WC Fields

  1. Guy Kibbee, Lady For A Day, 1933.     No studio wanted to help director Frank Capra at   Columbia. He was unable to get either James Cagney from Warners or William Powell from MGM for Dave the Dude… nor Bill Fields from Paramount to play Judge Blake.
  2. Rose Strander, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.     Once listed (so were  Ingrid Bergman and Rosalind Russell) for the Reverend Mother Maria Veronica.  Bergman, Fitzgerald and Russell became meatier nuns in, respectively, The Bells of St Mary’s, 1944, Dixie: Changing Habits, TV, 1983, and The Trouble With Angels, 1965.  
  3. Charles Ruggles, Anything Goes, 1935. Thid billed WCF was dropp[ed just before shooting started and so Ruggles joined the Bing Criosby- Ethel Merman musical. Crosby re-made it 20 years (his Billy Crocker renamed Bill Benson) with dancers Jeanmaire and Donald O’Connor.
  4. Roland Young, Topper, 1937.    “You can’t afford me, I’m, getting $50,000 for my next picture at Columbia.” Cary Grant is talking to Hal Roach, when the producer turned  up at one of the… not so much parties, as gatherings around Cary’s Malibu pool.  Roach, who went back to Laurel and Hardy movies, had a good story – even Cary agreed about that. a fun couple were killed in a car smash but were unable to enter the Pearly Gates until doing a good deed back on earth.  They started casting…  Grant suggested Jean Harlow for Mrs Kerby and Bill  Fields as the good deed – stuffy old Cosmo P. Topper. No, said Roach, Constance Bennett, Roland Young – “and you!” Eventually, Grant agreed. It wasn’t the happiest shoot (Grant was no fan of Bennett, nor of her top-billing) but  it was among his most successful movies.
  5. Frank Morgan, The Wizard of Oz, 1938.
  6. Frank Morgan, The Wild Man of Borneo, 1940.       Way but way back in 1928, this was a WC project at Paramunt. As underlined by the script synopsis: a 1902 medicine show-con man settles down with his unknown daughter in a New York theatrical boarding house full of eccentrics…
  7. Thomas Mitchell,  It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946.




 Birth year: 1879Death year: 1946Other name: Casting Calls:  7