John William Pilbean Goffage (1909-1971), actor, was born on 26 March 1909 at Broken Hill, New South Wales, son of John Goffage, from England, and his wife Violet Maud Edyth, née Joyce.
With his thin build and height of 6 ft 6 ins (198 cm), and an irreverent sense of humour, Goffage first entered show business as a magician’s assistant, then was hired as an extra in a film, Come up Smiling (1939), produced in Sydney.
He attracted attention in a small role as a gangling member of a slapstick bushfire-fighting team in Dad Rudd, M.P. (1940), and was promptly cast as the comic lead in Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940), Charles Chauvel ‘s much-publicized tribute to the Australian Light Horse in the Sinai desert campaign of World War I.
An outstanding commercial success at home, the film screened favourably in Britain and the United States of America, bringing ‘Chips Rafferty’ (the screen-name Goffage adopted) instant fame in Australia.
On 28 May 1941 at the registrar general’s office, Sydney, Goffage married Ellen Kathleen Jameson, a 37-year-old dressmaker. On 29 May 1941 Goffage had enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force.
On secondment, he acted in several Australian propaganda films for the Department of Information, including South West Pacific (1943), and in a second feature film for Chauvel, The Rats of Tobruk (1944).
Rafferty’s first postwar film, The Overlanders (1946), marked a turning-point in his career. He was cast by British director Harry Watt in the role of a bushman who headed a team which drove a vast herd of cattle across northern Australia beyond the reach of possible Japanese invaders.
With a brilliant background in documentary, Watt was determined to create authentic Australian characters in his factually based drama. Under his perceptive and disciplined direction, Rafferty moulded the character of the tough, laconic Australian bushman which he continued to play, with minor variations, for the rest of his life, both in public and on screen.
Following a postwar decline in local production, Rafferty took numerous roles in British and American films made on location in Australia, most notably Bitter Springs (1950), Kangaroo (1952), Smiley (1956) and The Sundowners (1960).
He continued to work as an actor at home and abroad in films such as They’re a Weird Mob (1966) and Double Trouble (1967) with Elvis Presley.
He also made numerous guest appearances on Australian television, in variety shows, in Australian series like ‘Skippy’ (1970), and in American series which included ‘The Wackiest Ship in the Army’ (1967) and ‘Tarzan’ (1969).
Chips died suddenly of lung disease and heart failure on 27 May, 1971, at Elizabeth Bay, Sydney.
He was one of the most admired actors in the history of the movies.
Marilyn Monroe called him “the sexiest man” she had ever seen. And if you watch his early, incredible performances in “On the Waterfront” (1954), “Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), “The Wild One” (1953), “The Men” (1950), and my favorite Brando film “Guys and Dolls” (1955), you can see an almost-perfectly proportioned, sleek-looking, brilliant actor.
But even in these very early days of his movie career, the great Marlon liked his chow.
Actor Richard Erdman, a fellow actor in “The Men” (Brando’s first film), says Marlon’s diet at the time consisted of “junk food, take out, and peanut butter”, which he consumed by the jarful.
By the mid-fifties, Marlon had become renowned for eating boxes of Mallomars and Cinnamon Buns, and washing his sweet treats down with a quart of milk.
Close friend, Carlo Fiore, said Marlon would go on extreme crash diets in the fifties and sixties, but then would lose his willpower.
He would subsequently gorge on huge breakfasts consisting of corn flakes, sausages, eggs, bananas and cream, and a huge stack of pancakes drenched in maple syrup. (One of Brando’s nicknames for himself was “Branflakes”.)
Carlos Fiore would be dispatched by Brando’s directors to fetch him out of local coffee shops.
The late Karl Malden, a close friend, said that during the shooting of “One Eyed Jacks” (1961) Brando would eat “two steaks, potatoes, two apple pies a la mode, and a quart of milk” for dinner.
This diet necessitated the constant altering of his costumes during filming.
Because of this, at his birthday party that year, the crew gave Marlon a belt as his present with the card, “Hope it fits”.
His birthday cake was labelled “Don’t feed the director” (Brando was the director of “One Eyed Jacks”).
Cinephiles love to discuss films by famous directors that were planned but never made.
