QUESTION: Alan Ladd was legendarily short for a Hollywood leading man, but wasn’t Humphrey Bogart even shorter? Exactly how tall was Bogie?
ANSWER: If you guessed 6 feet tall, you are wrong. Not just Bogie but also Robert Redford and Tom Cruise are shorter than that. As for Alan Ladd, few major studio stars – excluding 5-foot-2 inch Mickey Rooney — possess less stature than the 5-foot-6-1/4 inch Ladd. (No wonder Alan had to be artificially elevated in love scenes.)
Bogie was a fully-grown 18-year-old when he enlisted in the Navy in 1917. The particulars at the time of his induction physical include the notation that he stood 5-feet-8 inches in height, “weighing 136 pounds, with brown eyes and hair and no remarkable scars,” according to “Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart” by Stefan Kanfer. So that made Bogie one inch taller than Cruise and one inch shorter than Redford.
QUESTION: What famous actor was originally scheduled to take the costarring Bob Curtin role with Bogie’s Fred C. Dobbs in 1948’s “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” but pulled out at the last minute? (The role went, thank goodness, to Tim Holt.) Hint: this famous actor became even more famous in another public arena.
ANSWER: We may have already given this one away, but you deserve the break. Ronald Reagan was scheduled to take the part of the relatively even-tempered Bob Curtin, the essentially good-hearted ballast of the odd-fellow trio of gold prospectors in Mexico rounded out by Bogie’s violently deranged Fred C. Dobbs and the super-grizzled prospecting veteran, Howard, memorably portrayed by Walter Huston, father of the movie’s director John Huston. It’s not clear today exactly why Reagan bowed out. The reason might have something to do with the fact “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” was one of the first American movies to be made completely on location outside the U.S. — in Tampico and Jungapeo, Mexico. Reagan may not have relished the idea of spending weeks in mountainous Mexican wilderness. While Reagan would have certainly been sufficient in the role of Bob Curtin, Tim Holt was magnificent in it. It’s his best movie performance outside of his brilliant turn as the insufferably spoiled George Amberson in Orson Welles’ brilliant 1942 movie, “The Magnificent Ambersons.”