Recognize the man pictured above?

He was a great star in vaudeville, then originated the part of Captain Andy on Broadway in 1927, played the part again in a 1932 Broadway revival, then switched to movies. He made a dozen films before he recreated his role of Capt. Andy in the 1936 film version of Show Boat with Irene Dunne and Allan Jones.

Tried and true movie buffs know it’s Charles Winninger. But what else do you know about him?

This quiz, by the way, contrary to our custom of focusing on big stars, begins an informal series highlighting the great but little known character actors of classic Hollywood.  Names such as Steven, Geray, Jerome Cowan, Marvin Miller and Wallace Ford.

Our man Winninger compiled a lengthy 45-year career running the gamut of vaudeville, Broadway, movies and tv. His last outing was in a Christmas-themed family film in 1960, The Miracle of the White Reindeer.  Winninger played a loveable zoo keeper. Nine years later he died at age 84.

Onward to today’s quiz.  As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.  Here we go:

1) Question:  Captain Andy was Winninger’s most popular role but he actually had a starring lead in another part in a movie directed by John Ford. Which one?  1) 1939’s Stagecoach; b) 194’s How Green Was My Valley; c) 1939’s Young Mr. Lincoln; or d) 1953’s The Sun Shines Bright.

2) Question: Ok, here’s a real head scratcher.  What did Winninger have in common with Judy Garland? (Hint:  the answer has to do with a marvelous song Garland popularized.)

3) Question:  Winninger’s turn as Captain Andy was so popular that he repeated the role not ony in the movies but also on television.  a) True; or b) False?

4) Question:  Winninger, to his great credit, managed off-screen one of the most durable and successful marriages of any Hollywood figure. a) True; or b) False.

5) Question:  In late career, Winninger turned successfully to television including an I Love Lucy stint in the early Fifties that is still fondly recalled as one of his most moving appearances.  What was the role?  That of a) a down and out singer; b) a lovable handy man; c) and ex-vaudevillian; or d) an amiable local policeman.


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