Films of Emil Sitka: DON'T GAMBLE WITH STRANGERS (1946)
by Saxon E. Sitka
DON'T GAMBLE WITH STRANGERS was Emil's sixth movie acting job, and it seemed like his film career was starting to take off. This was his fourth film since the beginning of the year and it was only early March.
Movie director William Beaudine had seen Emil on stage in a play and
told him that he thought he had a great deal of potential as an actor.
In fact, Beaudine was Emil's original sponsor for membership in the
Screen Actors Guild, and Emil worked with him previously, in his second film job in ONE EXCITING WEEK
a couple months earlier.
Although his first five roles had been fairly small, they seemed to be getting a little more substantial each time: a few more lines, a few more seconds on-screen, and a little bit more "character" in each one. When his sixth movie role came around, in a feature film for Monogram Pictures, Emil had high expectations for a big role, especially since the director was William Beaudine. However, this time he would be disappointed.
Emil's diary for Thursday, March 7, 1946:
"Don't Gamble with Strangers" -
My movie job No. 6 (only extra, tho -)
I thought sure I'd be acting in a role in William Beaudine's latest picture here at Monogram today. After all, hasn't he been most encouraging to me at the beginning?
So when I drove out there early this morning I had visions of many things. A role too big, or too demanding, for me to handle satisfactorily. Or another "extra" job as Mr. Beaudine previously called me for, of course, with a "bit" in mind later. Or perhaps an easy role which might carry for a week or more through a long portion of the picture?
None of these big things, bub, none!
At the gate there was Mr. Bert Hampton of General Casting Corporation with whom I registered about a week ago. And he handed me a mere "extra" voucher. I walked onto a set filled with hundreds of extras, all elegantly dressed - and impressing me with the idea that I certainly am nobody in Hollywood.
I met Bill Beaudine, who answered my query "Yes, I did ask for you at General Casting." But I doubt this. Anyway, I could easily have played a lead in this!
Extras in Hollywood are persons appearing in a film but with no lines.
They are pretty much simply faces in a crowd. My dictionary says an
extra is "one hired for a motion picture or stage production to augment
the number of people in a crowd or group scene."
sincerely considered himself a truly serious and competent actor and
vowed to himself early on that he was not going to take any roles as an
extra. That was ten years earlier when he first began trying to "break into pictures." At this point, Emil apparently relaxed that vow, at least a little, but the diary also reveals his ambition and confidence.
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DON'T GAMBLE WITH STRANGERS (1946)