amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 27 17:32:23 UTC 2023
I have no real evidence to support this, but here’s a possible explanation for “Oscar”:
1933 Hollywood Filmograph 22 Apr 3/1
The bootblacking business being rather dull at the Paramount studios, Oscar Smith packed up his polishing kit and today moved over to Fox Movietone City.
Oscar, who has polished up more stars than Father Time, plays the role of a porter in "The Power and the Glory," a Jesse L. Lasky production being directed by William K. Howard.
Oscar is perhaps one of the most astute business men in the movie industry.
When polishing shoes isn’t so renumerative, he takes to acting and vice versa. Betwixt the two professions he waxes ebullient and stout.
“The Power and the Glory” marks the return of Colleen Moore to the screen. Others featured are Spencer Tracy, Ralph Morgan and Helen Vinson.
1933 Photoplay Magazine Nov. 88/2
OSCAR, the colored Paramount bootblack, is the idol of Central Avenue, the colored district of Los Angeles. Oscar played a small bit in "Gambling Ship." When the picture opened on Central Avenue it was billed like this:
"Sensational star in 'Gambling Ship,' Oscar supported by Cary Grant, Jack La Rue and Benita Hume."
And on the outside of the theater, nothing but pictures of Oscar appeared.
1935 Motion Picture August 59/1
A white man, who operates a shop in Los Angeles' Chinatown, is always sought when the studios require Chinese talent. He keeps a list of all the Chinese. Also he acts as technical adviser in Chinese films. Oscar, the Paramount bootblack, acts in the same capacity for the Negroes of Central Avenue and can furnish colored talent for anything from a Harlem Easter parade to a native scene in darkest Africa.
Oscar Smith's photo is here:
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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