Talbot, Lyle 1975, 1976

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Lyle Talbot discusses show business and his career from tent shows to the motion picture industry.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Lyle Talbot

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: January 4, 1975; March 2, 1976

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Clifford Ashby

Length: 2 hours 35 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Tent shows, Chase Lister, Newton, Iowa, Toured the West, Ray Ketchum, "Toby" plays, Chase Lister (again), Royalty plays, "Clouds and Sunshine", "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners", Lithograph billboards, "The Brat", Folding furniture, Diamond dye scenery, "The Brat" (again), Anecdote, Ralph Kurns, Melodramas, Two names, Lyle Talbot, Family background, Father in show business, Raised by grandmother, Walt Savage Tent Show and Carnival, Magician’s assistant, Toby show (Swedish version), "Ollie", Fred Wheton, Tent snowed under in Colorado, Stuck for 4 weeks, Chase Lister Company (1923), Claude Gillingwater, Character actor, Clint and Bessie Robbins, Minnesota area, Winninger Brothers Company, Charlie Winninger in "Show Boat" on Broadway, John Winninger, Hazel McNutt, Mother of Harriet Nelson.

Tape 1, Side 2: Tent shows, Chautauquas, Inferior to tent shows, Subsidized by local group, Will Geer, Started in tent shows, Henry Fonda’s mother, Marlon Brando’s mother, Fred Astaire from Nebraska, Bob Taylor from Nebraska, Broadway, Importance, Bob Hope, Started in tabloid shows, Small musicals, Broadway actors, Differences, Parts bags, Partial scripts, Soap operas, Similar to tent show acting, Pierre Watkin Stock Company, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Ten performances per week, Acting, Instinct, Few tent show actors went to Broadway, Talking pictures, Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Sound equipment, Problems, Modern equipment.

Tape 2, Side 1: Lyle Talbot, Grandmother, Ozzie Nelson, Tent Show, Book by Marion McKennon, Lyle Talbot (again), First job in magic show with hypnotist MacKnight, Humphrey Bogart, Anecdote, Beginning as an actor.

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Tent Shows, Concessions, Lyle Talbot, Parents were actors, Cyclone damage to tent, Free Acts, Carnivals, Lyle Talbot (again), Raised by grandmother, Started in show business with traveling hypnotist, Chase Lister, Talbot’s first acting job, Fired for hitting actor in stage fight, Became stage hand, Hypnotic show, McKnight, hypnotist, Hammburg, Iowa—first town played, Blackface act, Broke rocks on Talbot’s chest, Plays performed, "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners", "Clouds and Sunshine", Other plays, Stock companies, Rep shows, Clint and Bessie Robbins, Avary Hapwood, Changing titles to shows, "Tonighters", Lyle Talbot, Henry B. Walfall, "Birth of a Nation", Louis B. Mayer, Producer, Norma Shearer, Experience in London, Traveled on the ship/Leviathan/, Trip to France, Monument of the Living Dead.

Tape 3, Side 2: Wealthy actors, Result of television, "Gunsmoke" cast, Controlled by advertising, Movie industry, Spencer Tracy, Contracts, Talbot suspended for refusing part, Lyle Talbot (again), Parts played, "One Night of Love", "Oils of the Lamps of China", Carole Lombard, Parents, Ed and Anna (Neilson) Henderson, Took grandmother’s name (Talbot), Family, Plays performed, "Nights of the Whitetable", Colonel Kinkaid, "The Graduate", "Magnolias", Author, Preston Jones, The Alley, Mostly young actors, Guest actors, Dinner theaters.

Range Dates: 1910-1960

Bulk Dates: 1920-1950

Access Information

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