Movieland Mystery Photo

Dec. 6, 2013, Mystery Photo

Today’s mystery chap is especially tricky because Christopher McPherson, who kindly shared these photos, has no idea about the identity of this gent. He could be someone’s Uncle Freddy, although this does look like a publicity shot.

Google’s image search (if you don’t know about this, you should, although you will now be on your honor not to use it to cheat on the mystery photos) is quite unhelpful.

Google Image Search
I would say Google’s image recognition software still needs some work, eh?

Gregory Moore sends this side by side with Francis X. Bushman Jr.

Francis Jr.

Gregory writes:

I’m enclosing a couple of “side-by-sides” of Ralph/Francis Jr. and your mystery man.  I think I’ll stand by my guess.  There are enough similarities there.  This first one is the only photo I’ve ever seen of him smiling.  Like his father, he liked the grim countenance, it seems.  Anyway, that’s my guess and I’m stickin’ widdit!

(Sidebar comment:  I’ve heard that poor Francis Jr. had quite large sandals to fill, and that having FX Sr. as a father was not exactly smooth sailing, to say the least…which is why he switched over to “Ralph” mid-career.  Can’t say I blame him….

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
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13 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo

  1. Gregory Moore says:

    Possibly Ralph Bushman, aka Francis X. Bushman Jr.?

  2. Callaway says:

    Is this a missing persons bureau? It’s hard enough to identify 100 year old movie stars! Now you’re sending out photos of people who come up with them don’t know either. We think it’s our old uncle Hi, who worked in a NY Deli slicing Lox for a living.

  3. Don Danard says:

    I’ll take a guess and say it’s Gavin Gordon today.

  4. Mary Mallory says:

    The chin is not really pronounced enough to be Bushman, and the nose doesn’t like quite right either.

  5. Mike Hawks says:

    Our man friday is unknown to me and probably the rest of the world.

  6. Mary Mallory says:

    Looks more like Barry Norton to me.

  7. Mary Mallory says:

    Nothing matches in the side by side. Bushman’s eyes are sunken and virtually at the eyebrow, the ones on the right are not, Bushman’s eyebrows are bushy, the one on the right is not, Bushman’s lips are plumper and he has a cleft under them, the one on the right doesn’t, Bushman’s part and sideburn is different from the one on the right, Bushman’s ear is bigger and rounder than the one on the right, his being round inside, while the man’s on the right is more of a triangle, which is daintier, Bushman has more of a curve in the space between the nose and the mouth, which the person on the right doesn’t, Bushman has a much longer face and much more distance between the eye and the mouth than the person on the right, Bushman has a longer and larger neck than the person on the right, but they both do have high hairlines.

  8. Mary Mallory says:

    And if Mike Hawks says he doesn’t know who it is, then it’s not Bushman, as he’s seen virtually everything available on Bushman.

  9. Mary Mallory says:

    It’s not Bushman are you going to publish my rebuttal which proves it?

  10. Howdy! I’m the person who acquired this in a set of silent-screen actors photographs. I did a lot of research, asked a lot of people, and none of us could figure it out. I have my suspicions it could be F. Scott Fitzgerald (looks a lot like a young Scott), but why would a writer have had a publicity photo like this (profile, rather than straight on)? He was only in Hollywood a few years. Did other writers have publicity photographs done? It’s a puzzlement.

  11. Earl Boebert says:

    Enhance the photo and check for similar/identical ears. They’re almost as distinctive as fingerprints.

  12. Mary Mallory says:

    Thanks for the photos, Christopher! Yes, writers would have publicity photos if they were connected with a studio, they would make portraits for use in studio promotional material, for newspapers, etc. Writers, directors, etc. would have portraits made to use in directories and film annuals along with their credits, as a way of trying to find work. I don’t think Fitzgerald started writing for the studios until the 1930s though.

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