Monday, April 29, 2013


From TV Guide:
'Warehouse 13' has cast "Cabaret" star Joel Greyin the role of a magician. The 81-year-old Oscar and Golden Globe winner will pop up in the Syfy series' May 20 episode as Monty the Magnificent, an aging performer who once headlined in Las Vegas, but in recent years has been relegated to those small smoky lounges off the casino floors.

But presto chango, Monty has just unveiled a new trick that could restore his fame. There's just one problem. His new levitation stunt results in his volunteers inexplicably shooting up into the sky the following day, never to be seen again. And Pete (Eddie McClintock) may end up being Monty's next rocket.

"Monty The Magnificent" is probably a stage name, and therefore it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that we could find some other TV character played by Joel Grey in the past who could now be known by that moniker.  

Unfortunately, if we were expecting that the stage name was based on a character's real name, Joel Grey never played anybody else on TV by the name of Monty or Montgomery.  However, there were a couple of options in which his character had been in show business (or more correctly, wanting to go into show business because the roles go way back to when Grey was a very young man.)  These characters could easily have changed their name to Monty for the sake of the magic act.

The first candidate should be a write-off because the character was the bad guy in the episode:

3.27 [096] 77 Sunset Strip: OPEN AND CLOSE IN ONE
Directed by ??
Julie Adams ................... Norma Kellogg
Buddy Ebsen ................... Baxter Kellogg
Joel Grey ..................... Joey Kellogg
Carol Ohmart .................. Rochelle Adrian
Dawn Wells .................... Judy Rogers
Wallace Rooney ................ Wally Raye
Gayla Graves .................. Gypsy
Keith Richards ................ Allan Joyce
Comedian Baxter Kellogg, a slave to the occult, is anxious about
his missing good luck charm. He is particularly worried because
his new act includes a dangerous acrobatic maneuver on top of a
fifty foot platform so he hires Stu to find the missing charm.

Grey played the nephew who was jealous of his uncle's revived career and wanted it for himself.  He was caught in the end and charged with attempted murder.  Like I said, he should be eliminate from consideration, but who knows how long he stayed in prison?  Maybe - if he got Perry Mason as his lawyer, or Owen Marshall? - he never went to jail at all.  So Joey Kellogg remains as a candidate.

Here's our next candidate:

2.23 [58] Ann Sothern Show: BILLY
21Mar60 CBS orig. airdate (copyright date 18Feb60)
Guest Cast:
Joel Grey, Jack Albertson.
Katy helps a talented bellhop audition for a producer who is staying at the hotel.
Joel sings "This Is My Lucky Day" and duets with Ann Sothern on
"Everybody Loves A Lover." [JB]

Just because he started out trying to be a song and dance man, that doesn't mean Billy didn't eventually turn to magic as his ticket into the spotlight.  The character's full name was Billy Wilton.  Either as Billy or the more alliterative William Wilton, he was still stuck with the rather limp "Wilton" as his last name.  Not something that inspires the mystery needed for a magician's name, 

Now here is the character I'm leaning towards, mostly for the fact that Joel Grey played the role three weeks in a row on TV:

4.01 [96] December Bride: VALLEE'S PROTEGE
07Oct57 CBS Mon
Guest cast:
Rudy Vallee .......... Himself
Joel Grey ............ Jimmy
Harry Morgan ......... Pete
Jimmy visits Aunt Lily and tells her he wants to be a movie star. [RF]

4.02 [97] December Bride: MEAN GRANDFATHER
14Oct57 CBS Mon
Guest cast:
Joel Grey ............ Jimmy
Gail Ganley .......... Betty
Frank Tweddell ....... Grandpa
Jimmy tangles with his girlfriend's grandfather. [RF]

4.03 [98] December Bride: THE GOLF LESSON [verified -RL]
21Oct57 CBS Mon
Written by Lou Derman & Arthur Julian
Directed by Fred DeCordova
Guest cast:
Joel Grey ............ Jimmy (Lily's nephew)
Lester Matthews ...... Evans
Lee Millar
Ross Ford
Hal K. Dawson
Damian O'Flynn
Synopsis 1:
Lily and Jimmy pursue a producer on the golf course. [RF]
Synopsis 2;
Matt initially refuses to give golf lessons to Ruth, saying that the golf
course is no place for a woman - she'll only slow down the game, and ruin
his fun time with neighbor Pete Porter. He eventually gives in, and she
proves to be even worse a golfer than he [could have] imagined. [RL]

I'm assuming that this mini-showcase was meant as a back-door pilot for Joel Grey to get his own TV show based on the character of Jimmy.  (I'm also assuming that since Lily Ruskin was his aunt, that Jimmy's last name was Ruskin as well.)

Jimmy's ambition, as stated in his first appearance, was to become a movie star, but perhaps he adjusted his goals and parlayed his talent for doing magic tricks into a stage act that would carry him for more than half a century.  I don't know if he eventually married Betty or not, nor do I know if Monty the Magnificent will have his personal life featured on the show.  But 55 years would have been more than enough time for his character to have been married and divorced/widowed several times over and raise a family (should any other family members appear.)

There is one episode I'd definitely not giving any consideration:

1.03 [--] Surfside 6: THE CLOWN
17Oct60 ABC
Writer/Director NOT KNOWN
Guest Cast:
Vito Scotti ................... Silva
Ted de Corsia ................. Correro
Tina Carver ................... Elaine Alvarez
Joe De Santis ................. Silva
A nasty type named Carlos is annoying Cha-Cha, so Dave clobbers
him and takes him back to his boss, an exiled dictator named
Correro. When Correro is killed by a clown at a birthday party
for his son, [it is] Pepe, a clown [who was] entertaining at the party is arrested.
Dave finds another clown costume and learns the real killer is
Carlos, the dictator's henchman.

Joel Grey isn't even mentioned in this synopsis, but the IMDb lists him as playing "Willy" in the episode.  However, TV Rage claims that his character is named "Eddie".  TV Rage also says that the legendary Vito Scotti was Pepe the Clown, not "Silva" as listed above.  Whatever his name was, I'm thinking Joel Grey was one of the assistants to Correro the exiled dictator and not somebody with any inclinations to a lifetime in show business.  However, he may have been the fake clown at the party.......

We'll just have to wait and view this particular episode of 'Warehouse 13' to find out if any of these candidates could have become Monty the Magnificent.  "For alls I know," his real name may be revealed in the show and negate all of this speculation.  (Although I'm sure I could weasel my way around it!)


(The details of each episode are courtesy of a fantastic website called "Classic Television Archives".  You can find the link to the CTVA on the left.......)

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