Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


PERCY HELTON 1894 - 1971.

You may not recognize the name, but you certainly recognize the face -- for Percy Helton had a grand total of 209 film and television credits. I suppose one could argue that Helton played the same role 209 times, but that may be unfair, as I haven't seen every single appearance of the actor. Generally Helton was cast as the superficially friendly but smarmy undertaker/janitor/clerk and so on, who smiled in your face but had larceny or something worse in his heart and would sell out his own mother for a nickle. The word that first comes to mind when thinking of Helton's portrayals is "weasel." Perhaps his most famous appearance was in the film Kiss Me Deadly, in which he squeals in agony when anti-hero Ralph Meeker sadistically crushes his fingers in a desk drawer. Helton was always very adept in his roles, but he was so unique in his way that he really wasn't the kind of expert character actor who could lose himself in a characterization -- he always seemed to be playing a variation of Percy Helton. In spite of this he was a very busy actor throughout the 50's, 60's and for many years afterward. My mother once said that if Don Knotts made her stomach turn, Percy Helton made her flesh crawl. Helton, who radiated a quietly sinister quality that served him well on such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, was decidedly one of a kind. One of his best roles was in Wicked Woman with Beverly Michaels.


Anonymous said...

Don Knotts made your mother's stomach crawl??!!

William said...

I'm sure she wasn't the only one.