The Whit Bissell Wonder Show

Whit’s the one on the right.

In a career that spanned over 50 years (1933-1984), and over 300 roles in all genres, given the season, we’d like to begin by pointing out all of the horror and sci fi movies that character actor Whit Bissell (1909-1996) played in, usually as doctors or military men, ranging from small supporting roles to leads. His credits in the genre include Lost Continent (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Target Earth (1954), The Atomic Kid (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), I Was a Teenage Frankenstien (1957), Monster on the Campus (1958), The Time Machine (1960), Soylent Green (1973), Pyschic Killer (1975), and a 1978 made-for-tv remake of The Time Machine. He was also on the TV series The Time Tunnel (on which he was a regular 1966-67), Star Trek (the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode, 1967), Land of the Giants (1970), and Project U.F.O. (1978). He’s also in the disaster movies Airport (1970) and Flood! (1976).

Bissell was also in numerous notable westerns, including Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), many episodes of shows like The Rifleman and Wagon Train, as well as The Hallelujah Trail (1965), Five Card Stud (1968) and the 1977 tv version of The Last of the Mohicans.

The first dozen years of Bissell’s career (1932-1944) were spent on Broadway. Given the conspicuous paucity of comedy credits in his resume, I am amused (though I probably wouldn’t have been amused) to see that he once played Touchstone in As You Like It. Bissel was the son of a New York City physician — no doubt one reason why those white lab coats hung so good on him.