4Maurice Evans - From Shakespeare to Bewitched
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.
3F. Scott Fitzgerald Was to Movie Scripts What Babe Ruth was to Movie Scripts
Considering that he's been dead for 70 years, F. Scott Fitzgerald's career is going pretty well. His short story was the inspiration for Best Picture nominee The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Baz Luhrmann is currently preparing a big-budget version of his most famous work, The Great Gatsby and Keira Knightley will star as his wife Zelda in an upcoming biopic of the couple. Throw in Martin Scorsese's upcoming Gatsby remake starring Vincent Chase, and the movie career of this great writer has never been hotter.
"I've committed myself to the following of a grail, E."
Which is a problem, since there was one time when it should have been: 1937-1940, when he was trying to earn a living as a Hollywood scriptwriter. There had been a early stint in 1927, when United Artists paid him a $3500 advance (about $65,000,000 in 2009 money) to write an ultimately unproduced flapper comedy, but this was when he and Zelda were still the Jazz Age darlings who made bathtub gin and sat on flagpoles with Charles Lindbergh. A 1931 stay led to nothing but more arguments and rejected scripts.
When he returned to Hollywood in 1937, he really needed the work. Zelda was in the mental ward and Fitzgerald (or "F" as we like to call him) had suffered a series of "Crack-Ups," highlighted in a 1936 Joaquin Phoenixesque New York Post interview that includes the line, "His face twitched. 'Successful authors!' he cried. 'Oh, my God, successful authors!' He stumbled over to the highboy and poured himself another drink."
Seen here, in a rare moment of not-being-crazy.
Had TMZ been around in 1936, they would have been staking out his home Britney-style. Meanwhile, his record in Hollywood reads a bit like Michael Jordan's baseball stats. His IMDb credits for this period include eight "Uncredited" listings, compared with one actual screen credit for a 1938 adaptation of the novel Three Comrades (for which his dialogue was heavily rewritten). Uncredited sounds okay, but in Fitzgerald's case it's essentially a euphemism for "His script sucked, but he sure is famous." The IMDb page also doesn't list his piles of unproduced screenplays, or rejected dialogue for numerous movies, including Gone With the Wind.
The really sad part of all this? Fitzgerald was apparently working his ass off. In 2004, two thousand pages of Fitzgerald's previously unknown Hollywood notes were sold, detailing just how much effort utter failure takes. In retrospect, he could have just hung around the house and waited for somebody to invent some really convincing old-man makeup to slap on a midget.