Question Of The Week: Seeing Actors In Early Roles

Part of the fun of being a pop culture aficionado is when you see actors you recognize in early roles. This is on my mind because I watched my first, and only, episode of The Donna Reed Show the other day for another project. The man playing Donna Reed’s hairstylist had a really familiar energy to him, and eventually I realized that it was a mustache-less John Astin. A few years before he played Gomez Addams he was getting an early TV role. After that, I realized the woman playing Reed’s friend was Cloris Leachman. I saw her in the episode first, but it wasn’t until near the end of the episode I realized who it was.

George Clooney is our Neighbor! The Facts of Life: The Complete ...

I was very amused at recognizing both of those actors as younger versions of themselves than I’m used to. It feels rewarding in a certain way. You don’t know those actors are showing up. They may not even be credited. And yet, because of your knowledge of movies and TV you can pinpoint them. It’s even more fun when it isn’t a future star. It’s one thing to clock George Clooney on The Facts of Life, but noticing Rachael Harris in the pilot of Spenser: For Hire? That’s entertaining.

So that’s my question to you this week? Do you enjoy when you recognize notable actors in small, early roles? If so, what are some of your favorite instances of that? Maybe seeing Oscar Nunez in The Italian Job remake? Amy Irving as Ralph Malph’s girlfriend in one episode of Happy Days? Let me know!

About Chris Morgan

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