How much did you know about the leading man of Creature From the Black Lagoon?
Yes, Richard Carlson did appear in his share of sci-fi/horror outings in the early Fifties. He made, in fact, five such features rushed through production in 1953-1954. There’s our man above taking some pleasure in comforting a nubile Julie Adams.
Carlson lent some gravitas to such projects since he was often cast in serious, introspective roles although he did, occasionally step out as a romantic lead. But, as we have noted, Carlson never made it big as a movie star.
On to the answers to our Richard Carlson Quiz:
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.
Answer: Sorry, another of our trick questions. Carlson appeared in ALL these features plus 1954’s Riders to the Stars.
2) Question: Although third billed in MGM’s lavish 1950 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.
Answer: No. Considering that he was third billed (after Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger) in Mines, its puzzling that Carlson’s career didn’t take off after making that picture. He was a straight shooter offscreen, married to the same woman for nearly 40 years. As noted, he was always reliable onscreen. Chalk it up to one of those unjust Hollywood quirks.
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.
Answer: False. Carlson is in the picture but he plays a conscience-stricken journalist who considers himself guilty of whipping up lynch-mob sentiment in a small town by his sensationalist news columns. The picture, an excellent one, was recently debuted on TMC thanks to film noir specialist Eddie Muller. (Nice going.)
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.
Answer: False. No, just the opposite. Carlson’s most famous role was as Herbert Philbrick, who infiltrates the Communist party on behalf of the FBI. The tv series was 1953’s I Led 3 Lives, and was aired in 115 episodes over a three-year period. The show cemented Carlson’s late career.
5) Question: Didn’t Carlson have an affair with Lana Turner? a) Yes; or b) No.
Answer: As far as we know, No. But Carlson did costar in the late Thirties with the young Lana (early in both their careers) in such titles as Dancing Co-Ed and These Glamour Girls.