Caftan Woman

Caftan Woman

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Harold Huber

as "that rat, Nunheim" in 1934s The Thin Man

Harold Joseph Huberman (later legally Huber) was born December 5, 1909 in the Bronx. That he was an observant lad is evident by the many characters he played on screen. He was also a very bright fellow enrolling as a teenager in an advanced experimental school that was a branch of New York University that included advanced classes in all subjects and graduation in 3 years. He followed that up by studying Law at Columbia University. At some point the appeal of the law as a career was overtaken by the lure of the footlights and in 1930 the obviously determined young man appeared in his first of five Broadway productions, A Farewell to Arms. He appeared in a couple of New York shot films for Warner Brothers before moving to Hollywood.

Entertainment reporters of the 30s & 40s describe Harold Huber as the antithesis of the mugs he usually played on screen. A devoted family man (wife Ethel, daughter Margaret), described by co-stars as a delightful person. An amateur fencing champion (hence the scar so handy for playing villains). A scholar (Brian Donlevy called him "the professor") with a great interest and knowledge of antiques who also spoke five languages.

A busy character from his first movie in Hollywood 1932's Central Park starring Joan Blondell, Harold Huber appeared in classics such as The Match King, The Bowery, The Thin Man, Naughty Marietta, G-Men and Beau Geste. He is a welcome sight in enjoyable crime programmers and most important to this child of the late show, he is a superstar in the Charlie Chan universe.

Harold Huber, Donald Woods, Keye Luke, Warner Oland
Charlie Chan on Broadway

One of the best of the popular detective series 1937's Charlie Chan on Broadway directed by Eugene Forde is a snappy, slang-filled mystery with an outstanding cast. Leon Ames is a milk drinking gangster. Marc Lawrence a thug named Thomas Mitchell. Douglas Fowley as a tough nightclub owner with an eye for the ladies. J. Edward Bromberg as a calculating newspaper editor and Canadian born Donald Woods as reporter Speed Patton, "the freshest guy on Broadway". Joan Marsh who began in silent films as a child is a Ginger Rogers/Roz Russell gal reporter. Joan Woodbury (of the soap family) is a nightclub dancer who does a routine similar to the one she did in the 1935 Hopalong Cassidy movie The Eagle's Brood. She was more sympathetic in that earlier picture. Louise Henry plays a gal who puts herself in harm's way. She does the same thing in Charlie Chan in Reno and the Philo Vance mystery The Casino Murder Case. Some girls never learn.

Harold Huber is Inspector Nelson of the NYPD and he's the fastest talking slang slinger of them all. He's also a very good police officer who is not cowed by Chan's reputation and the two work in a fine partnership to solve the murders (there's never just one) as Chan and Son hit the big town. Huber is quirky and fun. I don't think a Nelson of New York spin-off would have been out of order.

Warner Oland, Harold Huber

Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo

1937's Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo also directed by Forde is not great Chan, but it's not bad either. It's just that this story of a stock swindle and romance among the upper crust featuring Kay Linaker and Sidney Blackmer has a pall over it as it is the last movie featuring Warner Oland. He would mysteriously walk away from Hollywood dealing with illness and personal problems and while his death would not end the series it would, for a while, end the particpation of Keye Luke.

Harold Huber here plays Inspector Joubert an effusive and urbane Frenchman with a comic opera accent who assists in the investigation. Again he works well with Oland and Luke and the result of the partnership is more than satisfactory.

C. Henry Gordon, Sidney Toler, Harold Huber
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness

New Chan Sidney Toler revived the series with 1939's Charlie Chan in Honolulu with the welcome addition of Sen Yung as number 2 son, Jimmy. Perhaps busy elsewhere, Yung is not featured in the same year's City in Darkness directed by Herbert I. Leeds. On the eve of war in Europe Chan reunites with old comrades in Paris and comes up against gun runners and spies. A nicely paced entry featuring C. Henry Gordon, Pedro de Cordoba, Douglas Dumbrille, Leo G. Carroll, lovely Lynn Bari and in a non-speaking bit the same year he broke out in Of Mice and Men is Lon Chaney, Jr.

To Harold Huber fell the job of comic relief. I have acquaintances who do not care for his work in this movie. I am not of their mind. Perhaps it is because I like Huber or that I have a soft spot in my heart for those who toil as comic relief. Huber's character, Police Inspector Marcel Spivak, is a combination Charlie's boys and his annoying early assistant Kashimo put together in his eagerness and ineptitude. He can't deal with the public, the crooks or the blackouts as he fumbles, bumbles and gets pushed around in his effort to keep up with Chan mentally and physically. I can't help but think of him as the emotional Pere de Clouseau, and I get a kick out of the work.

Lobby card, Charlie Chan in Rio

Harold Huber's last Chan picture, Charlie Chan in Rio directed by Harry Lachman is a reworking of 1931's The Black Camel and features the earlier movie's director Hamilton MacFadden as an amiable drunk. Victor Jory is a phoney psychic and Mary Beth Hughes and Ted North, who would be briefly married, are featured. This is an early outing for cinematographer Joseph MacDonald (My Darling Clementine, Panic in the Streets) and you can tell the young man will be going places.

Chief Souto is an investigator back on equal footing with the visiting Chan. He's a friendly and efficient sort who helps the case along. Respectful of Charlie, patient with Jimmy and confident of his own skills.

Movies would continue to be a part of Harold Huber's career, but it would also include radio where he was the leading player in The Adventures of M. Hercule Poirot aka Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot which can be found on, if you're in the mood for a little tea and murder, and in 1950 starred in a short-lived television series I Cover Times Square.

