Hans Conried

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Hans Conried

Postby Yhtapmys » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:21 am

Either newspaper reporters suddenly discovered Hans Conried or, more likely, his publicist discovered them. Here are two newspaper stories, days apart, from January 1960.

Charles Denton's Hollywood column of January 17th reported that Conried had pulled out of the Mr. Belvedere show. Jeanne Cooper had already quit so Conried's departure pretty much killed it.

Mel's story would appear to be yet another one of his tall tales. Conried worked steadily through the war on Suspence, though most of Hans' comedy roles came after he was hired for Mel's show.

Hans Conried Is at Home In All Entertainment Media

HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 2 (NEA) — When two generations of fans think of Hans Conried, the wild-haired, owlish-eyed fellow who looks like two profiles pasted together, chances are they will laugh over some unexpected grimaces or a wayout dialect — or both.
Radio fans remember Hans as Schultz on “Life With Luigi” and as Prof. Kropotkin in “My Friend Irma.”
Movie fans recall him in “Bus Stop” and “Never Too Young.”
Broadway stage fans remember him as the wacky Bulgarian sculptor in “Can Can” and the college professor in “Tall Story.”
TV fans know him as Uncle Tonoose on the Danny Thomas show, for his slick acting in all kinds of roles on other shows, and as himself, contributing to the nation’s humor and insomnia, as a frequent Jack Paar guest.
But an old friend from his early (1936) days as a Hollywood radio actor remembers him for a quite different reason.
Mel Blanc, the actor with the trick voice (Bugs Bunny, Jack Benny’s parrot) remembers him as an intense, dedicated Shakespearean actor.
“Hans was so serious about acting,” says Mel, “that he cracked me up. I thought he was the funniest man I had ever met.”
Mel said the words when Hans, as a radio actor, was playing so many Nazi “heavies,” between Shakespearean chores, that Hans still laughs. “Hitler kept me alive until Uncle Sam put me in uniform and started feeding me.”
Well, when friend Mel Blanc found himself starred in a radio series after the war, he called in just-out-of-service Hans and gave him the humorous character of a fellow who operated a Mr. Fix-it shop. That was the beginning of Hans Conried’s fortune as a dialectian, and as stooge for every famous comedian on radio as he rushed to and from as many as 20 different radio shows in one week.
Today Hans is still rushing—between Hollywood and New York for stage and TV appearances and telefilms—to recording studios for platter gems like “Peter Meets the Wolf In Dixieland”—to the St. Louis Municipal Opera stage in the summer for such musical dramas as “Lady In the Dark,” “Rosalinda,” and “Song of Norway.”
Home today for Hans Conried, a Baltimore, Md., lad, is a big Spanish stucco mansion on a hilltop overlooking Lake Hollywood where there is a Mrs. Conried, four little Conrieds and a rare collection of Oriental art objects. But he is home, with that rare flair for off-and on-beat comedy characters, in all entertainment mediums.
There’s always talk of Hans Conried having a TV show of his own. Fox has an option on his services in the series, “Mr. Belvedere,” when and if it is sold. “But,” says Hans, “I’m not sure I want a show of my own. I’m the happiest when I'm doing something different every week.”
There’s a strange oddity about Hans. He was never given a typical Hollywood publicity build-up and he hasn't ever sought the spotlight to become what Hollywood likes to call a “personality.”
But since his many TV panel-show appearances in New York and his stardom there in two Broadway shows, the usual Hollywood-New York pattern of fame has been reversed for him.
“Here in Hollywood,” he says, “I’m known as an actor. In New York—and I must say I blush about it—I’m considered to be a personality. But really in 25 years of acting I've never worried much about whether I was known as an actor or as a personality. I just want to stay alive.”
One movie, “The 5,000 Rogers of Doctor T,” gave Hans his only starring film role. But today he can still laugh about the film.
“It was the outstanding money-loser of all time.
“One critic called it the worst waste of film in history. But at the same time the film made the ‘current & choice’ list in a national magazine. It was a strange movie — a fantasy — but no one ever saw it.”
Of course, Hans Conried is his real name.
“I would have changed it to Hans Conried?” he deadpans.

Supporting Player Finds Himself a Star
Hans Conried Suddenly Becomes A Much-Wanted Personality

