He was one of those leading men, not a star, but reliable.

Born in 1912 in a Minnesota outback, the son of a local lawyer, Richard Carlson originally aspired to be an academic. By his early twenties, though, he had become consumed by dramatics, and even established his own theater group in Minneapolis featuring himself as the star.

Broadway roles followed until mega-producer David O. Selznick hired him in the late Thirties as an actor-writer-director. Among his early screen appearances was 1938’s Young At Heart with Janet Gaynor.  Many movie and tv roles followed — Carlson is credited with more than 100 roles over a nearly 40-year career.

Before we get to our questions, let’s take a look at Carlson in various characterizations over the years. (He died in 1977 of a stroke.) Can you name these pictures?

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That’s Deborah Kerr in the middle flanked by our man and Stewart Granger.

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Should we mention that Carlson was a regular on the sci-fi circuit?

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Carlson in perhaps his most famous role.

Ok, on to our Richard Carlson Quiz.  As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.  Here we go:

1) Question: As mentioned above, Carlson became a regular of sorts in Fifties sci-fi features.  Which one of the following did he NOT appear in?  a) 1953’s The Magnetic Monster; b)1953’s It Came From Outer Space; c) 1954’s Creature From The Black Lagoon; or d) 1953’s The Maze.

2) Question: Although third billed in MGM’s lavish remake of King Solomon’s Mines, Carlson never quite made it to the Hollywood A list. Was it because of his drinking and offscreen carousing?  a) Yes; or b) No.

3) Question: Did Carlson costar with Frank Lovejoy and Lloyd Bridges in Try and Get Me, a 1950 film noir, playing a deranged killer?  a) True; or b) False.

4) Question: Carlson’s career was short circuited because of the McCarthyist paranoia of the early Fifties during which he was singled out as a Communist. a) True; or b) False.

5) Question: Didn’t Carlson have an affair with Lana Turner?  a) Yes; or b) No.




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