One of the Golden Era’s most recognized supporting stars, Lloyd Nolan was sometimes — at least in Frank’s eyes — confused with the younger Gary Merrill. Both were classic Hollywood’s utility infielders, not big stars but reliable players and occasional leading men.
Nolan was born in San Francisco in 1902 (he was 13 years Merrill’s senior), which surprised many since the actor sounded like an outer-borough New Yorker for much of his career. He possessed a rich baritone voice, and a somewhat bland countenance capable of shifting easily between gentleness and outright menace.
Critics predicted major stardom for Nolan. That didn’t quite happen but audiences liked his generally easy-going presence, and took him more or less for granted no matter the genre: war dramas, westerns, crime thrillers and film noir. As a result Nolan was a workhorse, compiling some 160 film and tv credits over a career that lasted a half century.
Ok, on to our abbreviated quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Playing private dicks was always a basic of Nolan’s career, and he acquitted himself with grace and humor in this Forties film series. What was the title of the series? a) Mike Shayne; b) Boston Blackie; c) Bulldog Drummond; or d) The Shadow.
2) Question: Nolan turned up in his career’s last lap in which one of the following Woody Allen pictures, this one released after the actor’s death at age 83 of lung cancer in 1985? a) Bullets Over Broadway; b) Broadway Danny Rose; c) The Purple Rose of Cairo; or d) Hannah and Her Sisters.
3) Question: Nolan spent at least half his career doing a lot of tv, notably played a charming curmudgeon on which one of the following tube series? a) 77 Sunset Strip; b) Julia; c) The Untouchables; or d) Martin Kane, Private Eye.
4) Question: One of Nolan’s best top-of-the-line roles is in a 1945 film noir which took a documentary approach to the undercover of Nazi spies. What is the title of this picture? a) The House on 92nd Street; b) King of Alcatraz; c) The Street With No Name; or d) King of Gamblers.
5) Question: Nolan became very well known as a longtime tv pitchman for denture cream commercials. a) True; or b) False?