Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Etta McDaniel & Sam McDaniel

While they do share the screen with their more famous younger sister, Hattie, (Etta and Hattie McDaniel appear together in only one film; Sam and Hattie in at least nine), Sam and Etta McDaniel share screen credits, sans their younger sister, in eight movies. As was common for African-American actors in a Hollywood (and country) that all too often catered to racial discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry, Ms. McDaniel and her brother were usually typecast as domestics or servants in one form or another. Moreover, their roles were generally minor and relegated to the background and backdrop of the intended focus of a movie’s action. Still, they brought passion, wit, humor, even wisdom to the characters they played, and, as was also common for a good character actor, the focus (indeed, the success) of a scene in which Ms. McDaniel and Mr. McDaniel appear often shifts to them.

The following is a list of their screen collaborations:

The Virginia Judge (1935)
The Go Getter (1937)
Three Loves Has Nancy (1938)
Chicken Wagon Family (1939)
Golden Hoofs (1941)
Johnny Doughboy (1942)
Mokey (1942)
Son of Dracula (1943)

Jane Withers is noteworthy in discussing the McDaniel siblings in that she appears in six films with them: three with Etta and Sam (Chicken Wagon, Golden Hoofs, and Johnny Doughboy) and three with Hattie (the 1936 Can This Be Dixie? and Gentle Julia and the 1937 45 Fathers). Ms. Withers, of course, receives top billing in all six films. She also receives the support of a very accomplished team.

Headlining in Johnny Doughboy

Worthy of a supporting cast in Johnny Doughboy

1 Comment»

  po wrote @

Very good article about the McDaniel siblings!


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