Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Charles Lane

We may not know his name but we certainly know his face. Charles Lane was born Charles Gerstle Levison January 26, 1905 and passed away at the age of 102 on July 9, 2007. He was also one of the last survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake

He made his film debut anonymously as a hotel clerk in Smart Money in 1931 starring Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney and his final work was as a narrator in 2006 in The Night Before Christmas. He was one of the first to join the Screen Actor's Guild. January 30th has been declared Charles Lane Day by the Screen Actor's Guild.

For television viewers he is probably most known for playing Homer Bedloe (scheming railwayman)on Petticoat Junction. He also appeared on I Love Lucy, Little House on the Praire, Soap, LA Law, The Odd Couple and Rhoda to name a few.

For classic movie lovers he is the familiar character actor that appeared in probably over 100 films. Although many of his appearances were uncredited.

He appeared in such classics as Twentieth Century, Its A Wonderful Life, You Can't Take it With You, Its a Mad Mad Mad World, Miss Grant Takes Richmond, State of the Union, Arsenic and Old Lace, 42nd Street, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Golden Boy, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

We recognize his skinny, hatchet-faced, prominent nose, his rimless eyeglasses and his permanent scowl, he typically portrayed short-tempered and often loudmouthed bureaucrats and yes-men.

I would have like to meet Charles Lane and talk with him as he worked with James Cagney, Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, Lucille Ball, Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, William Holden, Frank Capra, and so many of our classic movie stars and directors.

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