For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.
Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.
Everett Sloane is another one of those names that may not be familiar to video audiences now, but chances are you have seen him in a prominent classic film or television show.
Everett was born on October 1, 1909, in Manhattan, New York. At the tender age of seven he was featured as Puck in the Manhattan Public School production of Williams Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream and caught the acting bug.
He worked in a traveling production company until making his New York stage debut in 1928, but took a full-time job as a Wall Street ticket runner. The famous crash of 1929 cut his Wall Street salary in half, so Sloane delved deeper into the entertainment industry to earn a living and began work doing radio plays.
The “Crash” turned out to be fortuitous for Everett as he became a hit in the new medium and ended up performing in over one thousand radio productions throughout his career, including recurring roles on elite shows like The Inner Sanctum and as the comic relief cab driver on The Shadow.
One of his biggest “breaks’’ was working for Orson Wells’ immensely popular Mercury Theatre, which produced not only some of the most popular shows in the late 1930s but produced the infamous “War of the Worlds” teleplay that spooked the nation into thinking that aliens from Mars were actually invading Earth!
Wells signed a movie production contract with RKO Pictures and incorporated many of his veteran voice actors in his films. Sloane made a splash in his film debut (to say the least!) with Citizen Kane, the movie regarded by many as the greatest film of all time.
In it, Sloane played Charles Foster Kane’s (portrayed by Orson Wells) confidant and business manager, Mr. Bernstein. Sloane was featured as both his “older self,” retelling stories from his perspective of Kane’s life, as well as appearing in the flashback sequences through the picture. Despite the film’s controversies and the alleged attempts to blackball members of the film’s cast and crew, Sloane quickly found work in the theater, performing in over one hundred stage productions of Richard Wright’s Native Son.
Sloane then returned to Hollywood and starred in another Wells’ production of the movie Journey Into Fear, with fellow Citizen Kane cast members Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Ruth Warrick.
Among his other film highlights include starring in Marlon Brando’s film debut, The Men, The Prince Who Was a Thief with Piper Laurie and Tony Curtis, Patterns with fashion icon Van Heflin and later in a reunion with Wells in The Lady From Shanghai and Prince of Foxes.
When Everett turned his attention to television he continued to have immediate and continual success by guest starring on some of the greatest shows of all time.
His TV appearances include Bonanza, The Andy Griffin Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gunsmoke, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Perry Mason.
He also did voiceovers in cartoons and narrated the 1965 movie, Hercules and the Princess of Troy — which turned out to be his last role.
Everett was diagnosed with glaucoma and, fearing he would go blind as a result of it, took an overdose of barbiturates and died in his sleep on August 6, 1965.
He was 55 years young.
You can see Everett Sloane in the 1956 film Patterns (this Tuesday at 9am on ATVN) as well as his guest starring roles in Bonanza and other TV classics on the Astound TV Network.
To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.