The film is also notable as the first film released to feature Olivia De Havilland, just 19 years old when you see her here. This is a great article. It was then that he had heard that Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball were in search of someone to fill the role of a character on their new. It was produced by the American Film Manufacturing Company. A: Did you confirm your subscription? While the exact circumstances of his discovery appear to be lost to time, one of Frawley's stories was that he was discovered with some friends in a cafe on Chicago's South Side singing some old railroad songs. Gentleman Jim (1942) He was pegged to work for the railroad and had some early jobs along those lines, but despite his mother's protests the pull of the stage repeatedly overtook him. But Gordon was not available. He came from an Irish Catholic family from Burlington, Iowa. As mentioned previously, the Mertzes actually couldn't stand each other in real life. Vivian Vance aside, both Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball always spoke nicely of him. What follows is the same exact scene Joe E. Brown played in Alibi Ike: the other players convince the gullible Babe to rest his arm in the pitcher's sling provided by the railroad (actually some netting inside the sleeper car that I'd imagine is meant to hold a passenger's belongings) and the Babe wakes up the next day to an irate Frawley. Not long after that move, and against his mother's wishes, he obtained a singing part in a musical comedy, The Flirting Princess. I Image: Getty Images. 6. Just enter your email address and click the button underneath: Every little bit helps pay the bills. I don't mean to make William Frawley sound like Godzilla when I repeat these items. In 1934 he played a con man in “The Lemon Drop Kid.” Ten years later he opposed Bing Crosby in “Going My Way,” and in 1947 he shared the screen with no other than Charlie Chaplin. He did and I did, and I got kicked out". Both Ball and Arnaz agreed it would be great to have Frawley, a motion picture veteran, appear as Fred Mertz. Featuring Fred MacMurray, the series was about a widower raising his three sons. A lifelong bachelor (save his brief marriage and the time sharing his suite with his sister), he used to go to the lobby bar nightly to have them put a cracked walnut in his martini. Publicity Listings Immortal Ephemera connects the stories with the collectibles. At 9:00 sharp, he reaches his car only to find a flat tire. In 1966, less than a year after his last TV appearance, Frawley passed away on March 3, at the age of 79. However, what’s interesting is that Frawley had lived in the Knickerbocker for close to forty years. It doesn't appear as though Frawley appeared in any hits throughout the decade, but he did work his way up to handling a few leads by the late 1920's and in 1932 played in the supporting role of Owen O'Malley in original George Abbot production of the hit Twentieth Century (Roscoe Karns plays the part in the film). William Frawley with the cast of "My Three Sons." 9. William Frawley knew Ball in passing aftter meeting by chance in the 1940s. This hateful dynamic actually made the script stronger because they were so believable. She was an actress, known for Realization (1916), A Gay Blade's Last Scrape (1916) and Persistent Percival (1916). A new partnership was formed in San Francisco with Franz Rath, a piano player, with whom Frawley toured the Pacific Coast and Western U.S. in an act dubbed "A Man, A Piano and a Nut.". Arnaz warned Frawley about the network's concerns, telling him that if he was late to work, arrived drunk, or was unable to perform because of something other than legitimate illness more than once, he would be written out of the show. No, Frawley hasn't had too much to drink in the shots above, they make up what is at least a seven photo series of Promotional shots for Paramount's St. Louis Blues. The couple separated in 1921 (later divorcing in 1927). Now these rankings are potentially in constant flux, but they actually tend to remain pretty stable. The play, from Gregg Oppenheimer (son of I Love Lucy creator-producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer), was recorded in front of a live audience for nationwide public radio broadcast and online distribution.. From there he and his brother Paul, who actually garnered more initial fame than Bill on Broadway, formed a vaudeville act, not surprisingly billed as "The Frawley Brothers." Although the two actors worked well together, they greatly disliked each other. Singer.Star., says: "A prime example of a classic film fan taking the reins to produce a scholarly study of a neglected figure from the Golden Age of classic films in a way that I feel is refreshing, infinitely helpful to fans and students of old movies." "I was thrown out of that one for punching Clifton Webb in the nose," Frawley later recalled. By 1933, Frawley had moved to Los Angeles, after starring in the musical “Moonlight and Pretzels.”. Full review. Full review. Authors from both sources doubt this claim, but do agree that he was very probably among the first to sing either tune. Ultimately, people have mixed reactions about him, but the majority commended his workmanship. Arnaz and Ball were leery about hiring Frawley because of his reputation but decided to take a chance on him. Certainly Frawley wasn't the only guy in show biz who drank too much or was a racist and likely a misogynist on top. The longest moment of laughter lasted 65 seconds! Frawley responded in kind, referring to her variously as “that sack of doorknobs.”. 8. Rare Photos You'll Never Find In History Books. She was married to Edwin Alfred Mueller and William Frawley. Bill Frawley rests comfortably knowing that he has just completed his most important most difficult scene with Lloyd Nolan, Dorothy Lamour and Jessie Ralph in Paramount's "St. Louis Blues." Read more to discover all the juicy details about what his life and career were like. He and his wife Edna Louise teamed up to create one of the most popular theater comedy acts, ‘Frawley and Louise,’ which stayed in business for almost thirteen years. For his achievements in the field of motion pictures, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6322 Hollywood Blvd on February 8, 1960. "But officer, I'm a friend of the President." Lucille Ball was hoping to cast Gale Gordon, whom she’d worked with on her My Favorite Husband radio show. Divorced, unemployed, and lonely, Frawley thought he had hit rock bottom in 1951. Until he was given a second chance, however reluctantly, by actors (and husband and wife) Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, the stars of “I Love Lucy.” Ball and Arnaz played the leading couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the different versions of the series. Vivian Vance, who played opposite William Frawley as Ethel Mertz, was not a fan of the actor. The series was broadcast for six years as half-hour episodes, later changing to hour-long specials from 1957–60 titled The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (later retitled The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour). Apparently, Frawley had a problem with the bottle. The first screw-up would be tolerated, the second would result in a severe reprimand, and the third would result in his being fired.