|Josef [Joseph] Schildkraut
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Education: Royal Academy of Music, Berlin; American Academy of Dramatic Arts
1942 Columbia Workshop
1942 Dear Adolph
1942 We Refuse To Die
1943 Treasury Star Parade
1943 Cavalcade Of America
1943 Horror, Inc.
1948 NBC University Theatre
1951 Stars On Parade
1952 Best Plays
Voice Of the Army
Josef Schildkraut on the German Stage circa 1918
Joseph Schildkraut as budding silent screen idol circa 1921
Eva Le Gallienne circa 1938
Matinee idol Joseph Schildkraut fan card circa 1927
Joseph Schildkraut in production still for The Life of Emile Zola circa 1937
Schildkraut as master of disquise and acrobatic super criminal Metaxa from Mr. Moto Takes A Vacation (1939)
Schildkraut with Jimmy Stewart in The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
When Eva le Gallienne's other commitments forced her to leave Horror, Inc. after seven installments, collaborator and former student Joseph Schildkraut stepped in to replace her.
Schildkraut as John Holt in The Trade-Ins from The Twilight Zone (1962)
|Josef Schildkraut was born on March 22, 1895, in Vienna, Austria. The son of famed Yiddish stage actor, Rudolf Schildkraut, and his wife, the former Erna Weinstein, young Joseph was affectionately nicknamed "Pepi" as a boy--a nickname that stuck most of his adult life as well. His family moved to Hamburg, Germany, when Joseph was four.
Young Josef studied the piano and violin--at his father's insistence, all the while leaning more and more in the direction of his father's profession. He debuted on the German Stage with his father at the age of six. His family subsequently relocated to Berlin where his father established a life-long association with famed theatrical director Max Reinhardt, who was also famous for establishing a highly successful electrical transcription business.
After graduating from Berlin's Royal Academy of Music in 1911, he and his family emigrated to America, settling in New York. Joseph's father performed to growing acclaim in America's early Yiddish Theatre. At the same time, young Joseph was accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Having by then established his reputation internationally, Rudolf Schildkraut and his family returned to Europe where the still teenaged Joseph Schildkraut began to establish his own presence on the Stage under the mentorship of Albert Bassermann.
The arrival of World War I and conscription into the Austrian Army might well have interrupted his career but for the theatrical connections which helped exempt him from conscription. But even as esteemed members of the Deutsche Volkstheatre (1913-1920), The Schildkrauts found that post-War Germany and Austria weren't the thriving theatrical centers they had been before the War.
And so it was that by 1920 the Family Schildkraut picked up yet again for America. By this time an established Stage player in his own right, Joseph Schildkraut landed the title role in the Guild Theatre production of Liliom (1921) opposite everyone's leading lady of choice for the era, the legendary Eva Le Gallienne. Liliom made stars out of both young actors and both reprised their roles on Stage eleven years later in 1932. Indeed, the two were often named as an on-again, off-again item during the ensuing eleven years, despite Eva Le Gallienne's avowed preference for female companionship.
The transition to Film was a natural. He'd already appeared in a few silent pictures in both Germany and his native Austria. In 1921 he landed a breakout role in D.W. Griffith's silent screen classic Orphans of the Storm (1921) with no less than the Gish sisters. Had he done nothing else in Film, this appearance alone would have established him as an exotic matinée figure the likes of Rudolph Valentino or Ramon Navarro. But alas, Joseph Schildkraut preferred the Stage, while still making several notable Film appearances with Hollywood's most desirable actresses:
- Norma Talmadge in The Song of Love (1923)
- Seena Owen in Shipwrecked (1926)
- Marguerite De La Motte in Meet the Prince (1926)
- Bessie Love in Young April (1926)
- Lya De Putti in The Heart Thief (1927)
- Jetta Goudal in The Forbidden Woman (1927)
In addition to working with the era's greatest actresses, the 1920s found him appearing in the Cecil B. DeMille epics, The Road to Yesterday (1925) and The King of Kings (1927), the latter as Judas Iscariot, with father Rudolf Schildkraut in the role of high priest Caiaphas.
Joseph had met his first wife, actress Elise Bartlett, while appearing in Peer Gynt (1923) on Broadway. Already widely known as a lothario of some legend, Joseph Schildkraut reportedly overwhelmed the young actress, proposing to her the day he met her, and marrying her the following week. The two were married only two years. Schildkraut's second marriage--to Marie McKay--was far more successful, lasting almost thirty years.
