Saturday, May 25, 2019

Green Jeans in Black Fury

While watching the 1935 film Black Fury, starring Paul Muni, I had to stop and watch a scene again. No, it wasn't to closely study Muni's stagy, overblown performance. It was because there was a familiar face in the crowd:

In an instant I was sure this was the face of Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum, better known to folks in my age bracket as Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo! He's not credited as appearing in the movie on the IMDb, but I really do think it's him. Judge for yourself; here are some comparison photos:

Of course, I've searched for evidence that it might be Brannum in the film. Black Fury was released in 1935, and is set in Pennsylvania coal country. Brannum played as a musician with Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, and died in East Stroudsburg PA, but these Pennsylvania ties seem to be red herrings. According to Wikipedia and Brannum's New York Times obituary, Brannum was born in Illinois (in 1910) and went to college at the University of Redlands in California. After graduating in 1931, he played in dance bands in California, and eventually moved to New York where he was discovered by Fred Waring. The IMDb says Black Fury was filmed in Hollywood, so perhaps Brannum participated as an extra in the film a couple of years after graduating? I dunno.

But sure looks like him, doesn't it?