Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do You Remember Paul Newlan?

I don't.  Although I've probably seen him many times, and so have you.  Paul "Tiny" Newlan was born in 1903 and started acting in films in 1935 as an extra, as most young actors and actresses do.  His first film was Millions in the Air starring John Howard.  It also included Bob Cummings and Billy Gilbert in the cast.  (I think both of them did better than John Howard over the years.)

Newlan had quite a few small parts in some very good movies.  In Cecil B. DeMille's 1936 film The Plainsman with Gary Cooper, he played a "man getting whipped on wrist."  Not a bad movie, but I bet it hurt.

Some other work for Newlan was with Fred MacMurray and Harriet Hilliard (of Ozzie and Harriet fame) in Cocoanut Grove in 1938.  That film also includes an acquaintance of mine, Red Stanley, who was a musician and was married to Anita Garvin.  They were both great people!

At the turn of the decade (1939 - 1940) he worked in some more notable films.  The Gracie Allen Murder Case (without George Burns), Another Thin Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (he was a whipper), but his scenes were deleted in Life Begins for Andy Hardy.  What a variety of films!

Later in the 1940's he appears in The Harvey Girls (1946) with Judy Garland; Road to Utopia and Road to Rio (in 1946 and 1947) with Hope and Crosby; Copacabana (1947) as the owner of Genevieve the seal, with Groucho Marx and Gloria Jean; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947); The Fountainhead and The Inspector General in 1949, and the list goes on.  We aren't even half way through his list of acting roles, but many roles he played are still uncredited.

He was in four films with Bing Crosby and eight with Bob Hope (three with both of them), and four with Abbott and Costello.  In 1950 he was in Winchester '73 with James Stewart and in 1955, To Catch a Thief directed by Hitchcock.

In the early 1950's he started working on TV but continued making movies.  He worked mostly in dramas and westerns, but he does appear in "The Beverly Hillbillies."  His last film was in 1970, There was a Crooked Man with Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda...and Newlan's part was uncredited.

So, when is an extra more than just an extra?  I think Paul Newlan qualifies as a Bit Actor, with 190 roles in 36 years.  He passed away in 1973.


  1. Everyone remembers Paul Newman, but not Paul Newlan.

  2. I think the name similarity to Newman was what made me click on Newlan's name in the first place. It was like an Easter egg in a computer program, when I clicked on it I found a treasure! Now I have to watch some of those movies again and look for him.

  3. I just saw this guy in the "Brain Center at Whipple's" episode of The Twilight Zone, and checked him out on Before beginning to appear on TV in the mid-1950s, Newlan had A TON of uncredited movie roles--the hallmark of a consummate bit part actor?

    1. Thanks, Michael. I guess too many uncredited roles could make you an extra, but if you have a line or two, that's good enough for me!


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