Kevin Newland Scott

Such a character (actor)!

Victor Jory film notes

From the film notes for the July 21, 2010, showing of The Miracle Worker (1962) in the Classic Film series at the Historic Elsinore Theatre in Salem:

Helen Keller’s father in The Miracle Worker is played by veteran stage, screen and television actor Victor Jory (1902-1982), who happens to be a descendant of an 1848 Salem pioneer family.  Until it was pointed out to us by Kevin Newland Scott, it had gone unnoticed that in programming the current Elsinore film series, a Victor Jory mini-festival had also been inadvertently created, as Jory is also featured in Gone With the Wind and in next week’s film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Kevin is a Salem-based performer and a theater and film history buff. (Information on Kevin’s current project Kiss Me Kate, to be presented in Eugene can be found at www.ofam.org.)  He writes the following about Victor Jory:

 “I first became aware of Victor Joryʹs Salem connections from my late father-in-law, Col. Donald G. Poujade (US Army Retired), who was a `radio manʹ with the Salem police, and remembered that Jory always used to drop by the police station to say hello whenever he came to visit family in Salem. 

"Several references list Jory as a `Canadian actorʹ -- even though Joryʹs father lived most of his life in the Salem area, Jory was born in Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory, capital of the Klondike gold rush that began when news of the strike there reached the economically depressed US in 1887.  During his military service, Jory was the boxing and wrestling champion of the Coast Guard.  He began acting in films around 1930. Beside playing a very dark Oberon, King of the Fairies in Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Nightʹs Dream, and overseer turned carpetbagger Jonas Wilkerson in Gone With the Wind, Jory played Lamont Cranston in a 1940 movie serial of The Shadow and narrated the 1947 Puppetoon short Tubby the Tuba, among close to 200 film credits. 

“Jory appeared on Broadway in 1945 opposite Miriam Hopkins in The Perfect Marriage, written and directed by Samson Raphaelson (playwright, The Jazz Singer; screenwriter, The Shop Around the Corner).  That same year, he worked with Margaret Webster (1905-1972;  author of Shakespeare Without Tears and director of both Maurice Evansʹs Hamlet and the legendary Paul Robeson Othello, with Jose Ferrer as Iago) on her production of Zolaʹs Thérèse Raquin, playing the lover/co-conspirator of the Thérèse of Eva Le Gallienne (1899-1991), with Webster's mother Dame May Whitty as the silent witness to their crime.  In 1946, Webster, Le Gallienne and Perfect Marriage producer Cheryl Crawford co-founded The American Repertory Theatre, and opened their season with Jory playing Shakespeare's Henry VIII, with June DuPrez (Princess Jasmine in Kordaʹs 1940 Thief of Bagdad) as Ann Bullen, Le Gallienne as Queen Katherine, and Walter Hampden (the Very Old Actor in the prologue sequence of All About Eve) as Cardinal Wolsey.  In 1950 Webster directed Jory as Reverend Anderson in Shawʹs The Devilʹs Disciple, with Maurice Evans as Dick Dudgeon. 

“Joryʹs son Jon Jory, longtime Artistic Director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville, currently teaches at the School of Drama at the University of Washington.  He directed Allʹs Well That Ends Well at Ashland in 1976 (with my friend Todd Oleson as Parolles), and is rumored to be the secret identity of `Jane Martinʹ (playwright, Talking With).”

––Kevin Newland Scott

 

And I got it to under 500 words by cutting this parenthetical from the end of the first paragraph:

(Just to say hello, unlike fellow Hollywood character actor, Eugene Pallette (1899-1954) -- the big-bellied, frog-voiced Friar Tuck to the Robin Hood of Errol Flyn and Maid Marian of Olivia de Havilland -- who would come into Salem from his Oregon property, which he had turned into a compound well-stocked and well-fortified for the day when the Russians might drop the bomb, and hang out at the station, drinking coffee and swapping yarns until the wee small hours.)

Stuff that was not relevant enough to try to fit in:

The NYC Desdemona in the Webster/Robeson/Ferrer OTHELLO was Ferrer's then wife Uta Hagen. When the production transferred to London, the Desdemona was Dame Peggy Ashcroft (who would later be so amazing in both the BBC miniseries of THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, and the David Lean film of A PASSAGE TO INDIA). The Emilia in both NYC and London was Webster herself.

Le Gallienne, a legend of the stage, whom I once had the privilege of seeing in live performance (and sharing the stage with an actress I had worked with in Portland) in the early 80s, made only 3 movies: she's an onstage Gertrude to the Hamlet of Edwin Booth (Richard Burton) in the 1955 PRINCE OF PLAYERS, with Raymond Massey as Edwin's father Junius Brutus Booth and (God help us) John Derek as Edwin's brother John Wilkes; she's the mother of Kirk Douglas's Dick Dudgeon in the 1959 DEVIL'S DISCIPLE with Burt Lancaster as Reverend Anderson and Lawrence Olivier as General Burgoyne; and she's the grandmother of Ellen Burstyn's character in the 1980 Lewis John Carlino film RESURRECTION. A record survives of much of her TV work, much of it recrreations of productions originally done on stage. When Jory first worked with her and Webster, the two women had been a couple for about eight years -- the relationship ended after the first season of The American Repertory Theatre, for which Jory also played the title role in Le Gallienne's production of Ibsen's JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN and Ferrovius in Webster's production of Shaw's ANDROCLES AND THE LION, with Ernest Truex as Androcles and DuPrez as Lavinia, for which Sean O'Casey's A POUND ON DEMAND was presented as a curtain raiser, with Truex and Webster acting under Jory's direction.