Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1933 Warner Bros. film “The Silk Express,” with Neil Hamilton, Sheila Terry, Arthur Byron, Guy Kibbee, Dudley Digges, Arthur Hohl, Allen Jenkins, Harold Huber, George Pat Collins, Robert Barrat, Vernon Steele and Ivan Simpson. The screenplay was by Houston Branch and Ben Markson, based on a story by Houston Branch, with art direction by Esdras Hartley, photography by Tony Gaudio, gowns by Orry-Kelly and dialogue direction by Stanley Logan.  The film was directed by Ray Enright.

The DVD is available from Warner Archive for $12.59.


“The Silk Express” opened July 6, 1933, in Los Angeles at the Warner Bros. Hollywood and Downtown theaters,  replacing “The Mayor of Hell,” which also featured many of the Warner Bros. players, including Allen Jenkins, Dudley Digges, Sheila Terry, Harold Huber, George Pat Collins and Fred “Snowflake” Toones.

“Silk Express” was billed with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s last film, the Vitaphone short “How’ve You Bean.”

Writing in the New York Times (June 28, 1933), Mordaunt Hall said:

Having the action of a pictorial melodrama occur on board a railway train affords a certain fascination. The first of such stories was the Soviet film, “The China Express,” which was followed by the Hollywood offering “Shanghai Express,” and then recently there was the British production, “Rome Express.” The latest contribution of this type is the Warner Brothers picture, “The Silk Express,” which is now at the Mayfair.

Although some of the scenes of the current work are not laid in train coaches, most of them are. It is a good robust thriller, with two murders, well-sustained suspense, a vein of amusement and a dash of romance. Among the efficient performers are Guy Kibbee, Arthur Byron, Dudley Digges, Arthur Hohl, Ivan Simpson, Alien Jenkins, Neil Hamilton and Sheila Terry.

The film was apparently not reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Nov. 27, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: This is Fred “Snowflake” Toones.

Nov. 29, 2016, Mystery Photo
And for Tuesday, we have this mystery official. I have cropped out our leading man, who will make his appearance later in the week.

Update: This is Guy Usher.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Monday’s mystery chef), Dan Nather (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery chef), Robert Morrissey (Monday’s mystery chef), Sheila (Monday’s mystery chef), Don Danard (Monday’s mystery chef), Chrisbo (Monday’s mystery chef), Howard Mandelbaum (Monday’s mystery chef) and Tucson Barbara (Monday’s mystery chef, wrong movie).

Nov. 30, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Wednesday, we have a mystery woman and her mystery companion.

Update: This is Sheila Terry and Dudley Digges.

Brain Trust roll call: Dan Nather (Tuesday’s mystery official).

Dec. 1, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have this mystery gent….

Update: This is Robert Barrat.

Dec. 1, 2016, Mystery Photo

… Monday’s mystery guest with a familiar companion…

Update: This is Allen Jenkins and Fred “Snowflake” Toones.

Dec. 1, 2016, Mystery Photo

… and this familiar fellow.

Update: This is Harold Huber.

Brain Trust roll call: Sheila (Wednesday’s mystery guests/wrong movie), Chrisbo (Wednesday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and mystery guests), Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (mystery movie and mystery guests) and Dan Nather (Wednesday’s mystery guests).

Dec. 2, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have our no-nonsense leading man.

Update: This is Neil Hamilton, who played Commissioner Gordon in the “Batman” TV series.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery woman, Thursday’s mystery gents/wrong movie), Sheila (Thursday’s mystery gents), Laura C. (Thursday’s familiar fellow), Chrisbo (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery gents), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery gents), Don Danard (Thursday’s mystery gents), Dewey Webb (Thursday’s bespectacled mystery gent), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests),  Dan Nather (Thursday’s mystery gents) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (Thursday’s mystery gents)


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Mary Mallory says:

    Fred “Snowflake” Toones.


  2. Dan Nather says:

    That’s Fred “Snowflake” Toones in an excellent Warner pre-code thriller, THE SILK EXPRESS (1933)!


  3. Robert Morrissey says:

    Finally, one that I actually can NAME!! 🙂 That is Fred Toones, also known as “Snowflake.” I first became aware of him from one of my favorite Christmas films, and also one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck performances: Remember the Night (1940). He appeared in HUNDREDS of full-length films and shorts.
    Come to think of it, it’s almost time to schedule my annual viewing of Remember the Night. Toones’ character here is a complete anachronism by today’s standards, and to some probably an offensive one. He is an utterly devoted manservant to a rather lower-middle-class DA’s assistant attorney, played by Fred MacMurray. But he makes an indelible impression, even though he is doing his own sweet version of the “slow-witted Negro” stereotype.


  4. B.J.Merholz says:

    That looks like a Sam McDaniel smile to me.


  5. tucsonbarbara says:

    A wild guess, and long shot – Clarence Muse in “After the Dance.”


