Quigley Family Reminiscences

Charles N. Quigley, son of serial star Charles Quigley, has kindly permitted me to reproduce here several reminiscences concerning his father’s acting career–reminiscences which he originally sent to me via e-mail, and which are too interesting not to share with other serial buffs. All that follows, save my interjections and comments in bold type, are Mr. Quigley’s own words.

On Charles Quigley’s early stage years:

When he was a teenager he [Quigley] walked to either Hartford or New Haven to see John Barrymore play Hamlet. It was an event that inspired his entry into the theater. He always favored the theater over the motion picture industry. After high school he attended the American Academy in New York City where he met my mother who was attending her aunt’s school, the Feagin School of Drama, Radio, and the Arts. Both schools were located in Carnegie Hall.

My father also played the juvenile in a play with Ethel Barrymore. I met her backstage when my father visited her at a performance that must have been in the mid 30s (I was born 12-7-29).

On Rita Hayworth, who Quigley co-starred with in several Columbia B-films during the 1930s:

Rita used to come to our house for barbecues with her first husband and agent, Eddie Judson. This was before they dyed her hair and changed her hairline. Her real name was Rita Cansino and her father had a dancing studio in Beverly Hills where she trained as a dancer; I am sure you know her history. I was in love with her when I was about ten years old. My second and current wife is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet. I think Rita might have inspired me!

On Quigley’s wartime activities, and his interest in stage acting:

My father worked at Northrup Aircraft during WWII. He and a number of his character [actor] friends used to stage plays in their homes and garages during this time. They also performed at the Uplifters’ Club in Rustic Canyon near Pacific Palisades. (The Uplifters’ was started by Will Rogers and some associates. His house is nearby and is now a part of a park). They were all somewhat dismissive of Hollywood and thought the real art of acting was on the stage. Once the war ended he [Quigley] played in live television when it first started. He also played in summer stock in New England. My recollection is a bit fuzzy, but I know that between 1935 and 1947/8 we traveled frequently to the East so he could play in summer stock in theaters in New England such as the Ogunquit Playhouse. From about 1946-1948 he ran a summer stock theatre in Clinton, Connecticut called the Clinton Playhouse.

On Clayton Moore, with whom Quigley co-starred in the serial The Crimson Ghost:

I suppose that as a result of working together my father and mother became friends with Clay and his wife. One summer in about 1946-1947 they stayed in our house to take care of it and our pets when we went to my father’s summer theater in Madison, Conn. When we got home one of our neighbors had been amused to see Clay in our back yard practicing a quick draw through much of the summer.

We all thought it was very funny until we found out Clay got the part of the Lone Ranger! This reminded me that my father refused to play in Westerns when he first started in Hollywood. I think he said it was because he refused to ride a horse, but I suspect he thought at the time that it was just not something serious actors did. [Note: Moore’s quick-draw practice would probably have been actually been for the Jesse James Rides Again serial, which was released in 1947; he didn’t become the Lone Ranger until 1949].

 

 

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