Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 29, 2018, Seven Faces of Dr. Lao
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1964 film (copyright 1963) “7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” with Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, Arthur O’Connell, John Ericson, Noah Beery Jr., Minerva Urecal, Frank Kreig, Eddie Little Sky, Lee Patrick, John Qualen, Peggy Rea, Royal Dano, John Doucette, Frank Cady, Argentina Brunetti, Dal McKennon, Chubby Johnson, Douglas Fowley and Kevin Tate.

Music by Leigh Harline, photography by Robert Bronner in Metrocolor, art direction by George W. Davis and Gabriel Scognamillo, set decoration by Henry Grace and Hugh Hunt. Assistant director Al Shenberg, advisor of magic George L. Boston, makeup by William Tuttle, special visual effects by Paul B. Byrd, Wah Chang, Jim Danforth, Ralph Rodine and Robert R. Hoag, film editor George Tomasini, assistant to the producer Gae Griffith, recording supervisor Franklin Milton, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff. Screenplay by Charles Beaumont based on the novel “The Circus of Dr. Lao” by Charles G. Finney, directed by George Pal.

“7 Faces of Dr. Lao” is available from Warner Archive.

Writing in the New York Times (July 23, 1964), Howard Thompson called “7 Faces of Dr. Lao”:

… heavy, thick, pint-sized fantasy, laid on with an anvil…

As the focal point, got up in seven different guises with accents to match, Tony Randall is excruciatingly coy and simpering. Mr. Randall is, in fact, about the cutest thing to hit the screen since Shirley Temple. Obviously, he knows it, too.

Note: I thought that after spending last week on an obscure Russian animator of the 1900s, we might explore something a little more accessible. Be sure to read E. Yarber’s comments on the film.

On a personal note, I started at the Arizona Daily Star in 1981, and the veterans were still talking about the eccentric Charles G. Finney. One of my bosses said that Finney wrote great fiction for the New Yorker and hack headlines for the Arizona Daily Star. There was some anecdote about Finney taking a story (remember they were typed on paper in those days) and cutting it up into little pieces. Also one (very dimly recalled) story about him failing to return from a lunch or dinner break. In those days, the Star was at 208 N. Stone in downtown Tucson, which offered an abundance of nearby watering holes, some expensive and others very cheap.

Dec. 24, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery thing.

Update: This may be Tony Randall or George Pal’s son Peter.

Dec. 25, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have another mystery creature.

Update: As several people pointed out, our mystery guest is rather hunky to be Tony Randall. The scene is dimly lit and there is a lot of twirling about in which Barbara Eden becomes increasingly hot and bothered. I had a hard time getting a screen grab that wasn’t blurry and dim.

Dec. 29, 2018, Mystery Photo
Barbara Eden, hot and bothered while twirling about with Pan.

Dec. 29, 2018, Mystery Photo

Dec. 29, 2018, Mystery Photo
Here’s another grab of Pan.

Dec. 29, 2018, Mystery Photo
And here’s a grab of John Ericson.

Yeah, I’m not sure this is Tony Randall. I suspect not.

Dec. 29, 2018, Mystery Photo
Maybe this is Tony Randall. Maybe.

Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (mystery movie, mystery creature and mystery actor), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and mystery actor), L.C. (mystery movie, mystery creature and mystery actor), Sue Slutzky (mystery movie, mystery creature and mystery actor), Mike Hawks (mystery movie) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie, mystery actor and mystery cast).

Dec.26, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Wednesday, still another mystery creature.

Update: Tony Randall.

Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (Tuesday’s mystery actor), Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery actor), Mike Hawks (Monday’s and Tuesdays mystery actor), E. Yarber (mystery movie), Dan Nather (mystery movie, mystery cast and Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery actor), Mary Mallory (mystery movie and Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery actor) and Sue Slutzky (Tuesday’s mystery actor).

Update: The Hawkman and a discussion with Howard has made me rethink Tuesday’s mystery actor. More coming Thursday. For now, I’ll take either answer.