  6. Sheila says:

    Fred ‘Snowflake’ Toones?


  7. Timothy says:

    Billy Mitchell?


  8. Don Danard says:

    Fred Toones today


  9. Chrisbo says:

    Fred “Snowflake” Toones?


  10. Fred ‘Snowflake’ Toones


  11. Larry Platt says:

    Mantan Moreland? Willie Best?


  12. tucsonbarbara says:

    Another guess and long shot – Fred Toones in “Out of Singapore.”


  13. Mary Mallory says:



  14. Don Danard says:

    Looks like William B. Davidson today.


  15. Robert Morrissey says:

    I wrote my reply first thing yesterday morning, but evidently it did not go through. That is Fred Toones, alias “Snowflake,” who appeared in hundreds of 30s and 40s films. He’s in one of my favorite holiday movies, Remember the Night, in a role that today’s audiences will have a difficult time dealing with. Still indelibly memorable, though!


  16. beachgal says:

    Is Monday, Everett Brown?


  17. Dan Nather says:

    Guy Usher today.


  18. Rogét-L.A. says:

    A younger and thinner John Banner on Tuesday?


  19. tucsonbarbara says:

    “Hell-Ship Morgan”

    Tuesday – Howard Hickman


  20. Sheila says:

    Sheila Terry and Dudley Digges for Wednesday, ‘The Mayor of Hell’.


  21. Chrisbo says:

    Is Wednesday’s mystery companion Dudley Digges?


  22. tucsonbarbara says:

    Hmmm. Maybe Tuesday’s gent is Harry Woods.


  23. Mike Hawks says:

    Guy Usher, Sheila Terry and Dudley Digges in SILK EXPRESS.


  24. Mike Hawks says:

    Oops! almost forgot Fred “Snowflake” Toones from monday.


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    BIGBROWN EYES. Isabel Jewell today, George Macquarrie yesterday.


  26. Don Danard says:

    Is Wednesday’s Mystery man David Landau?


  27. Lee Ann, Megan, and Thom says:

    Our mystery movie is The Silk Express, with Guy Usher on Tuesday, Fred Toones (Snowflake) on Monday, and Dudley Digges and Sheila Terry on Wednesday.


  28. Dan Nather says:

    Sheila Terry and Dudley Digges today.


  29. Mary Mallory says:

    THE MAYOR OF HELL. Sheila Terry yesterday, Robert Barrat, Allen Jenkins, and Harold Huber today.


  30. Sheila says:

    Robert Barrat, Allen Jenkins and Harold Huber.


  31. Laura C. says:

    Thursday’s familiar fellow is Harold Huber!


  32. Chrisbo says:

    Thursday’s familiar fellow is Harold Huber, and is that an uncharacteristically bespectacled Allen Jenkins? I’ll say The Silk Express.


  33. Mike Hawks says:

    Robert Barratt, Allen Jenkins, Snowflake and Harold Huber.


  34. Richard Wegescheide says:

    Oliver Blake and Richard Whorf are two from Thursday. I think the female is Gladys George on Wednesday. I don’t remember the name of the picture, but I’m pretty sure I know who’s going to show up on Friday. (GK?)


  35. Don Danard says:

    For Thursday’s Casting Call – Robert H. Barrat, Allen Jenkins, Fred Toones and Harold Huber.


  36. Dewey webb says:

    Allen Jenkins


  37. Robert Barrett, Allen Jenkins, Harold Huber.


  38. Dan Nather says:

    Three Warner Brothers stalwarts — the versatile Robert Barrat, Allen Jenkins (well-cast against type), and Harold Huber.


  39. Lee Ann, Megan, and Thom says:

    Robert Barrat, Allen Jenkins, and Harold Huber for today.


  40. Mary Mallory says:

    Didn’t I get Sheila Terry yesterday? THE SILK EXPRESS with Neil Hamilton. G. Pat Collins on tuesday.


  41. Anne Papineau says:

    Neil Hamilton in “The Silk Express”?


  42. Mike Hawks says:

    Neil Hamilton gets heroic in this movie.


  43. Benito says:

    Neil (The Commissioner) Hamilton today. PS. Our chef looks like Richard Pryor!


  44. Dewey webb says:

    Neil Hamilton


  45. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Friday’s no-nonsense leading man looks like Neil Hamilton, a.k.a. Commissioner Gordon on the 1960s Batman series, but I still don’t know the title of the mystery movie.


  46. Dan Nather says:

    And there’s Neil Hamilton!


  47. LC says:

    The Silk Express (1933) w/Neil Hamilton, Guy Kibbee, Allen Jenkins, Sheila Terry, Snowflake Toones


  48. Only just look at this weeks offerings and I can’t believe I spotted Alan Jenkins in Tuesday picture.


  49. Sorry got the right name on the wrong day ..Alan Jenkins = Thursday.


  50. Mary Mallory says:

    Warners spelled Hamilton’s first name wrong in the ad, no one caught it.


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