Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Arch Johnson [on the right] or Gene Evans [on the left]?

It happens all the time. I'll be watching an old TV show or movie and I'm convinced that the actor I'm looking at is Gene Evans, who starred in The Giant Behemoth, Samuel Fuller's Park Row, Devil Times Five, Steel Helmet, Fixed Bayonets, and many others and when I look at the cast list it will turn out that "Evans" is really an actor named Arch Johnson, who could be his brother. [Keep in mind that in these two pictures Evans is much younger than Johnson. When they were the same age they looked even more alike.]

Evans and Johnson not only resembled one another, but they were born on the same year, 1922. Johnson lived until 1997 and Evans died just a year later. Evans, who won a purple heart as well as the Bronze star in WW2, arguably had the higher-profile career, appearing in many more movies than Johnson, including Donovan's Brain and Walking Tall, but Johnson was no slouch. In the sixties and afterward, both actors appeared primarily in television productions, and both had long, busy careers appearing on one TV show after another. Evans appeared in the film Operation Petticoat and Johnson appeared in the TV show based on the movie.

So remember, the next time you're watching an old movie or show, if you think it's Evans it's probably Johnson -- and vice versa!

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