Born January 11, 1887
See more Monte Blue pictures at my Flickr gallery here
Monte is one of my favorite character actors. He doesn’t get mentioned enough around these parts, but I hope to change that soon.
It’s funny, I just mentioned Monte on Facebook the other day, when posting a photo of the first moving picture palace in my old hometown (the Whittier Theater, demolished in 1990). It opened on July 31st, 1929 with From Headquarters (a lost film, according to IMDB), which co-starred Blue and Guinn “Big Boy” Williams (who I have a hard time watching due to his unnerving resemblance to George W. Bush). According to the L.A. Times, Monte made a personal appearance at the premiere, which would have been about 45 minutes south of Downtown back in those pre-freeway days:
The opening night featured three vaudeville acts, including the “Personality Girls” and a juggler whom the local paper described as “far above average.”
The celebrities included actor Monte Blue, who starred in the opening feature, “From Headquarters.” Blue assured the mayor and more than 1,000 spectators that great advances had been made in sound-picture technology in just the previous six months.
I used to have rather grand ambitions, but now I think I could die happy if the local birdcage-liner would just deign to describe me as “far above average.”
“Far above average!” Delightful! That’s something your indifferent homeroom teacher would say about you so they didn’t have to talk to your parents on conference days.
From Headquarters was a late silent, so I would bet people were wondering why it wasn’t a talkie like so many other pics. Blue’s career really floundered and even though he had tons of smaller parts in great films like Key Largo, it wasn’t enough to keep him afloat and he ended up working as a circus clown. SPOILER ALERT: He was bitter about it.
I meant of course the royal “you,” but I figured I should clarify since you answer to both the specific you AND the royal you.
I have a Monte problem that’s the similar to the Una Merkel/Una O’Connor topic that has been under discussion of late. I confuse Blue with Monte Hale, a player in B-westerns. I have no idea why this is so (they don’t really look alike), but then again, in my formative movie years I used to mix-up Robert Ryan and Sterling Hayden.
Monte was in 29 bajillion Westerns (give or take a billion) in his career. Some of his first films were Westerns in the mid-teens, and after talkies came in he seemed to go back to Westerns; he even ended his career in TV Westerns. Both he and Hale have what I call “friendly face syndrome” and there is a similarity to their last names, so I think it’s easy to see why you get them confused.
IMDb says they were both in Ranger of the Cherokee Strip (1949). Wonder if that’s true?
Monte Blue is a favorite character actor of yours. That’s so cool. That’s why I love this place. Unusual and justified tastes.
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