Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #001582121: NOBLE JOHNSON

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Irreplaceable vintage blue ink signature on a 2x4-inch clip from a sheet of graph paper, acquired in-person in the 1970s, not long before his death. In good condition and nice for matting with a favorite photograph. Note that he image of the star shown here alongside the scan of the autograph is not included. Great Black horror icon Noble Johnson, who was a boyhood friend of Lon Chaney, was similarly capable of immersing himself into film roles, playing a wide array of oddball characters who invariably stole the show. These included tribal characters, servants, Russians, Indians, Mexicans, Polynesians, monsters, Arab Princes, Native Americans, and even the Devil himself. Over the course of approximately 50 films for Universal, he appeared as Africans or African-Americans in only three. In addition to this chameleon-like ability, his skills as a horseman enabled him to tackle extremely challenging roles. Johnson's successful silent appearances included the Rudolph Valentino break-out smash war epic, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), Cecil B. DeMille’s first Biblical colossus The Ten Commandments (1923), Douglas Fairbanks’ swashbuckler The Thief of Baghdad (1924), and the Pre-Code sensation Dante’s Inferno (also 1924). He also had a minor role alongside his old pal, Chaney, in Tod Browning’s 1928 classic West of Zanzibar. By the time he had made the leap to talkies, the roles, though perhaps more developed, still focused more on Johnson’s appearance than his talent, notably The Mysterious Dr Fu Manchu (1929) and the Bela Lugosi gem The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). He had more dynamic parts from then onward, standing out in films like The Most Dangerous Game (1932), The Mummy (1932), King Kong (1933), Son of Kong (1933), and The Ghost Breakers (1940). Johnson essentially drew a veil over his career in 1950, shortly after appearing alongside John Wayne in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. He died at 96 years old, inexplicably having signed virtually no autographs across all his long lifetime-- perhaps because so few people asked.