Andy Devine

  1. Lou Costello, Buck Privates, 1940.  
    Who’s on  first, indeed? Abbott & Costello were nearly Arlen & Devine…    couple of Western  character actors (370 screen roles between them) rather than a proven comedy duo. But Dick & Andy  were chosen  wfor  Universal’s military conscription comedy.  (Think Ben Johnson and Jack Elam as Martin & Lewis!). Then, one suit had the bright notion of building the film around Bud & Lou’s famous Army drill routine – 2 1/2 minutes in the script, but five minutes on screen because of their ad-libbing. Most of their work was improvised. (Legend insists that the Japan showed the sketch to its soldiers prove how stupid the US army was!)  Because of the duo’s debut flop, One Night in the Tropics, this one had a B-budget of $180,000 and  a 20-day shoot on existing sets.  It made $4m! Therefore, their next release, Hold That Ghost, was shoved aside for In the Navy, just as Ride ‘Em, Cowboy was delayed to complete the conscript capers with Keep ‘Em Flying. No wonder comic Milton Berle said in 1941: “Things are slow in Hollywood. Abbott & Costello haven’t made a picture all day.”     (In 1954, when Costello was too ill for Fireman, Save My Child, the duo was substituted by another unlikely coupling: Hugh OBrian & Buddy Hackett… !).

  2. John Alexander, Arsenic and Old Lace, 1941.    Director Frank Capra was keen on the ole Westerner  playing the  Teddy Roosevelt wannabe. But Alexander was one of the Broadway hit’s  trio being  free for the movie (during their month’s vacatrion) and he all but stole he madcap comedy from Cary Grant, feeling miscast and over the top as his cooler brother, Mortimer.

  3. Chill Wills, Francis, 1949. Which voice best suited a talking mule? After much deliberation, Willis’ Texan drawl beat Devine’s Arizona accent… even though Francis was really a female named Molly!    After six mule movies, during 1949-1955, Lubin created a talking horse, Mister Ed – voiced by ex-B Western cowboy star Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane -in 145 TV episodes, 1961-1966. In his defence, Lubin also difrected such shows as Bonanzaand Maverick.

 Birth year: 1905Death year: 1977Other name: Casting Calls:  3