The Golden Age of Hollywood

It seems to me that there are a lot of bit players who most film viewers will recognize on sight but don't know their names. Just to name some that come to mind along with their number of films. Anyone know any more with large numbers?
Charles Lane 345
Eugene Pallette 244
Grady Sutton 226
Elisha Cook Jr. 204
Fritz Feld 187
I know these people by name now.

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Snitz Edwards 61
Zasu Pitts 217 (movies & TV)
Mack Swain 142
J. Caroll Naish 219 (movies & TV)
Grant Mitchell 128
Mary Wickes 126 (movies & TV)

And my all-time favorite supporting actor:
Jack Carson (movies & TV)
Re Jack Carson... his presence always adds to the film... I always enjoy seeing him.

He didn't do so bad in leading roles either... I think of the great dream sequence he did dressed up as Bugs Bunny in My Dream is Yours...

He was very funny in The Groom Wore Spurs as well, as the 50's singing cowboy afraid of horses and who kept calling the women "little gal"!
Yes there are really so many that I would mention too. I like Eric Blore but I don't consider him a bit player as much as he was a supporting actor. One bit player I forgot to mention is Billy Gilbert who does some great comedy stuff in most of his appearances.
Not really stretched if you consider he had so many bit parts. There are others too. Guy Kibbee comes to mind and I just saw a bit on TCM about Mary Wickes. I guess a definition of bit parts is needed for example Charles Lane who I think is the king of all bit parts, never really had a starring role and often was not credited. He lived an exceptionally long life as did Fritz Feld which helped him gain more parts. He was still doing roles in his nineties.

So the difference between a bit part and a supporting role is the question. I don't think a guy like Grady Sutton ever had a supporting role. Bill
I just finished watching Apartment for Peggy (1948) and I really should write this on my blog because it is a movie worth mentioning. Anway, who should I see in it but Charles Lane as a professor and uncredited although he seemed to have a big enough part to at least get credit. I also noticed Gene Nelson in a room of people and sure enough when I checked he was in it and uncredited.
Well, I am afraid it is a very big task to count all the bit part actors we encounter in movies but it is the ones that have had a great many such roles but remain unknown by name to people that was my original intent. Bill
Since I began collecting movies over ten years ago, I have developed the habit of paying close attention to the credits. Not just the performers but the tech people too. As result, it is usually possible to tell what studio made the film without seeing the opening screen. Bill
Speaking of sound, you will have noticed that MGM films all have Douglas Shearer as the sound tech. As the brother of Norma, he first worked at MGM doing anything at all but his luck was the advent of sound so he was sent back east to learn about the technique. I have read that L.B. Mayer gave him the job permanently after he co-operated in making John Gilbert sound high pitched. Don't know if that is true but I know that Mayer did not like Gilbert. Bill
Oh, Gene Nelson was in that!? I never noticed! Which scene?

One of my favourites - but I think his name isn't necessarily unknown - is Harry Davenport (160).

And also there is Jimmie Dodd (79) who later became famous as the host of the Mickey Mouse Club, but was basically always uncredited in his movie roles. I feel like I see him everywhere, partly because there is another bit player who looks very similar to him from certain angles, and I see him all the time, but I just can't think of a specific movie at the moment.
The scene with Gene Nelson occurs about 57 minutes into the film. They are singing at the piano. I will see if I can upload a picture.
Can't seem to get the add image to work so I tried attaching the picture as a file
Oh, that is him all right... good spotting him! I'll definitely be looking for that next time...

Thanks for providing the pic, Bill!
Here's another one I came across today.

Franklin Pangborn, more than 200 movies.

I love the game of spotting character actors and bit players. Many of them have become like old friends to me. One of the most prolific of the bit players was Ann Doran. She seemed to be in almost everything made for a span of approximately fifty years. Her IMDB filmography lists 341 films, but according to her biography she was in some 500 films and made 1000 television appearances. Most of her roles were bit parts and she was often uncredited. She was certainly charming when given her moment in the spotlight, and it’s a shame those moments weren’t a bit longer. One of my favorite of her roles (uncredited) was as Mrs. Hanson in Meet John Doe.


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