When talkies arrived, Schildkraut's commanding voice and natural Stage presence provided him an easy transition into talking pictures. Schildkraut appeared as Gaylord Ravenal in the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein musical, Show Boat (1929) opposite Laura La Plante. With the Great Depression decimating Stage finances, Schildkraut reluctantly moved to Los Angeles and the Film industry, despite his enduring love of The Stage. The move to Film made Schildkraut one of Hollywood's most durable and distinctive character actors for two decades.
During the 1930s, Schildkraut compiled an impressive resume of some of the era's most memorable character roles:
- Wallace Beery's nemesis, General Pascal in MGM's Viva Villa! (1934)
- King Herod opposite Claudette Colbert in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934)
- Conrad, Marquis of Montferratin, in Cecil B DeMille's The Crusades (1935)
- An Oscar-winning performance for his portrayal of Captain Dreyfus, in the biopic The Life of Emile Zola (1937).
By the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, Schildkraut became a Hollywood fixture appearing in:
- Marie Antoinette (1938)
- The Three Musketeers (1939)
- The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
- Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)
- Lancer Spy (1937)
- Suez (1938)
- The Rains Came (1939)
- The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
- Clash by Night (1941) with Tallulah Bankhead
- Uncle Harry (1942)
- The Cherry Orchard (1944) with Eva Le Gallienne.
But it was a career misstep--signing with Republic Pictures--that threatened to end his rising arc of Film fame. Though financially rewarding, Republic mis-cast Schildkraut in a series of unremarkable features.
It was during the Republic years that Schildkraut undertook several years of memorable Radio appearances. Schildkraut's fame made each of his Radio appearances events, and the Networks used his appearances as anchors for many of their more prestigious or patriotic programs throughout the 1940s.
Schildkraut hosted his own program, Intrigue (1946) for CBS as a Summer production. He either hosted or appeared in six of the series' seven productions. Schildkraut also appeared in The Miracle Of The Danube for Columbia Workshop (1942), in the stirring final production of Dear Adolph (1942), in We Refuse to Die (1942), the Thirty For One, Hostages, and My Favorite Nazi episodes of Treasury Star Parade (1943), in Diary Of A Saboteur for Cavalcade of America (1943), in Peter Ibbetson, A Passage to India, and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe for NBC University Theatre (1948-1949), as well as reprising his 1942 performance in Uncle Harry for Best Plays (1952). The clear common denominator for these Radio productions was Schildkraut's gift for protraying heroic or sympathetic figures from the wartime struggles in Europe.
He wasn't through on Stage either. Indeed his greatest Stage triumph came with his role as Otto Frank in 1955's The Diary of Anne Frank. Schildkraut reprised the role in the Film version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), but unaccountably failed to achieve even an Academy nomination for his remarkable performance.
Schildkraut's ultimate Film role came as Nicodemus in the religious epic, The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). The film was released after Schildkraut's death in 1964.
Schildkraut's Television career was rarely the equal of his Stage and Film careers, although he did distinguish himself in several memorable Television roles, among them, Claudius to Maurice Evans' Hamlet (1953) and remarkable appearances as Alfred Becker in Death's Head Revisited (1961) and as John Holt in The Trade-Ins (1962), two of The Twilight Zone's most memorable episodes. Sadly, Schildkraut's wife of twenty-nine years, Marie McKay, died during the taping of The Trade-Ins. Schildkraut reportedly completed the episode before allowing himself the luxury of mourning the loss of his beloved partner.
Schildkraut was married one last time, in 1963, to Leonora Rogers. Joseph Schildkraut died of a heart attack a few months later at his New York City home on January 21, 1964, at the age of 68. Joseph Schildkraut is interred in the Beth Olam Mausoleum of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.
|Ludwig Elias Gluskin
Percussionist; Orchestra Leader; Music Director
Birthplace: New York City(?), New York, U.S.A.
1941 Columbia Workshop
1942 Hello Americans
1942 Celing Unlimited
1944 Get Out the Vote
1945 Word From the People
1945 I Was There
1945 On A Note Of Triumph
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1945 Fourteen August
1945 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1945 Theatre Of Romance
1946 Mercury Summer Theatre
1946 The Jack Kirkwood Show
1947 The Sweeney and March Show
1947 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1948 The Last Water Hole
1948 The Whistler
1948 The Amazing Mr Tutt
1948 My Friend Irma
1948 Two Lines
1948 The Hunters
1949 Philip Morris Playhouse
1949 Broadway Is My Beat
1949 Life With Luigi
1951 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1953 The Arthur Godfrey Show
1953 On Stage
1953 Crime Classics
1954 Our Miss Brooks
1954 The Amos 'n' Andy Show
1972 Same Time, Same Station
Lud Gluskin Orchestra circa December 1927
Ludwig 'Lud' Gluskin circa 1927
The Lud Gluskin Orchestra on the road in Amsterdam circa 1929
Lud Gluskin record label from his European recordings
Another of Lud Gluskin's Jazz Hot recordings from Europe
December 19 1974 Article on the Palm Springs connection for Radio stars past. Notice in the pop-up that the Radio stars themselves refer to the era as The Golden Age of Radio.
