Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Six Degrees of Fields, Pt. 4

Today marks the fourth in a series of posts documenting costars that W.C. Fields and Shirley Temple had in common. Charles Sellon is the featured actor today and he could have had a series of common Temple costars all on his own. But first, let’s talk about Charles. In the Universe of Fields, he is known as the blind Mr. Muckle from 1934’s “It’s A Gift.” How do you make a blind man walking through a store unintentionally breaking everything in his path a comic bit? You make the guy out to be a complete asshole.

When seeing Mr. Muckle wreak havoc on Fields’ inventory, you are very much made aware that regardless of his impairment, he is a loud and demanding jerk who doesn’t care about anyone else. Fields’ character, Harold Bissonette, attempts to be as accommodating as possible for the blind man, and even goes out of his way to preempt Mr. Muckle’s holy reign of terror but all to no avail. Just about everything including the front door is decimated by Muckle and his walking stick. In addition, Muckle doesn’t hear too well, either.

Quick aside: also in “It’s A Gift” is Baby Leroy, who is featured on the window card art at the beginning of this post. While he never appeared in a film with Shirley, the two were often paired together in publicity stills, like this one on the set of “Little Miss Marker.”

Sellon’s next film after “It’s A Gift” was the Shirley classic “Bright Eyes.” Even though Sellon’s character, Uncle Ned, has a gruff and loud exterior, he’s a bowl of mush on the inside. Naturally he falls for Shirley’s charms hook, line, and sinker and ends up adopting her at the end. Watching the movie, I always assumed Sellon was in his seventies or so; nope...he was only sixty-three years old.

Other Sellon films include “Sea Legs” (1930) with future Temple costar Jack Oakie (1940’s “Young People”):

…and “Laugh and Get Rich” (1931) with future Temple costar Edna Mae Oliver (1938’s “Little Miss Broadway):

Sellon’s last movie was also Will Rogers’ final film, 1935’s “In Old Kentucky.” Sellon died at the age of sixty-six on June 26, 1937 and was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.

To see his memorable bit from “It’s A Gift,” check out this youtube clip:

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1 comment:

Fifthrider said...

Charles Sellon and Ron Mael from Sparks could be twins. I had to double-check the pictures to make sure it wasn't Ron time-traveling. I really respect character actors like Sellon who had a niche and did it well.