• W.C. Fields enjoyed playing havoc with the directors of his movies. On the set of The Big Broadcast of 1938, he performed a drinking scene that he had done the day before. When the director protested, Mr. Fields replied that the two scenes were different: “Yesterday, I did the scene with a bottle of gin. Today, I am doing it with a bottle of scotch.”
• In 1958, comedian Ernie Kovacs bought and remodeled a house in Hollywood. As a finishing touch for his wine cellar, he had the Columbia Pictures prop department come in and put cobwebs on all the wine bottles.
• Film actor Humphrey Bogart stayed true to his tough-guy image. Just before he died, he said, “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
• Billy Wilder once wanted to do a movie about the life of Vaslav Nijinsky, the gifted Russian dancer who ended up in an asylum, thinking he was a horse. Mr. Wilder explained his idea to studio head Samuel Goldwyn, who said, “Have you gone crazy? You want to make a picture about a man who thinks he’s a horse?” Mr. Wilder knew then that the movie would not be made, so he replied, “We could always have a happy ending — we could show him winning the Derby.”
• Although actor Vincent Price liked most animals, he disliked horses, but unfortunately he occasionally had to ride them during the filming of his movies. John Stahl directed Mr. Price in Forever Amber, in which Mr. Price rode often. During the filming, Mr. Stahl used to shout at Mr. Price over the loudspeaker, “For God’s sake, don’t look so stupid on that horse, Vincent. Look as though you liked it.” Mr. Price always replied, “But I don’t like it, Mr. Stahl!”
• Years after Jimmy Stewart made the movie Harvey, co-starring a six-foot-plus white rabbit that is invisible to most people, adults would ask him on the street — quite seriously — “Is Harvey with you?” Mr. Stewart’s usual answer was, “No, Harvey has a cold, and he decided to stay home.” To which grown men would reply, “Next time you see him, give him my regards, please.”
• French comedian Jacques Tati used some dogs that he picked up at the dog pound in Mon Oncle, an M. Hulot movie. After filming was over, he needed to find good homes for the dogs, so he advertised that they were movie stars. Every dog found a good home.
• Charles Addams is known for his macabre cartoons that formed the premise of the TV series The Addams Family. After watching the premiere of Cleopatra, he was asked what he thought about the movie. He replied, “I only came to see the asp.”
• Many movies that are set in Spain or Italy are actually filmed in California. Bird-watchers sometimes get a kick out of watching one of these films and hearing the distinctive cries of California quail in the background.
• During World War II, British soldiers watched bad movies when that was the best entertainment available and often the only entertainment featuring female flesh. During one movie, the bad guy shot the good guy in the arm, and the well-endowed heroine tore off a strip of cloth from her blouse to use as a bandage. One British soldier yelled at the movie’s bad guy, “Go on, shoot ’im in the other arm!”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Movies — Buy