|Ludwig Elias Gluskin was born in New York City [or possibly Russia] in 1898 to Russian/Jewish emigres. Reportedly a child prodigy, by the 1920s, Lud Gluskin was performing with Jimmy Durante--Durante at the piano and Gluskin on percussion. Gluskin had already acquired considerable 'buzz' as a pit drummer in hundreds of venues.
By the mid-1920s Lud Gluskin began touring Europe with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra as Whiteman's drummer. In 1927, he became leader of The Playboys, a Detroit jazz band that had been stranded in Paris. Gluskin and The Playboys made more than 700 recordings in Paris and Berlin, most of which are highly prized to this day.
Gluskin and his dance band toured Europe for the following seven years. During that time, Gluskin's Orchestra was the only American Jazz Band both touring--and residing in--Europe and he reportedly took Europe by storm. In researching Gluskin's career we found hundreds of rave notices about Gluskin's performances and recording sessions in Europe. He was unquestionably one of the earliest American Jazz legends touring Europe.
Upon his return to the U.S., Gluskin was hired by CBS as the Music Director for CBS Radio. Gluskin's 1989 New York Times obituary credits Gluskin with conducting the orchestra for Orson Welles' famous Mercury Theatre production of War of The Worlds. As legendary as Gluskin's career ultimately was, the credit for the original compositions for War of The Worlds must go to Bernard Herrmann. It's understandable that Gluskin was inadvertently credited with the War of the Worlds score. Herrmann, Gluskin and Lyn Murray were contemporaries at CBS, and during their time together were held in equal esteem.
But by at least the late 1930s, Lud Gluskin was the Music Director for CBSs West Coast operations--he'd both performed and directed for CBS East until as late as 1939. The following interview was conducted in Hollywood by sydicated journalist, Paul Harrison on March 29, 1938:
Helping the Hopefuls
One of the first things a visitor notices is the consideration and assistance given these hopefuls. A topnotch accompanist and sound-mixer are provided. Bill Moore, in charge of musical auditions, is patient, and polite and listens attentively. So, frequently, do Lud Gluskin, the west coast musical director, and Charles Vanda, coast program director. For men with trained ears, it must be a pretty painful experience.
"But we listen to everybody," Gluskin said. "Sometimes you think you can't stand another minute of ityet there's always the feeling that just possibly the next person who walks in the studio will be just the one you're looking for."
And here's a fascinating article and interview from The Lincoln Sunday Journal and Star, dated September 4, 1938 that gives a flavor of Lud Gluskin's disposition and personality:
What's Your Theme Song
By Alice L. Tildesley
What sort of music, or what special number, comes to mind at sight of you? Is it organ music? Is it Jazz? Is it romantic? Is it a sweet old song of home? In other words, what's your theme song?
SOMEWHEREto some onethere's music for- every one. Maybe a whole symphony-maybe just a melody-but madrigal or chant, overture or carol, to a musician each personality brings its appropriate music. That is Lud Gluskin's idea.
Lud Gluskin Is a stocky, smiling gentleman, musical director for the West Coast studios of a nation-wide broadcasting concern, who, when he isn't directing, playing, conferring with composers, actors, artists, musicians, et cetera is listening to music, music, music.
"You can bring to mind a funeral march or a cacophony of discords, if you have an unpleasant personality," he observed. "There are stars in pictures or on the air, just as there are people In private life, who make things difficult for everybody, and these are the inharmonious ones who give an unmusical impression.
"One girl, who has starred on the screen, had her own program on the air and appeared on concert tour, is a headache in any language. When a musician, orchestra leader, actor, singer or business representative is told he is to be on one of her programs or in one of her pictures, he begins to worry.
"That woman will be Inconsiderate and unreasonable," he sighs. "She'll high-hat every one she should be nice to. and upset the cast. Can I get out of the engagement? Can I afford not to take it? What shall I do?
"Anyone who has ever been with her knows that she won't do her work well. When there are mistakes, it will always be the faujt of somebody else. If she flats a note, or comes in a little ahead or behind the orchestra, it will be the conductor who was wrong, or the saxophone player, or the man who beats the drums. Or else it's the music. The man who transposed the score was an amateur, or the fellow who wrote it didn't know what he was doing.
