Films of Emil Sitka: SO'S YOUR ANTENNA (1946)
by Saxon E. Sitka
Emil's tenth movie acting role was with Harry Von Zell, a well-known radio personality who, like Vera Vague, was switching over to movies. SO'S YOUR ANTENNA was Von Zell's first comedy short subject. He went on to make a total of eight shorts for Columbia, and Emil was in all eight of them. The Von Zell shorts are considered by many to be some of Columbia's funniest and most entertaining non-Stooge comedies. The success of these films led to Von Zell's subsequent work with George Burns and Gracie Allen, an affiliation that lasted many years and brought Von Zell national fame.
Unlike previous calls from Jules White where he was given short notice and told to be ready to work when he showed up, this time Emil was asked to come to the studio several days ahead of shooting, to meet the film's star. But this appointment conflicted with Emil's "day job," as we can see from his diary entries.
Here's an excerpt from Emil's diary dated Monday, July 22, 1946:
A call today from Columbia Studios was relayed to me by my wife. And I was happy! I was to come out tomorrow afternoon to see Jules White.
But now I began to worry - unnecessarily - but worry I did. I just didn't know how to get off tomorrow afternoon. After some thought I convinced myself I must become violently sick or something. But tomorrow will tell.
Emil's diary entry for the next day, Tuesday, July 23, 1946:
Well, the day was one of common labor and such irritations as accompany same. That is, until noon, when I just didn't return from lunch. I went home - "violently ill."
I went out to Columbia and to see Jules White. He introduced me to Harry Von Zell, the famous radio announcer who is to star in this coming comedy.
My role was to be that of a radio actor enacting a sniveling gangster, "Louie," who gets shot by "Harry the Hoodlum."
Not much talk, no instructions, just an informal meeting of Von Zell - & home I went. Happy, joyous, confident.
On the way in Hollywood, I bumped into an old friend-actor who was still plugging away in little theaters since his discharge from the army - & I was made to feel like a movie-star, because of my bit-work so far!
Although released as SO'S YOUR ANTENNA, Emil used the working title in the next diary entry for Saturday, July 27, 1946:
Movie Bit #10
"My Crime Is Your Crime"
My biggest worry today was eased at 6:30 this A. M. when Leo Brown came with his car to drive me out to Columbia Studio. There I soon was at home. Jules White & the crew all greeted me. Soon me and Harry Von Zell were pals, & soon too we were before the camera, emoting. I did my role of "Louie" the cowardly gangster, while Harry did the "murdering." After a revision of lines we were ready for the "take." "Quiet," "roll 'em," "speed," "action" - & bingo - "print it!"
Just like that, it was over - & I get $50.00.
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SO'S YOUR ANTENNA (1946)