You’ve undoubtedly seen Clarence Kolb (born this day in 1874) more than once in your movie watching history without knowing it. He was a popular character actor in films of the 30s and 40s, including Carefree with Astaire and Rogers, His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Hellzapoppin with Olsen and Johnson, as well as a regular on the television show My Little Margie. Before that though, he was one half of the team Kolb and Dill, among the top Weber and Fields copy-cat acts of their day. Kolb and his partner Max Dill grew up together in Cleveland, where they began performing together as boys. So excellent were they at doing Weber and Fields type schtick they were hired by the famous team to play themselves in the west coast tour of their 1901 show Fiddle-Dee-Dee. Thereafter, they were San Francisco based. They enjoyed success for many years in the theatre. During the silent era they made a few comedies, but didn’t click with audiences. When talkies happened, Kolb got work, Dill didn’t. Dill passed away in 1949, Kolb in 1964.
To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.