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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Paul Douglas Like a lot of fine actors, PAUL DOUGLAS (1907-1959) appeared on a number television shows in addition to his career in films. I had seen him in an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour called, "Lucy Wants a Career". However, This wasn't where I was first introduced to this wonderful actor. I saw him first in films that I watched during my summer vacations in the early 1970s on my 14 in. black and white set that I had purchased with baby sitting money. I believe possibly the first film I saw Douglas in was The Solid Gold Cadillac with Judy Holliday. But, it could be I saw him first in It Happens Every Spring. By the time I saw him in Angels in the Outfield, the favorite listed here, I knew who he was. I knew him for his comedies.

Paul Douglas took drama in high school, but became a pro football player after college. He got into radio broadcasting, doing sports, of course, and the news. He ventured out and did theatre and landed a role on Broadway in 1935 in the comedy, Double Dummy. He was then asked to do a radio show production of Born Yesterday. Then he made three good films in 1949, Everybody Does It, It Happens Every Spring, and A Letter to Three Wives. Paul Douglas had done narration and bit parts before that. Sadly, his career was cut short when he died suddenly of a heart attack at only 50. I hope you'll watch these films and grow to love him as I have.

Angels in the Outfield (1951)Haven't you seen Angels in the Outfield (1951)? [aka Angels and the Pirates (UK)] Paul Douglas plays Aloysius X. McGovern called Guffy. He's the crochety foul mouth coach of the pirates whose world is turned upside-down by a little girl. It's a wonderful film which was remade later by Disney with a boy in the little girl's role to represent a more dysfunctional society. I'm partial to classics where messages don't have been force-fed. Paul Douglas is superb.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) Douglas plays Edward L. McKeever. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite characters. I love the friendship the builds between Laura Partridge (played by Judy Holliday) and him.
It Happens Every Spring (1949) Another fun baseball farce, Douglas plays Monk Lanigan. I love films with a bit of magic in them.
A Letter to Three Wives (1949) Here, he plays Porter Hollingsway. I discovered this gem when I began buying the "Fox Studio Classics" series on DVD.
Panic in the Streets (1950) Douglas plays New Orleans Police Captain Tom Warren. I had not heard of this film until I purchased a three-pack of Fox Noir Classics. It was really good.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Tues, Feb 13 2007 / 6:44:24 PST