Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #00171111: CHARLES MIDDLETON

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Extremely rare and just great vintage inscribed signature in thick pencil on a 3x5-inch off-white card, acquired in-person by an inveterate autograph hound in January of 1943 and affixed by a previous collector to an 8.5 x11-inch light green sheet beneath a portrait as Ming the Merciless with clear photo mounts. In very good condition. Eccentric Charles Middleton was the son of a Kentucky millionaire and had no reason in the world to work, but decided to pursue acting as a means of expressing himself. After stints with a traveling circus, and vaudeville and theater troupes, he entered films in 1920, only coming to full fruition with the advent of sound, which showcased his ominous baritone voice. He was the ideal foil for comedy stars Harold Lloyd, Eddie Cantor, Wheeler and Woolsey, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers, unforgettable in Palmy Days (1931), Duck Soup (1933) and Flying Deuces (1939), and marvelous in dramas like Show Boat (1936), The Good Earth (1937), Jezebel (1938), Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), and The Grapes of Wrath (1940). He also had a bit role in Gone with the Wind (1939), as the supervisor of a group of convict workers. However, it was for his portrayal of the despicable Ming the Merciless in sci-fi's Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s and 1940s that Middleton will forever be remembered. This is only one a small number of examples we've ever encountered and is especially nice in that he signs with his full name, and not with the abbreviated Chas Middleton, which was his custom.