(January 3, 1960)
As a character actor, Hans Conried seems to be rising above his station these days, for, instead of supporting stars, which he has been doing for over 25 years, Hans is turning into a hot personality.
For a man who’s played hated Nazi submarine commanders endlessly, homespun philosophers, Russian immigrants, Lebanese matchmakers and colored crap-shooters, this new notoriety is surprising, but welcome.
Nowadays the sub commander poses in magazine ads as an urbane, cultivated lover of gin. Under his own name Hans Conried on ths Jack Paar Show, he is a wit.
Then the Ernie Kovacs panel show, called “Take a Good Look,” signed him as a panelist. The trouble here is that Hans is too smart for the show; he guesses the clues and he realizes the panel isn’t supposed to serve this purpose.
Another example of Conried’s new popularity is on the Danny Thomas Show. Hans has been playing characters with Danny for some time, but now when he shows up about once every eight weeks as Uncle Tonoose ratings jump.
IN FEBRUARY, Hans will appear on a Max Liebman spectacular, “The American Cowboy,” which has already been taped, and he found himself starring with, instead of supporting, Fred MacMurray, Wally Cox, Carol Burnette and Edye Adams.
Hans is also the headman in a TV series on the movie character. Mr. Belvedere. This is in the shopping stage and some sponsor may reach for it. The point is Mr. Conried is the star and character actors seldom jump up to grab the top spot.
“I’ve been knocking around for 25 years,” Hans said in Hollywood, “and suddenly this success. It all comes from sitting near Jack Paar at midnight. My part in the Lindsay and Crouse Broadway comedy, ‘Tall Story,’ came from it. The ads, the spectaculars, the guest appearances—all came from the Paar association. There’s no question about it.”
THOUGH Paar made Hans hot in New York, Conried has always made a good living in Hollywood as a character actor. He did so well in West Coast radio he didn’t have to go to New York. And after coming home again to see his four kids recently, where did Conried go—down to radioland on Sunset Boulevard where he played a Dutch character and a few Negro parts on the Amos ‘n Andy Music Hall.
This was a homecoming for Hans. “There’s a rich, nostalgic substance on that show,” he said. “When you walk in you feel it right away. Here’s where the history of the industry was made on Amos ‘n Andy.”
Then Hans will trot out to Disney’s to do the voice of Captain Hook and Mr. Darling in “Peter Pan.” And he’s heard as the Grand Wazier in UPA’s “Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” with Mr. Magoo. On records the Conried voice is the narrator in “Peter Meets the Wolf in Dixieland.”
IT’S SOMETHING different every week, said Hans. “And I like that. I've known serenity this way, but not security.
“After 25 years I have gotten to the point where I don’t have to take everything that comes my way. I occasionally turn down a part now,” he said with a smile.
With age, Hans is reaping another benefit. Since he was 17, Hans has played older parts and had to use lots of makeup. Now, with a bit of gray upstairs, and with face wrinkles of his own, Hans can go easier in the makeup and can come into the studio later. He’s finally growing into his work.

I've added this picture from The Alphabet Conspiracy. Animation was done at the Warner's studio. It aired in March 1960.

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Re: Hans Conried

Postby Yhtapmys » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:36 am

Here more from 1960 with that lovable Hans. I don't know who wrote the AP story; all five copies I've found don't have a byline. Bob Thomas and Hal Humphries were the AP Hollywood reporters at the time.

The appearance in Tacoma mentioned in the UPI story happened May 4, 1960.

Hans Conried Is 'Mr. Versatility'
HOLLYWOOD, Mar. 12 (AP) — Meet Mr. Versatility: Hans Conried.
He started his career with a wonderful tool — a superb radio voice that won him a spot as one of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater players on radio.
Since then he has done nearly everything in the radio field, and his association with radio is still strong. He is a veteran Shakespearean actor, a regular on TV, recently starred on Broadway in “Tall Story” and makes movies regularly.
Conried came into prominence largely through television. He appeared on Pantomime Quiz — perhaps the first of panel or game shows.
“You can’t fight it (TV), so you’re obliged to join it,” he says.
Hans is currently a semi-regular on the Danny Thomas show as Uncle Tonoose; when in New York, he is a frequent guest of Jack Paar.
Conried gives you the impression that he enjoys television in a reluctant sort of way. Like most critics, he feels that TV is bound up with too much repetition.
“People accept and demand repetition. A man who appears in a black sombrero is the heavy and the fellow who kisses his horse is the good guy. It’s repetition and they look for it and accept it.”
Conried’s interests are far too varied for him to become repetitious, however. He does drama, comedy and westerns on TV while finding time to appear in municipal opera and various stage roles throughout the country.
Despite his talent for the classics, he finds himself mainly in comedy. TV has typed him, if this is possible, in the role of a funny man. “It affords me no more pay to do comedy and it eats my guts out,” Conried says. “It’s difficult for me to get straight parts. I must say I’m getting better parts, though.”

Conried Yearns for Radio’s Yesteryear
By John Crosby
New York Herald-Tribune Service

