Clampett Actor in "Casablanca!"
Eatin' Off The Cuff actor is spotted in scene with Bogey!
Say hello to Leo White! He's an actor with a long and storied career, as you can see on his IMDB page. Anyway, if he looks familiar to you, it's because you've seen "Eatin' On the Cuff or: The Moth Who Came to Supper, an early black and white Bob Clampett Looney Tune. This gentleman, whom I've only ever seen billed as 'Piano-Playing Narrator,' is the only live action in the cartoon, and his sequences bookend the film.
Alright Leo, geez! Don't get pushy, remember, you're Leo White, not Leo Getz ('what Leo wants, Leo gets!,' is Joe Pesci's character's namesake and slogan in Lethal Weapon 2). Anyway, it's clear I love movies, and the other day, I was watching Casablanca.
Just an aside. Yes, I did go to film school. Yes, I did make a movie. And yes, I do consider Ferris Wheelhouse to be my film company, but by no means am I a 'film snob.' I don't allow for the same leniency with animation as I do film, case in point: Filmation. Readers and watchers of LTC know that I don't have any respect for the entirety of their animated output (or live action for that matter), but their independent filmic equivalent, that of Troma Entertainment, are the makers of some of my favorite movies of all time. Especially Nuke 'Em High and Tromeo and Juliet.
For some reason, I allow good film to flavor my love of bad film and vice versa, and I don't allow the same prejudice for animation. Also, if you're not familiar with Casablanca, let me put it to you like this: it's the human version of Carrotblanca.
Anyhay, I was watching Casablanca the other day, and it was a few days after Shawn and I had recorded a commentary for 'Eatin'...' (that will be posted on the YouTube channel in October), so maybe that's why I noticed the Piano Playing Narrator in the background, as his mug was fresh on my mind.
Well let's get on with it then, shall we? Below is the screen grab I took of the waiter in this scene, and I think you'll agree, that's definitely our boy.
That's definitely him, alright. Maybe go in for a closer look? Cambot, gimme Rocket Number Nine.
Well, you're right, it's certainly not proof that it's Mr. White, is it? Well, let's look at that IMDB page of his again, shall we?
And if you scroll down to the 1942 acting roles, you see a LOT of uncredited parts. It wasn't a good year for our boy. But there it is, among the many other uncredited and largely unnamed parts, "Emile."
So there you go, Leo. Are you happy now?
Good. I'm happy you're happy, baby. Well, that is going to do it for this very stretchy-longy blog post. I really do know how to make a mountain out of a mole bite, don't I? The information I had to convey could've been presented in a meme with as few as nine words, and yet, here we are, reading all sorts of darlings that should've been murdered, but yet remain to clutter up the society of a blog post. Ah, merde. But I do think this kind of stuff is cool, though. It helps to contextualize the cartoons, and their place in Hollywood, at the time. Think about it, this is a working actor who was contracted to Warner Bros., because at that time, actors weren't free agents, they couldn't just hop around from studio to studio, no, they were beholden to one or another. So it's very possible that Leo wasn't even auditioned so much as Clampett said to Leon that he needed an actor who could fake playing piano and, since they had no budget for onset sound, could mouth the dialogue clearly enough so that Mel Blanc could later overdub, and Leon contacted the studio and they got whoever was available and on the lot at that time. But cartoons and Hollywood were never more intertwined as existences than in the 40s, and spotting stuff like this merely confirms that. Anyway.... as you were. - trevor.