Clint Eastwood has been around a long time and has reached the heights of almost every aspect of filmmaking. Star, Director, Producer. How much do you know about his early career?
Question: When exactly did Eastwood make his movie debut, and what is the title of the movie? Can you also name the star of that movie?
Answer: Eastwood played the (uncredited) part of a lab technician in 1955’s Revenge of the Creature, released in 3D and starring Shirley Temple’s former husband, John Agar. Triva bonus: Eastwood also appeared with Carol Channing, of all people, in 1956’s The First Traveling Saleslady.
Question: Eastwood was fired by the first big Hollywood studio he worked for because “he just didn’t have the right look.” Two other actors were also canned at the same time, both going on to prominent careers. Who were the two other actors? 1) Troy Donahue; 2) Tony Curtis; 3) Burt Reynolds; or 4) David Janssen.
Answer: Reynolds and Janssen. The latter was let go by the studio because of his “receding hairline and distracting facil tics” while execs felt Reynolds “couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag.”
Question: Eastwood’s first big break came not in the movies but on TV in the CBS western series Rawhide that ran for seven years beginning in 1959. But he almost lost the role of Rowdy Yates to another actor, the father of a current Hollywood star. Who was Clint’s competitor? 1) Eric Fleming; 2) Bing Russell; 3) Lee Van Cleef; or 4) Robert Ryan.
Answer: Neil “Bing” Russell, the father of actor Kurt Russell. The senior Russell later found a longtime perch on the Bonanza TV series.
Question: By now, Eastwood’s skills as a pianist/composer are well known, but in his earlier days he was known also as a singer. Can you name the first record he ever made?
Answer: To cash in on his Rawhide popularity, Eastwood in 1961 was persuaded to record a single comprising “Unknown Girl” backed by a cover version of “For All We Know.” His singing wasn’t bad, leading to a subsequent album, Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites.
Question: Eastwood was definitely the star of Rawhide. True or false.
Answer: False. The star of the show was Eric Fleming, an actor hardly remembered today. No one got more career mileage from the show than did Eastwood.
Question: While he was making the movie version of Paint Your Wagon in the late Sixties, Eastwood had an affair with a costar who had carved out a career in Europe. Can you name her? 1) Annabella; 2) Michele Morgan; 3) Jean Seberg; or 4) Leslie Caron.
Answer: It was an “on location” romance with Jean Seberg, which ended when the movie did.
Question: Moving ahead a bit in time, can you name the two actors offered the plum role of police inspector Harry Callahan in 1971’s Dirty Harry, before Eastwood? 1) Paul Newman; 2) Edmond O’Brien; 3) Frank Sinatra; or Robert Redford.
Answer: Newman and Sinatra. Newman didn’t like what he felt to be the movie’s political slant. Sinatra begged off claiming a hand injury.