Tag Archives: Edward G. Robinson

Cut Scene From A Classic Movie – Double Indemnity 1944

Double Indemnity – The Pep-Up Speech That Never Was

aka: The “Benefits” Of Living & Working In Mid-Century America

The classic American film, Double Indemnity has a scene in which Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is meeting with his boss, Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) in Neff’s office. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #95 – Planet of the Apes, Maurice Evans – Dr. Zaius

Planet of the Apes Star Maurice Evans Talks About Playing Dr. Zaius

Maurice Evans getting finishing make-up touches for Planet of the Apes photo Keystone
The Most Challenging Operation In History

The biggest and most challenging makeup operation in the history of Hollywood is currently underway for a new film called “Planet of the Apes”. One hundred artists and laboratory men have been given the job of turning out a cast of ape-like beings who inhabit another planet.

Faces of the apes are especially difficult to make since they must be pliable and able to express emotion. Experiments have been going on for a year to be ready for the commencement of the $5-million production.

The makeup substance is made partly of foam rubber and allows the actors to sweat without effecting their grotesque looks. Makeup men start on the cast as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to be ready for filming.

Story of the film is about astronaut Charlton Heston who lands on the weird planet peopled by sophisticated apes. Chief ape is played by Maurice Evans. – photo Keystone Press Agency 1967

The original choice to play Dr. Zaius was not Maurice Evans, but Edward G. Robinson. Supposedly Robinson could not bear the grueling makeup regimen and bowed out before filming began.

According to John Chambers, head makeup man for Planet of the Apes it took three and a half hours to turn a man into an ape. Continue reading

Batman TV Series – Celebrity In The Window Cameos

Do NOT Be Alarmed Citizen! Batman Series To Finally Be Released On DVD

Sammy Davis Jr., Robin & Batman

Sammy Davis Jr., Robin & Batman

In January it was reported that the long awaited release of the original Batman TV series is finally coming to DVD/Blu Ray sometime in 2014.

Batman which originally aired on ABC from 1966-1968, has been wrapped up in licensing, clearance and legal tangles for years and a whole generation knows Batman primarily from the most recent set of movies and DC comic books.

But for anyone who grew up in the 1960’s or 1970’s, Batman meant the campy TV series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, along with many guest star villains and celebrity cameos.

Presented here on Youtube (until it is ordered taken down by some corporation) is a compilation of all the cameo appearances of celebrities who happened to coincidentally  look out the window just when Batman and Robin were climbing up or down a building. They then would proceed to have a bizarre conversation with the dynamic duo. Bat Climb photo via www.bat-mania.co.uk:This simple stunt was accomplished by having Adam West and Burt Ward walk on the floor hunched over while the camera was tilted on its side as the celebrity pops out of the floor disguised as a window.

Some of these celebrities like Dick Clark, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. are still recognized by younger audiences today, but many are forgotten such as Suzy Knickerbocker. Take a look for yourself.

The celebrity cameos are in order of appearance on the video:

1. Jerry Lewis

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #14

Edward G. Robinson – The Hatchet Man 1932

If it seems preposterous that Edward G. Robinson (left) would be cast as a Chinese hitman, then consider that all the leads of this 1932 film The Hatchet Man, directed by William Wellman, are Caucasian.

Robinson, seen here standing next to character actor Dudley Digges, plays Wong Low Get, an anti-hero assassin, in this story about Tong Wars in Chinatown.

The movie is occasionally shown on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and is worth watching because Robinson turns in a fine performance, even if he doesn’t even slightly resemble someone of Asian descent.

Where Did The Saying “Up The River” Come From?

A Movie Cliche’s New York Origins

If you ever watch any gangster films from the 1930’s or 40’s, one of the lines of dialogue that always pops up is: “up the river.”

Somebody would utter it: a criminal; prosecutor; police officer; or a fellow gangster. Listen and it will be said in most of these early crime movies.

Lines like:

“Didn’t you hear, Rocky’s going up the river.”

“If you don’t talk Ike, I can guarantee you’re going to spend a long stretch up the river.”

“I’m not takin’ the fall to go up the river for a heist you did, Spats.”

The term “up the river” as most people know refers to going to prison.

So where did the saying come from?

In the 1800’s, when you were charged with a crime and sent to prison in New York City, the accused would first be taken to the prison on Centre Street in lower Manhattan which was known as “the Tombs” built in 1838.

The Tombs were so named because the original structure had large granite columns on the outside of the building which  resembled Egyptian burial architecture, a.k.a. tombs. The Tombs though, were merely a holding prison for the accused criminals awaiting trial.

After sentencing, convicts were sent to a prison on Blackwell’s Island (today known as Roosevelt Island) in the middle of the East River.

However if you were a habitual offender or committed a very serious offense, you would be sent thirty miles north, up the Hudson River to Sing Sing prison. This is the origin of the phrase being sent, “up the river.” Sing Sing separated the hardened criminals from the run of the mill pickpockets, burglars and ordinary thieves.

Even though, the term “up the river” originally referred to Sing Sing, it was eventually applied to anyone being sent to any prison.