Films of Emil Sitka: RENO-VATED (1946)
by Saxon E. Sitka
RENO-VATED was Emil's thirteenth Hollywood acting job and his eleventh role in a Columbia Pictures short-subject. It was also his second film working with Barbara Jo Allen, who had assumed the name of her character, "Vera Vague."
In real-life, Emil had taken a job driving a truck during the day, and he began rehearsing most nights of the week for a play called The Sacred Flame.
Not surprisingly, his diary entries became very brief during this period. His entry on August 31, 1946, merely confirms the date he worked in this film and ends abruptly without punctuation, as though he was cut off mid-sentence:
Saturday, August 31, 1946
Movie bit # 13
With Vera Vague again - after almost a year since my first job in movies. It was with her then
There are limitations when using authentic material such as diaries - it isn't always complete and it doesn't always make sense. As short as this entry is, it does make reference to Emil's previous work with Vera Vague in HISS AND YELL (1946)
in October 1945.
Unfortunately, Emil's appearance in the final version of RENO-VATED amounts to an "extra" part. He is on-screen near the end for less than a minute and has no lines. He merely watches from the background and reacts as Vera Vague gets married, as depicted in the group picture. It's a very small role.
In the script, however, there's a courtroom scene in which Emil and Vera enacted a sequence very similar to Curly's "swearing-in" routine in the Three Stooges classic short DISORDER IN THE COURT (1936). Although this bit was cut, the still of Vera and Emil, with Emil showing his "exasperation" as the Court Clerk trying to administer an oath to the flighty Vera Vague, shows what the scene must've looked like.
Here's an excerpt from the original script. Look at that picture again and then imagine the following dialogue between Vera and Emil as the Clerk:
CLOSE SHOT VERA AND CLERK (Emil)
CLERK (very quickly in a mumbled voice): Do-you-swear-to-tell-the-truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth?
VERA: Look, bub, are you trying to give me double-talk?
CLERK: Are you kidding? Haven't you ever been up before a Judge?
VERA: I don't know - what time does a Judge get up?
CLERK: Mrs. Butts, I'm asking you if you swear t---
VERA: Of course not. I never use profanity.
CLERK (exasperated): Never mind - just place your left hand on the Bible.
Vera puts her purse from her left to her right hand, then puts her left hand on the Bible.
CLERK: Raise your right hand.
Vera tries to raise her right hand, puts her purse from her right hand back in the left hand removing her hand from the Bible, raises her right hand.
CLERK (indicates Bible): Will you please put your left hand on this?
Vera again switches hands in the aforementioned manner.
CLERK: Kindly raise your right hand and at the same time put your left hand on the book.
The Clerk has his right hand raised to demonstrate. Vera wonders for a moment what to do with the purse, sees the Clerk's upraised hand, hangs the purse on his fingers, then raises her right hand and puts her left of the Bible.
Emil was no doubt disappointed when he discovered that,
once again, his big scene in a film was edited out of the final release. Emil's second film role in AIN'T LOVE CUCKOO? (1946)
was edited down from an extended scene to a small bit, and later on his entire role in THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND (1949)
starring Betty Grable was deleted from the final released version of the movie. One can only imagine getting a script, memorizing and practicing lines and expressions, finally acting out the scene, and then later finding out the entire part was discarded. But that's Hollywood.
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