If you visit regularly you know that I love old newspapers and the tiny gems of information that they offer about a certain time and place. Today's clippings include an early Claude Rains article from Australia and a later round-up of his work on Broadcast TV and Radio.
From Call Boy to Stage Manager
An early clipping from The Advertiser in Australia carries that headline with the subtitle "An Interesting Career." From June 11, 1912:
"I started as a call boy with Sir Herbert Tree almost five years ago," said Mr. Claude Rains, the stage manager of "The Blue Bird" Company, when interviewed on Monday. "I am only 22 years old, but I practically lived at the theatre with Sir Herbert and I was acquainted with everything he did. After three years as a call boy I became prompter, at which position I remained for two years. Then I was appointed stage manager and started with the 'Blue Bird' Company, on its first autumn tour, and have been with it ever since."
Unfortunately the rest of the piece is about Sir Herbert and The Blue Bird.
After the success of The Invisible Man in 1933 there were several articles in U.S. papers trying to explain just who the mysterious star of the film was. The equally mysterious syndicated columnist, "Movieman," wrote the most concise run down of Rains' early days that I ran into:
He was born in London and first reached the boards thirty-three years ago as a child at the Haymarket Theatre in "Sweet Nell of Old Drury." Later he served humbly as a call boy at His Majesty's Theatre, then rose to prompter and ultimately to assistant stage manager. For years he appeared with Sir Herbert Tree in London. Mr. Rains added Australia to his far flung Empire when he appeared there in Maeterlinck's "The Blue Bird." In 1913 he made his first trip to the United States.
"When war came he returned post haste to London, enlisted as a private and reached rank of Captain and adjutant of his battalion. He crossed the seas again in 1922 and appeared for the Theatre Guild in..."
Rains' stage credits follow until the time of The Invisible Man on screen.
Claude Rains Selected to be The Invisible Man
Word reached Australia in October 1933 of Rains winning "the most unusual starring role in recent Hollywood history."
"Rains, who in a majority of the scenes will be visible only by the effect of his movements on objects and people, although audible throughout, has been cast in the eerie role for which Karloff and other screen artists were considered."
30 Years a Broadcast Performer
Rains looked back on his radio and television career when caught up with between takes on "The Outpost," a 1962 episode of The Dupont Show of the Week being filmed at NBC's Brooklyn color studios.
Recalling his radio debut on NBC opposite Nazimova in a 1932 dramatization of The Good Earth, Rains said, "Radio drama was in its infancy then ... It was as unfamiliar to have drama without sight as it had been to have motion pictures without sound."
The author of the unsigned article notes that while Rains' stage and screen credits are well known "few touch upon the distinguished actor's more than 100 starring roles on radio and TV."
Several past radio credits are mentioned and Rains' television career is detailed as having begun in 1955 as narrator and star of "A Night to Remember," about the Titanic, on NBC's Kraft Television Theatre.
"Broadcasting is the real miracle of entertainment. The theatre hasn't substantially changed in 400 years. Movies have progressed from silents to talkies to wide-screen epics. But against this, broadcasting has in less than four decades grown from local radio broadcasts to network color television--and now Telstar."
- "Claude Rains Is Celebrating 30th Anniversary in Show Biz." Gastonia Gazette 22 Sep 1962: 8. NewspaperArchive. Web. 5 Aug 2012.
- "Claude Rains Selected to be The Invisible Man." The Daily News 7 Oct 1933: 13. Trove Web. 5 Aug 2012.
- "From Call Boy to Stage Manager." The Advertiser 11 Jun 1912: 11. Trove. Web. 5 Aug 2012.
- Movieman. "Filming An Invisible Actor." Kingston Daily Gleaner 18 Jan 1934: 40. NewspaperArchive. Web. 5 Aug 2012.
A little action, some classic horror but mostly a whole lot of gripping drama highlight TCM's Summer Under the Stars tribute to Claude Rains.
Sunday, August 5, 2012 - Claude Rains - TCM Summer Under the Stars
- 6:00 am - Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) starring George Brent, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains
- 7:45 am - They Won't Forget (1937) starring Claude Rains, Gloria Dickson, Allyn Joslyn
- 9:30 am - Four Daughters (1938) starring Claude Rains, John Garfield, Priscilla Lane
- 11:00 am - Four Wives (1939) starring Claude Rains, Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane
- 1:00 pm - Four Mothers (1941) starring Priscilla Lane, Claude Rains, Lola Lane
- 2:30 pm - Kings Row (1942) starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan
- 4:45 pm - Now, Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
- 6:45 pm - The Wolf Man (1941) starring Lon Chaney, Jr. Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy
- 8:00 pm - The Invisible Man (1933) starring Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor
- 9:30 pm - Mr. Skeffington (1944) starring Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
- 12:15 am - The Unsuspected (1947) starring Claude Rains, Joan Caulfield, Constance Bennett
- 2:15 am - The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone
- 4:15 am - Twilight of Honor (1963) starring Richard Chamberlain, Claude Rains, Nick Adams