Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeymen (ebook)
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"A movie star? No, I'm an actor." So proclaimed Henry Brandon. And what a consummate and versatile actor he was. He is best known for his sinister cinematic portrayals as Silas Barnaby in the Laurel and Hardy version of Babes in Toyland, the title role in the serial Drums of Fu Manchu and Scar in the Western classic The Searchers. But in the course of his long career which not only spanned films, but stage, radio, and television, Brandon portrayed an amazing amalgam of characters, from good guys to buffoons to victims, and in a variety of nationalities and ethnic groups from Arabian to his own native German. No matter how unpromising the material (and throughout his career, Brandon was saddled with some clunkers), he gave his all. In life, Brandon was a warm and gregarious man and he endeared himself to people who were lucky to meet him.
Authors Bill Cassara and Richard S. Greene team up to unveil Brandon’s career highlights as one of America’s most despicable villains and best character actors. As the vivid Hollywood story of this master craftsman unfolds, listen for Barnaby’s evil laughter echoing in the background.
"Bill Cassara is a retired policeman who has pursued his fascination with comedians of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s and turned out three unique biographies, on Edgar Kennedy, Vernon Dent, and Ted Healy. His experience as a detective has come in handy, as tracking the details of these performers’ lives requires a bona fide sleuth. This time he has partnered with a fellow member of the Laurel and Hardy society Sons of the Desert to pay proper tribute to Henry Brandon, who menaced Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland and Spanky, Alfalfa and Co. in Our Gang Follies of 1938. This brief but memorable association with Hal Roach made Brandon a welcome guest at nostalgia conventions and Sons of the Desert dinners for the last years of his life. The realization that this versatile actor also played the title character in Republic Pictures’ serial Drums of Fu Manchu and the grim-faced Indian Scar in John Ford’s The Searchers made him even more sought after. The authors have left no stone unturned in chronicling Brandon’s career on stage, film and television in this loving tribute, which weighs in at 515 pages."
-- Leonard Maltin