Lee Tracy

  1. Stuart Erwin, Viva Villa!, 1933.  
    Midway through his role of the newspaperman creating Pancho Villa’s legend, Tracy (a close  pal  of  the  grape) over-celebrated Mexico’s November 19 national holiday for the anniversary of Mexico’s revolution. He was seen on his hotel balcony above Mexico City’s main drag – naked, shouting obscenities, making bawdy gestures. Furthermore, said director Howard Hawks (who later claimed he was back in LA at the time), Tracy “peed on the Chapultepec Cadets” and the general populace.  However, in his autobiography, cinematographer Charles G Clarke, recalled standing outside the hotel during the parade and said the incident never happened. Tracy, he said, was standing on the balcony watching  the parade when a Mexican in the street below made an obscene gesture at him. Tracy replied in kind, and the next day a local newspaper printed a story that said, in effect, Tracy had insulted Mexico, Mexicans in general and the Mexican flag in particular. The story caused an uproar in Mexico, and MGM decided to sacrifice Tracy in order to be allowed finish shooting. . Tracy was arrested and bundled out of the  country .dropped from the film and MGM tore uip his contract,.  Hawks  was also fired for refusing to testify against Tracy, and replaced by Jack Conway.

  2. Spencer Tracy, The Show-Off, 1934.     After his “wretched behaviour” in Mexico City, Lee was dropped from his Metro contract. With Frank Morgan spreading the good word, Spence (no kin) was quickly signed up by MGM production genius, Irving Thalberg. Although the mindless Metro boss, LB Mayer, declared: “What do we need another galoot for? We’ve already got Wallace Beery.”
  3. Frank Faylen, The Lost Weekend, 1944.     Tracy was in the mix for Bim’s one, moving scene –  superbly played by Faylen. “Delirium is a disease of the night…. Good night!”
  4. Regis Toomey, The Big Sleep, 194.     Deciding to go against type, director Howard Hawks dropped Tracy (back from his 1933 scandal) for Toomey as Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls. 
  5. Lionel Barrymore, It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946.
  6. Mark Stevens, Martin Kane, Private Detective, TV, 1953-1954   When William Gargan quit after two years, Lloyd Nolan inherited the shamus for one season of six episodes,1952-1953, before passing the duties to Lee Tracy for six cases, 1952-1953, and he did likewise  for Mark Stevens to make  four shows,.  And then guess what… Gargan returned for one season of The New Adventures of Martin Kane, 1957-1958, shot on Europe’s mean streets.

 Birth year: 1898Death year: 1968Other name: Casting Calls:  6