Film Oddity: Citizen Kane was not Orson Welles first film: It was the now discovered “Too Much Johnson”; The Next to the last of the last Munckins is dead!

Posted: August 8, 2013 in Movies

Citizen Kane was not

Orson Welles first film:

  It was the now discovered

“Too Much Johnson”

Welles directing sequences for “Too Much Johnson

A.M.P.A.S.
A 23-year-old Orson Welles directing sequences for “Too Much Johnson,” a stage revival incorporating film, in Lower Manhattan around 1938. The show never made it to Broadway.

Citizen Kane was not apparently Orson Welles debut film.  A copy of Too Much Johnson made in 1938 a few years before Citizen Kane has been discovered in an Italian warehouse.   The three short silent films were meant to be part of an 1894  William Gillette farce that Welles was producing for the stage, but the production closed after it received terrible reviews and Welles never went back to do a final cut of the footage.  The cast featured several members of his Mercury troupe: Joseph Cotten, Arlene Francis, Howard Smith, Edgar Barrier, Mary Wickes and Welles’s wife at the time, Virginia Nicholson, billed under her stage name, Anna Stafford, plus a rumored walk on bit featuring a young Judy Holliday.   “Too Much Johnson” will get a world premiere on October 9 at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, an Italian silent film festival, then get screened at the Eastman House a week later on October 16.

The Next to the last

of the last Munckins is dead!

margaret-pellegrini-dead

Dan Tuffs/Getty

Margaret Pellegrini, one of the remaining Munchkins from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” passed away yesterday after suffering a stroke in her Phoenix home. She was 89.  Pellegrini played one of the “Flowerpot” Munchkins who greet Dorothy upon her arrival in Oz.   According to Wikipedia, Of the 124 actors who appeared in the classic movie as Munchkins, two are still alive and kicking: Lollipop Kid Jerry Maren, 93, and Ruth Duccini, 95, who played a villager.

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