Wednesday, 14 January 2004

Screen name

While browsing through Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies I came across the details of a "Dignified German character actor in Hollywood films" (actually he was Austrian) called GUSTAV VON SEYFFERTITZ. Now this is quietly amusing, but then, almost thrown away, there was the note that he acted under the name of G. BUTLER CLONBLOUGH.

When I had finished thrashing about, moaning and drumming my heels on the floor, there came into my mind a picture, crystal clear and colourful, of a meeting of Gustav, his family and his associates, probably taking place at Big Lou's Bagel House and Loxery on Wilshire and Canyon. He has called them together to ask for their ideas for a screen name which would trip off the tongue more easily than the one he came from the Fatherland with, but by midnight they have got nowhere, and the suggestions are becoming increasingly desperate: Scorpion de Rooftrouser? Syd Von Maxoff? J. Cornelius Whoops? Molonay Tubilderborst? Arthur "Mad Fred" Dettmold? ...and so on.

Suddenly from Agnes, his agent's secretary, a quiet, mousy girl, comes an excited whisper: "How about G. BUTLER CLONBLOUGH?".

Oh, the cries of delight! "Of course!" "Why didn't you think of that, Abe?" "Goldwyn'll love it!"

And then, later, Gustav - or rather G. Butler as we must now call him - to Agnes: "Gee, Miss Blatnick! Without your glasses your eyes are... kinda... well, cornflower!"

The rest is history: the Oscars, the Hollywood Wedding of the Year, how Agnes, in her excitement, throws up over her bridesmaids (the Glutetsky Sisters, a top close-harmony group) and how after a few years their lovely children Wilmington, Prodinda and Wotan make distinguished careers for themselves in, respectively, forestry, juggling and biogenetics.....


Eric Stott said...

Actually, it was a legitimate name in his family- his mother was of Irish ancestry and her maiden name was Anna Butler Clonblough

Tony said...

Why, thank you, Eric, that's interesting. But you must agree that, legitimate or not, going from Gustav von Seyffertitz to G Butler Clonblough makes a splendid story.