"The Dead March from Saul would be a good choice for her, in my opinion."
WHO wants to remind us of anything so gloomy? "On the other hand, there's Jeanette MacDonald," continued the director, his blue eyes lighting with pleasure. "She's like the music of Victor Herbert, gay and charming.
"There's a warmth and a charm to Jeanette that makes any one working with her feel glad to be there. She is delightful, romantic, with a peppery little temper at timesnot too much, but the sort of thing all stars must have if they are to succeedyet so sweet, so gay, so lovely.
"I traveled with her across Europe, when she was making a concert tour, and always found her co-operative. She worked hard, harder than any one in her company; she always made the most Intense effort to please; she never shirked. If you asked her to rehearse, she never said 'No!' She was open to every suggestion. That doesn't mean the accepted every one made but she approached it with an open mind, tried It out and definitely considered it. There was none of this: 'I should know. Look where I am about Jeanette. I don't believe she would know how. to be highhat.
"If I were to select one special song for her, I think it would be Victor Herbert's 'Kiss Me Again.'"
The song, "Stout-Hearted Men," from the Rudolph Friml operetta, reminds Mr. Gluskin of Nelson Eddy. "Nelson is romantic and handsome," he pointed out. "He has a fine, true voice and a nice manner. You think of him as a gentleman first, yet he has glamour, if you'd care to use that overworked word.
"Real artists, like real actors, are sincere all the way through, so far as their work is concerned. It's the phony ones who aren't looking for criticism or suggestions The real ones are eager to improve."
There is a young stara very young starwhose shining success is beginning to dim her personality, according to our expert.
"She is beginning to go high-hat, to be hard to handle, to think she is important and must have the last word to say on everything. My prediction is that she won't last In her present top spot if her attitude keeps up. I used to think of her as like a strain from Gounod's 'Ave Maria,' but if she keeps up as she is doing, antagonizing those who must work with her, I'll begin to be reminded of one of those old English roundelays that bring you back to where you started from, if you sing long enough.
"ALL stars should get wise to themselves. No one is any better than his last performance, and he must keep on topping himself. He needs help to do this, and who can expect help if he won't co-operate?"
"You're the Top," by Cole Porter, is the air that Norma Shearer brings to mind, according to Mr. Gluskin.
"Norma is like Cole Porter's music: brilliant, sophisticated, sure of herself, admired. Norma knows what she is doing, always; she never steps out of character or forgets that she is before the public and must so conduct herself. She acts like a great lady, because she happens to be a great lady at heart, and she never disillusions you.
"Like Porter's music, there is nothing careless or slipshod about her. She doesn't gloss over anything, any more than he glosses over his work. You can Imagine him painstakingly perfecting a score; Just so you can imagine Norma taking infinite trouble over every detail.
"Jessica Dragonette, top-ranking singing star, now about to make a picture debut, reminds me of the best of the Strauss waltzes Let's say. the 'Blue Danube Waltz.' Her glorious voice, crystal, crystal clear; her delicacy, her Old-Worldliness, are like the Strauss music.
"She's like a minuet, too; say Beethoven's 'Minuet.' She has subtlety and charm and beauty and, like every true artist, confidence in herself, so far as her work is concerned.
"There's a difference in the music a man hears mentally when he sees a glamorous woman and that heard by a woman, I suppose. I may think this because of the varying ideas my wife and I have about Greta Garbo, To Mrs. Gluskin, Garbo is the most remarkable star who ever came to Hollywood. Exotic music, romantic, stirring musicperhaps Russian, perhaps Hungarianis the sort of thing my wife would be likely to hear as a translation of the Garbo personality.
"But to me, Garbo is a woman's star. She makes me think of music by Beethoven or Bach, slow, majestic, maybe even wonderful, but not especially interesting to me. Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' would be my choice, if I had to select a single piece.
"On the other hand, Marlene Dietrich is a man's idea of what is glamorous. She is exotic, mysterious, rarely, beautiful."
"She reminds me of the late George Geishwin's music something from 'Porgy' or 'Lady Be Good.' She's stirring, yet aloof, very diamatic, almost too beautiful, touched with a desire that is just out of reach, if you understand me. Not many women have this quality."
THERE are girls who are like swift hot music; girls who are full of fire, girls who are deeper than they look on the surface and each of these has her own special music.
"Martha Raye is like the 'St. Louis Blues,' by Joe Handy," said the director. "She is always wild and natural, full of fire.
