Friday, April 8, 2011


The Classic TV History blog (Link to the left, Historians!) recently ran a very interesting series of articles on the bit part actors in 'Naked City' who never got credit for their work. Many of them would go on to establish themselves as either stars or recognized character actors.

Here are the links to the three articles in the series:


Before I surrendered to the delusion of Toobworld, knowing all about the actors themselves was my prime fixation. So this series fed into those old interests. But for Toobworld Central, it has to be taken a step further - nowadays I'm interested in those nameless roles and who they might be in the greater TV Universe.

So first off, a very big thanks to Stephen Bowie of the Classic TV History blog for the work that went into gathering these examples.

And then, what I'd like to do on an irregular basis, is to feature one of these pictures and consider who they might actually be.

So for now, here's Phil Bruns as an EMS technician in the final episode of the series, "Barefoot On A Bed Of Coals". (And of course, you should recognize the young punk he's treating for a gun-shot wound!)

I've eliminated Bruns' most famous character from consideration - George Shumway of 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'. In the Toobworld timeline, George and Martha (Larkin) Shumway spent their whole lives in Ohio, if not exclusively in the town of Fernwood.
Two other roles to be discarded as pozz-bilities: Gene Stafford, the murder victim in the 'Columbo' episode "An Exercise In Fatality", and whoever that was impersonating Morty Seinfeld in the first appearance of Jerry's parents on 'Seinfeld'.
But just a few years on from the 'Naked City' finale, Bruns would appear in an episode of the next good cop show set in New York City, 'N.Y.P.D.' In "Cry Brute" he played  Mel Wiley, who was planning to sue the police department for his broken arm.
Since his ambulance driver went nameless, maybe these two characters could be the same man.....



Jim Peyton said...

Naked City was a staple of late night TV in Dertroit in the mid 1980s before the advent of the infomercial. The show came on Friday and Saturday at 2:00 AM on the CBS affiliate.

Brian Leonard said...


Toby O'B said...

I'm maintaining that "Catch-22" balance, Bri!

Laya Quest said...

Phil is fantastic in My Favorite Year. Read his book "The Character Actor's Do's, Don'ts And Anecdotes."