The Internet Movie Database isn't just any database. In those lists of films is a collection of stories of countless performers, with the year-by-year ups and downs as they struggled to make it in show business.
And some of those stories are really, really depressing.
We're not trying to imply that appearing as an unnamed character like "Pizza Delivery Guy" or "Cute Naked Girl" (boy, some credits writer was trying to make a move there) is more demeaning than cleaning septic tanks. But we have to believe that these actors and actresses dreamed of bigger things. Maybe not playing James Bond, but at least playing "James."
But sometimes you wind up like Leslee Bremmer. An occasional boxing ring girl, Miss Hot Rod Show World and Miss Golden State 100, Leslee appeared in nine fictional films during the 80s, including the gifts-to-adolescent-boy classics Hardbodies and My Chauffeur. Her characters?
The range really does take your breath away.
She did land one named part, "Sandy" in 1985's School Spirit. But, alas, her inexperience at such a lofty role came through. As the IMDb "Goofs" section of School Spirit reveals: "In several scenes actress Leslee Bremmer can be seen wearing a necklace with the letter "L" on it, despite the fact that her character's name is Sandy."
If you've never heard of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, a look at his IMDb page will give you an idea that back in the early days of film, this guy was a gigantic star. He starred in more than 100 shorts, with almost 50 in 1914 alone (think about that schedule the next time you spend a whole afternoon painstakingly crafting a single message board post). By 1921, he was earning $1,000,000 a year making features for Paramount, back when that was ridiculous money.
A dog at the dinner table? Old movies sure are zany.
Shortly before their deaths, John Belushi, Chris Farley and John Candy were all considered for the role of Arbuckle, the original "Live Fat, Die Young" screen comic. This has led some to suggest that the role is cursed, although this particular curse is probably more closely related to Big Macs and/or cocaine.
If you look at the IMDb credits, right after 1921, you see this huge hole in Fatty's list. All at once, like flipping a switch, the parts dried up. What happened?
Well, Arbuckle and two friends spent Labor Day weekend in San Francisco. Virginia Rappe, an actress, became ill at a party in Arbuckle's hotel room and died four days later of an infection caused by a ruptured bladder.
The newspapers went nuts, and rumors ranged from the portly Arbuckle crushing Rappe during sex to some non-slapstick activity with a Coke bottle. Arbuckle was tried for manslaughter three times, with shaky prosecution evidence and witness coercion leading to two hung juries and finally an acquittal, with the last jury even issuing him a written apology for the "great injustice." For Arbuckle, he must have thought that finally, the nightmare was over.
It wasn't. Hollywood went ahead and banned Arbuckle from moviemaking and had his films withdrawn from circulation. Mind you, this happened less than a week after he was acquitted.
Though that ban would be lifted within a year (under heavy public protest), the studios weren't exactly lining up to sign him, with his IMDb page telling the sad story. There's the silence of 1922-23, a small part in a lost Valentino film in 1924, the same year he began directing under the pseudonym "William Goodrich." In 1925, there was a small uncredited part in a film by his old partner, Buster Keaton.
And then, the saddest damn listing in the whole database. In the film Listen Lena, he plays "Fat man with strategically covered face--(uncredited) (unconfirmed)."
OK, he returned to acting shortly before his 1933 death (he actually died after a party celebrating a new contract), but... Jesus. An uncredited and unconfirmed fat man with strategically covered face. If that doesn't say it all, the poor fat bastard.
If you could graph the dignity of the following roles, you can pretty clearly see the point at which the graph starts to look like a stock market crash:
King Richard II
Samantha's father on Bewitched
That would be the career of Maurice Evans. If Cracked were to run an article called "The 8 Most Impressive Broadway Careers," then Maurice... OK, there isn't a shot in Hell we'd ever run that. But still, Evans was among the premier stage actors of his generation, first receiving acclaim in London, then starring in more than a dozen Shakespeare, Shaw and Ibsen plays on Broadway. He also produced several plays, including the 1954 Tony Award-winner, before graduating to Hollywood to pursue a film career. You can see above how that turned out.
One of these three men played Hamlet four times on Broadway.
While most famous for his stints on Batman, Bewitched and Planet of the Apes, he also got paychecks for appearing on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, The Six Million Dollar Man, Mod Squad and many more.
Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius.
Sure, his TV credits also include some Shakespeare as well as a few quality Hallmark Hall of Fames, but we'll make you a deal: every time one of those comes on the air we'll send you a dollar, and every time Bewitched or Dr. Zaius appears, you send us one. Hell, we'll even throw in his appearances in Terror in the Wax Museum and The Canterbury Ghost and see who comes out ahead.