ALL MUGS, BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

great mugs

tjordanm, one of my favorite posters, once ran a sort of contest to see who people thought was the hottest dude on the planet. No, he’s not gay, or if he is, he’s so deep in the closet that the baseboards block the light. It is cozy back there, I must say, but I digress. A good post, and he is getting a lot of feedback. There are some pretty faces in contention, fer sure. However, I have always been fascinated by mugs, faces that were not classically handsome, faces that were a little asymmetrical, eyes that weren’t blue and/or sexy. Mugs are distinctive, expressive, and rubbery, for want of a better word. I have left out many and concentrated on my favorites from the ’50’s and ’60’s. Feel free to nominate others from any era.

Officers Toody and Muldoon

toody-muldoon2     fred gwynne        Joe e Ross
Although Fred Gwynne went on to become better known as Herman Munster, I remember  him equally well as Officer Francis Muldoon in the classic old show, “Car 54, Where Are You?” With Joe E. Ross as his partner Gunther Toody, they made a pair of mugs never to be forgotten. They are also perfect for segue-ing(?) into…

Grandpa Munster, aka Al Lewis,

al lewis-munster al lewis
as he was also in Car 54, and co-starred with Gwynne in some other show. Al was a borscht belt comedian of the first order; I heard him do a routine near the end of his life that had me in stitches. As you can see, he was even more lovely sans make-up.

Mel Brooks

mel brooks2 Mel Brooks and Harvey Korman mel brooks
He is a comic genius, whether in front of or behind the camera. One of those guys who could read a menu, and make it seem like the funniest comedy skit ever. Indeed, He may have wrote some of the funniest skits, as he was a writer for the Sid Caesar show, which featured….

Imogene Coca,

imogene coca imogene coca and sid caesar
one of the few women on this list. She also wrote for Sid’s show, and later starred on a sit-com called “It’s About Time”, which also featured Joe E. Ross. Another segue missed. Instead I must clumsily state that Ms. Coca never appeared in any production involving…

Good Eve-ning

hitchcock-profile alfred hitchcock
Who has a better-known profile? And one rendered with fewer strokes of a pen? Alfred’s spoken intros and outros to his stories on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” were in many cases better than the stories themselves. He did not change expression much, a raised eyebrow here, a wrinkled forehead there, were sufficient to convey irony, exasperation, or confusion. And his voice was the aural equivalent of a mug, nothing quite like it.

I have to interject somewhere, and here is a good a place as any, that young stars are not represented for a reason. A face becomes a mug over time, as things sag and wrinkle in distinctive ways. Ears and noses keep growing one’s whole life, which contribute to mugness. So, fret not Mr. Gyllenhaal. Joaquin, your time will come. Look how long it took William Shatner; now his mugosity is on full display on “Boston Legal” every Monday night. But he and co-star James Spader, no matter how hard they try, will never be a mug-team act like…….

Lucy and Ethel

lucy and ethel lucy and ethel2
Lucille Ball is too pretty to be called a mug-ette, but  when she and Vivian Vance play off each other, their inner mugness is squared; cubed even.

Speaking of noses, we were awhile ago, I am pretty sure, no contemplation of the Mug is complete without mention of…

Jimmy Durante2 Jimmy Durante
And he could really play that piany-thing, too. When I was a kid, I used to see him on variety shows near the end of his life. I always wondered what anyone saw in this ugly old man, and why parents laughed when he talked. Then I saw a couple of his old movies, and I understood. He was one of the greats, and people were remembering what he was back then, not what they were seeing on the Dean Martin Show.


A mug everyone loves, the inimitable Don Knotts..

fife don_knotts__

And, per Twoberry’s excellent suggestions, two pairs of mugs

haunted-honeymoon devito perlman
Perched above Gene and Gilda is Dom DeLuise.  Note to younger
readers, he’s a guy.

Rondo Hatton

rondo hatton rondo hatton2
Time to get a little downbeat. Rondo Hatton was a news reporter in Tampa, who suffered in adulthood from Acromegaly, a disease which causes permanent swelling of the soft tissues, resulting in facial disfigurement, growth of the nose, ears, and hands. He was noticed by a movie director who was filming  in Tampa, and offered a small part in the movie. He subsequently moved to Hollywood, and made a living playing thugs and monsters in grade-B movies. I was totally transfixed by his visage whenever I saw his movies, and even without knowing his backstory, felt a sadness emanting from him. He died of a heart attack, which was directly caused by his tragic affliction. There is a Ronald Hatton Classic Horror award, and the bust is his likeness as he appeared in 1946’s The House Of Horrors. Verily, his was a case of taking life’s ugli fruits* and making lemonade.

*Ugli fruit is a Jamaican hybrid of a grapefruit and tangerine. It isn’t ugly at all. Just different.


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3 responses to this post.

  1. The Golden era of Hollywood. Do share more stories, I find them fascinating.

    Reply

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