|The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.|
(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Stanley Louis Price
1892 or 1893 - 1955
Stanley Louis Price was born December 31, 1892 or 1893 in Atchison, Kansas to Frank Henry Price and Laura Elizabeth Pratt.
Cast listing for the December, 1923 opening of "Abie's Irish Rose" at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago ... with Stanley Price as "Abie" ("Abraham Levy").
After exiting "Abie's Irish Rose", Stanley formed his own touring company ... and future wife Frances Severns was his leading lady.
In Summer - Fall, 1926, they spent months doing their repertoire of plays at the Post Theater in Battle Creek, Michigan. Their next stop was a lengthy run at the Temple Theater in Hammond, Indiana and the above newspaper ad is from October, 1926.
The June 8, 1927 Variety noted that "Stanley Price closed his stock at the Temple, Hammond, after thirty weeks."
His acting skills were developed on the stage and with touring repertory companies. And he served in the military during World War I.
His first wife was actress Mabelle Estelle, and they met when working together in plays. They married circa 1920, but the relationship was troubled and stormy, and Price filed for divorce in 1925 in Chicago. He was finally granted the divorce in 1928.
Circa 1923 - 1926, there's many trade and newspaper mentions of Price playing "Abie" in a touring company for "Abie's Irish Rose". October 13, 1923 issue of Billboard reported that Price and the Abie troupe had completed a record twenty-nine week run in Pittsburg. And a May, 1925 announcement in Variety noted that the group had completed fifty-eight weeks at Chicago's Studebaker Theater, eleven weeks at the Garrick Theater in Milwaukee, and started playing the Garrick Theater in Detroit.
There's some links below to newspaper articles and obituary on Stanley, and that he did 1100+ ... 1700+ ... 2200+ performances of "Abie". Unsure of his real performance numbers but rough math calculations based on the above play dates indicates at least 900. Must have been difficult living out of a suitcase for years. And the schedule was grueling: six or seven evening performances per week plus two matinees a week.
After his time as "Abie" ended, Stanley toured for a while and then settled in Hollywood and a movie career.
During the Chicago version of "Abie", Price met actress Frances Severns. They married circa 1929 and had two children - daughter Frances was born December, 1929 in Chicago, and son Stanley Otis Price was born June, 1932 in Los Angeles.
Stanley became a familiar figure - wearing either cowboy outfits or suits - in B westerns, serials, and assorted A and B grade films of the 1930s through the mid 1950s.
Les Adams has him identified in about 200 sound era films. Les adds some further statistics and comments:
- Price did about 100 westerns and 39 serials.
- 49 westerns were for Monogram/AlliedArtists, and includes 16 with Johnny Mack Brown and 12 with Whip Wilson.
- also did 12 Bill Elliott's at Monogram and Republic.
- had 10 westerns and 18 serials at Republic from 1938-1950.
- In addition to Elliott, Brown and Wilson, Price did B-westerns with Dorothy Page, William Boyd, Don Barry, Tex Ritter, Tom Keene, Bob Steele, Range Busters, Bob Livingston, Texas Rangers, Roy Rogers, Charles Starrett, Eddie Dean, Sunset Carson, Allan Lane, Lash LaRue, James Ellison/Russell Hayden series, Gene Autry and Wayne Morris.
- also had at least 18 'Dialogue Director' credits.
- I rank him with Karl Hackett and Ted Adams as the most bland of villains. They always struck me as thespians looking for a quick exit, stage left.
Price occasionally played the main villain / brains heavy. But most often, he was a western or serial henchman or in the background as a doctor, barkeep, lawman, etc.
Some may describe him as quirky, off-beat, hammy. He did use facial expressions and body language to bolster his on screen presence. In some roles, he was crazed ... or terrified ... or just plain nervous, confused, or dumbfounded. And I always felt that his voice was too monotone (boring).
A few highlights of Stanley Price in B grade oaters, cliffhangers ... and with the Three Stooges:
- Price was a crooked mine owner working with Warner Richmond vs. singin' cowgal Dorothy Page in WATER RUSTLERS (Grand National, 1939).
- he's the brains heavy in Tom Keene's DRIFTIN' KID (Monogram, 1941).
- he's good ranch hand 'Pancho' and helps George Turner and Peggy Stewart overcome Roy Barcroft and gang in SON OF ZORRO (Republic, 1946; 13 chapters).
