Parley Baer

Last updated
Parley Baer
Parleybaer.jpg
Baer in network promotional photo as Mayor Roy Stoner from The Andy Griffith Show
Born
Parley Edward Baer

(1914-08-05)August 5, 1914
DiedNovember 22, 2002(2002-11-22) (aged 88)
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Hollywood Hills Cemetery
OccupationActor
Years active1940–1997
Spouse(s)
Ernestine Clarke
(m. 1946;died 2000)
Children2

Parley Edward Baer (August 5, 1914 November 22, 2002) was an American actor in radio and later in television and film. [1] Despite dozens of appearances in television series and theatrical films, he remains best known as the original "Chester" in the radio version of Gunsmoke , and as the Mayor of Mayberry (Roy Stoner) in The Andy Griffith Show .

Contents

Early career

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Baer had a circus background, but began his radio career at Utah station KSL. He studied drama at the University of Utah. [2]

Circus

Early in his career, Baer was a circus ringmaster and publicist. He left those roles for military service in World War II. In the 1950s, he had a job training wild animals at Jungleland USA in Thousand Oaks, California. Still later, he served as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo. [1]

Military

Baer was a member of the United States Army Air Force during World War II, serving in the Pacific Theatre and earning seven service stars. [1]

Radio

Baer in the 1930s served on radio as director of special events for KSL. [3] His first network show was The Whistler , which was soon followed by appearances on Escape (notably narrating "Wild Jack Rhett" and as the title patriot in an adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's "A Tooth for Paul Revere"), Suspense , Tales of the Texas Rangers (as various local sheriffs), Dragnet , The CBS Radio Workshop , Lux Radio Theater , The Six Shooter , and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar , to name a few.

In 1952, he began playing Chester, the trusty jailhouse assistant to Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke , eventually ad-libbing the character's full name, "Chester Wesley Proudfoot" (later changed to "Chester Goode" in the televised version of the series, which featured Dennis Weaver in the role of Chester). Baer's portrayal of Chester was generally considered his finest and most memorable role, and as he often said, the one he found most fulfilling.[ citation needed ] Baer also worked as a voice actor on several other radio shows produced by Norman MacDonnell, performing as Pete the Marshal on the situation comedy The Harold Peary Show , as Doc Clemens on Rogers of the Gazette, and as additional characters on Fort Laramie and The Adventures of Philip Marlowe .

Other recurring roles included Eb the farm hand on Granby's Green Acres (the radio predecessor to television's Green Acres ), Gramps on The Truitts, and Rene the manservant on the radio version of The Count of Monte Cristo . His later radio work included playing Reginald Duffield and Uncle Joe Finneman on the Focus on the Family series Adventures in Odyssey in the 1980s and 1990s.

Radio playwright and director Norman Corwin cast Baer as Simon Legree in the 1969 KCET television reading of his 1938 radio play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas .

Films and television

As an on-camera performer, Baer was recognizable by his distinctive voice, his paunchy appearance, and his balding head. Often he portrayed fussy, bossy, and/or obstinate officials or neighbors. Extended television roles included blustering, by-the-book Mayor Stoner on The Andy Griffith Show , the neighbor Darby on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet , frequent guest appearances on The Addams Family as insurance man and city commissioner Arthur J. Henson, and in the late 1990s, Miles Dugan on The Young and the Restless . He also appeared as a telephone executive on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

Baer guest-starred in the 1950s on NBC's The Dennis Day Show and It's a Great Life , on CBS's Hey, Jeannie!, on ABC's The Law and Mr. Jones with James Whitmore, on the syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight with Edmond O'Brien, and on the NBC children's western series, Fury with Peter Graves and Bobby Diamond. He made six guest appearances on Perry Mason during the last five seasons of the CBS legal drama, including the role of Edward Farraday in the 1962 episode, "The Case of the Captain's Coins," and Willard Hupp in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang."

He also appeared on the ABC sitcom Harrigan and Son , on the ABC/Warner Bros. crime drama, The Roaring 20s , on NBC's crime drama Dan Raven starring Skip Homeier, and on the NBC family drama, National Velvet . Baer was cast twice on Walter Brennan's sitcom, The Real McCoys . He also guest-starred on the CBS sitcoms Dennis the Menace , with Jay North, and Angel , starring Annie Fargé. In the latter, he carried the lead as Dr. Mathews in the single episode "The Dentist", with Maudie Prickett as his dental secretary.

In 1961, Baer guest-starred on Marilyn Maxwell's short-lived ABC drama series, Bus Stop . On April 13, 1962, he appeared, along with Frank Ferguson and Royal Dano in ABC's crime drama Target: The Corruptors in the episode "Journey into Mourning". He was cast as hotel owner Mr. Kringelein in the 1962 film, Gypsy , opposite Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell.

