The correct and full name of this short is "Screen Snapshots: Laguna,U.S.A." (Columbia production number 9852), in which director/producer Ralph Staub is out touring Laguna Beach. While ...
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The correct and full name of this short is "Screen Snapshots: Laguna,U.S.A." (Columbia production number 9852), in which director/producer Ralph Staub is out touring Laguna Beach. While there, he drops in at the Griffin Theatre where actors Brian Aherne, Lon Chaney Jr., Dane Clark and Eddie Bracken are rehearsing, as members of the Griffin Theatre Players, their roles in an upcoming stage presentation of "Of Mice and Men." To be precise, Lon Chaney is not in this film as "Lennie", as some sources seem to think. He is in this film as himself, an actor, rehearsing the role of "Lennie" (which he played in the 1939 film) for a stage production of "Of Mice and Men." That makes a slight difference in identifying his role in this short. The Griffin Theatre Players was an orginization of (mainly) film players who liked to get back "to their roots" and "on the boards" once in a while. Written by
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"Screen Snapshots: Laguna U.S.A" was a 1947 Columbia short filmed at Laguna Beach, where a number of Hollywood performers have gathered at the Griffin Players Theater for a revival of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." No one is actually shown on stage, as the entire 9 1/2 minutes remain on the sunny beach, with the entirely uncredited cast relaxing in their swimsuits, rehearsing their lines, or dining at lunchtime. Completely shot silent, Art Baker's narration keeping things lighthearted, we see in order of appearance: Dane Clark, Lon Chaney, Barbara Read, Brian Aherne, Marian Carr, Eddie Bracken, Barbara Freking, Fred Clark, Michael (formerly Ted) North ("Charlie Chan in Rio"), Benay Venuta (the future Mrs. Fred Clark), Connie Nickerson (Mrs. Eddie Bracken), and William Henry (the juvenile bookworm in 1934's "The Thin Man"). It's a fascinating lineup, but most of the footage is taken up by the frenetic Eddie Bracken, whose screen career only extended another six years (his pretty wife, as indeed all the other actresses, looks incredible in those period bathing suits). The 41 year old Chaney had only recently returned to the stage, and would later appear with Barbara Freking in 1954's "Casanova's Big Night," while Marian Carr, having already played Frank Albertson's wife in the Frank Capra classic "It's a Wonderful Life," would be Lon's leading lady in one of her last roles, in 1955's "Indestructible Man."
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