Friday, April 29, 2011

Henry "Bomber" Kulky

Here is a perennial favorite with a great name.  Henry "Bomber" Kulky (1911 - 1965) started out as a boxer and then went into wrestling.  In South America, he was in somewhere between 175 and 7,000 matches.  He remembered it differently than the rest of the world....but he said he won most of them.

During his years as a wrestler he got to know Mike Mazurki, and that led to making movies.  Click on Mike's name to see more about him. 

Kulky has 113 titles on IMDb in the movies and on TV.  His roles weren't usually big, and many of his productions weren't the biggest hits, but he brought character to the roles and life to those movies.  He looked like a wrestler with a boxing background, so that limited his roles to playing bartenders, strongmen, soldiers, cops, crooks and such. 

In 1948 he was in To the Ends of the Earth with Dick Powell.  He played a 'Giant Chinese Man.'  He was a strongman in Mighty Joe Young (1949).  In 1951 he was in Love Nest with Marilyn Monroe.  And the B-movies kept coming for him.  Red Planet Mars (1952), No Holds Barred (1952), and Target Hong Kong (1953).

He was versatile enough to play children's movies - The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), horror flicks - Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954), and comedies - Fireman Save My Child (1954) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955).

I recently saw him as the bartender in The Gunfight at Dodge City (1959) starring Joel McCrea.  I don't believe he said a word, but his face is unmistakable. 

When I was young, we watched "The Life of Riley" on TV, and Henry Kulky played Otto Schmidlap, Chester Riley's friend.  The memories come flooding back.  He also had a regular role in "Hennesey" starring Jackie Cooper

His final role was as Chief Petty Officer Curley Jones on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."  I was 14 years old when that was on, so it was a show I never missed.  And CPO Jones wasn't someone to mess with!

Henry died of a heart attack during that series.  He never had big parts, but he is worth looking for.  And once you see him, you can't miss him!


  1. I loved this guy! I'm now 61 and wish he would have lived longer . . . rugged looking but a teddy bear and a nice guy! Why do all the good ones die young?

  2. Thanks for the comment. Henry was one of those faces you never forget. I try to celebrate them all here.

  3. always brings back great memories of early movies and t.v. shows. Too bad Henry had to pass so young. I think of him, William Bendix, Robert Young, Ozzie Nelson, Danny Thomas..Etc..Far too many to name..

    1. Yes, far too many. I would like a bigger memory please.

  4. We used to joke about Bomber being the ring bearer at our wedding. He arrived late from a film site, drove up on his motorcycle, and rushed in just as my father and I started down the aisle at the Little Chapel of the Dawn in Santa Monica. He quickly slipped in before us and took his seat. His favorite comment about me "My neck and her waist are the same size -18." What a sweet guy and good friend.

  5. Just saw him in the 1954 Judy Garland "A Star is Born." He plays "Cuddles," a name given him by recovering alcoholic James Mason, and manages to be both jovial and menacing (he's guarding Mason). Found his name because I remembered him as one of the 10 Strong Men in Mighty Joe Young. I was impressed by his prolific television and film career!


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