Saturday, October 3, 2009

Franklin Pangborn -- "Well, really!"


Franklin Pangborn is everybody's favorite nervous, flustered man.  He built a career with his elegant head waiters who find themselves frustrated by improper behavior -- the prim and proper hotel manager who loses his cool and becomes flustered when things don't go as they should -- the upbeat but fussy and nervous desk clerk.  He played a confused, nervous photographer in one of the "Our Gang" shorts. One of my favorite Pangborn parts is in a movie whose title I cannot for the life of me bring to mind -- he plays a pathetically nervous stand-by organist at a radio station who faints dead away when he finally gets his chance to fill in for a show.

Pangborn created the beloved character beginning with Hal Roach and Mack Sennett comedies.  Known for his rapid patter speech as well as famous manner, he was a staple in feature films of the 30s and 40s.  Some of the most well-known films in which he appeared were W.C. Fields' International House and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, Stage Door, Carefree and Sullivan's Travels.  He appeared in Bette Davis's Now, Voyager, where he played the ship's cruise director who flutters around the departing passengers saying "Don't anybody say goodbye, just not anybody!"  What would movies have been like without dear Franklin Pangborn?  Well, really, my dear, they would not have been nearly as much fun!

9 comments:

  1. Becky, Pangborn was one of those great character actors who could steal a scene with a look (like Eric Blore). What a delightful choice for Performer of the Week and what a thoughtful tribute to him (with one of his classic lines). I think the movie where's he's the standby organist is Shirley Temple's REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM. Wish I could say I remembered that, but I had to look it up!

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  2. Thank you Rick! That is exactly right of course. I was being stubborn and wanted to remember it myself,and Shirley Temple came to mind, but my brain hadn't sifted through it yet. Wasn't he a scream in that part?

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  3. I remember him as the photographer in an Our Gang short where he's trying to take a family portrait for Spanky and his parents. His ability to convey his frustration and desperation through his tone and gestures at not being able to get one good shot is hilarious. Excellent choice and well written!

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  4. Love Pangborn and am always pleased when he pops up in Now, Voyager. He added so much to any film he appeared in.

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  5. I remember Pangborn vaguely. Hey, you've given me another excuse to see Now, Voyager!! Nice blog.

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  6. One of my favorite character actors. The first Pangborn film I ever saw is still my favorite Pangborn performance. THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT. Hilarious! Thanks for posting.

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  7. Becky, thank you for introducing me to Pangborn. I do not think i have seen any of his films..

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  8. Becky, thank you for reminding me about Pangborn. I went to the IMDB and they have 224 performances noted for him, beginning in 1926. That is one busy career! I have just been thinking that it has been too long since I have seen "Now Voyager." And I have never seen "The Horn Blows at Midnight." I really enjoyed this blog!

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  9. Yeah! Alot of people forget about him!!!

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