BALDNESS-The "Disability" Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

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JFK
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BALDNESS-The "Disability" Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by JFK » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:30 pm

Inspired-if that's the word-by the "Actors with False Teeth" thread
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13918,
this post is dedicated to Hollywood's handling of premature hair-loss
(by "premature" hair-loss, we refer to follicles that fail before age 80).
Performers with domes tending towards chrome were usually typecast as
comics or heavies, hence the prevalence of skull doilies among
those aspiring to acquire, or maintain, star salaries/parts.
Last edited by JFK on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

JFK
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RAY MILLAND-The "Thing With Two Heads"

Unread post by JFK » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:40 pm

The whining Welshman blamed his hair loss on a Reap The Wild Wind
studio hairdo gone awry...He kept it under wraps until Love Story
ImageImage
Last edited by JFK on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bobfells
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Re: BALDNESS-The Disability Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by bobfells » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:52 pm

JFK,
in fairness to the individuals affected, many male stars wore hairpieces not because they were bald but to give themselves more youthful hairlines. Jack Benny, Al Jolson and many other stars had a perfectly good head of hair - for men in their 40s and 50s. John Barrymore didn't need any hairpiece but wore them in his costume films but not in his modern dress films. Same with Errol Flynn. Some stars seem to be known for their hairpieces such as Bing Crosby. He joked on his Philco radio show that Paramount hired Larry Parks (THE JOLSON STORY) to play Bing in a bio film but the deal went sour. Parks complained that he couldn't take off that much hair in so short a time.
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JFK
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The Savalas Bros. and The Bing Crosby Story

Unread post by JFK » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:12 pm

TELLY SAVALAS' Career + Hair= George Savalas' Career
Image

bobfells wrote:JFK, in fairness to the individuals affected, many male stars wore hairpieces not because they were bald but to give themselves more youthful hairlines. Jack Benny, Al Jolson and many other stars had a perfectly good head of hair - for men in their 40s and 50s. ..... Some stars seem to be known for their hairpieces such as Bing Crosby. He joked on his Philco radio show that Paramount hired Larry Parks (THE JOLSON STORY) to play Bing in a bio film but the deal went sour. Parks complained that he couldn't take off that much hair in so short a time.
Yes- you are right- e.g. Fred Allen always joked about Jack's toupee, but I don't think Benny wore one for his radio or tv show.
Your Crosby-Parks story is funny. Der Bingle didn't much like bothering with wigs- so many scenes had him wearing a hat-
but the only familiar film footage of him going topless was of his WWII USO appearances
Last edited by JFK on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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mndean
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Re: BALDNESS-The Disability Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by mndean » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:20 pm

bobfells wrote:JFK,
in fairness to the individuals affected, many male stars wore hairpieces not because they were bald but to give themselves more youthful hairlines. Jack Benny, Al Jolson and many other stars had a perfectly good head of hair - for men in their 40s and 50s. John Barrymore didn't need any hairpiece but wore them in his costume films but not in his modern dress films. Same with Errol Flynn. Some stars seem to be known for their hairpieces such as Bing Crosby. He joked on his Philco radio show that Paramount hired Larry Parks (THE JOLSON STORY) to play Bing in a bio film but the deal went sour. Parks complained that he couldn't take off that much hair in so short a time.
In unfairness to those individuals, I'm past 50 and have nearly as much hair on my head as when I was 20. Most of it the same color it was then, too. :mrgreen:

Richard M Roberts
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Re: BALDNESS-The Disability Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by Richard M Roberts » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:09 am

I have a bit of trouble calling baldness a disability, especially for an actor like Alec Guiness who was bald on top from a pretty early age, and utilized it and a number of different toupees to get him into the various characters and disguises he mastered in for most of his career.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

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bobfells
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Re: BALDNESS-The Disability Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by bobfells » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:20 am

Fred Allen really was kidding about Benny's toupe. There were more jokes about Jack's gray hair. Here's what Benny looked like on radio in the mid-1930s:
Image

And here he is during the same time after the makeup artists finished with him for films:
Image

Here's Jolson in 1935 on radio:
Image

and in films in 1935:
Image
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JFK
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BALDNESS-The Disability Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by JFK » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:15 am

Richard M Roberts wrote:I have a bit of trouble calling baldness a disability, especially for an actor like Alec Guinness who was bald on top from a pretty early age, and utilized it and a number of different toupees to get him into the various characters and disguises he mastered in for most of his career. RICHARD M ROBERTS
Sorry.
I have trouble both
1. Expressing myself clearly
2. And also, I recently discovered, levitating...

Though receding hairlines may have driven more men to drink than the Yellow Cab Company,
I was not trying to equate the experiences of the 'hair-challenged" with those living with sensory or physical restrictions.
What I was trying to say was:
It was the old time studios that treated their leading men's baldness as they would, in that era,
any other "disability" - that is, as something that should remain as hidden as Herbert Marshall's artificial limb.
Wallace Beery and Victor McLaglen may have won Oscars with heads less wooly than Monty Woolley's,
but as a general rule, the studios reserved bare pates for comics, character men, and criminals.


