The other Channing Pollock

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observer
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The other Channing Pollock

Postby observer » April 6th, 2016, 1:51 pm

I've been doing some light research on Channing Pollock, the one everybody here thinks of when they see that name, and it turns out there's another one.

Channing Pollock (1880-1946) was a playwright, whose big hit apparently came right at the start of his career: Clothes, co-written with Avery Hopwood (a name to conjure with (?) at the time) had a 113-performance run on Broadway and was twice adapted as a film (both versions lost). None of his other plays ran that long, but he was "always working" for several decades afterwards, including writing for the Zeigfeld Follies.

I didn't know this Channing Pollock existed until I started searching the name on amazon. Thought I'd struck gold when I saw Channing Pollock wrote two memoirs: The Adventures of a Happy Man and Harvest of My Years. But then I noticed those were published in 1939 and 1943 respectively. At which point I learned there were two pretty famous performing arts people with the same somewhat unusual name.

The "real" (no offense to the playwright) Channing Pollock was born in 1926, his father was Robert Burns Pollock ... does anyone happen to know offhand if the two Channings were related?

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 6th, 2016, 10:48 pm

I believe distantly related. Perhaps Max can chime in.
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Bill Mullins
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Bill Mullins » April 6th, 2016, 11:50 pm

Here is a photo (bottom row) of the playwright.

Image

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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby performer » April 7th, 2016, 12:03 am

I actually knew the fellow that Channing Pollock gave his act away free to! He was a taxi driver that drove Channing all around London. His name was Frank Brooker. Although the act was never as good as the original it was perfectly serviceable and it made him a decent living and presumably was more fulfilling for him than driving a taxi. Naturally the mean spirited nit picking amateurs tore his act to pieces saying it was not as good as Channing Pollock. Well, it may not have been but it was certainly more than his critics could do. He told me, "These amateurs keep telling me what I do wrong. I don't tell them how to drive their buses"

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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby observer » April 7th, 2016, 12:26 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Here is a photo


Totally cool! And the "Nazimova" pictured is Alla Nazimova, the actress who created the legendary "Garden of Alla*" hotel in Hollywood.

*Originally, later known as the Garden of Allah.

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Matthew Field
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Matthew Field » April 7th, 2016, 4:29 am

I was quite friendly with the late Frank Brooker, who was often at The Magic Circle in London for their Monday meetings. He earned his living with Channing Pollack's act, as gifted to him by Pollack, and was, as I understand it, quite good. But he did not have the presence or good-looks-savoire-faire that Pollack had. He was very personable and I always enjoyed chatting with him.

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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby performer » April 7th, 2016, 6:37 am

I worked with Frank Brooker in Belfast.

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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Larry S. » April 7th, 2016, 2:32 pm

This is not magic-related, but I wanted to share, in case folks were interested:

For the 'old movie' fans on the forum: Channing Pollock was the writer employed to rewrite and cut the German film "Metropolis" (1925, directed by Fritz Lang). You can read about his revisions on the Net; he simplified and altered the plot for a shorter running time. Personally, I always found it hard to follow this version.

The restoration of the film in recent years (along with the original orchestral score) has been a real treat for fans of old silent movies. And the plot (almost) made sense to me!

Larry

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 7th, 2016, 2:42 pm

Yes, Metropolis deserved to be restored to its full length. Makes a lot more sense.
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Joe Pecore
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby Joe Pecore » April 7th, 2016, 3:41 pm

In MAGIC CIRCULAR, may 2006, page 166

"Named after the playwright of the same name (but no relation), Channing Pollock was born in 1926 in California...."
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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby observer » April 7th, 2016, 6:59 pm

Joe Pecore wrote:In MAGIC CIRCULAR, may 2006, page 166

"Named after the playwright of the same name (but no relation), Channing Pollock was born in 1926 in California...."


That seemed odd, since the playwright one seemed respectable but not really anybody you'd name a kid after. So I looked a bit more & found that the magician's mother met the playwright just before the magician was born & that the playwright suggested "Channing" would be a good first name. (per the magician himself, via allaboutmagicians dot com)

Also the playwright was a somewhat bigger deal than I thought. His biggest success actually came in 1922, when The Fool, a sort of religious allegory, had a 272-performance run on Broadway, followed by numerous roadshow performances over the following years. By that stage of his life he saw himself as a champion of The Common Man, as against cynical sophisticate types (such as theater critics, who generally did not care for The Fool or his subsequent works).

PS - Performer will be interested to hear that our Channing Pollock (not the other one) "became interested in magic after seeing a demonstration of a svengali deck" (also from allaboutmagicians dot com).

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Re: The other Channing Pollock

Postby performer » April 7th, 2016, 10:40 pm

observer wrote:




PS - Performer will be interested to hear that our Channing Pollock (not the other one) "became interested in magic after seeing a demonstration of a svengali deck" (also from allaboutmagicians dot com).[/quote]

Oh, he isn't the first one. Many famous performers were enticed into the business by people like me selling them a svengali deck. Incidentally, the first time I heard of Pollock's retirement I was taken by surprise as he was pretty big in London at the time. I was working at l'Hirondelle nightclub in Swallow Street when a very extrovert comedian in the dressing room told me, "Did you know that Channing Pollock just retired? He married a Chinese millionairess!" I have no idea if the statement was true. I am just reciting the incident as I remember it.


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