How much did you know about John Carradine and his famous sons?
Did you know, for example, of Carradine’s claim that he held the record for the most screen appearances in movie history? Was he just balmy or was he on to something?
We did a bit of checking and discovered the veteran actor had made a serious claim. His movie appearances began at the start of the sound era (1930) and continued right up until Carradine’s death at age 82 in 1988.
The stats we’ve seen attribute some 350 movie appearances to the actor, who said toward the end of his lengthy career that his closest competitor for the top spot was British actor Donald Crisp.
Crisp began his career early on in the silent era. So Crisp’s attributed total of screen appearances (a mere 167) doesn’t account fully for his silent movies, some lost to posterity.
In any case, Carradine ranks second or third on the all-time movie appearances list, ahead of Mickey Rooney and behind the reigning champ, contemporary actor Eric Roberts (with more than 400 appearances to his credit)
Now, on the answers to our John Carradine Quiz.
Question: Although Carradine played a vast array of characters in many, many films, he was was widely known for his portrayals of Dracula. In how many movies did he actually play the Count? a) 15; b) four; c) 12; or d) eight.
Answer: b) They are 1944’s House of Frankenstein, 1945’s House of Dracula, 1966’s Billy the Kid Versus Dracula and 1979’s Nocturna.
2. Question: Carradine was a favorite, go-to actor in pictures created made by which one of the following directors? a) Alfred Hitchcock; b) Otto Preminger; c) John Ford; or d) Cecil B. DeMille.
Answer: c) Carradine was considered a member of “The John Ford Stock Company” for his appearances in 1939’s Stagecoach and Drums Along the Mohawk, 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath, and 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence., among other Ford pictures.
3. Question: One of Carradine’s actor sons famously died by hanging himself. Which one? a) Robert; b) David; c) Keith or d) Bruce.
Answer: b) David Carradine of tv’s Kung Fu series fame. His body was found in 2009 in a hotel closet in Bankok, Thailand, where the actor was making a picture. The hanging was ruled accidental, not a suicide.
4. Question: Towards the end of his career, Carradine would boast that he actually made more movies than anyone else — ever. Which actor did he regard as his closest rival in this department? a) Donald Crisp; b) Mickey Rooney; c) Christopher Lee; or d) Eric Roberts.
Answer: As noted in our intro, the correct answer is (a).
5. Question: Of all the roles he played, which did Carradine regard as his favorite? a) Bluebeard; b) Frankenstein; c) Dracula; or d) Ebenezer Scrooge.
Answer: a) Carradine said his title role in 1994’s Bluebeard was a career favorite.