Dec. 27, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: Tony Randall.

Brain Trust roll call: Bruce Reznik (mystery movie), Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery guest), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Michael Ryerson (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery actor and raising questions about Tuesday’s mystery guest), E. Yarber on the mystery movie and its source novel), Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (mystery movie), Chrisbo (mystery movie and mystery actor), Beach Gal (mystery movie and mystery actor), William Brower (mystery movie, mystery actor and mystery director) and Sue Slutzky (Wednesday’s mystery actor).

Dec. 28, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Friday …

Dec. 28, 2018, Mystery Photo

… and also.

Tony Randall and Tony Randall.

Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (Thursday’s mystery actor), Dan Nather (Thursday’s mystery actor), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery actor), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery actor), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery actor), E. Yarber (trivia note about “Lean Cowboy”), Sue Slutzky (Thursday’s mystery actor), Beach Gal (Thursday’s mystery actor) and Patricia van Hartesveldt (mystery movie and mystery actor).

Note to Beach Gal: You’re right. There is a lot of twirling around by Tuesday’s mystery character and the scene is dimly lit. I had a hard time getting get a screen grab that wasn’t blurred!

About lmharnisch

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

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

  1. Mrs. Benito says:

    I started to Google “bad abominable snowman films in color” but it turns out I haven’t the strength. I know which Yetis it ISN’t, but that’s all I’ve got.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert Morrissey says:

    This jogs my memory somewhat. Could it be from “The Time Machine,” with Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux?


  3. Tony Randall. 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Tony Randall in 7 FACES OF DR. LAO


  5. LC says:

    Yeti/Abominable snowman (Peter Pal, son of George Pal) from the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.


  6. Anne Papineau says:

    At what point did “Abominable” and “Snowman” become eternally linked?


  7. Sue Slutzky says:

    The Abominable Snowman (Tony Randall) from “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.”


  8. MIKE HAWKS says:



  9. SylviaE says:

    I feel like you’ve given us a Christmas gift. Fun movie.

    7 Faces of Dr. Lao 1964 – an extravaganza of Tony Randall-ness.

    Monday is either Tony Randall in one of his many roles in this movie or it’s Peter Pal (the abominable body-double son of the director, George Pal.)
    What a fun cast – Barbara Eden, Noah Beery Jr., Arthur O’Connell, Lee Patrick, Royal Dano, John Ericson – I’m heading out of town for the holidays, but will check in as the guesses from others come in.

    Thank you for the fun selection this week. Looking forward to the Saturday breakdown.


    • SylviaE says:

      I think John Ericson for Tuesday. IMDb indicate one of his roles was “Transformed Pan”. If it’s not him, I’ll be curious to see on Saturday what the ultimate decision was.

      Again, this was a fun one. Thanks.


  10. Tony Randall this time as Pan in the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. BTW, yesterday although he was credited as the Abominable Snowman there is some evidence the director’s (George Pal) son, a body builder was actually an uncredited stand-in for the Snowman and not Randall.


  11. Howard Mandelbaum says:



  12. MIKE HAWKS says:

    John Ericson.


  13. MIKE HAWKS says:

    And yes, it is Tony Randall as the abominable snowman.


  14. E. Yarber says:

    How are you going to fit 7 Faces of Dr. Lao in five days?


  15. Dan Nather says:

    I knew I saw this one! One of my faves — 7 FACES OF DR. LAO (1964) with Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, Arthur O’Connell, and John Ericson. That’s Randall as the Abominable Snowman on Monday, and as Pan on Tuesday.


  16. Mary Mallory says:

    THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO and our friend Tony Randall as both characters.


  17. Sue Slutzky says:

    Tuesday: Tony Randall as Pan.


  18. Bruce Reznick says:

    Seven Faces of Dr. Lao?


  19. Mary Mallory says:

    Our friend Mr. Randall again as Medusa.


  20. B.J. Merholz says:

    7 Faces of Dr. Lao


  21. MIKE HAWKS says:

    Say hello again to Tony Randall as Medusa.


