Todd Gault's Movie Serial Experience

Todd Gault's Film Serial Experience: Movie serials, cliffhangers and reviews. A gallery of movie serial stars.
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"Flying Disc Man From Mars"; Republic, 1951.

Gregory Gay enjoyed the same kind of reputaion as Leo Carillo, a master of a variety of foreign accents. It probably came naturally to him when he emigrated to the US from Russia in (1919), and being an actor needed to lose his thick accent to make his voice more aceptable to theater audiences. His film debut was in They Had to See Paris (1929).

His learned versatility served him well as he enjoyed a long career as a popular character actor, playing a myriad of nationalities in films like British Agent (1934), Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936), Ninotchka (1939), Casablanca (1942), Pursuit to Algiers (1946), The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947) and Black Magic (1949).

Such talent at accents made him a natural to appear in serials as villains. Columbia featured him as Nazi spy in their war time superhero opus The Secret Code (1942). But it was Republic who really made use of him in the fifties. Using an accent that had no known counterpart on Earth, Gay played a Martian invader in Flying Disc Man From Mars (1951). Using the same voice he was promoted to Martian ruler in their short lived TV show Commander Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe. Though each episode was complete in itself, the show ran in theaters serial fashion after it's syndicated TV run. Republic's final serial featured Gay as a counterfeiter who worked out of a submerged submarine in King of the Carnival (1955).

After his time in serials it was back to business as usual, with Gay contributing his distinctive touch to such diverse films as The Creature With the Atom Brain (1955), Auntie Mame (1958), Ocean's Eleven (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961) and The Prize (1963).The spy craze of the sixties gave Gay a ton of TV work playing foreign dignitaries on shows like Mission I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E.. His final film appearance was in the disasterous disaster film The Meteor (1979) as the Russian Premiere (how's that for irony).

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