Noirvember Day 22: Trivia Tuesday (Part 3)

— Anne Shirley started out as Dawn O’Day.

Dive into a lively pool of trivia featuring your film noir faves!

Born Dawn Evelyeen Paris, and known at the start of her career as Dawn O’Day, Anne Shirley took her final screen name from her character in RKO’s Anne of Green Gables (1934).

Sydney Greenstreet made his feature film debut in The Maltese Falcon (1941) at the age of 61.

The role of Mother Gin Sling in The Shanghai Gesture (1941) was originally offered to Gloria Swanson. Negotiations with director Josef von Sternberg ended when Swanson rewrote the screenplay, beefing up her part. The role wound up with Ona Munson (who’d previously played Belle Watling in Gone With the Wind).

— Howard Duff as radio’s Sam Spade.

Howard Duff’s first big break came in the mid-1940s when he landed the title role on radio’s The Adventures of Sam Spade. It first aired as a summer replacement and Duff remained on the popular series until 1950.

In March 1962, the press discovered that Veronica Lake was living at the Martha Washington Hotel in New York, playing seven dollars a day in rent and working as a barmaid in the hotel’s cocktail lounge. Fans reportedly sent her money once her circumstances were unearthed, but she sent it back.

When Peter Lorre was cast in the 1934 version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, he spoke no English. He learned the language as the production progressed; in fact, his accent changed so notably during filming that his scenes had to later be reshot.

— Barbara Hale and Bill Williams

Barbara Hale, who was featured in The Window (1949), was married to Bill Williams, who starred in the 1946 noir Deadline at Dawn and was perhaps best known for playing the title role in TV’s The Adventures of Kit Carson. Hale and Williams had three children, including a son, William, who would later gain fame as the star of The Greatest American Hero on ABC-TV.

After graduating with honors from Manhattan College, Mike Mazurki worked as an auditor with a Wall Street firm and attended law school in the evenings. After a year of this schedule, a friend invited him to try out for a basketball team called the Brooklyn Visitations. Shortly after making this team, he also began playing professional football with a franchise in Staten Island, New York, and then graduated to professional wrestling.

Steve Cochran earned the distinction of receiving the first flying ticket issued by a policy helicopter. In October 1956, the actor – who’d been flying for about two years – was cited by officers when he dipped over his mountaintop home in Studio City and rocked his wings. He initially pleaded not guilty, but later reversed his plea and was fined $500, grounded for 90 days, and given a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail.

When Lizabeth Scott signed on at Paramount Studios, the publicity department labeled her “The Threat.”

Join me tomorrow for Day 23 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 22, 2022.

6 Responses to “Noirvember Day 22: Trivia Tuesday (Part 3)”

  1. Can you imagine Mike Mazurki showing up to audit you?!?

    Or walking into a bar and seeing Veronica Lake slinging drinks?!?

    It will never stop blowing my mind that THE MALTESE FALCON was Sydney Greenstreet’s maiden voyage, so to speak.

    And as much as I love Ona Munson, I’ll never get over not getting to see what Swanson would’ve done with the role. (Her book is one of my top ten Classic Hollywood memoirs!)

    I love these kind of fun facts so this post was a net of jewels for me — thank you!

    • I am always on the lookout for good classic film books – I will keep an eye out for a copy of Swanson’s. I always wondered how/who found out that Veronica Lake was working in that lounge. And I totally agree about Sydney Greenstreet — what a debut!

      • “ I always wondered how/who found out that Veronica Lake was working in that lounge.”

        I know the answer to this one!
        An AP reporter named Andrew Meisels was randomly having a drink at the bar where she worked, and later put it together (maybe because patrons variously called her Connie, Ronnie, and Veronica).

        A lot of books and blogs erroneously claim that the New York Post broke the story, but they just ran the AP article, as did many other news outlets around the country. You can find the original archived at I think…

        • Thank you, Maudie. That is amazing. I’m a big Veronica fan, but I wonder if I would have put that together. I mean, who would have thought? I will totally look for that article!

  2. I always like hearing about Sidney Greenstreet was 61 when he made his first film. In a culture that worships youth, it’s refreshing to be reminded that sometimes a person’s greatest career achievements can happen later in life.

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