How much did you know about the veteran actor?
Did you know that his best big screen features were for Alfred Hitchcock, 1942’s Saboteur and the 1954 adaptation of Frederick Knott’s mystery drama, Dial M For Murder? (He was also featured with Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan in director Sam Wood’s King’s Row for Warner Bros.)
In Dial M for Murder Robert Cummings plays the straight-shooting Mark Halliday who spares Grace Kelly from her nasty husband, played exquisitely by Ray Milland. If you haven’t seen the picture lately, it’s definitely worth another look.
On television, Cummings made his biggest impact — best known for his 1955 comedy sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show, which grew out of an earlier tube show titled Love That Bob. Rarely did a screen actor back then so successfully segue from feature roles into his own TV series.
In 1954, he won an Emmy for his role in a Studio One adaptation of Reginald Rose’s 12 Angry Men on CBS. Cummings even guest hosted the old Tonight Show on NBC after longtime regular Jack Paar departed and before Johnny Carson arrived.
Let’s get to the answers to all our Robert Cummngs Quiz questions:
1) Question: Cummings’ most memorable movies included which of the following Alfred Hitchcock thrillers? a) 1949’s Under Capricorn; b) 1942’s Saboteur; c) 1944’s Lifeboat; or d) 1954’s Dial M For Murder.
1) Answer: As indicated above, (b) and (d).
2) Question: Cummings was never nominated for an Academy Award, but he did manage a slew of Emmy Award nominations and one actual win. What was it for?
2) Answer: Also as indicated above, Reginald Rose’s tv drama, 12 Angry Men. The drama was later (in 1957) adapted to the big screen with Henry Fonda in the lead. Forty years after that, Jack Lemmon played the lead in an MGM-TV production.
3) Question: Which one of the following was not a leading lady in a Robert Cummings movie? a) Doris Day in 1954’s Lucky Me; Rosalind Russell in 1949’s Tell It To The Judge; Loretta Young in 1949’s The Accused; or d) Barbara Stanwyck in 1946’s The Bride Wore Boots.
3) Answer: Sorry, another of our pesky trick questions. Cummings played opposite ALL of these leading ladies.
4) Question: Perhaps best remembered today for his hit Fifties tv sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show, the actor actually made his initial tube splash in another series in which he played a footloose bachelor. Can you name that earlier program?
4) Answer: See above intro. Love That Bob first aired on NBC, then switched to CBS, from 1955-1959 with reruns carried on ABC under the title, The Bob Cummings Show.
5) Question: It’s not widely known that Cummings was actually at one point host of NBC’s Tonight program. Who preceded him in that role, and who followed him?
5) Answer: Cummings as “guest host” succeeded Jack Paar. Johnny Carson then took over from him as the show’s permanent host for the next three decades.