Here's a collection of popular myths about Bogie and his films:
- Bogie's birthdate
- According to The Complete Films of Humphrey Bogart, Bogie was actually born on January 23, 1899. Warner publicity later "changed" his birthdate to December 25, "possibly to foster the view that a man born on Christmas Day couldn't really be as villainous as he appeared to be on screen."
As Laurie McLaughlin points out, however, Lauren Bacall wrote in her autobiography that she and Bogie celebrated his birthday on Christmas and that he felt he was cheated out of a birthday by being born on that day. The book Bogart & Bacall describes Maude Bogart giving birth on Christmas Day, 1899. And Robert Young writes, "I actually have a copy of Bogie and Bacall's marriage license application. It has Bogie's date of birth and also has Natalie Bacall's consent signature. I got it right out of the Richland County, Ohio, Probate Court records office when Kristin and I were there last year. December 25, 1899 is what the document states as Mr. Bogarts date of birth. New York City, New York." Finally, according to Bogart, by Sperber & Lax, "The Ontario County Times, which kept tabs on the region's notables, announced in its January 10, 1900, issue: 'Born: at New York, Dec. 25, 1899, to Dr. and Mrs. Belmont DeForest Bogart, a son.'"
Showing the guile of Spade, Marlowe and Clouseau combined, Ray Papa has tracked down actual US Census data showing that Bogart was definitely born in December, 1899! Case closed.
- How Bogie got his lisp
- According to press releases, Bogie got his distinctive lisp because a splinter from a ship's rail destroyed in a submarine attack hit him in the face while serving as a boatswain's mate onboard the U.S.S. Leviathan, a troop transport during WWI. According to Bogart and Bacall, though, Bogie's father hit him in the mouth when he was about 10 years old. And Brian Thornton recalls reading in another biography that Bogie himself always maintained that he was working a brig detail, and was hit in the face with handcuffs by an inmate trying to make an escape.
As J.D. Clark points out, in David Niven's book, Bring on the Empty Horses, Niven wrote:
"His famous lisp was caused by a badly performed operation on his lower lip in which a splinter of wood had become embedded. 'Goddamn doctor--instead of stitching it up, he screwed it up.'
I asked him how the piece of wood had got into his lip in the first place. 'Accident as a kid,' he shrugged. The Warner Brothers publicity department improved upon this and announced that it was a 'shrapnel wound suffered during combat in World War I.'"
On the other hand, as Marey Mac noted, according to Louise Brooks in her book Lulu in Hollywood, when she knew Bogart in the late 1920s/early 1930s there was nothing wrong with the way he talked. In fact, he practised different ways of speaking to make himself seem "more original."
- Ronald Reagan was originally cast as Rick in Casablanca
- According to Round Up the Usual Suspects,
Reagan was never seriously considered for the role. A press release announcing that Reagan and Ann Sheridan would star as Rick and Ilsa was simply a publicity stunt, "little different from the false publicity about a star taking a lovely bath by candlelight during the first blackout of the war." In fact, "no one except Bogart was seriously considered by [producer Hal] Wallis for the part."
- Bogie was the Gerber baby
- I had never heard this one before a web search turned it up, but apparently it was rumored that Bogie is the baby whose picture is featured on Gerber baby food products. But it's not true. Bogie was used as a model by his mother, an advertising artist, and he appeared on products by a company named Mellin, but Gerber didn't even exist until he was around 28 years old.
The actual model for the Gerber baby was Ann Turner Cook.
- Bogie and Ed Sullivan were brothers
- I don't know how or why this one got started, but apparently a lot of people have heard it. It's simply not true. According to all the biographies, Bogie had two sisters and no brothers. End of story.
- Did Andy Williams dub Lauren Bacall's singing?
- According to legend, Andy Williams sang for Bacall in To Have and Have Not. However, according to Bogart, by Sperber & Lax, "Some later accounts alleged that the actual singing was done by a very young Andy Williams, dubbed in for Bacall. But studio memos and production reports make it clear that the voice in the film is her own."
According to the Wikipedia article on To Have and Have Not:
There is a persistent myth that teenage boy Andy Williams, the future singing star, dubbed the singing for Bacall. According to authoritative sources, including Hawks and Bacall, this was not true. Williams and some female singers were tested to dub for Bacall, because of fears that she lacked the necessary vocal skills. But those fears proved groundless, and she did the singing herself.
However, the same article adds:
Andy Williams says he sang the song and that it is his voice you hear.
And on NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" broadcast of December 19, 2009, Williams says he sang How Little We Know and it's his voice we hear in the movie [thanks to Susan Harrison for bringing this to my attention]. However, he made no mention of the other song Marie/Slim sang with Cricket, Am I Blue, which sounds to be the same voice, as does And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine, sung by Bacall's character Vivian in The Big Sleep.
So did Bacall do her own singing or not?
- The actual plane used in Casablanca is now part of The Great Movie Ride attraction at Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM Studios
- Not true. In fact, no actual plane was even used in Casablanca. See The Plane Truth. [Submitted by Cal Sharp]
- And, of course, there are the famous non-quotes:
- Play it again, Sam! - To listen to what Bogie REALLY said in Casablanca, click here.
- If you need me, just whistle. - To listen to what Bacall REALLY said in To Have and Have Not, click here.
- Tennis, anyone? - Allegedly Bogart's first line on stage in a Broadway play, but there's no evidence he EVER said it, let alone as his first line, and what his first line really was is unknown.
If you know of other myths about Bogie that you'd like to see displayed
here, please .
And please cite your source!