Willie and Hannibal in Mouseland

Narration and songs by Jack Carson

Original score by Sydney Green

Mercury Miniature Playhouse MMP-2 view label

Total Time: 12:18

John Elmer “Jack” Carson (October 27, 1910 – January 2, 1963) was a Canadian-born U.S.-based film actor.

Jack Carson was one of the most popular character actors during the ‘golden age of Hollywood’, with a film career spanning the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Primarily employed for comic relief, his work in Mildred Pierce (1945) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) proved he could also master dramatic material. During his career, he worked at RKO, MGM (cast opposite Myrna Loy and William Powell in Love Crazy), but most of his memorable work was at Warner Brothers. Carson’s trademark was the wisecracking know it all who eventually and typically was undone by his own excessive self-confidence.

Carson’s success on radio led to the start of a lucrative film career. An early stand-out role for Carson was as an undercover G-Man feigning drunkenness opposite Richard Cromwell in Universal Pictures’s anti-Nazi action drama entitled, Enemy Agent. Carson shortly thereafter achieved contract-player status with Warner Brothers. While there, he was teamed with Dennis Morgan in a number of films, supposedly to compete with the popular Crosby and Hope road pictures.

However, despite this auspicious beginning, most of his work at Warner Brothers was limited to light comedies with Morgan and later with Doris Day (who in her autobiography would credit Carson as one of her early Hollywood mentors). Critics generally agree that Carson’s best work was in Mildred Pierce (1945) where he played the perpetually scheming Wally Fay opposite Joan Crawford in the title role. Another role which won accolades for Carson was publicist Matt Libby in A Star is Born (1954).

Carson’s work during this period included a number of appearances on television including The Martha Raye Show, The Guy Mitchell Show and The Polly Bergen Show (both 1957), Alcoa Theatre (1959), Bonanza (Season 1, Ep.9: “Mr. Henry Comstock”, 1959), and The Twilight Zone (Season 2, Ep. 14: “The Whole Truth”, 1961). Jack Carson also had a brother Robert (Bob) who was a character actor.

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