Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Towb: Man of Mystery

Around 40 years ago, a man was trying to pay bills. To that end, he played a part, the cook, in the movie "Patton."

Some 35 years later, at the suggestion of my brother-in-law, Matt, I watched the movie "Patton." Immediately, I was fascinated by it. Not only that, but I was wondering where I had seen one of the characters, the cook, before.

I checked the credits. Nothing listed for the cook.
I checked IMDB. Nothing listed for a cook. (Surprisingly, though, Harry Morgan did get credit, even though he wasn't in the movie.)

I asked the missus, who is a trivia fan and a librarian. Nothing.
I asked siblings; especially the trivia fans. Nothing.
I went to the public library. They suggested I try the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
I contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They said they didn't know, but would send me the roster for the movie. I received that roster on September 12, 2006.
I did more online research using the roster. Nothing.
The missus did more research using the roster. She found the e-mail address for one of the other bit players in the movie.
I sent an e-mail message to said bit player. Nothing.

The entire quest was put on the back burner. Except, every once in a while, I tease my trivia fanatic brother, Jon, with the question: Who played the cook in "Patton"?

One of the times I did that was yesterday, July 8, 2009. Later that day, I read a note from him, quoting a web site:
Northern-Irish actor Harry Towb, who played Kettering in "The Blue Max", also has a very brief role in "Patton". He plays the American GI cook who gets chewed out by Patton for not wearing a proper uniform and helmet. His one memorable line is something like "Hell, general, I'm a cook!". He sounds very American to me. The second or third time I saw "Patton", I finally recognized good old Kettering again...

Jon solved the mystery: Harry Towb played the cook in "Patton." Again, Harry Towb played the cook in the movie "Patton."

Now, there's suddenly a void where they was once a quest. I need a new one.

Of note, I checked Harry Towb's IMDB resume. Other than "Patton," I haven't seen any of Harry Towb's work. The entire quest was based on a mistaken identity (I may have been thinking of Johnny Haymer.)

Let me repeat that:

More than three years of searching, utilizing the services of at least 4 people, an e-mail account, and the United States Postal Service; all for a mistaken identity.

Unless, of course, there are other things missing from his IMDB resume.

I should check on that.

And have a good day!


Joseph said...

Harry Towb died yesterday (Fri 24th July) aged 83. My Dad and he were in the same class in school in Belfast. Harry was one of only a small number of Jewish families in Northern Ireland. My Dad often spoke fondly of Harry and enjoyed seeing him on television from time to time.

Mark Wentz said...

Thank you for passing this on to me. I'm glad your dad was fond of him. It's always good to hear pleasant things about people you enjoy--even if the part enjoyed was trying to find out who he was.

Have a good day