Tuesday, June 8, 2010

20,000 Leagues

I found the 1954 classic Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on-demand last weekend, so I started watching it.  I have seen it several times in my youth, but not recently, and even this time I didn't quite finish it.  I remember the display at Walt Disney World where they have one of the Nautilus models used to make the movie.

A quick look at IMDB reveals there were three silent versions of the story.  They were released in 1905, 1907 (by Georges Melies), and 1916.  I haven't seen any of them, but the 1915 release apparently had underwater photography that was groundbreaking.  I will have to look for that one.

Back to 1954.  The ticket agent shown in the beginning of 20K was played by Harry Harvey.  He is credited with 417 roles on the IMDB web site, starting with the Tom Mix Destry Rides Again in 1932.  How do I always keep coming back to Destry?!?

Harvey was in Gold Diggers of 1937 with Dick Powell, the 1939 Blondie Takes a Vacation with my friend Penny Singleton, a whole bunch of B westerns, 1942 The Pride of the Yankees, 1942 A Night to Remember (but a different Night to Remember than the 1958 Night to Remember that we talked about a few days ago), a small part in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Danny Kaye in 1947, more B westerns, he was June Alyson's doctor in The Glenn Miller Story, and of course, the list is practically endless. 

The sign of a great bit actor is to remain a viable commodity for small parts.  If you become too famous, you may have a difficult time getting parts because you will be recognized.

Harvey lived from 1901 to 1985 and he was still doing TV parts in the 1970s on "Mannix," "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," "Ironside," and "Adam-12."  He appeared in the 1970 hit film Airport as a passenger.

I thought I would have trouble finding well exposed bit actors in a Disney film.  Disney keeps stars on contract so they don't have the opportunity to do much work elsewhere.  It seems like Harry Harvey filled the bill!

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