Arthur Houseman - Rotten Tomatoes

Arthur Houseman

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Until the emergence of Jack Norton in the early 1930s, Arthur Houseman was the screen's Number One "comic drunk." It was not always thus. Entering films with the Edison Company in 1910, Houseman started out in sober, clean-shaven leading roles. During the 1920s, he essayed dramatic characterizations in such major productions as The Bat (1926) and Sunrise (1927). He made his talkie bow in the noncomic, nondrinking role of a benevolent speakeasy owner in Al Jolson's The Singing Fool (1928). By 1930, however, Houseman was firmly established in roles that called for slurred words, glazed-over eyes, and wobbly knees. He did some of his best work in the short comedies of Laurel & Hardy, playing a silk-hatted tosspot in Scram! (1932), the title character in The Live Ghost (1934) and a hung-over greeting-card purchaser in The Fixer Uppers (1935). He also showed up prominently in Laurel & Hardy's feature-length Our Relations (1936), and very fleetingly in the team's Flying Deuces (1939). Other 2-reel comedians to benefit from Houseman's comic expertise were Andy Clyde, Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly, Edgar Kennedy and the Three Stooges. Usually confined to walk-ons (or stagger-ons) in feature films, Houseman was afforded generous screen time as the customer who didn't order rabbit in Harold Lloyd's Movie Crazy (1932). Arthur Houseman's screen career was eventually reduced to nonverbal bits in grade-"Z" pictures. He died of pneumonia at the age of 51.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Escort Girl
  • Al
1941
No Score Yet Where the West Begins
  • Beano
1938
No Score Yet Racing Blood
  • Legs
1936
No Score Yet Riff-Raff
  • Ratsy and Bugsy
1936
No Score Yet 365 Nights in Hollywood
  • Drunk
1934
No Score Yet No More Orchids
  • Serge
1932
No Score Yet Scram!
  • Drunk
1932
No Score Yet The Bat
  • Richard Fleming
1926
No Score Yet Under the Red Robe
  • Capt. La Rolle
1923

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