) and Kathryn Francis (b. 1934). Both daughters were adopted as infants.
His final film appearance was in The Comedy of Terrors (1964). Weeks earlier he had appeared with Joan Blondell and Buster Keaton in an episode of Jack Palance's ABC circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth. Brown died at his home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California from arteriosclerosis on July 6, 1973. He began having heart problems in 1968 after suffering a severe heart attack and underwent cardiac surgery.
Bowling Green State University dedicated one of its three theaters to him (the one in which he appeared in Harvey in the 1950s) as The Joe E. Brown Theatre.
Joe E. Brown has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1680 Vine Street.[7]

 Selected filmography

 Books published

  • Your Kids and Mine (1944)
  • Laughter is a Wonderful Thing (1956)


Brown died in 1973 in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, three weeks before his 82nd birthday.[8] He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.


  1. ^ California Deaths, 1940–1997 Joe E. Brown
  2. ^ The Grave of Joe E. Brown, separate monument and family monument pictured together, separate monument up close, family monument up close (Find a Grave)
  3. ^ Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. New York: Basic Books, 2004 (ISBN 0465036562), p.80. Also see Moskowitz, Sam Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction, Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Co., 1963 (ISBN 0-88355-130-6), pp.278–295
  4. ^ The Holocaust Chronicle. Publications International Ltd., 2000 (ISBN 0-7853-2963-3), p.162
  5. ^ "Capt. Don Brown, Actor's Son, Dies In Bomber Crash.". Chicago Tribune. October 9, 1942.'S+SON%2C+DIES+IN+BOMBER+CRASH&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. ^ 1948 Tony Award Winners
  7. ^ Hollywood Walk of Fame
  8. ^ "Joe E. Brown, Comedian Of Movies and Stage, Dies.". New York Times. July 7, 1973. Retrieved 2007-08-21. "Joe E. Brown, the beloved elastic-mouth comedian, died at his home here today. He was 81 years old. Mr. Brown was incapacitated by a stroke several years ago, and he had also suffered from severe arthritis."

 External links

Lucien Littlefield

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lucien Littlefield
Born(1895-08-16)August 16, 1895
San Antonio, Texas, United States
DiedJune 4, 1960(1960-06-04) (aged 64)
Hollywood, California, United States
Years active1914–1960
Spouse(s)Constance Palmer (19?? - 19??)
Lucien Littlefield (August 16, 1895, San Antonio, Texas — June 4, 1960, Hollywood, California) was an American actor in the silent film era. He later made numerous cameo appearances on television series.
His role of the doctor in The Cat and the Canary (1927) is one of his more notable performances. He appeared with Laurel and Hardy, first as an eccentric professor in Dirty Work, and finally as a vet in their classic feature Sons of the Desert, both made in 1933. He also played Mary Pickford's father in My Best Girl in 1927. Other roles include Tumbleweeds, with William S. Hart, Ruggles of Red Gap, with Charles Laughton, and Johnny Come Lately, with James Cagney.
He played an eccentric inventor in an early Adventures of Superman episode called "The Runaway Robot". Littlefield played many character roles in other TV shows of the 1950s, such as Blondie, Lassie, Dragnet and Peter Gunn.
He died of natural causes in 1960, and was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography

External links

Lucien Littlefield had a long and distinguished career both as an actor and as a portrayer of mad scientists on screen. He was a mad doctor in THE CAT AND THE CANARY with Laura La Plante:

A mad scientist in DIRTY WORK with Laurel and Hardy:

And he finally even got a chance to do an actual Superman story as a mad scientist.

The character of "Horatio Hinkle" was also used in the Superman comic strip and the radio show.
"Percival Popp" in THE SPECTRE appears to be another version of the same character.
While the cop on the right had been a character on the radio show, he doesn't seem to have been used in the comics.

Casting Man Mountain Dean in the movie version of GLADIATOR gave the hero a notable oponent to fight with in a contest, giving a reason for the title that seemed to be lacking in the original story.

