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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Leon AmesLEON AMES (1902-1993) was born Leon Waycoff in Portland, Indiana to Russian Immigrants. He began his career on the stage in 1925. Sadly, I was not alive then to have seen any of his stage productions. When I was introduced to Leon Ames, he was well-defined as "dear old dad" in most of his films. I especially liked him as the father of Doris Day and Judy Garland. I envisioned Leon Ames to be a very likable man. It didn't surprise me at all to see him playing Reverend March in Little Women. The movies of his I liked best were family pictures. Even though, I never caught him on stage, I did see him on television. He played one of neighbors on "Mr. Ed" and fathers on both "Life With Father" and "Father of the Bride" TV shows. In this private life, he was the owner of a very successful car dealership in Los Angeles.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)Haven't you seen Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)? This is a lovely family picture set in the early 1900's. The story focuses around the Smith family and Judy Garland plays their daughter Esther who has fallen in love with the boy next door. Leon Ames plays her father, Mr. Alonzo Smith. It's a wonderful musical with catchy tunes and a must-see for Judy Garland fans.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

On Moonlight Bay (1951) This film and its sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, are wonderful. The films together are a love story set in Indiana starring Doris Day and Gordon McRae. Doris plays Marjorie Winfield and Leon Ames plays her father, the vice president of a bank, George Winfield.
The Absent Minded Professor (1961) This is a Disney classic starring Fred MacMurray about the inventor of strange new substance called Flubber. Ames plays President Rufus Daggett in both this film and its sequel, Son of Flubber.
The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) This is one of several "Thin Man" films about sleuths Nick and Nora Charles of upper crust society. In this film Leon Ames plays Edgar Draque. He's in one other Thin Man film, but plays a different character in Song of the Thin Man.
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1965) In this Disney film starring Tommy Kirk, Leon Ames plays Judge Holmsby. He plays the same character in its sequel, The Monkey's Uncle.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Wed, Jun 28 2006 / 15:41:34 PST