So ok — just how much did you know about the great lover (pictured above with Manpower costar Marlene Dietrich), screen tough guy and off-camera softie?
Time to find out. To review the questions for Monday’s George Raft Quiz, just scroll down one blog and there they are. Here we go:
1) Answer: Our apologies; this is a trick question. Raft took up with ALL four choices. Carole Lombard before Clark Gable, Betty Grable before Harry James and Norma Shearer after Irving Thalberg. Virginia Pine was a socialite and early romance.
2) Answer: Owney Madden, the hard-bitten New York mobster who at one time owned and operated Harlem’s Cotton Club. During the Prohibition, Raft drove a lookout car for Madden, escorting shipments of illegal booze. He and Madden remained longtime pals.
3) Answer: b) Peter Lorre. Jimmy Cagney, who admired Raft, relates the following: Lorre, it seems, assumed that George’s natural gentleness made him an easy mark. Lorre felt greatly superior to George, regarding him as a lowbrow. During rehearsals, Lorre kept trying to guide Raft to his mark by grabbing his arm. Said Raft, ‘Don’t take my arm. Just tell me what you’ve got in mind.’ Lorre chose to ignore the warning. Once more Lorre took forceful charge and bang! Lorre got smacked right between the eyes, knocking him ass over teakettle. Then George said very nicely, ‘I told you not to do that.’ Mr. Lorre didn’t do it again. (The picture was probably 1943’s Background to Danger.)
4) Answer: Rudolph Valentino.
5) Answer: a) and d). Raft did indeed had reservations about John Huston as a tyro director. He also shunned remakes, which ruled out The Maltese Falcon since it had been made twice before — in 1931 and 1936 (Satan Met A Lady).
6) Answer: d) Raft really did feel unsuited to the part of Rick Blaine in Casablanca. As Raft biographer Lewis Yablonsky observed: With Bogart as beneficiary, Raft turned down more parts in films which are now considered Hollywood classics.
7) Answer: d) George Ranft. As a young man, the actor dropped the “n.”
8) Answer: a) Paul Muni, the star of 1932’s Scarface, in which Raft played a key supporting role. Without doubt Muni was the greatest actor I’ve ever worked with, said Raft.
9) Answer: Raft was sitting in Lombard’s studio dressing room one day. The blond star suddenly got undressed. I didn’t know what the hell to do, remembered Raft. She’s talking away and mixing peroxide with some other liquid in a bowl. Still talking casually, with a piece of cotton she begins to apply the liquid to dye the hair around her honeypot. She glanced up, saw my amazed look, and smiled, ‘Relax, Georgie, I’m just making my collar and cuffs match.’
10) Answer: Allied Artists’ 1961 biopic The George Raft Story, starring Ray Danton as Raft and Jayne Mansfield as one of his many girlfriends.