On Septemper 29, 1959 Harold Huber passed away during surgery at the Jewish Memorial Hospital. His film roles tell us all we need to know about the actor. His headstone tells us all we need to know about the man.


  1. Wow! I now know so much about one of my favourite actors. When Harold Huber is in the credits, I know it will be an entertaining movie.
    Fantastic to learn about his background. I first saw him in the Chan films. When I saw 'The Thin Man' I remember thinking, it's Charlie's friend. He comes across as such a fun person.

  2. Thanks, novabreeze.

    I hope you get the chance to listen to some of the "Poirot" episodes on old time radio. I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to your friend Harold.

  3. This was a great piece on an actor who makes even underwritten roles interesting. I had no idea that Harold Huber had such an erudite background! Thanks so much for sharing your infectious enthusiasm for supporting players, Caft.

    Btw, I found the recordings of his Hercule Poirot very entertaining.
    All the best,

  4. Thanks, Moira.

    In my movie universe it's all about the character people.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. canada uneversity learning is very importent any subject

    auto quote

  7. This post is very useful for us. Because we have a lot of
    tips and tricks from this post. Thank you for this amazing post share. I many
    tips about bd career as well. If you want to know more about a career sites, please visit our website.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thanks for information Export Packers and Movers services India provider best price save time with moving & packing services.
    Pune Packers and Movers
    Mumbai Packers and Movers
    Hyderabad Packers and Movers
    Chennai Packers and Movers
    Bangalore Packers and Movers

  10. How did you can avail the give your dream a shape with the help of make your move Adword India's No 1 online business experts.

  11. Top3th Packers and Movers relocation services provided top company packing and moving services at available price
    Gurgaon Packers and Movers
    Thane Packers and Movers
    Navi Mumbai Packers and Movers

  12. Hiprolean XS is our most potent, powerful fat burner ever. 100% natural without side effects it's our fastest acting weight loss capsule. Find Hiprolean XS review at

  13. PhenQ Reviews - Most Powerful Weight Loss Pills. PhenQ is the newest weight loss pill that has been proven by legitimate and smart science.

  14. I really like your idea of
    Thanks for the information
    Thanks for the best blog.
    Really impressive post.
    Useful information.I am actual blessed to read this article.
    Here's the right information for the best results.

  15. Useful information.I am actual blessed to read this article.

  16. Garcinina Cambogia extract was recently featured on Dr. Oz where he proclaimed it as the "Holy Grail of Weight Loss" supplements. Learn how Dr Oz Garcinia Extracts Works to Lose Weight, Burn fat and suppress appetite.

  17. noocube Nootropics also called smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers. Find detailed Noocube review, effects & facts.

  18. Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting.
    Top Legal Anabolic Steroids
    Crazy Bulk Reviews
    Crazy Bulk Review

  19. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting.
    vigrx plus

  20. Looking for Male Extra Pills in your local store? Do NOT BUY it until you read customer reviews, results & where to buy

  21. If you are looking for some reliable way to shed the excess amount of unwanted fat from your body then the best option is Forskolin Fuel
    Forskolin Fuel

  22. MaleExtra is the popular sexual health supplement designed for better sex. Find out how Male Extra pills work, their ingredients, where to buy and more.

  23. V Tight Gel is a vaginal tightening cream. The cream together with exercise helps women with loose vagina to get it tightened

  24. Looking for proven, effective Dianabol for Sale without side effects? Discover premium Dbal-Max Pills currently helping guys build mass safely.

  25. Green Coffee Beans Max. Coffee beans are naturally green, but they are usually roasted before being sold to the consumer. This is the process that turns them brown.As we know… coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants and pharmacologically active compounds. Two of the most important ones are Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acid.Chlorogenic Acid is believed to be the main active ingredient in green coffee beans. That is, the substances that produces the weight loss effects .
    Green Coffee Beans Max

  26. Packers and movers in delhi@
    Packers and movers in mumbai@
    Packers and movers in gurgaon@
    Packers and movers in pune@
    Packers and movers in kolkata@
    Packers and movers in ahmedabad@
    Packers and movers in ghaziabad@
    Packers and movers in hyderabad@
    Packers and movers in vadodara@
    Packers and movers in noida@
    Packers and movers in chennai@
    Packers and movers in thane@
    Packers and movers in ankleshwar@
    Packers and movers in faridabad@
    Packers and movers in noida@
    Packers and movers in meerut@
    Packers and movers in mohali@
    Packers and movers in nagpur@


  27. Packers and movers in delhi@

  28. PhenQ handles your body’s fat burning capabilities in two different ways.1st , it will increase metabolism of your body so you will be burning more and more calories throughout the day, and you will achieve a higher energy expenditure overall. What makes Phen Q different compared to other weight loss supplements speaking of metabolism. It that it comes with the newly tested and patented α-Lacys Reset formula.

  29. Flat Belly Flush Program Review  – What is Inside Flat Abs Fast DVD Video? Does Flat Belly Fast System Really Work? Read Danette May’s Core Workout Reviews.visit

  30. Breast Actives
    is a 3 step all natural solution for breast enlargement, combining breast pills, cream and a breast exercise and massage program.

  31. There are hundreds of contractors available nowadays, but finding the one that does not only charge less money, but also does a professional job – could be a hell of a difficult task; and even if you luckily find one, the problem of choosing the best waterproof flooring downriver MI solves this problem and offers its customers the best Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring in the best installation and product rates. Read more:

  32. One weight loss program that has gone above and beyond expectations to promote weight loss is Wake Up know more about this program visit now