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James C. Morton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James C. Morton
James Carmody Lankton

(1884-08-25)August 25, 1884
DiedOctober 24, 1942(1942-10-24) (aged 58)
Reseda, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1922–1942

James Carmody Lankton (August 25, 1884 – October 24, 1942), known professionally as James C. Morton, was an American character actor, specializing in short-tempered judges, police officers and officials.[1] He appeared in more than 180 films between 1922 and 1942.

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Born in Helena, Montana, Morton is best known to modern audiences as the hapless soul whose toupée was often removed at the most inopportune times. Perhaps the best known example of this embarrassment is in the Three Stooges film Disorder in the Court, in which Larry Fine's violin bow yanks Morton's hairpiece off. The Stooges then misinterpret the toupée as a wild tarantula, leading Moe Howard to grab a pistol from a court bailiff and shoot it.[2]

Another example is in the 1935 Our Gang short Beginner's Luck where Morton is a piano accompanist to the amateur talent in a neighborhood kids' show, and the Rascals—causing all kinds of raucous disarray in the front row—knock off his toupée with a gust of air; Morton turns to them saying, "You kids are beginning to get into my hair!" Morton also appeared as the bartender who provides Oliver Hardy with a wooden mallet to shut up Stan Laurel singing "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" in the film Way Out West.

Morton appeared in many Hal Roach productions, playing supporting roles with Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy,[3] and also played a small role in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. Approaching 50 he performed a difficult backwards fall and lifted himself into a headstand using only his neck muscles for the Pitts and Todd 1932 short The Soilers, directed by   George Marshall.

On the Los Angeles stage Morton played the title role of Tik-Tok in The Tik-Tok Man of Oz (1913), by L. Frank Baum, Louis F. Gottschalk, Victor Schertzinger and Oliver Morosco.

In the early 1910s Morton appeared in a vaudeville and burlesque duo, Morton & Moore, with actor Frank Moore, playing at the Alhambra Theatre in Harlem and in The Merry Whirl on Broadway.[4][5][6]


Morton died of chronic myocarditis on October 24, 1942, in Reseda, California at age 58. He had suffered from the condition for approximately 11 years.[7]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ James C. Morton bio at
  2. ^ Disorder in the Court at
  3. ^ "Fandango: James C. Morton". Fandango. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2008.
  4. ^ "Week's offerings at theatres", The New York Times, August 23, 1910 (pg. 9)
  5. ^ The Merry Whirl
  6. ^ Vaudeville Old & New – An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America. Volume 1. pg. 448. Frank Cullen; Florence Hackman; Donald McNeilly. Routledge. 2004.
  7. ^ Lassin, Gary (Fall 1987). "A Look at: James C. Morton". The Three Stooges Journal (43). Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania: The Three Stooges Fan Club, Inc.: 7.
  8. ^ Great Movie Musicals on DVD - A Classic Movie Fan's Guide by John Howard Reid - Google search with book preview

External links

This page was last edited on 20 April 2024, at 00:22
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