Guinn-‘Big Boy’ Williams

  1. Charles Bickford, Dynamite, 1929. Assistant director Mitchell Leisen ran screen tests for Cecil B DeMille’s first all sound movie – on December 18, 1928.  For the leading man he filmed Dean Jagger, Jason Robards Sr and future B-Western stars Bob Custer, Buck Jones, Randolph Scott, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams. To no avail.  CB played safe with theatre actors:  Charles Bickford opposite Kay Johnson’s debut. Bickford called the script a mess of corn with terrible dialogue. True enough – it flopped.
  2. Max Terhune, Man of Conquest, 1938.     The B-Western star of 21 Three Mesquiteers films and 24 Range Busters, took over as Deaf Smith when Williams was delayed on Juarez. Victor Jory was also in Juarez but managed to play William Travis in this biopic of Texas President Sam Houston (1793-1863) when C Henry Gordon fell ill.
  3. Lon Chaney, Jr, Of Mice and Men, 1939.       Paradoxically, the first film of a John Steinbeck work came from “presenter” Hal Roach’s comedy studio.  He aimed to retain the two itinerant workers of the Depression era play in 1937-1938: Wallace Ford and Broderick Crawford as George and the mentally challenged Lennie. Director Lewis Milestone – a former itinerant worker, himself – was both praised and scorned for choosing the largely unknown Meredith  and Lon Chaney – who  beat off Williams, nicknamed ‘Big Boy’ by Will Rogers during one of his earliest films. 

Birth year: 1899Death year: 1962Other name: Casting Calls:  3