Your mention of Alec "Kenobi" Guinness may inspire another thread:
"Baldness In Futuristic Science Fiction-The Great Puzzle"
Specifically, why could their scientists find a cure for
neither baldness (Picard) nor bad rugs (Kirk)?

Rob
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Re: BALDNESS-The "Disability" Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by Rob » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:03 am

About 1973 or 74 I attended an opening night of a play in Los Angeles, which starred Claudette Colbert. This was at the Shubert Theater in Century City. Lots of her old Paramount Studios compatriots were there, including Jack Benny. During intermission I was in the theater lobby, and suddenly found myself next to Jack Benny, and I mean Right Next to Him, literally pressed into him by the overcrowding in that area of the theater.

I got a very good look at his head and took the opportunity to look for his toupee or any sign of such. I was no more than a couple feet away from him. I have got to tell you, I simply could not discern any sign of a hair piece, everything on his head most definitely appeared to be genuine.

Rob

JFK
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Fred Alllen "The man is so deceitful that"

Unread post by JFK » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:04 am

Rob wrote: suddenly found myself next to Jack Benny, and I mean Right Next to Him, literally pressed into him by the overcrowding in that area of the theater. I got a very good look at his head and took the opportunity to look for his toupee or any sign of such. I was no more than a couple feet away from him. I have got to tell you, I simply could not discern any sign of a hair piece, everything on his head most definitely appeared to be genuine. Rob

What an enviable experience. I'm afraid I'd've said-"your money or your life!"-and, during the ensuing pause, would have been escorted from the building.

Here is a sort-of on-topic section from Fred Allen's Much Ado About Me currently online in its entirety at
http://www.archive.org/stream/muchadoab ... p_djvu.txt

"When our Shubert units were in New York, many of the acts made additional money playing Sunday
Concerts. The Shuberts booked Sunday Concerts into their theaters that housed musical or dramatic shows during the week. One Sunday night I was booked into the theater where Al Jolson was appearing during the week in his show Bombo. When I told one of my jokes, the musicians in the pit groaned. When I asked them about this unfavorable reaction, they told me that Al Jolson was telling the same joke in his show. The joke was: "The man is so deceitful he puts salt on his toupee to make people think he has dandruff ." I knew I had originated the line. I wrote Mr. Jolson a letter, and received this reply:


Al Jolson

October 13, 1921
Mr. Fred Allen
1493 Broadway
New York City

MY DEAR SIR:
I have your letter of the 11th regarding the "toupee" gag.
In reply I beg to say that I have been using the same for the
past three years.
I have no desire to use any one's material and would gladly
give it up to save you any embarrassment of being accused
of taking my material, but on the point of it being yours
exclusively I think that is open for argument.
As one N.V.A. to another I send you greetings along with
the "toupee" gag.

Yours truly,
AL JOLSON


Mr. Jolson must have dictated this letter. He couldn't have read it because he continued to use the "toupee" joke in his show for the rest of the season. Twenty years later, I met Mr. Jolson at the Hillcrest Golf Club in Beverly Hills. He told me that he used to see my act frequently and helped himself to my jokes. I thought the admission was flattering, but a mite delayed."
Last edited by JFK on Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

JFK
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Bald:The Making of THX 1138

Unread post by JFK » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:48 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald:_The_ ... f_THX_1138
Image
"Bald: The Making of THX 1138 is a short film directed by George Lucas and released in 1971 to promote his first feature-length film, THX 1138, released the same year. The film features a conversation between Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, producer of THX 1138. They discuss Lucas' vision for the film, including his ideas about science fiction in general and in particular his concept of the "used future" which would famously feature in his film Star Wars. Intercut with this discussion is footage shot prior to the start of production of THX 1138 showing several of its actors having their heads shaved, a requirement for appearing in the film. In several cases the actors are shown being shaved in a public location. For example, Maggie McOmie is shaved outside the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, while Robert Duvall watches a sporting event as his hair is cut off. Another actor, Marshall Efron, who would later play an insane man in the film, cut off his own hair and was filmed doing so in a bathtub."

JFK
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TOR JOHNSON (1903–1971) A Big Shaver

Unread post by JFK » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:18 am

Image
Without anyone quite realizing, clean-shaven Tor toiled for Eddie Cantor, W C Fields, Jack Benny, "Joe McDoakes", Hope & Crosby, Olsen & Johnson, Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, Powell & Loy, Tracy & Hepburn, Shirley Temple, and Edward Wood, but he was the scourge of inn-keepers everywhere: he would allegedly - you can look it up - steal hotel toilet seats to replace those he'd shattered at home.
..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_Johnson ..... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0426363/

Ian Elliot
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Re: BALDNESS-The "Disability" Filmdom Swept Under The Rugs

Unread post by Ian Elliot » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:40 pm

Were there an award for Actor Robbed of Hairpiece Most Often on Camera, I'd nominate James C. Morton.

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