The thing about scheduling people way in advance, which I’ve been doing lately, is that I sometimes forget why they’re on the schedule. It can be a bit awkward, when I end up searching through my various online resources that I use to figure out what about the person made them worth writing about. It’s even worse when the person made five TV shows, doing no more than two episodes of any of them, and four movies. And they don’t seem to have much of a stage presence, either, and their Wikipedia page only lists a very small amount of radio work. And if they’re that obscure, odds are pretty good asking friends won’t help.
Probably you only know Dudley Manlove for Plan 9 From Outer Space. That said, it was his second movie—after an uncredited appearance in Ten North Frederick, starring Gary Cooper. That alone, I feel, is worth talking about. There’s this perception that everyone in Ed Wood movies made nothing but Ed Wood movies, or their rough equivalent, or else they’re actually Bela Lugosi. And that simply isn’t true. Okay, so Bela’s the only one most people have heard of, but it’s actually kind of amazing to look through what these people did beyond that. Sure, some of them only made movies for Ed Wood, Bert I. Gordon, and so forth. But even Tor Johnson was in a Frank Capra film, and Shadow of the Thin Man—albeit both times as a wrestler.
It’s also true, honestly, that the resources I use tend to not be great at the lesser careers of people in radio and stage. Sure, you can find a lot about the stage career of an Elaine Stritch or a Jeremy Irons, people you’ve heard of. But working actors? Obviously, IMDb has nothing about them, and Wikipedia is pretty scanty on the subject as well. I ought to remember to bookmark the page that’s IMDb but for Broadway, but even that won’t help if the person’s work is primarily off-Broadway. And as for radio and commercials, well, you’re on your own.
Especially people from the early days of television and radio. The older someone’s career is, the harder it is to find their details. If they were on radio in the ’40s, you’re probably out of luck. You have to be awfully lucky to find that career. Is the person Rose Marie? Okay. Doris Day? Yeah, you can probably find something. But I mean, in the early days of radio, there were many, many people working steadily on all kinds of shows that people today have never even heard of, for the most part. Sure, you’ve got Mercury Theatre on the Air, but how many people have heard of Candy Matson?
Well, I have, and it turns out that’s one of the places I know Dudley Manlove from. It’s a delightful radio show about a sassy female private detective in San Francisco; we’ve read it on the Saturday Night Script Read a few times, and we’ve already said there needs to be a movie, possibly starring Michelle Rodriguez. Dudley Manlove was the announcer. What’s more, IMDb actually did tell me something in his bio about radio—namely that he was “the voice of Lux Soap.” So now, every time we read an episode of Lux Radio Theatre, I’m going to be waiting for the announcer to tell us that people who don’t use Lux have stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!