Yup, that George Gobel above with Tallulah Bankhead, of all people.
Significantly, the shot was entirely non-movie related. Bankhead was a guest on Gobel’s immensely successful TV show, which rated in the top ten in 1954-1955.
Diminutive, crew-cut Gobel is, perhaps, not worth remembering today. But during the mid-Fifties he ranked on NBC’s top star roster, He played the bewildered innocent coping with an ever more confusing world. (A signature phrase — Well, I’ll be a dirty bird.)
(Trivia — the actress who initially played Gobel’s tube wife was none other than Jeff Donell, one of our favorite character players.)
Hollywood figured Gobel’s tv popularity would translate into movie box office. Hollywood was wrong.
Ok, on to the answers to our George Gobel Quiz.( Sorry for the delay, but Doris Day takes precedence.)
1) Question: In 1958, Gobel turned up in the movie, I Married A Woman, as the improbable costar to which one of the following international sexpots? a) Ursula Andress; b) Romy Schneider; c) Diana Dors or d) Barbara Payton.
Answer: c) Diana Dors.
2) Question: In his last movie, 1984’s Ellie, Gobel costarred as a down-home preacher opposite which one of these more established stars? a) Shelly Winters; b) Bette Davis; c) Joan Crawford; or d) Irene Dunne.
Answer: Shelley Winters.
3) Question: In his occasional movie and many tv appearances, Gobel milked for laughs which one of the following character stereotypes? a) An inept minor burglar who flubbed picking pockets; b) A mild-mannered sort saddled with an overbearing wife; c) A clean-cut, ‘aw shucks’ Midwesterner; or d) All of the above.
Answer: We’d say (b) and (c). Although Gobel was born in California, he exploited his ‘aw shucks’ approach that made him a hit with middle American audiences.
4) Question: Gobel actually was the top-billed star of Paramount’s 1956 romantic comedy, The Birds and the Bees, despite the presence of David Niven and Mitzi Gaynor. Who played Gobel’s role in the original version of the picture, 1941’s The Lady Eve?
Answer: Henry Fonda.
5) Question: Gobel’s movie career was cut short of his own volition because he hated the pretensions of Hollywood and preferred television. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Gobel’s movie career was cut short because his films were box office duds.