- he's one of the politicians attempting to run Chief Thundercloud and his tribe off their land in Eddie Dean's ROMANCE OF THE WEST (PRC, 1946).
- he has lots of screen time and dialog as 'The Phantom Ruler' in the mediocre serial THE INVISIBLE MONSTER (Republic, 1950; 12 chapters).
- Price is the demented helper to mad scientist Phil Van Zandt in In DOPEY DICKS (Columbia, 1950), a Three Stooges comedy with Moe, Larry and Shemp.
In his later years, he occasionally returned to the stage. There's a link below to a 1948 newspaper article noting that Price was back playing "Judas" in the 21st annual "Pilgrimage Play" in Los Angeles.
His last screen work was in the early 1950s at Lippert in the six Jimmy Ellison / Russell Hayden sagebrushers; at Monogram / Allied Artists in films starring Whip Wilson, Johnny Mack Brown and Bill Elliott; and at Columbia in a few of Three Stooges shorts. Supposedly, he had an unbilled role in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (Paramount, 1956) which was released the year after his death. I've never been able to spot him among the gazillions of faces in that Cecil B. DeMille epic.
He turns up as a frequent dialogue director / supervisor / coach in 1940s - 1950s films helmed by Thomas Carr, Lewis D. Collins, William Berke, the great Samuel Fuller, and a few others. His dialogue credits include one of my favorite war films, THE STEEL HELMET (Lippert, 1951), which was written and directed by Samuel Fuller and starred Gene Evans as the cigar chomping 'Sergeant Zack'.
Some biographies erroneously list him as a story and / or screenplay writer. He is probably confused with Stanley Price (1931 - 2019) who did writing and screenplays for films and TV in the 1960s - 1990s.
His stage and movie career amounted to about forty years.
Stanley Price suffered a heart attack at his Los Angeles home and passed away at his doctor's office on July 13, 1955.
Wife Frances married again and she died in 1997.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Stanley Price: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0697156/
A few Newspaper articles on Stanley and Frances ... and these links will open in a separate window / tab:
- October, 1924 article on "Abie's Irish Rose" being Chicago's biggest hit. 400 performances had been done, and they were beginning year two. Stanley Price played "Abie": https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106585999/stanley-price-as-abie-in-the-chicago/
- Actress Frances Severns and Stanley Price married circa 1929. There's a large photo of Frances in a May, 1924 article and she was playing one of the bridesmaids in the Chicago run of "Abie's Irish Rose": https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106913522/chicago-tribune/
- November, 1925 article on Stanley L. Price filing for divorce from actress wife Mabelle Estelle in Chicago: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106642809/st-louis-globe-democrat/
- In October, 1926, Stanley and his stock company were in Hammond, Indiana performing "The Cat and the Canary". Future wife Frances Severns was in the act. Another member of the troupe was Milton Kibbee - brother of actor Guy Kibbee - and he wound up playing character and bit parts in about 400 films: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106583891/stanley-price-stock-company-performing/
- In September, 1927, Price was with the Roberson-Smith Players in Lexington, Kentucky. The article includes a large photo of a young Stanley: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106583775/the-lexington-herald/
- June, 1948 announcement that Price had returned to his role as "Judas" in the annual "Pilgrimage Play" in Los Angeles: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106709913/stage-and-movie-actor-stanley-price/
- September, 1953 article about actor Stanley Price working as a dialogue director at Fox ... and raising chinchillas to supplement his Hollywood income: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/106584879/actor-stanley-price-raises-chinchillas/
Price didn't spend much time on the New York stage. The Internet Broadway Database only shows him working in the brief 1929 New York City run of the comedy "Adam's Apple": https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/stanley-price-56590
Daniel Neyer's "The Files of Jerry Blake" website has lots of details on Stanley Price in serials: https://filesofjerryblake.com/serial-henchmen/stanley-price/
The Three Stooges Net website includes a listing of the various cast members in the Stooges' shorts, and here's Stanley Price with the zany trio: http://www.threestooges.net/cast/actor/276/
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Index, death certificate, newspapers, and trade publications provide more on Stanley Price and family:
- 1895 Kansas census - living in Atchison, Kansas were 37 year old Frank H. Price (born Michigan; occupation "Mail Carrier"), his 36 year old wife Lilly E. (born Maryland), and four sons, 10 year old James L., 8 year old Frank H., 4 year old Leonard, and 2 year old Stanley: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QL8J-RTG2
- 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri are 49 year old Laura E. Price (widowed) along with three sons and a daughter. One of the sons was 17 year old Stanley Price, born 1893 in Kansas, and occupation of "Operator - Packing Plant": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2TZ-ZMZ
- World War I draft registration dated June 4, 1917 - Stanley Louis Price was born December 31, 1893 in Atchison, Kansas. He was single; resided in St. Joseph, Missouri; was the primary support for his mother; and occupation was self employed "Theatrical": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K3R5-2PV
- In a February, 1918 Variety, there's mention of Chicago show folks who had enlisted for World War I service - Stanley L. Price was on the list.
