Do you know the man pictured above?
Of course you do. He’s Allen Jenkins, one of the best character actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Here is is with George Sanders in 1941’s The Gay Falcon.
Jenkins, born Alfred McGonegal in the borough of Staten Island in New York City in 1900, had a nearly 45-year career playing all manner of sharply drawn supporting parts: policemen, cab drivers, ex-cons, all purpose henchmen and tough guys, racking up nearly 160 movie and tv credits.
He was a well trained stage actor before coming to Hollywood at he behest of Darryl Zanuck in the early Thirties. He soon became known as a character actor who could steal scenes from under the noses of the biggest stars.
Jenkins maintained throughout his career a busy schedule on tv and the stage as well as movies. His last big-screen performance — 11 days before his death — came in director Billy Wilder’s 1974 version of that venerable newspaper classic, The Front Page. (Jenkins was part of the cast of the original Broadway stage version mounted in 1928.)
Now, on to our Allen Jenkins Quiz.
1) Question: Below is a photo of late Fifties Jenkins with Thelma Ritter taken from a big boxoffice romantic comedy costarring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Can you name this picture?
2) Question: Very early in his career Jenkins performed onstage as a dancer besides another aspiring performer who went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Who was he? a) George Jessel; b) James Cagney; c) George Raft or d) Eddie Cantor.
3) Question: Below is a shot of Jenkins playing a supporting part in a 1964 comedy costarring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bing Crosby. Can you identify this feature?
4) Question: Jenkins spent the last half of his long career playing various roles on television. Which one of the following programs was he NOT on? a) Top Cat; b) The Man From U.N.C.L.E.; c) I Love Lucy; or d) The Ernie Kovacs Show.
5) Question: Jenkins offscreen was active in creating awareness about a disability that afflicted him, even appearing before the U.S. Congress to plead his cause. What was the disability? a) alcoholism; b) gambling addiction; c) drug abuse; or d) all of the above.