Thursday, May 8, 2008

Klinger Kontroversy! Was Jamie Farr Stobo?!?

Once again, crummyandhardtofind.blogspot.com delivers the kind of hard-hitting investigative journalism that can only be found on this site!

In an earlier posting, I had referred to reviews I had on IMDB.com. Up until a year ago (since I had last checked), my review for xmas stinker Santa Claus Conquers the Martians had appeared under the title: Jamie Farr Keeps Martian Hams at Bay. Mysteriously, the review had vanished (Don’t worry folks, the others are still there!).

I hadn’t given the disappearance much thought until recently. I happened to scan the actors on the IMDB entry for SCCTM and noticed no credit for Jamie Farr. Hmmm, could my eyes be deceiving me? I was certain he was in this crummy classic! But according to IMDB, the character Farr allegedly portrays – Stobo – is credited to a certain “Al Nesor”, a Broadway character actor whose most famous role was Fleagle Eyed Eagle in Li'l Abner. Not completely satisfied with the answer, I probed further. Googling “Santa Claus Conquers” and “Jamie Farr”, I uncovered some very interesting stuff!

The website badmovieplanet.com claims: “The Martian playing Stobo is not Jamie Farr, as some would have you think. It was Al Nesor, who also played a character in the Li'l Abner musical - who everyone also mistakes as being Farr.”

And this from the NY Times: “Farr was not in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians during this period, as has often been reported; the cast of that turkey included a Broadway actor named Al Nesor, who bore a startling resemblance to Farr and played many of the same type roles.”

Seems like the case was settled. But then I stumbled upon this nugget on: www.alamedatv.org/programs/monster_santa.html

Author Ed Schneider claims: “There has been much debate over whether Jamie Farr (from M*A*S*H) actually appeared in this film. He denies it, but the truth may be he is just ashamed.” Schneider has him credited as “Stobo”.

To support Schneider’s theory, Jamie Farr’s Wikipedia entry confirms: “He may also have played a bit part in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”

Who to believe?

Investigative work is never pretty, and investigating Jamie Farr is not prettier still. I went to http://www.jamiefarr.com/ . The site suspiciously lacks a filmography, usually an indication that there is some work better left “undiscussed“. In fact, the site contains only a few references to his early career before he charges into M*A*S*H.

A “Klinger Cover-up?“ You can’t dress this one up, Farr!

As they say the proof is in the puddin’. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is now in the public domain and available for viewing over the web from many sites for free. So I reviewed the film in detail on http://www.archive.org/.

I urge you to scan the film for yourself (you don’t have to sit through the whole debacle). Find “Stobo“ (he appears several times during the last twenty-five minutes) and tell me: is that Jamie Farr or not?

Here is another interesting fact: according to IMDB.com, Nesor was born in 1911, which would make him 54 years old when Santa was made. The sprightly Stobo was more likely played by someone much younger.

However, my mind was made up after scrutinizing stills from Li’l Abner. I have included a few vidcaps of Al Nesor from that film as well as Stobo pix from SCCTH. It was difficult to nail Stobo to Farr or Nesor vocally, as Stobo mostly giggles through Claus; the few lines he did have were delivered at a high, goofy pitch.

But although Nesor and Farr are doppelgangers, there are slight physical differences that can be detected, specifically around the lines of the mouth (Farr’s are not pronounced), and the sharpness of the nose (Farr’s is rounder). The lines and nose of Nesor match those of Stobo.
As a result, I agree with the Times assessment: Stobo is played by Al Nesor.

My next steps are to ensure the Wikipedia entry for Farr is corrected.

Once again, crummyandhardtofind.blogspot.com is on the job, and justice is served!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lord love ya, Lang Jr.!

Thank you for putting this controversy to rest! I'm glad you took the time to do the rigorous investigation required to resolve this nagging issue.

May I ask one favor? Could you look into the JFK assassination thing?

God bless you!

Little Billy Wiggins

Anonymous said...

Lange,

I admit, I was skeptical, but this investigative piece blows the blogging world's roof off!

I, too, was a supporter of the "Farr as Stobo" cult, but you have done a superb job at cracking the case of mistaken identity. By pinpointing Nesor's facial creases (which these days could be improved by Juvenderm - remember, "parentheses have a place, just not on your face!") and slight differences in their respective olfactory organs. Outstanding!
I hope this gem is nominated for a Pulitzer. This is almost as explosive as the exposing of Kwamee's text messages, except between Nesor's and Farr's combined estates, hush money available to keep this a secret would be estimated at $135.27. Nice to know, Lange, you couldn't be taken in by the allure of big money.

L.C. DeBurgh

Lang Jeffries Jr. said...

Lady C.,

Thanks for your support -- it was a long time in preparation, but I think the world is a better place overall because of it.

As always, your humble servant --

L. jr.

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