  22. Wednesday gives us Tony Randall as Medusa. another of Dr. Lao’s 7 faces.


  23. Anne Papineau says:

    Tony Randall displaying range in “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.”


  24. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Versatile Tony Randall (The Abominable Snowman, Pan, and today Medussa). John Ericson is transformed into Pan. Those might be his broad shoulders in yesterday’s quiz).


  25. E. Yarber says:

    In both “7 Faces” and Charles G. Finney’s source novel “The Circus of Dr. Lao,” a crabby wife forces herself into the gaze of the Medusa and is turned to stone. The movie, however, sees the woman restored to life and left with a chastened attitude. The book ends the subplot with her husband stoically lugging his permanently-petrified spouse home as a late-arriving neighbor asks him if he got a souvenir at the circus.

    That’s pretty much the contrast between book and film. Finney grew up in Sedalia, MO, and went on to decades of writing for the Tuscon Star. In-between, however, he spent a few years in China as a soldier, which is where he got the inspiration for his delightful fantasy novel. It’s a true reporter’s view of life in a provincial American corner after a gaze at the world beyond, with an early scene taking place at the local newspaper as the staff dispassionately dissects the advertisement Dr. Lao has presented them to promote his ragged little show. Just as the staffers find little enthusiasm toward Lao’s descriptions of the wonders he has collected, the worn-down Depression-era citizens of an isolated desert town are similarly oblivious to the meanings of the mythological horde they confront at the circus itself.

    It took a second Charles to turn this dark perspective into a family-friendly film. Charles Beaumont was part of the LA clique of writers who found regular work on Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone,” including Richard Matheson and George Clayton Johnson. Like Matheson, Beaumont would also write for Roger Corman, including two of Corman’s best: “The Masque of the Red Death” and an adaptation of Beaumont’s novel “The Intruder,” before succumbing to a strange disease that left him dead of old age in his late 30s.

    Beaumont turned the circus into a proactive affair that changes lives and saves the community, stressing the redemption inherent in a spirit of imagination. Even as a kid, I had managed to read the book first and thus came to the movie a little jaded, wondering what happened to the long philosophical arguments the sideshow dwellers had with their suspicious customers. Over time, though, I can see Beaumont’s own heartfelt sentiments in the new approach. After all, this was a guy who was able to adapt an entire Twilight Zone episode around a plotless article he’d written about his childhood love of radio drama. His son included dialogue from Dr. Lao in the introduction to “The Best of Charles Beaumont” anthology as an expression of his dad’s sense of wonder.


  26. Lee Ann, Thom, and Megan says:

    Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.


  27. Chrisbo says:

    Tony Randall in The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.


  28. beachgal says:

    Our film this wee is the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and M-W photos are of our star, Tony Randall.


  29. William Brower says:

    Its easy …7 Faces of Dr. Lao 1964 George Pal Directed Tony Randall in like 7 different roles.


  30. Sue Slutzky says:

    Tony Randall as Medusa.


  31. Thursday is Randall as Apollonius of Tyana, perhaps the most captivating dialogue in the film.


  32. Dan Nather says:

    Tony Randall (again) as Medusa yesterday — and today he’s back once more as Apollonius of Tyana (I think).


  33. Mary Mallory says:

    Mr. Randall as Apollonius. He does play Pan in the movie, and that’s Pan on Tuesday.


  34. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Tony Randall as Apollonius of Tyana.


  35. MIKE HAWKS says:

    Once again, Tony Randall.


  36. E. Yarber says:

    Kind of fun that all the actors this week are Tony Randall (in spirit, anyway). Have you done Kind Hearts and Coronets yet?

