Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fritz Feld and Virginia Christine

Fritz Feld was a German-born actor who started his career in Germany in about 1920, then moved to the United States in the late 1920s and continued his movie career in Hollywood. He was a character actor, usually playing comedic roles, but was adept at drama too. Most of his roles had him as a headwaiter, chef, professor, and the like. He developed a gesture which became his trademark- he'd make a "pop" sound with his mouth by slapping it with the open palm of his hand. This was done when his character would indicate annoyance with the situation at hand.

Virginia Christine was an American actress who began her career in the 1940s. She appeared in many movies as well as tv shows, right through the 1970s. She became best known as 'Mrs. Olson', the spokesperson for Folger's Coffee in their tv commercials during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Felds were listed in the Los Angeles phone directory, and one evening in 1980, I called them. Mr. Feld answered the phone, and he was really delighted to hear from a fan, especially one who was calling from across the country in New York. We had a light conversation for a few minutes, during which I told him how much I enjoyed his movie appearances. He thanked me, and then asked if I'd like to speak to Mrs. Feld. Before I could answer, he told me she was the actress Virginia Christine (I'd already known it), and then he called her to the phone. She was pleasant to talk to, and thanked me for my comments (I'd only seen her in a few tv shows and couple of movies, but was very familiar with her as 'Mrs. Olson'). I told her I'd like to have a signed photo from each of them, for my collection, and she took down my address.

In two weeks, an envelope arrived with two signed photos - this one from Mr. Feld, and this one, as 'Mrs. Olson', from Miss Christine.

For a look at a vintage 1960s Folger's tv commercial featuring Virginia Christine, look here.

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