"Judy Garland is the best of the hot, youthful music; we might give her Ted Koehler's 'I can't Pace the Music. Somehow I have the notion that this little kid is going to be tops soon because she has a new, hot, gay quality that appeals.
"Ginger Rogers is like swing music, flapperish, rapid, young, not with the same childish youth of Judy, but a more modern youth. Benny Goodman's 'Don't Be That Way' would be a good selection for her.
"And Bette Davis, who can seem so ice cold and can again show such depths of feeling and fire, is best compared to Ravel's 'Bolero.'"
Back in the days- when Lud Gluskin went to high school, he played the drums in the school orchestrafirst the trap drum, then the small drums. After school, in order to make pocket money, he and Jimmy Durante acted as orchestra for a beer hall, Jimmy playing the piano and Lud the drums Now they are both well-known figures in Hollywood.
After an interruption of two years at the front during the World War, Lud came home with his mind made up to be a musician. His father felt that there would be more money in clerking, so presently Lud ran away from home, went to San Francisco and entered the importing business.
"That wasn't music, either," admitted Mr. Gluskin, "but it happened and I couldn't choose. I was sent to Japan and did fairly well, but the music bug was in my blood and I couldn't lorget it. When I had saved a little money I came back and managed to join Paul Whiteman's band.
"When I toured Europe with my orchestra, we had to give them American music because that was what they wanted from us. Naturally, at first, I thought I'd give them a selection of the best things from modern Europeon composers, but nowe were an American band, we were supposed to play American music. And piay it we did.
"However, vvhen we came back here, imported especially from abroad because we had made a hit over there, I began by playing the same music we had played in paris, Budapest and so on and the managers stopped me. We were from Europe; we were supposed to piay Euiopean music, naturally. Nothing else would do.
"Speaking of youth, Shirley Temple reminds me of 'Toy Trumpet,' by Raymond Scott. She's a miracle, that child, and sweet as they come.
"I was watching her on the set the other day when she had difficulty with a line she had to speak as she danced with Bill Robinson up a stair. It wouldn't come right. They marked the step, they emphasized trie beat of the music, and .still she couldn't quite get it. Then Bill said: 'Tell you what, honey, when it comes time for that line I'll sort of squeeze your hand.' He did and she said the line correctly and all was well.
"A little later she ran up to where Bill and I were talking and pulled him down to her. "" 'Thank you a million times," she whispered. 'Some day, when you are in a tough spot, I hope I'll be on hand to help you."
"You don't have to worry about a kid like that getting high-hat She's a trouper. "Another splendid person in Hollywood is Basil Rathbone. To me he is Stravinsky's 'Firebird.' A little beyond the average range, fine and true; brilliant, almost dazzlingly brilliant, with a spiritual side. He Is stirring; he could be dangerous; instead he is a protection and shield against danger.
"Irving Berlin's music, after his new picture, ought to remind me of Alice Faye, but somehow it's Myrna Loy that he brings to mind. Myrna is romantic in a Berlin mannerI might select 'Cheek to Cheek' especially for her." "As to Alice Faye, I am reminded of 'Stardust' by Hoagy Carmichael. She has developed a great deal, that girl. She has depth and beauty and yet she is still just a wee bit naive."
How about a game tonight? Try analyzing yourself and your friends and making out lists of the music that portrays each one. I wonder if you'll be surprised at the varied songs or scores that are selected for yourself?
Copyright by Ledger Syndicate
By 1940 Lud Gluskin was directing many of CBS's most prestigious West Coast orginating programs with Wilbur Hatch and eventually Bernard Herrmann yet again. CBS entrusted Gluskin with an extraordinary number of its most popular, long-running, and critically acclaimed programs over the next 25 years. Gluskin ultimately provided music direction. compositions, and performances for well over 5,000 radio productions.
In 1948, he became music director for CBS-TV and presided over the network's shows for 10 years. Gluskin's Television career was just as prestigious and successful. Gluskin's Film career was equally productive. Lud Gluskin reached the enviable point in his career when he could work when he wanted to, where he wanted to, and in any medium he wanted to.
That confidence and competence were both well earned and deserved. After a 65 year career as a performer, a 35 year career in Radio, a 12 year career in Film and a 25 year career in Television, Lud Gluskin retired to Palm Springs, California.
Ludwig Elias Gluskin passed away in Palm Springs in 1989 at the age of 90. One of the Performing Arts most beloved and multi-talented musical geniuses, literally thousands of Lud Gluskin's personal recordings and Radio and Television work remain available for the enjoyment of his millions of fans. A fitting memorial to one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.