March 8, 1986 |
All great comedians are one-of-a-kind, but W.C. Fields was so idiosyncratic that he was positively Dickensian (he even appeared in the movie version of Dickens' "David Copperfield"). Producer Bob Weide was reciting a famous Fields line--"I was in love with a beautiful blond. She drove me to drink. It's the one thing I'm indebted to her for"--and said at the end, "You know, you can't even quote Fields without using his twang." Weide was discussing the making of his Fields documentary, "W.C.
May 17, 1991 |
W C. Fields is arguably the most popular comedian of the early sound-film era and MCA, owner of the Universal film library, is issuing many of his best films in pristine black-and-white laser video editions, infinitely superior to the faded 16-millimeter prints long seen on broadcast television. The misanthropic, bulbous-nosed, eccentric ruffian never looked or sounded so good.
October 15, 1998 |
At 11, he ran away from home after a violent fight with his father. He spent several months living on the streets on the verge of starvation, stealing to survive. Frequently, on the losing end of street fights, he spent many a night in jail. But despite those harrowing beginnings, W.C. Fields became one of the best-loved comedic actors in film history. Those early years, though, shaped both his on- and off-screen personality.
January 18, 2007 |
THE oldest item in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new exhibition, "The Peregrinations & Pettifoggery of W.C. Fields," is a small theatrical datebook from 1898 filled with browning newspaper clippings about the then 18-year-old comic's juggling routines and play dates that year.
March 30, 2003 |
James Agee called him "one of the funniest men on earth." For Buster Keaton he was "the foremost American comedian," for John Cleese, "America's most profound comedian." He is prized by millions for saying, "Any man who hates children and dogs can't be all bad," though he didn't say it. He deserves to be prized by millions more for his advice, "Start every day with a smile and get it over with," though I'm not absolutely sure he said that.
March 30, 2003 |
We set off from the San Fernando Valley late one hazy Friday morning with only two notions about our destination: It was the flower seed capital of the nation, and the locals were drunk and dysfunctional. The first we learned in school, and the second we learned from "The Bank Dick." W.C. Fields' 1940 movie classic is set in Lompoc, and my wife, Bobbie, and I have seen it countless times (and, of course, know the depiction of locals is fictional).