"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
- Harry Warner, head of Warner Studios, 1922
He must have been referring to mushed mouth Sylvester Stallone trying to play a country bumpkin in the 1984 movie Rhinestone. Yikes.
Luckily for the development of cinema, the other 3 Warner Brothers talked some sense into ol' Harry and they went forward with their plan for "talkies". I think it worked out for them.
Interestingly, another company was almost torpedoed by it's founder too (besides Ken Olsen of DEC, you ask?).
In 1919, the Hilton family (yes, those Hiltons) saw an opportunity to capitalize on the oil boom in East Texas by starting a bank where the oilcatters could put their money. So they sent young Conrad Hilton to Cisco, Texas to buy the local bank. The deal was not finalized in a day so he when he went to secure a room for the night, he discovered that the hotel was booked solid. Motivation being what it is, he looked in his satchel and, uh, re-appropriated the money that was intended to buy the local bank and bought the hotel instead, insuring he would have a room for the night (yeah, the things we do to insure a bed for the night, huh?). He added cots to the lobby and to the kitchen and rented rooms in 8 hour shifts in order to maximize space (and profit). Thus, the Hilton Hotel chain was born. Although I doubt you can request a room by the hour anymore.
And speaking of talk-less movies and rooms-by-the-hour, Conrad's infamous granddaughter, Paris has done more than her share of performing in front of a camera too. What a coincidence huh?
But I digress...
Do you have any recommendations for other Actors Most Improved By The Use Of The Mute Button?
My starter list would be Michael Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait and Mr. Whipple (RIP)....
After you comment for today, be sure to tune in next when the Absurdity Tour visits the Office.