Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Thin Man is Fat Now

Thin Man films get fat over 13 yearsPDFPrintE-mail

Written by Bill Baird   
Tuesday, January 07, 2014 3:39 PM
Turner Classic Movies recently showed The Thin Man (1934). This was the first of six Thin Man films ending in 1947 with the same cast members.
The excellent actor William Powell (1892-1984) played Detective Nick Charles, known as the Thin Man.
Nick was a drunk, but could solve the worst of crimes. His wife and partner was the great actress Myrna Loy (1905-1993). The dog Asta in the film was a movie dog named Skippy.
Skippy supposedly appeared in all six films, which, if true, means he was a very old dog in the last one. My daughter, Laura, saw this film and thought Asta was a golden retriever. Actually, Asta was a wire hair fox terrier. His appearance in the series created an interest in the breed which led to over-breeding in the 1930s.
William Powell was in 95 roles from 1922 to 1955. Myrna Loy played opposite him in many films, including Manhattan Melodrama also in 1934. This film was about childhood friends Powell, Loy and Clark Gable (1901-1960).
Loy winds up marrying Powell who becomes a DA instead of Gable who becomes a gangster and dies in the electric chair.
When this film was shown in the Biograph Theater in Chicago on July 22, 1934, a infamous Hoosier, 34-year-old John Herbert Dillinger, was in the audience with two women, one who was dressed in red. Upon leaving the theater, bank robber Dillinger was mowed down by the G-men.
Bill Baird is a Whitewater Township resident who writes a weekly column about old movies and Hollywood trivia.

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