Future Favorites — Maurice Black (1938) 🇺🇸

February 08, 2022

Ten years ago Maurice (Blackie) Black was a red-nosed comic in Raymond Hitchcock’s “Hitchy Koo” revues and laying ‘em in the aisles according to the boys and girls who wrote rave pieces about this Broadway hit show...

by E. J. Smithson

Hearing the siren voice of Flickertown calling while playing in the stage hit, Broadway, he came to the west coast with two suitcases, one wife, and a faint hope that he would be lucky enough to get into pictures before his bankroll went the way of all dough-re-me...

Hardly had he expelled the first breath of the famed Hollywood air than he was scheduled for heavy character parts in a number of films... in all of them he was cast as a Greek cafe owner...

His reputation as one of Broadway’s top comics failed to impress the studios... and he continued his Greek cafe owner roles until someone decided he would look good on a horse... a couple of six-guns were strapped around his waist... and he dropped his Greek dialect to adopt the language of the lone cowboy while he played in horse operas of high and low degree...

Black still likes westerns... and would play in them if permitted to ride around in an automobile...

Back in 1914 while on a vaudeville tour with a singing outfit he was asked in Billings, Montana, to participate in a parade celebrating the town’s first strip of paving ... Black agreed providing he could wear chaps... he got them and rode in the parade from 8 in the morning until 6 at night...

It was the first time he had ever been a-straddle a saddle... the end of the parade was almost the end of Black... they had to pry him loose from his seat...

From westerns Black graduated into parts where he was used as shark bait... In “Tiger Shark” he was tossed to the man-eaters before the picture was half finished... he did so well as food for the fishes that in “I Cover the Waterfront” he was tossed in again...

Black lives in Westwood Hills and has a year old son who started his picture career when he was only 28 days old...

Top year for this sterling character actor was when he appeared in 24 pictures... but he doesn’t care to repeat that record... Ideal arrangement, he says, would be to have 25 weeks of work and no more...

What with westerns growing into super-colossal productions in all major studios, and with “B” pictures blooming into quick-A’s overnight, Character Actor Black is going to have a hard time to keep from working no more than the weeks he allots to himself... He’s too much in demand... his last role — and a good one — was in Universal’s “Adventure’s End,” his 17th sea picture.

Source: Motion Picture Magazine, January 1938