Above right: Picture of Charles E. Grapewin in The New York Clipper (Dec 22. 1900).
Grapewin began in silent films at the turn of the century. His very first films were 2 "moving image shorts" made by Frederick S. Armitage; Chimmie Hicks at the Races (aka Above the Limit) and Chimmie Hicks and the Rum Omelet, both shot in September and October of 1900 and released in November of that year, the latter with Anna in it.
Grapewin began to
write stage plays which he sold and acted in. He is credited with
writing a play called The
Mismated Pair which was the first legitimate Vaudevillian sketch
without singing or dancing.
His has very few Broadway theatre credits, the
short-lived play It's Up To You John Henry in 1905 being one.
Reportedly Grapewin also appeared in the original 1903 Broadway theatre
production of The Wizard of Oz however this seams unlikely
since it would imply performing simultaneously in his own play
The Awakening of Mr. Pipp.
that meant back to work...and Charley
tried his luck in writing (he even dabbled in composing music).
Then he moved over into the world of motion pictures when in 1929, together with his wife Anna Chance, he appeared in 3
shorts by Christie Comedies films: Jed's Vacation,
That Red-Headed Hussy, Ladies Choice, and 1 short by
Universal House Cleaning.
subsequently wrote four books that proved successful enough to earn him
e.g. in 1933 he wrote a humorous book entitled The Flowing Bowl,
it had a colorful drawing of a toilet-paper-stuffed commode on the
cover, was only 17 pages long, concerned itself with a fanciful
discussion among various bottles of bootleg booze, cocktails shakers,
and other liquor-related paraphernalia (above right). The language is decidedly
un-political correct by today's standards, with very salty, countrified
dialogue. Another example being the privately published The Town Pump, An
American Comedy (1933) in collaboration with Anthony Hillyer.
As the Thirties progressed, Grapewin could be seen in such memorable films as American Madness (1932), Judge Priest (1934), Alice Adams (1935), The Petrified Forest (1936) and Captains Courageous (1937).
Frequently described as grizzled,
cantankerous, wheezy, grumpy and a codger in his
grandfatherly roles. Success in films
came late in his career (he was 60ish). As we
remember him best he was of medium height, stocky build with a mop of
white hair, square jawed with squinty eyes. He had a slightly raspy
voice and a western drawl which served him well in these roles.
|This actor profile is a part of the Ellery Queen a website on deduction. The actor above played Inspector Queen in seven of the Ellery Queen movies|
Page first published on Jan 1. 2010
Latest update September 26, 2018
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