In 1963, Baer appeared with Charles Aidman and Karl Swenson in the three-part episode "Security Risk", a story of international blackmail and intrigue, on the CBS anthology series, GE True , hosted by Jack Webb. [4]

In 1964, Baer was cast as a sheriff in an episode of Mickey Rooney's short-lived Mickey sitcom, and as a scientist in an Outer Limits episode, "Behold, Eck!" He was seen in four episodes of Hogan's Heroes and eight episodes of Bewitched in various roles as advertising clients of McMann and Tate.

Baer was cast as Horace Greeley, who came to Colorado in 1859 in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, in the 1965 episode "The Great Turkey War" of the syndicated series, Death Valley Days . Michael Constantine played Pollock. In the story line, a fledgling Denver copes with vandalism and the theft of turkeys, and Greeley is determined to report the truth about the emerging settlement. [5]

In 1967, Baer appeared as General Whitfield on the I Dream of Jeannie episode, "Fly Me to the Moon".

Baer made two appearances on Petticoat Junction . In the 1966 episode, "Jury at the Shady Rest", he was Bailiff Tucker. Then, in the 1969 episode, "The Glen Tinker Caper", he was Judge Madison.

Later guest appearances included Three for the Road , Three's Company (as a cooking competition judge), The San Pedro Beach Bums , The A-Team , Star Trek: Voyager , The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air , The Dukes of Hazzard , Night Court , Newhart , Little House on the Prairie , The Golden Girls , Hazel , and Mad About You . He also played the role of the minister who married J. R. and Sue Ellen Ewing for their second marriage on Dallas . He also made guest appearances on F Troop .

Baer's film roles included parts in several live-action Disney features, including Follow Me, Boys! (again as a mayor), The Ugly Dachshund , and Those Calloways. He also appeared in Two on a Guillotine and Dave (as the Senate majority leader). Baer had a featured role in the 1958 war drama The Young Lions , portraying a German officer and friend of Marlon Brando.

Baer was especially proud of his brief appearance in a little-known film, White Dog , a powerful story about racism. Baer plays a character seen at first as a kindly grandfather, only to reveal himself as a hateful bigot who has trained the title character to attack black skin. Baer remarked, "Often racism, like true evil, presents itself with a smile and a handshake".

Some 10 years earlier, Baer played a closet racist in a well-known Christmas episode of Bewitched. The episode "Sisters at Heart" aired on ABC on December 24, 1970, in which he played the role of Mr. Brockway, the owner of a toy-manufacturing firm. [6] [7]

Commercials

Baer voiced Ernie Keebler in the cookie commercials [1] before he suffered a stroke in 1997 which affected both speech and movement. He recovered sufficiently to make a handful of appearances at old-time radio conventions in his later years. In the 1980s he dressed in old-time garb as "Mr. S", one of the company founders, in commercials for S&W Fine Foods.

Personal life

In 1946, Baer met and married circus aerialist and bareback rider Ernestine Clarke. They were together for 54 years until her death on August 5, 2000, in Tarzana, California. [1] [8]

Baer was a long-term member of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Encino, California, where he served in many capacities, including head usher.

In 1969, Baer gave the eulogy at the funeral of The Andy Griffith Show castmate Howard McNear. McNear had portrayed Mayberry's Floyd the Barber and Baer had played Mayor Roy Stoner. McNear also portrayed Doc Adams in the radio version of Gunsmoke, often interacting with Baer's character, Chester Proudfoot.

On November 11, 2002, following another stroke, Baer was taken to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. Eleven days later, at the age of 88, he died there. [2]

Filmography

Listen to

Related Research Articles

Charles Lane (actor)

Charles Lane was an American character actor and centenarian whose career spanned 72 years. Lane gave his last performance at the age of 101 as a narrator in 2006. Lane appeared in many Frank Capra films, including Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Riding High (1950). He was a favored supporting actor of Lucille Ball, who often used him as a no-nonsense authority figure and comedic foe of her scatterbrained TV character on her TV series I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour and The Lucy Show. His first film of more than 250 was as a hotel clerk in Smart Money (1931) starring Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney.

William Schallert American actor

William Joseph Schallert was an American character actor who appeared in dozens of television shows and movies over a career that spanned almost 60 years.

Charlie Ruggles American actor

Charles Sherman Ruggles was a comic American character actor. In a career spanning six decades, Ruggles appeared in close to 100 feature films, often in mild-mannered and comic roles. He was also the elder brother of director, producer, and silent film actor Wesley Ruggles (1889–1972).

