Kit Guard: The Dane Who Wasn’t Dane

Okay, stay with me, now: as Karl Dane is to George Arthur, so is Kit Guard to Al Cooke. Right now you’re probably making a face like Guard (above) but I assure you there is a sense to this classic comedy SAT answer. Like Karl Dane, Guard (Christen Klitgaard, 1894-1961) was the Danish member of his sometime comedy team.

Born in Denmark, Guard immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of six, and later lived in San Francisco, and New York City. Prior to going into pictures in 1920, he worked as a blacksmith, served in World War One, and put in eight years in the theatre. In the films, he was attached to several comedy series at F.B.O.. He was third billed as K.O.. Kelly in to dozens of George O’Hara’s “Fighting Blood” boxing comedies. Al Cooke played Nate the Fight Promoter in those, and this is when their association began. In 1924 Guard played hotel managers and bellhops variously called Jerry and Jimmy in Alberta Vaughn’s “Telephone Girl” comedies, again with Cooke. Then came a series of 12 “Pacemaker” comedies in 1925, again with the same bunch of O’Hara, Vaughn, Cooke and Guard. In the “Bill Grimm’s Progress” series (1926) he played a character named Butch. Then came the “Wiscrackers” series and so on through the end of the silent era.

Like so many others, Guard became a bit player in the talkie era however, mostly in comedies and westerns, often as thugs and henchmen. Some of his comedies, show biz stories and related films included The Bowery (1933), Carnival Lady (1933), several Frank Capra films, Wheeler and Woosley’s Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934), Harold Lloyd’s The Cat’s Paw (1934) and Professor Beware (1938), Mae West’s Belle of the Nineties (1934), The Mighty Barnum (1935), Naughty Marietta (1935), Barbara Coast (1935), Joe E. Brown’s When’s Your Birthday? (1937), Dick Tracy (1937), Mandrake the Magician (1939), Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939), Laurel and Hardy’s The Flying Deuces (1939), My Little Chickadee (1940), several Three Stooges shorts, Tin Pan Alley (1940), Alias Boston Blackie (1942), several Abbott and Costello pictures, etc etc etc. One of his last was The Joker is Wild (1957). His last was Revolt in the Big House (1958). All told, Guard appeared in well 400 motion pictures.

For more on silent and classic comedy, read  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.