Ten years after coming to Hollywood, Emil was busy with his stage acting and theater work. He created his own troupe called The Tramp Mummers, and they performed for free. About this time, Emil was selected "Best Little Theater Actor" by Playgoer Magazine and made the cover of an early issue of Theatre Craft magazine, shown at left. Despite his stage success, after a decade of trying to break into films, Emil had been unable to achieve his dream of landing a role in a Hollywood movie. But in late 1945, that was about to change.
While performing on stage in a play called "The Viper's Fang," Emil was observed by a Columbia Pictures talent scout who instructed him to contact Jules White, the producer of many of Columbia's short subject comedies.