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MYSTERY MEN AND WOMEN ON SCREEN

As a lifelong collector of movie stills I’ve accumulated a number of shots I can’t identify. Friends have helped me pinpoint actors’ faces and I’ve made good use of the production code guidebook published by the folks at LAMP (Learn About Movie Posters), which explains those markings in the lower corner of many stills. But there are still unsolved mysteries.

Now the Library of Congress is attempting to accomplish the same task on a larger scale…and for posterity, not just one collector’s library. Cary O’Dell of the National Recording Registry initially sent me a handful of images to see if I could help, and I couldn’t. Since then Cary has posted a series of blogs in the hope that someone “out there” can come up with names to match the unknown faces in a number of photos.

The problem is always the same: some people, or scenes, look vaguely familiar but not enough to make a positive match.

Cary’s outreach has yielded a number of responses from the public, some of them thoughtful, others downright ludicrous. A surprising number have hit the bull’s-eye (four out of six “mystery men” were positively identified, five out of six musical performers.), but there are still a number of unknowns. If you want to test your visual knowledge the latest blog post is HERE.

As for my own photo library, can anyone tell me the name of the fellow who’s about to slug Regis Toomey in this scene from Undercover Girl (1950)? unnamed

Or the familiar-looking guy alongside Wallace Ford and Dennis O’Keefe in T-Men (1947)? unnamed-1

 

 

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Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

3 comments

  1. Paul Penna says:

    The chap with Dennis O’Keefe and Wallace Ford looks like Alfred Ryder, and he is in the cast of T-Men with bith of them.

  2. Laura Wagner says:

    The T-Men actor is Alfred Ryder. I checked the movie itself to be sure, and it is.

  3. Carl Martini says:

    Alfred Ryder is the third man in the T-Men shot.

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