The old actor of the funny papers is not so funny

O. O. McIntyre // The old actor of the funny papers is not entirely extinct on the Rialto. Now and then he drops into the agencies from no one knows where to bestow his courtly bow and receive the customary, “Nothing today, sir.” His voice, vibrant and low, retains its old time grandeur—a voice, incidentally, that is crying almost alone in the wilderness. His venerable silk hat sags a little and the moths have done their worst to his fur collared coat, but he preserves the shabby dignity that is traditional . His spats are frayed and slightly curled around the edges and he carries his one glove in his hand that holds his cane. He has stalked tragedy during his best years, now it stalks him.

Despite these few remaining types of another day, actors offer little today to distinguish them from the ordinary run of folk. They might be bond brokers, merchants or even columnists. In fact, I’ll go further (Voice: Make it Timbuktu) and bet a cookie a stranger cannot spot an actor the length of Broadway. They once had a Certain Something that made them stand apart. It might have been a commanding shock of long hair, a Grecian profile, bushy brows over sorrowful eyes or an inch-wide black silk eyeglass ribbon.

Which recalls Miss Green’s old but hilarious story of the tail-hatted thespian who inquired throatitly of the harassed landlady: “Madam, what is your best term for actors? “Lousy bums,” she replied, slamming the door.

Syndicated column, Dec. 15, 1928

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