Man Mountain Dean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Man Mountain Dean (June 30, 1891 – May 29, 1953), born Frank Simmons Leavitt, was a professional wrestler of the early 1900s.
He was born in New York City, the son of John McKenney and Henrietta N. (Decker) Leavitt. From childhood, Frank Leavitt was remarkably large in stature. This trait led to a lifelong interest in competitive sport, and also made it easy for him to lie about his age in order to join the Army at the age of fourteen. While enlisted he saw duty on the Mexican-U.S. border with John J. Pershing, and was later sent to France where he participated in combat during World War I. Also during this period (1914) he began his wrestling career using the ring name of "Soldier Leavitt".
After the war, Leavitt embarked on a career in athletics. Although signed for a brief time (1919–20) with the New York Brickley Giants of the National Football League, he concentrated most of his efforts toward the less lucrative field of professional wrestling. He competed in the ring for a time under the name "Hell's Kitchen Bill-Bill" (a "hillbilly" reference which was suggested to him by the writer Damon Runyon) but eventually settled on the moniker of "Stone Mountain".
Leavitt wrestled with limited success at first, and after an injury took a job as a police officer in Miami, Florida. It was here he met his wife, Doris Dean, who also became his manager. After her idea, he adopted the nickname "Man Mountain" and substituted the more Anglo-Saxon-sounding last name of Dean. At well over six feet in height and weighing in excess of 300 pounds, Dean was an imposing figure. To this he added a long, full beard as part of his ring persona. Dean was one of the first professional wrestlers to emphasize showmanship in the sport, and it worked to his advantage.
After a highly successful wrestling tour of Germany which had been booked by his wife, he was invited to take a job in the UK as stunt-double for Charles Laughton in the movie The Private Life of Henry VIII. This would be the beginning of a subsidiary movie career for Dean, who would appear in various roles in twelve other movies, playing himself in five of them. One of the movies in which he portrayed himself was the Joe E. Brown comedy The Gladiator, a 1938 adaptation of Philip Gordon Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator.
Meanwhile he continued a fairly successful wrestling career, participating altogether in 6,783 professional bouts and commanding fees upwards of $1,500 for each match. In 1937 he retired from the ring to a farm outside of Norcross, Georgia.
Dean ran for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1938 but withdrew his candidacy, citing discomfort with the political process. During World War II he again joined the Army despite his age, and finally left with the rank of master sergeant. In the 1940s he was the First Sergeant of the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, Md. Afterward he studied at the University of Georgia's school of journalism. He appeared as a guest on the December 29, 1944 episode of the radio program It Pays to be Ignorant. During the program, broadcast from New York City, Dean gave his weight as 280 pounds (127 kg).
He died of a heart attack in his home in Norcross, Georgia, at the age of 63 in 1953, and is buried in Marietta National Cemetery under a military marker bearing his birth name and an erroneous year of birth (1889)[citation needed].

 In wrestling

External links

  • Helping patients at Wakeman General Hospital, Camp Atterbury IN during WW2.


    How he got to be a man mountain.

    June Travis as the girlfriend is a great improvement to this version. Hugo Danner had no girlfriend in the original story.

    June Travis

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    June Travis
    BornJune Dorothea Grabiner
    (1914-08-07)August 7, 1914
    Chicago, Illinois
    DiedApril 14, 2008(2008-04-14) (aged 93)
    Chicago, Illinois
    Other namesJune Travis Friedlob
    Years active1935-1965
    Spouse(s)Fred Friedlob
    June Travis (August 7, 1914 – April 14, 2008) was an American film actress.


    Born as June Dorothea Grabiner, she was the daughter of Harry Grabiner, vice-president of the Chicago White Sox in the 1930s.
    She had dark brown hair and green eyes. She stood 5'4" tall. She attended Parkside Grammar School in Chicago and later UCLA. When she returned to Illinois she matriculated at the University of Chicago.


    On January 3, 1940, June married Fred Friedlob. They had two daughters, Cathy and June. Friedlob died in May 1979 in Chicago.

    Screen Actress

    A Paramount Pictures vice-president noticed her in Miami, Florida at a White Sox exhibition game. He offered Travis a screen test when she came to Pasadena, California, where the major league baseball team trained. The first time she was presented with a screen contract, she suffered from screen fright and turned it down. She returned to Chicago and school. The next winter she accepted a film studio offer in Palm Springs, California.
    Travis made her screen debut in Stranded (1935), a film which starred Kay Francis and George Brent. She played the role of "Mary Rand". She followed this with a part in Not On Your Life (1935), with Warren William and Claire Dodd. Howard Hawks directed her in Ceiling Zero (1936), a Warner Bros. feature. In preparation for her role, Travis learned flying, navigation, and parachute jumping from Amelia Earhart. The aviatrix gave her instructions in September 1935. The film co-starred James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. In 1936, she played secretary Della Street to Perry Mason as played by Ricardo Cortez in The Case of the Black Cat.
    Her most notable film role was likely the one she played in The Star (1952) starring Bette Davis.
    Travis became known as the Queen of the B-movies on the Warner Bros. lot. Later she said that if she had remained in Hollywood two more years, she would have been a star. However, following three years, she came home to Chicago for Christmas with her parents. She did not return to making motion pictures. She stopped regularly appearing in films after 1938, though she later had minor appearances in The Star and Monster a Go-Go.

     Later Career-Stage Acting

    By the late 1970s Travis was performing on stage.[citation needed] She admitted that the transition from acting on film was a difficult one.[citation needed]


    Travis died in 2008 in a hospital of complications from a stroke she suffered weeks earlier. She was 93 years old.

    External links

    June Travis co-starred with Joe E. Brown in EARTHWORM TRACTORS as well as THE GLADIATOR.
    Carol Hughes ( left ) and Marie Wilson with June Travis. Carol Hughes was also in EARTHWORM TRACTORS, and later played Dale Arden in FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE. Marie Wilson is best known for MY FRIEND IRMA. 
    The old press photographers commonly used wide-angle lenses,
    which presumably is why this photo looks distorted.
    CEILING ZERO with Jimmy Cagney

    With Amelia Earhart during the production of CEILING ZERO.



    Popeye, and not "The Gladiator" was the first superhero, and the first superhero in comics as well.

    Popeye cover swipe of the first Superman comic book.
    Superman would even meet a Popeye character in some of the more recent comics. So you could even say that the characters have met as well as having certain similarities.
    You can do anything in comics. You can even have your characters go back in time and meet someone who is no longer amoung the living.
    But somehow, I just don't think there would be much point in having Superman meet Hugo Danner.

    Joe E. Brown Pictures:

    No comments:

    Post a Comment