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Old 06-19-2011, 04:30 AM
 
Location: Shadowville
650 posts, read 770,050 times
Reputation: 188

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Dick Purcell: the first Captain America of the movies

http://www.wikinfo.org/index.php/Dick_Purcell

http://www.wikinfo.org/upload/d/d4/DickPurcell1.jpg (broken link)


Dick Purcell

Born August 6, 1908
Greenwich, Connecticut
Died April 10 1944 (aged 35)
Hollywood, California
Nationality American

Dick Purcell (August 6, 1908 - April 10, 1944) was an American actor
best known for playing Marvel Comics' Captain America in the 1943 film
serial, co-starring with Lorna Gray and Lionel Atwill.[1] Purcell also
appeared in films such as Tough Kid (1938), Heroes In Blue (1939),
Irish Luck (1939) and King Of The Zombies (1941).

Purcell was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, an only child, full name
Richard Gerald Purcell, Jr., a Roman Catholic, he attended Catholic
grade school and high school, before enrolling as a student at Fordham
University in The Bronx in New York City.

Theatre and Early Film Work
While in New York City, Dick Purcell began his acting career in
theatre, appearing in at least three plays: Men in White, Sailor,
Beware! and Paths of Glory. During his time acting in Paths of Glory,
a talent scout spooted Purcell and this led to a small role in the
film Ceiling Zero (1936). His next film was Man Hunt in which Purcell
had a larger role as a newspaper reporter. Amazingly, Purcell appeared
in eleven films in 1936 alone.

[edit] Captain America
Captain America (1944) is a Republic serial film based (loosely) on
the comic book character Captain America. It was the last Republic
serial made about a superhero. It also has the distinction of being
the most expensive serial that Republic ever made.

The serial sees Captain America, really District Attorney Grant
Gardner, trying to thwart the plans of The Scarab, really museum
curator Dr. Cyrus Maldor - especially regarding his attempts to
acquire the "Dynamic Vibrator" and "Electronic Firebolt", devices that
could be used as super-weapons.

Dick Purcell won the role as District Attorney Grant Gardner and
Captain America. Purcell was cast as the hero despite supposedly
appearing a bit overweight and average.]].[2]

Tragically, the role that made Dick Purcell famous turned out to be
his last, and in fact he died before the film serial was released, to
enormous success: Captain America. The strain of filming Captain
America had been too much for his heart and he collapsed in the locker
room at a Los Angeles country club on the 10th of April 1944, shortly
after playing a round of golf, Purcell died a few weeks after filming
was completed.

The Captain America serial is said to have been "...the hugely popular
15 chapter Saturday matinee serial", and better made than other
superhero films of that time period.
The old movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s have been likened to
television limited series of modern times, in that weekly chapters
would appear, thus elevating the actors in these films to a highly
iconic level among audiences, although they were overshadowed by so-
called A-List performers. There were a total of 15 episodes in the
Captain America serial, which meant that the film and story stretched
across the entire summer.

http://www.wikinfo.org/upload/9/99/DickPurcell2.jpg (broken link)
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Maine
15,072 posts, read 19,718,275 times
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I didn't know there were old Captain America serials. That's cool.

I've seen bits and pieces of the old Batman serials from the '40s. They're horribly racist by today's standards.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:22 AM
 
3,552 posts, read 5,376,989 times
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To me Reb Brown will always be Captain America

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Old 06-22-2011, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Shadowville
650 posts, read 770,050 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
I didn't know there were old Captain America serials. That's cool.

I've seen bits and pieces of the old Batman serials from the '40s. They're horribly racist by today's standards.
I tried to sit through the Batman stuff 20 years ago or so, around the time of Keaton's masterpiece first film in the role, pretty bad stuff.

I'm hoping Captain America gets a re-release on DVD to cash in on the new one, though!


YouTube - ‪Captain America Serial Ch. 1 The Purple Death (1 of 3)‬‏
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Shadowville
650 posts, read 770,050 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by yamota View Post
To me Reb Brown will always be Captain America
I never managed to see this, but it always sure did look hilarious!
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,072 posts, read 19,718,275 times
Reputation: 17188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Dockery View Post
I never managed to see this, but it always sure did look hilarious!
I saw it on TV when I was a kid. Even then, I thought it was ridiculous. Typical late '70s early '80s TV far with lots of car chases, motorcycles jumping things, etc. Certainly not the Captain America I knew from the comics.
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:36 PM
 
3,552 posts, read 5,376,989 times
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Really, comic book superheroes didn't get "serious" until 1989's "Batman", before then it was all kiddie fare. I guess my generation of kids who read comics in the 70s grew up and wanted to make more serious superheroes
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Maine
15,072 posts, read 19,718,275 times
Reputation: 17188
Quote:
Originally Posted by yamota View Post
Really, comic book superheroes didn't get "serious" until 1989's "Batman", before then it was all kiddie fare. I guess my generation of kids who read comics in the 70s grew up and wanted to make more serious superheroes
It was Frank Miller who changed it all, with The Dark Knight Returns.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Shadowville
650 posts, read 770,050 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by yamota View Post
Really, comic book superheroes didn't get "serious" until 1989's "Batman", before then it was all kiddie fare. I guess my generation of kids who read comics in the 70s grew up and wanted to make more serious superheroes
I find the Chrisyopher Reeve Superman to be a pretty serious version for the time, and even Bill Bixby's Hulk was very much "adult" fare as far as prime time television of the day went.
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