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