Dick Wilson

Dick Wilson, was a British-born American character actor who was best-known as grocery store manager Mr. George Whipple in more than 500 Charmin toilet paper television commercials.

Howard McNear American actor

Howard Terbell McNear was an American stage, screen, and radio character actor. McNear is best remembered as Floyd Lawson, the barber on The Andy Griffith Show (1961-1967).

Jack Kruschen

Jacob "Jack" Kruschen was a Canadian character actor who worked primarily in American film, television and radio. Kruschen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Dreyfuss in the 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment.

Whit Bissell American character actor

Whitner Nutting Bissell was an American character actor.

Jay Novello

Jay Novello was an American radio, film, and television character actor.

Vito Scotti American actor

Vito Giusto Scotti was an American character actor who played many roles on Broadway, in films, and later on television, primarily from the late 1930s to the mid 1990s. He was known as a man of a thousand faces for his ability to assume so many divergent roles in more than 200 screen appearances in a career spanning 50 years and for his resourceful portrayals of various ethnic types. Born of Italian heritage, he was seen playing everything from a Mexican bandit, to a Russian doctor, to a Japanese sailor, to an Indian travel agent.

Olan Soule American actor and voiceover performer

Olan Evart Soule was an American character actor and voice-over performer who had professional credits in nearly 7,000 radio shows and commercials, appearances in 200 television series and television films, and in over 60 films. Soule's voice work on television included his 15-year role (1968–1983) as Batman on several animated series that were either devoted to or involved the fictional "Dark Knight" superhero.

Karl Swenson American actor

Karl Swenson was an American theatre, radio, film, and television actor. Early in his career, he was credited as Peter Wayne.

Willis Bouchey

Willis Ben Bouchey was an American character actor who appeared in almost 150 films and television shows. He was born in Vernon, Michigan, but raised by his mother and stepfather in Washington state.

Jon Lormer was an American actor, known for his guest and supporting roles in television series, such as the 1960s' Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, and Peyton Place.

Vaughn Taylor (actor)

Vaughn Everett Taylor was an American actor. He became known for his roles in many anthology series, including Kraft Television Theatre (1947–1957) and Robert Montgomery Presents (1950–1954). He also appeared in films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Psycho (1960).

John Zaremba American actor (1908-1986)

John Zaremba was an American actor most noted for supporting roles on science fiction films and television series.

Harry Harvey Sr. American actor (1901-1985)

Harry William Harvey Sr. was an American actor of theatre, film, and television. He was the father of actor, script supervisor, and director Harry William Harvey Jr.

J. Edward McKinley

James Edward McKinley was an American character actor. He frequently played authority figures, including lawmen or medical personnel.

Jonathan Hole actor (1904-1998)

Jonathan Hole was an American actor whose entertainment career covered five different genres. From his early days on the vaudeville stage and in legitimate theater, through radio, television and feature-length films that took his career up to the 1990s, Hole created a variety of characters in hundreds of roles.

Bartlett Robinson

Bartlett Whitney Robinson was an American actor who performed on radio, the stage, in films, and on television for five decades. In 1943 he was the first actor of several performers who provided the voice of the title character on the radio version of Perry Mason. Later, as a character actor in films and on television, he was often cast in roles of authority figures, such as military officers, wealthy ranchers, corporate executives, doctors, and judges. Robinson appeared in 21 films from 1956 to 1973 and in over 110 television productions between 1949 and 1982. He was also credited as Bart Robinson.

Audrey Totter filmography actor filmography

This is the complete filmography of actor Audrey Totter. Originally a radio actress, she entered motion pictures in 1944 and became known for her portrayals of Femme fatale's and hard-boiled dames. She is best remembered for her appearances in such features as Lady in the Lake (1947), The Unsuspected (1947), and The Set-Up (1949). She later found equal success in television with recurring roles on such syndicated sitcoms as Our Man Higgins, Cimarron City, Dr. Kildare, and Medical Center.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Harrigan, Tom (November 24, 2002). "Character actor Parley Baer". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 21. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  2. 1 2 Oliver, Myrna (November 24, 2002). "Parley Baer, 88; 64-Year Career Spanned Radio, TV, Movies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  3. "Parley Baer Goes Into Lion's Den". The Daily Mail. December 8, 1962. p. 29. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  4. "GE True". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  5. "The Great Turkey War". Internet Movie Data Base. October 7, 1965. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  6. Pilato (2001), p. 216.
  7. Metz (2007), p. 64.
  8. "Ernestine Clarke". The Telegraph. August 26, 2000. Retrieved April 4, 2015 via Telegraph.co.uk. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg

Bibliography