Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arnold Stang (1918-2009)

Another piece of childhood is gone with the passing of actor-comedian Arnold Stang at 91.

Stang co-starred with current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (billed at the time as "Arnold Strong") in "Hercules in New York" in 1970, but prior to that, Stang had built quite the resume in radio, movies, & television. Stang was a second banana to humorist Henry Morgan, and also appeared on radio & television with Milton Berle. Baby boomers will remember Stang as the voice behind Top Cat, Hanna-Barbera's feline send-up of Phil Silvers' Sgt. Bilko persona, and as Herman in Famous Studios' Herman & Katnip series of theatrical shorts. Stang also played second banana to another cartoon icon----Popeye the Sailor, in a series of shorts during World War II.

In addition to "Hercules in New York", Stang's film credits included "Man With The Golden Arm", opposite Frank Sinatra, and Stanley Kramer's ensemble comedy epic, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", in which Stang and Top Cat castmate Marvin Kaplan (later of Alice) owned a service station that would be totally wrecked by Jonathan Winters. Stang's last film, that I know of, was "Dennis the Menace" (1993).

Rest in peace, Arnold. You will be missed.


Samuel Wilson said...

That's Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad..." The director makes a world of difference. Anyway, Stang was a low-level icon of pop culture in his times thanks to his looks and voice, and Man With the Golden Arm is worth a look just to see him in dramatic mode, albeit as a comedy relief type character.

hobbyfan said...

Thanks for the correction, Sam.