(March 28, 1960)
Hans Conried is a new species of actor, a sort of character actor of the quiz shows. Just as Ned Sparks in the movies gave the same performance again and again, Hans Conried, with his pointed face, and pursed supercilious mouth, brings his own pungent flavor and acrid tongue to the panel shows.
He’s a very learned and witty guy. He knows, for example, icotypical facts about everything from extinct fish to the eating habits of the eichippus. “I’m a naturalist of sorts,” he says. He himself inhabits and lives in California.
“I shall always live there, God willing,” he says in that accent, which, God save the mark, he picked up in Baltimore. “My young are born there. My dead are buried there. And though badly scarred, I'm one of the few to survive out there. My com fort," he adds, "and my second pair of shoes are there."
Conried, who commutes to New York as others commute to Scarsdale, was in Gotham to enliven the Charley Weaver Show which, he said, yturned out to be full of the “obscenities of the barracks 30 years ago.” Conried is a great talkler, boiling with language, and he is greatly distressed by the paucity of language among our young ones.
Once, my eight-year-old daughter called my 17th century Japanese painting ‘neat.’ I sent her to her room,” he said grandly.
Conried, of course, is not just a quiz trotter. He’s an actor of wide experience, has survived the idiosyncracies of radio, movies, the stage and television, including ‘The Ransom of Red Chief’ which he cheerfully admits was “a stinker.”
“I have been free lancing for years and although I've never had permanency, I've never applied for unemployment insurance. I yearn for the great days of radio’s yesteryear when actors had the same sort of apprenticeship to their art as Middle European jewel thieves, but I’m grateful that I came out relatively unscathed.
"I became a radio actor in the early 30's. Those were the days when we did uncut Shakespeare on radio. In 1936, the little radio people were called on to support 'the stars who were suddenly released by the stations to ‘come into your livingroom’ and help improve their box office. In 1937 there was a spat of Shakespeare on radio. CBS had a series and NBC snagged Barrymore. I was engaged as an authority because I was a loud mouth fresh kid. And this was virtually the only Skakespeare I’ve done.
“The best of all possible worlds is gone, the days of the radio actor where you could find employment 52 weeks a year and the returns were good if you were busy actors. You were finished after a good day’s work and it was not an unpleasant situation. It lacked a little stimulation.”
Having down it all, you get the idea that he looks back on the great days of radio as Fred Allen did on vaudeville. “Each medium has its recompense and some drawbacks. It is very flattering when you are in a hit play and the public is paying to see your efforts. But the disadvantage is the ridiculous and unnatural hours.
“For me, acting is a business. I don’t wish to detract from those artists who wish to maintain themselves as artists. I have been door knocks for years. That is, my forearm only was shown, holding a telegram. But I always went robust, alert, and clean shaven to my appointments.”
Conried has been on the Paar show many times and his comments on that are straightforward: “On that show there is a great need to fill time with something. So, because we’re prepared for nothing, we must fill time with talking. You can’t dignify it by calling it conversation. If I could explain Paar to you I suppose I might be doing a show just like his.”

Conried Dislikes Image
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 18 (UPI) — Hans Conried is dissatisfied with his public image (as they say on Madison Avenue). Most people think of him as a comic television personality, but he thinks of himself and wants to be considered as an actor.
Conried, wispy-haired master of many dialects, has appeared on many TV shows, but before the advent of the living room screens he was a success as a man of many voices on radio.
He’s appeared on TV on the “Danny Thomas Show,” the “U.S. Steel Hour,” “Playhouse 90,” “Alcoa Hour,” the “Bob Hope Show,” “Hallmark Hall of Fame” and many others.
But he dates his popularity from a chat with Jack Paar on Paar’s TV show a few years back.
“After 25 years in my profession trying to perfect myself as an actor,” Conried said in a UPI interview, “I suddenly become a celebrity because I belched on the “Jack Paar Show.”
He did not actually belch, but that’s Conried’s way of describing the repartee between him and Paar.
What do you have to have to get on the Paar show, he was asked.
“A minimum of talent and a maximum of guts,” was his reply.
Conried’s talents have so many facets that his true personality does not emerge—which probably means he is truly an actor. In person, he is mildly serious, on the cynical side, and obviously intelligent.
He took a flyer at summer stock in the East this year and found it to his liking. The play was “Not in the Book,” an English comedy by Arthur Watkyns.
“Why don’t they have it out here on the coast?” he asked. “I’m looking for another booking next summer. It’s become part of my income.”
He’s also tried lecture tours—and he finds them lucrative and amusing. He will appear before numerous women’s clubs and at some colleges next spring.
Of his lectures before women’s clubs he said, “You’ve got to keep it light ...creamed chicken in a patty shell—maybe some chocolate ice cream...it’s nearly always the same...you talk...you answer a few questions...then you get out of town fast and head for the next stop.”
He described in some detail a lecture he gave at Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma, Wash., several months ago:
“The place was swarming with students. They came because they got credit for the course—theater arts or English. It’s a prestige thing with me. It’s kind of fun to do, something snobbish once in a while.
“I did a big chunk of Cyrano de Bergerac, some Shakespeare, and German dialect stuff they had never heard before. These colleges teach theatre arts as part of education. I ask the teachers often if they turn out any professional actors. The answer is usually ‘no.’ This is part of a culture not readily available to people except in New York.”
Conreid, who is not a European as he seems, but was born in Baltimore, has a wife and four young children. They live in a Hollywood Hills home.
“I’ll do almost anything in an acting way,” he said wryly, “even private parties if you have a 7 3/8 size lampshade.”

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Re: Hans Conried

Postby Mister Kitzel » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:10 am

Thank you, Yhtapmys. Hans Conreid is one of my favorite actors from radio and television.
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