Friday, January 23, 2009
The Art of Jack Carson....and those two guys from Milwaukee
From the 1930's until his untimely death in the early 60's, Jack Carson was a fixture on the silver screen. The 6' 2" actor was born in Canada and moved to Milwaukee as a toddler and always considered the Cream City his hometown. Jack was an alumnus of Hartford School in Milwaukee and St. John's Military Academy in Delafield. During his Hollywood run he loved to come home and hunt and fish with fellow Wisconsin native and Two Guys From Milwaukee co-star, Dennis Morgan. Professionaly, he was a complete master at chewing up the scenery. He thrived during the vaudeville era and brought that hard learned craft with some added subtlety to the silver screen. Very few actors could share the frame with him. Add him to the list of Wisconsinites who completely dominated Hollywood's Golden Era - it's a mind boggling role call: Spencer Tracy, Frederick March, Pat O'brien, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, The Laemmle Family (Universal Studios), Nicholas Ray, Fred MacMurray, Don Ameche, Carol Landis, Dennis Morgan, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, etc. etc. etc.
In 1947 Jack was the guest of honor at the Wisconsin State Fair. Here he is giving 1947's Wisconsin Dairy Queen a peck on the cheek and competing in an ice cream eating contest with John Schroeder of West Bend and Jackie Frost of Madison. The photos are from this excellent Jack Carson fan site.
The "Two Guys..." trailer is obviously recorded off of Turner Classic Movies, my favorite TV channel and a wonderful website that I can't get enough of. On a personal note, several years ago I directed and animated this now defunct (it ran for about 7 years) intro piece for TCM.
We filmed the whole thing over several months on a large animation stage in downtown Milwaukees third ward. But I digress....Here's a fitting closing shot of Jack with Dennis Morgan, those two guys from Milwaukee.