But if there’s one area of cinematic speculation even more tantalising it is the subject of buried films – movies that were shot, more or less, and maybe even released before being locked away by their makers, their studio or because of lawsuits.
Jerry Lewis’ The Day the Clown Cried was the American comedian’s first foray into dramatic filmmaking in 1972.
He was to play the role of Helmut Doork, a German clown imprisoned in a concentration camp for political reasons during World War II, who performs for Jewish children before they’re led off to the gas chambers.
Upon its completion Lewis decided it should never be released. “In terms of that film, I was embarrassed,” he said. “I was ashamed of the work, and I was grateful that I had the power to contain it at all, and never let anyone see it. It was bad, bad, bad.”
The creation of Metropolis and its many versions is a fascinating story. Director Fritz Lang’s original cut of Metropolis was a financial flop and appeared in German theaters for only four months before it was pulled and recut.
The film premiered in Germany but was actually released to American theaters before it received a wide German release.
Strangely, American audiences never saw Fritz Lang’s edit of the film, since Paramount (the film’s American distributor) pre-emptively edited their version of the film.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend that you check out the 2010 documentary Voyage to Metropolis, about the many different versions of this film and its ultimate restoration in 2008 to an “original” version after the discovery of an old 16mm version of the film in Buenos Aires.
The Buenos Aires version is believed to be the closest to the original, with over 25 minutes more than any previously known edit, and Metropolis was released theatrically in 2010 with these additional (if badly scratched) scenes added.
I got to see the new cut two summers ago when it screened in Minneapolis and it really is gorgeous.
Just as different versions of this film are constantly resurfacing all around the world, I suspect different promotional materials — be they programs, magazines articles or movie posters — will continue to captivate historians and film fans hoping to learn more about how this classic piece of futurism was originally filmed and promoted.
In the case of this Science and Invention article the film was promoted to an audience interested in how science would be used in movie effects of the future.
Vincent Leonard Price Jr. was born on 27 May, 1911, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of the National Candy Company’s president, and the youngest of four children. He was educated and spent his childhood in the city, going, for many years, to a school that his own mother had helped found.
Unlike his other contemporaries, he was not immediately smitten with the idea of becoming an actor. Far from it; his original goal was to be an artist; however, he quickly learned that he had little talent in such a field, and concentrated then on becoming an art historian.
A loner for much of his childhood, he often visited the St. Louis Museum and stared at the various works of art, inspiring him to hoard money, and he eventually built up a small private collection of minor sketches by the time he was a teenager.
It was the beginning of a life-long love of the “world of man’s creation – art”. During these formative years, young Price also developed interests in everything from cooking to Native American culture. As he so aptly put it, “A man who limits his interests, limits his life.”
Since many of his family members at had either attended the prestigious university of Yale, or had married into Yale families, it was not surprising that the young Vincent Price ended up there as well. Graduating in 1933, he took a minor job teaching art appreciation, coaching dramatics, and, believe it or not, occasionally driving a bus at the Riverdale School in New York.
There, while playing one of the leads in a three-act production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”, he realized that his true calling in life would be the stage. Besides that, the teaching experience had taught him that – surprise – college had taught him very little!
With a $900 tuition check from his parents, Price finally received a Masters Degree from the Cortauld Institute in London, slightly furthering his education.
In 1935 he made his first professional appearance at the Gate Theatre in London, playing a policeman and judge in the play “Chicago”. His acting work was making him much happier than teaching anyways, now.
Soon after, he was cast in the role of Prince Albert in Laurence Houseman’s “Victoria Regina”. Positive reviews ensued, and Price was even mistaken for a European! The role soon brought him to the attention of his fellow citizens back home, when he was asked to re-create the role of Albert in New York in an American version starring actress Helen Hayes.
It made Price an instant star. “Victoria Regina” ran for several years, and he spent his spare time during the play’s “recesses” on other stage work, and occasionally screen tests.
He then briefly joined Orson Wells’ Mercury Theatre, although left the company soon after. Price also found time to romance actress Barbara O’Neill.
However, it was not to be; O’Neill wouldn’t commit, so Vincent ended up marrying actress Edith Barrett in a large ceremony on April 23, 1938, who would turn out to be his first of three wives.