Olan Soule - Rotten Tomatoes

Olan Soule



Olan Soule was so familiar as a character actor in movies and television during the 1950s and 1960s -- and right into the 1980s -- that audiences could be forgiven for not even reckoning with his 25-year career on radio. Soule was born in 1909 in La Harpe, Illinois, to a family that reportedly could trace its ancestry back to three passengers on the Mayflower. He began acting in tent shows in his teens, and made his first appearance on radio in 1926. With his rich, expressive voice -- which frequently seemed to belong to characters that audiences thought of as more physically imposing than the slightly built, 135-pound actor -- he quickly found himself in demand for a multitude of roles. Soule ultimately became closely associated with two series, spending more than a decade on the radio soap opera Bachelor's Children, and a nine-year run on The First Nighter, starting in the 1940s. He made the jump to television in 1949, but even in the visual medium his voice was initially part of his fortune -- one of his early movie assignments was as the narrator of the feature film Beyond The Forest (1949), starring Bette Davis. And many of those early on-screen assignments in features were uncredited, such as his appearance as Mr. Krull in Robert Wise's The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). Still, Soule did attract attention, with his signature thin physique and the fact that he seemed to show up dozens of times a year, all over television and in movies. By the start of the 1960s, he'd amassed literally hundreds of screen appearances, making him one of the most recognizable character actors of the time period.



One producer who took full advantage of Soule's skills early and often was Jack Webb, himself a radio veteran, who cast him in well over two dozen episodes of the original in 1950s Dragnet television series, principally in the recurring role of Ray Pinker. When Webb revived Dragnet in the second half of the 1960s, Soule was no less active, showing up at least a half dozen times each season, often in the role of police-lab scientist Ray Murray. Soule's studious, cerebral portrayal of Murray was reminiscent of the lab technician portrayed by Webb himself in He Walked By Night, the movie that led Webb to create Dragnet in the first place. In between those assignments, Soule appeared in dozens of features and was seen on the small screen in everything from Bonanza and Petticoat Junction to My Three Sons and the Herschel Bernardi series Arnie. Later in his career, Soule returned to his roots, lending his vocal talent to the animated series Super Friends.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
50% The Shaggy D.A.
  • Bar Patron
1976
38% St. Ives
  • Station Man
1976
56% The Apple Dumpling Gang
  • Rube Cluck
1975
No Score Yet The Legend of Lizzie Borden
  • Eli Bence
1975
71% The Towering Inferno
  • Engineer
1974
88% Fantastic Planet
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet The Seven Minutes
  • Harvey Underwood
1971
No Score Yet The Destructors
  • Mace
1968
No Score Yet Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth
  • Actor
1967
85% The Cincinnati Kid
  • Desk Clerk
1965
No Score Yet Girl Happy
  • Waiter
1965
17% It Happened at the World's Fair
  • Henry Johnson
1963
100% Days of Wine and Roses
  • Elevator Operator
1962
No Score Yet Cash McCall
  • Joe - Bell Captain (uncredited)
1960
100% North by Northwest
  • Assistant Auctioneer
1959
No Score Yet Dragnet
  • Ray Pinker
1956
No Score Yet Queen Bee
  • Dr. Pearson
1955
71% This Island Earth
  • 1st Reporter
1955
No Score Yet Daddy Long Legs
  • Assistant Hotel Manager
1955
No Score Yet Cult of the Cobra
  • Maj. Martin Fielding
1955
No Score Yet Prince Of Players
  • Catesby
1955
No Score Yet Front Row Center: Tender Is the Night
  • Actor
1955
No Score Yet Phffft!
  • Mr. Duncan
1954
55% Human Desire
  • Lewis
1954
No Score Yet Francis Joins the WACs
  • Capt. Creavy
1954
No Score Yet Never Wave at a WAC
  • Lt. Quartermaster
1953
80% Call Me Madam
  • Clerk
1953
No Score Yet Stars and Stripes Forever
  • Glove Salesman
1952
88% Monkey Business
  • Hotel Clerk
1952
100% Don't Bother to Knock
  • Desk Clerk
1952
No Score Yet The Atomic City
  • Mr. Fenton
1952
No Score Yet The Story of Will Rogers
  • Secretary
1952
No Score Yet You Never Can Tell
  • Salesman
1951
94% The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Mr. Krull
1951
No Score Yet Branded
  • Bank Clerk
1950
No Score Yet The Lady Takes a Sailor
  • Secretary
1949

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
  • Ticket Agent McGinnis
The Twilight Zone
1959-1964
  • Revenue Man Smiles

Quotes from Olan Soule's Characters

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