    With cartoons so mixed up in films these days, it’s odd to reflect that it used to be something of an anomaly for animators to move over to live-action direction. Off the top of my head, I can think of George Pal, Frank Tashlin, Gregory La Cava and a obscure comedian named Charley Bowers as a few who managed it in the days of classic Hollywood,

    Pal maintained a special connection to one cartoon character in particular, and it wasn’t Tubby the Tuba. After using Woody Woodpecker in “Destination Moon,” he regarded the bird as a good luck charm and managed to insert brief easter eggs of the character in his subsequent films every chance he got. The first shot of “War of the Worlds,” features a woodpecker in a tree, the famous laugh can be heard in “tom thumb,” and Grace Stafford herself appears in a cameo within Pal’s last production “Doc Savage.” Check out Dal McKennon as “Lean Cowboy” in “7 Faces.” Known as the voice of Gumby and Archie, McKennon also acted as Woody’s nemesis Buzz Buzzard.

    McKennon also did a lot of work for Disney, but he’s not the only participant from that studio present here. Leigh Harline had written the score for Pal’s Brothers Grimm feature a couple of years before providing the music for “7 Faces,” and did a couple of Sam Fuller pictures, but began his career with Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” and worked his way up to “Snow White” before winning two Oscars in 1942: one for the score of “Pinocchio” and Best Song for a little number you may remember called “When You Wish Upon a Star.”


  37. E. Yarber says:

    Actually, Pinocchio was released in 1940 and won the Oscars in 1941. Trying to keep the time frame in mind led me to jump ahead another whole year. I miss the days when I could quietly correct my errors without them being posted for all the world to see.


  38. Sue Slutzky says:

    Tony Randall, yet again, as Apollonius of Tyana.


  39. beachgal says:

    Thurs mystery screen grab is of Tony Randall playing the fortune teller Apollonius of Tyana when he gives Lee Patrick her ‘unfortunate’ fortune.


  40. beachgal says:

    I agree with the confusion on Tues. photo – I too think it is a screen grab of John Ericson transformed to be Pan, seducing Barbara Eden with his music. If you watch that scene in the film, Pan starts out as Tony Randall. When the camera spins Tony around, John Ericson is revealed as Pan to Barbara Eden. At the end of the ‘music seduction’, Pan again returns to be Tony Randall as the other townsfolk come into the tent.


  41. Patricia van Hartesveldt says:

    7 Faces of Dr. Lao…all of them Tony Randall.


  42. Mary Mallory says:

    Dr. Lao today and Mr. Randall, with Minerva Urecal and Lee Patrick but don’t see Barbara Eden.


  43. E. Yarber says:

    One more example of how it’s a small world in the movie business (and no, Leigh Harline did not write THAT Disney song). Charles Beaumont is not the only Twilight Zone participant in “7 Faces.” Tony Randall’s makeup is by William Tuttle, who did many of the most effective fantasy characters in that show, as well as Pal’s “The Time Machine.” That explains why the Abominable Snowman is reminiscent of both Pal’s Morlocks and the Gremlin from the T Zone’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”


  44. beachgal says:

    For Friday, we once again have our star, Tony Randall.


  45. MIKE HAWKS says:

    Tony Randall returns and returns.


  46. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Tony Randall as Dr. Lao; Tony unadorned.


  47. Sue Slutzky says:

    First image: Tony Randall as Dr. Lao. Second: Tony Randall, Lee Patrick, Peggy Rea… I can’t make out the others.


  48. Benito says:

    Deeply weird movie so of course we
    burned a dvd. Oddly, Tony in Medusa drag resembles KATHY GRIFFIN! Turnabout is fair play.


  49. Dan Nather says:

    This was fun — and, as it turns out, I learned a lot!

    I should also point out that Leigh Harline’s excellent score for DR. LAO has been released on CD by Film Score Monthly, and is available for purchase at Screen Archives Entertainment ( I love the way Harline combines Western and Chinese themes in the main title music, especially . . .


    • lmharnisch says:

      That’s interesting to know. Thanks! I believe E. Yarber also pointed out the score.

      Maybe the L.A. Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats ought to program “7 Faces of Dr. Lao” instead of “the usual suspects.” Could be an interesting dialog on ethnic stereotypes, makeup, animation and science fiction.


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