Character actor John George is not immediately recognizable to most readers of The Missing Link, but he repeatedly appears in horror movies from the genre's heyday. John George seems to have passed everyone's attention, achieving little recognition because almost all the films of his fifty year career afforded him only the briefest of appearances. But believe us, he is there, and probably resides amongst your very own video collection.
The Missing Link Proudly Presents

John George in The UnknownJohn George,
Just Another Face
in the Crowd?


John George in The Unknown (1927)When you begin to look for John George, you'll discover that this diminuitive hunchbacked actor is easily identifiable in films from all genres and alongside many of the biggest stars in the industry including Lon Chaney, Conrad Veidt, Lionel and John Barrymore, James Cagney, Laurel and Hardy, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, and John Wayne.
Compiling a list of John George sightings has become something of a quest, one we wish that you will join to build up a bigger picture of this small man.

What background information we have managed to unearth is limited, but we do know that he was born on the 21st January 1898 in Syria as Tufei Fatella. According to Liam O'Leary's exhaustive research into the life of director Rex Ingram, John George left his native country in 1911 and arrived in the United States by "devious means" to search for his mother and sisters who had settled somewhere in Nashville, Tennessee. Eventually his search for work led him to Hollywood where he began to frequent the numerous casting bureaus.

John George as a villager in The Conquering Power (1921) John George's first assignment was for Rex Ingram in Black Orchids (1916), a lively melodrama filled with gothic trappings that include a castle, a dungeon, poison, duels and the occult. George was cast as Ali Bara, a role he would repeat for Ingram as Achmet in the director's remake Trifling Women (1922). Ingram eventually earned himself a reputation for the bizarre and frequently cast dwarves and hunchbacks in his films. John George would work for Ingram in a further six films: The Reward of the Faithless (1917), a grotesque drama titled The Conquering Power (1921) with Rudolph Valentino and Alice Terry, THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1922) as "The Lizard", WHERE THE PAVEMENT ENDS (1923) as "Napuka Joe", SCARAMOUCHE (1923) as Polichinelle a strolling player, and finally in MARE NOSTRUM (1925-26) filmed for Ingram's own studios in the South of France.

Reknowned director Michael Powell began his career as an apprentice for Rex Ingram in Nice. Powell recalls in his autobiography "A Life in the Movies" that "[John George] had been a permanent member of Rex's troupe for some years. He was a well known Hollywood character and a good actor...he had a beautiful face and fine eyes".
Despite George's long association with Ingram, Liam O'Leary remarks that the director became so annoyed with George's obsession with gambling on the set of MARE NOSTRUM that he paid the fare to send George back to America.

George with Barbara La Marr in Trifling Women (1922)John George had worked with Lon Chaney on PAY ME in 1917 and again worked with him in a role as a bar patron and gang member named Humpy in OUTSIDE THE LAW (1920), a role he repeated in a remake ten years later for another director with a penchant for the grotesque, Tod Browning.
At MGM. in 1926, John George featured as "Yakmo" for director Tod Browning with Chaney once again in THE ROAD TO MANDALAY as a servant to Singapore Joe's daughter, (Lois Moran). However, it was in his next role for Tod Browning that provided him with some notiriety. In The Unknown George was cast as "Cojo", sidekick to Alonzo the Armless, ( Lon Chaney), who pretends to have no arms in his carnival act in order to evade the law. Cojo's first appearance is dressed in a Devil outfit handing sharp knives to Alonzo in a scene with a young Joan Crawford who was then taking her first tentative steps on the screen as Estrellita being defrocked by Alonzo who uses only the dexterity of his feet and a gun. Real Media Video Clip
George later appeared in an unbilled cameo role for the glamourised Lon Chaney biopic The Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) starring James Cagney, as one of the extras in the bullpen scene who have gathered to see if they fit the requirements for roles on offer by the studios. This seems to be John George's last known screen appearance.

George (left) with Rosita Garcia, Hughie Mack and Shorty Ben Mairech in Mare Nostrum (1926) Afficionados of the horror genre might be able to identify John George alongside Boris Karloff as a sideshow mesmerist's assistant in The Bells (1926); in The Man Who Laughs (1928) for Paul Leni as the coachman who escorts Gwymplaine, marvellously portrayed by Conrad Veidt, from the carnival to the boudoir of the seductive Duchess Josiana, ( Olga Baclanova). In addition, a brief shot of him appears in Dracula (1931) as one of Abraham Van Helsing's assistants and is on screen long enough to utter the ominous name of "Nos...feratu!". In fact, John George is the only cast member to appear in both the Spanish and English version of DRACULA. He pops up again as one of Dr. Moreau's hideously mutilated "manimals" in Paramount's extraordinary Island of Lost Souls (1932); as a barely noticable cultist in Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934); as a sideshow member named Abdullah in Dante's Inferno (1935); and in James Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as one of the villagers who converge on the burgomeister's house to report a sighting of the monster.
In Columbia's The Black Room (1935) George is afforded a sentence of dialogue as a barman who is collecting the empty glasses from the establishment's customers and as a gypsy in the opening scene of Tod Browning's Mark of the Vampire (1935). He appears again as a villager in Tower of London (1939) and later in his career as one of Dr. Aranya's, (Jackie Coogan), minions in the awful, but entertaining Mesa of Lost Women (1949) beside another diminuitive actor named Angelo Rossitto.

John George in the Devil costume for The Unknown (1927)It remains a wonder that John George is not to be found amongst the caravans and canvas of Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) after appearing in six of the director's films. Perhaps his photograph can be found amongst the many rejected applications submitted to MGM at the time which are now housed in The Margaret Herrick Library at The American Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, (A.M.P.A.S) in Beverly Hills.

Appearances continue to be found in such films as DON JUAN (1926); the Ronald Coleman vehicles THE UNHOLY GARDEN (1931) and THE MAN WHO BROKE THE BANK AT MONTE CARLO (1935) in which he appears as a "lucky dwarf"! Another entry to the ongoing list is Laurel and Hardy's magnificent Babes In Toyland (1934) with George as the evil Silas Barnaby's accomplice. There is also the Technicolor GARDEN OF ALLAH (1935), Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935), THE JUNGLE PRINCESS (1936), SECRETS OF SCOTLAND YARD (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). The list seems to go on and on until his death from emphysema on August 25th. 1968 in Los Angeles at the ripe age of 70. He is buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

To date this is all our research and keen eyes have uncovered together with a few unconfirmed sightings that may be attributed to another completely dissimilar actor named John George and have been listed by other researchers in the confusion.
You'll rarely find our diminutive John George amongst the screen credits, but we assure you that he is very likely to appear when you least expect him to!

 

Latest Sightings:
Thanks to Al Westerfield who spotted John George in the opening scene of Ronald Coleman's version of IF I WERE KING, the king's guard is marching through the town when a spy comes up and whispers in the captain Henry Wilcoxin's ear. It is John George - no billing.

Al has found John again this time in GARDEN OF ALLAH. When Shildkraut takes Dietrich to a club and after the principal dancer finishes; John George appears with a plate of refreshments for the dancer. He's on screen about 2 seconds.

Filmography
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