Warren William

  1. Warner Baxter, 42nd Street, 1932.    “Sawyer, you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!” – the line (often misquoted) of themusical of all time. It saved Warner Bros from bankruptcy and was still   13th on the AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list 73 years later!  Richard Barthelmess and Warren William vied with Baxter for Broadway director Julian Marsh, in the magical debuts of Ruby Keeler on-screen and Busby Berkeley off.
  2. Adolphe Menjou, Convention City, 1933.      According the film’s  file in the Warner Bros collection at USC, William had been first choice for Ted Kent… among much of  the same cast as Footlight Parade, 1932: Joan Blondell,  Ruth Donnelly,  Dick Powell, and  James Cagney’s lead was also a Kent. The plot joked about everything from rape to bestiality… leading to Hollywood censoring itself with the Production Code. All prints were destroyed on Jack Warner’s orders… in 1995.
  3. Pat O’Brien, Bureau of Missing Persons, 1933. A blonde Bette Davis meets Pat O’Brien’s cop (and not Warren Williams’)  when she reports a missing husband, who has the temerity to turn up dead.,  And single. Guess who’s Suspect  #1?   And yawned a lot on-set!  Davis  had top billing and didn’t bother to show up until 32 minutes into the 72 minute mayhem.
  4. Paul Lukas, The Casino Murder Case, 1934.       Four films as SS Van Dine’s (actually, Willard Huntington Wright’s) snobbish, cynical, bored, supercilious, dilettante detective Philo Vance was enough for William Powell. He refused this one, planned by MGM for him and Myrna Loy (much better as The Thin Man and his wife). This news put Metro into a panic. Did they have another Philo? Otto Kruger topped the list, followed by Columbia’s magician-actor (!) Fred Keating, Warren William (he had Vanced the previous year), Ricardo Cortez and, finally, Lukas – with Ted Healy succeeding Eugene Pallette as Sergeant Heath of the NYPD. Raymond Chandler was no fan of “the most asinine character in detective fiction.” And fun poet Ogden Nash added: “Philo Vance/
Needs a kick in the pance.”
  5. Ricardo Cortez, The Case of the Black Cat, 1937.   William had enough of lawyer-detective Perry Mason after four quickies and passed the next case to Cortez.  He had been the first Sam Spade, after all.  However, Gardner said he was totally wrong and  had him axed from the the next investigation, The Case of the Stuttering Bishop,1937. His successor, Donald Woods, was so bad, he killed the franchise. Gardner took greater care when transfering his gold mine to TV (choosing Raymond Burr over Fred MacMurray) in Hale in 271 TV episodes, 1957-1966, and 30 tele-films during 1985-1995.
  6. Gerald Mohr, The Notorious Lone Wolf, 1946.      William passed. He’d had enough of the Lone Wolf movies after his ninth, One Dangerous Night, 1942. His gentleman thief turned private eye, Michael Lanyard (a foreunner of The Saint) went to Gerald Mohr for three more of the 25 chapter series during 1917-1955.


 Birth year: 1894Death year: 1948Other name: Casting Calls:  6