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A role originally written for Harry Langdon

Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 11:11 am
by Ed Watz
Harry Langdon's widow Mabel was a pack rat in the best sense - after Harry's passing, Mabel kept every document, every script, every contract, every letter written by Langdon and to Langdon. Among Harry's papers was a 1943 note from his former screenwriter and friend Arthur Ripley, which had accompanied a gift (Mabel believed the gift had been a clarinet - Harry could play most any musical instrument by ear). In the note Ripley had written, "I'm sorry that my partner doesn't understand how your participation as the bartender would add the right lighthearted touch. But I'm already thinking of a new story idea. Unlike 'Voice,' the new project will be the starring role for you."

The film Ripley was making was VOICE IN THE WIND, starring Francis Lederer. The role of the bartender went to talented character actor and comedian Luis Alberni. Alberni's specialty was portraying bombastic and often exaggerated Continental types, but his performance in VOICE IN THE WIND is low-key, almost gentle. Few changes (if any) were made to the bartender role, and one could easily imagine Harry Langdon speaking the dialogue and performing the two light comedy touches near the end of this scene.

I don't believe this has ever been mentioned before, and I nearly forgot about it until I saw the film again recently. Here's the entire clip of Luis Alberni's first scene:

Re: A role originally written for Harry Langdon

Posted: Thu May 14, 2020 10:29 am
by Ed Watz
Harry Langdon and Luis Alberni watch in disbelief as Jack Haley attempts to be funny for the camera (1935).
Haley Harry Luis.jpeg
Haley Harry Luis.jpeg (74.06 KiB) Viewed 2091 times