The Seven Wonders of the Pre-Code World #1

Sterling Holloway’s face.


Fwoarr! You don’t see architecture like that on top of modern people’s necks. Only in the days before the Hays Code could a man brazenly parade such features about in daylight (never mind that Holloway had a career stretching into the ’80s — who’s writing this?). Sissies, dweebs and weirdos were Sterling’s stock-in-trade. “Go’way, Spook, you bother me,” observed Bing Crosby. After censorship got tightened, chief censor Joseph Breen himself sentenced Holloway to life as a variety of cartoon animals (stork, snake, bear — never the same phylum twice). But now the straitjacket of moral censoriousness has been cast off, we can sing the praises of this great American countenance.

His sinews were noodles.

His hair was a poodle’s.

But you could hurl that doll away

If you had Sterling Holloway!


10 Responses to “The Seven Wonders of the Pre-Code World #1”

  1. Arthur S. Says:

    I love PICTURE SNATCHER but I can’t remember who Holloway is in that film. Care to jolt me a little?

  2. Here’s Holloway in Remember The Night, singing Perfect Day (NOT the Lou Reed song) with Stanwyck on piano. He had the voice if not the face of a crooner.

    Beulah tries to rain on his parade with her dismissive remark, but he still gets his chance to shine.

  3. David Boxwell Says:

    He’s featured in one of the most bizarre musical numbers in that most bizarre and unfunny Pre-Code extravaganza INTERNATIONAL HOUSE (32), as a dancing sailor (“coffee mug”) cavorting loose-limbed with anthropomorphic scantily-clad teacups.

  4. Oh, International House is a joy, completely ineffective and garbled mass of STUFF that it is.

    Holloway plays a snooty journalism student touring the scandal sheet where Cagney works in Picture Snatcher.

    Holloway’s song in Remember the Night has the power to reduce all women to sobbing heaps (when seen in context). That is the power of the Holloway voice.

  5. Christopher Says:

    He was also a regular in Gene Auty’s westerns in the mid to late 1940s period..Don’t know anyone who hasn’t grown up with Sterling Holloway in some form or another..a Man for all Seasons

  6. INTERNATIONAL HOUSE proves Holloway to be as skilled a dancer as he was a singer and comedian: “She was a China tea cup, and he was just a mug ….”

    I also remember him as a lecherous student in BLONDE VENUS watching Marlene Dietrich and other frauleins swimming in the raw.

  7. Sterling Holloway would have been perfect in A Man For All Seasons.

  8. Actually, yeah, he could pull that off. Either the lead, or he could gently subvert the role of the Common Man (absent from Zinneman’s film).

  9. I love that poem, and I love Sterling Holloway!

  10. Thanks! And thanks from Sterling too!

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