- Fold3 Military records had a passenger list with Sergeant First Class Stanley Louis Price departing on the ship America from Hoboken, New Jersey on June 10, 1918. His contact was brother James Price, St. Joseph, Missouri (brother James was the oldest son in the 1895 Kansas census above).
- December 2, 1925 Variety had an article on the beginnings of Stanley Price's messy divorce from stage actress Mabelle Estelle in Chicago.
- May 16, 1928 Variety reported that Price was granted the divorce in Chicago from Mabelle Estelle and grounds were desertion.
- Cook County, Illinois birth record for Frances Price. She was born December 4, 1929 in Chicago to Stanley Louis Price and Frances Severns: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDC-2C73
- 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - Stanley Price (occupation "Actor - Stage"), wife Frances (occupation "Actress - Theater"), and their daughter Frances (born Illinois and about 3 months old) were living in Chicago with Frances' parents, Otis W. And Julia Severns: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XS59-KJ1
- California Birth Index for Stanley Otis Price. He was born June 14, 1932 in Los Angeles, and mother's maiden name was Severns: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2RD-WQG
- 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in Los Angeles were 45 year old Stanley Price (born Kansas), 35 year old wife Frances (born Illinois), 10 year old daughter Frances (born Illinois) and 7 year old son Stanley (born California). They owned their home at 2022 Fairborn Avenue, Los Angeles. Stanley's occupation was "Free Lance Actor - Screen and Stage", and in 1939, he worked 52 weeks and earned $2700.00: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9CP-GYV
- Ancestry.com had his World War II draft registration - 49 year old Stanley Louis Price was born December 31, 1892 in Atchison, Kansas. He and wife Frances lived at 2022 Fairborn Avenue, West Los Angeles, California, and his occupation was "Free lance actor - Darmour Studio": https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4DC-KGD
- Death certificate: 62 year old Stanley L. Price was born December 31, 1892 in Kansas; was a World War I veteran; and his occupation was "Actor - Motion Pictures". Wife Frances Price was the death certificate informant, and they lived at 19908 Strathern Street, Los Angeles. He passed away on July 13, 1955 from heart / coronary problems at 7012 Reseda Boulevard, Los Angeles. (Price was at a medical facility when he passed. The doctor signing his death certificate lists his office address as 7012 Reseda Boulevard.) Funeral director was W. A. Brown and Son and cremation at Rosedale Crematory. In September, 1955, there was a corrected death certificate to show his parents as Frank H. Price and Laura Elizabeth Pratt.
- California Death Index has a record for Stanley L. Price, born 12/31/1892 in Kansas, Mother's maiden name of Pratt, and he passed away on 7/13/1955: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPWM-2X2
- Death notice for Stanley Price in the July 14, 1955 Los Angeles Citizen News - mentions that he suffered a heart attack at home and passed away at his doctor's office: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/83151037/stanley-price-obituary/
Find A Grave website has Stanley Price interred at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9982468/stanley-price
Stanley's wife Frances married again - Frances Price Sebby (1904 - 1997) is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75099221/frances-price-sebby
|(From Old Corral collection)
Above - Tom Mix has Stanley Price corralled in a lobby card from THE MIRACLE RIDER (Mascot, 1935) chapterplay. Did ya catch the boo-boo in this lobby card? Take a gander at the left side holster on Mix and Price. They did an image reversal/flip when they produced this card. Mix wore his sixgun on his right hip.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Tom Keene lands a right to the jaw of Stanley Price in the pressbook cover of Keene's LONE STAR LAW MEN (Monogram, 1941). In this, Price played "Moose Mason", one of Charlie King's gang. Betty Miles is riding her horse Sonny in the bottom right.
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above from left to right are House Peters Jr., I. Stanford Jolley, Stanley Price, Whip Wilson and Tommy Farrell in Whip's last starring film, WYOMING ROUNDUP (Monogram, 1952).