Men without Legs

In the troop of beggars we see in Capra’s POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES, along with Angelo Rossitto, newspaper salesman and small actor, we have a guy with no legs, propelling himself about on a flat cart. I was curious to see what his other credits were, but the IMDb merely listed him as “Shorty,” and when I clicked on that, it said “Shorty is an actor” and gave POCKETFUL as his only movie. But now, as I meticulously fact-check this piece, I find that he’s vanished, perhaps reunited with his phantom lower limbs in some celluloid limb-o.

(The internet is a Heraclitian river or a Borgesian Book of Sand.)

Two more Shorties feature in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. One is a guy nicknamed “Shorty” because he is short, though not as short as Angelo Rossitto. He gets hanged. The actor’s name was Jose Terron and he only just died last year. Sorry, Shorty.

But some online sources misidentify Terron as the legless, alcoholic ex-soldier, walking Johnny-Eck-fashion with the aid of wooden blocks, who feeds Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) information. This guy, referred to as “half-soldier” by a sneering Angel Eyes, seems to be a Spanish amputee discovered by Leone on location, and nobody knows his name.

BUT — he has a filmography — I’m almost positive he’s also see among the limbless veterans in Cottafavi’s I CENTI CAVALLIERI. Same face, same lack of legs, same mode of ambulation.

A Spanish Civil War war veteran, or an accident victim, or what? We may never know. Unless Sir Christopher Professor Frayling has winnowed out the facts.

3 Responses to “Men without Legs”

  1. Charles W. Callahan Says:

    I could have sworn that SMILEY the gentleman skate-boardoing at the beginning of both films was the same guy. I just compared the scene on youtube, and I can’t swear anymore. It was a minor letdown.

  2. As soon as you ,mentioned shorty i immediately remembered the actor from the good, the bad and the ugly. He had created devices he held in his hands to propel him. He did not use his hands in other words.

  3. Well yes, the half-soldier has wooden blocks, but he holds them in his hands.

    It COULD be the same guy in Lady for a Day — I see HE’S the one credited only as Shorty, whereas Pocketful’s Smiley is identified by the IMDb as one William F. Sauls. Each is assigned just one film, but if they’re the same guy as seems somewhat plausible, he has himself a FILMOGRAPHY.

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