Friday, November 4, 2011

Charles Zola Sherlock -- My Grandpa, the Actor

            As a child, I remember seeing the “movie still” photos of Grandpa Charlie with some famous actors (John Wayne and Cary Grant to name a few) on his dining room wall.  I thought it was just perhaps a hobby for him, some way to pass the time since he was on disability from the Chicago police department after an accident in the line of duty.  But years after he died in 1983, I decided to research online to find a listing of the movies he had acted in.  Expecting perhaps to find a list of say 20 or so, I was shocked to find the extensive listing included 302 movies, spanning the years from 1932 to 1965.  Someone must not have been listing to his stories as a child and I began to think “it must be me!”
            I read not only the name of the movie and the names of the leading actor/actress but also what was Grandpa Charlie’s role.  Whose job is it to watch old movies and prepare lists of everyone in the movie, including the very tiny roles that aren’t even in the screen credits?  Well, I am very grateful that someone did because now I have that valuable (at least to me) information.  Charlie typically played small roles (often times uncredited) as either a policeman (probably drew from his real life experiences), a reporter, a bartender or a cab driver. He also played the Boston umpire in the 1951 “Angels in the Outfield” movie.  Knowing Grandpa, though, I am sure that he probably enjoyed just as much playing the criminal types as a gangster or a henchman.
            It’s rainy outside and a perfect day to stay inside and watch an old movie; of course it will be one of Grandpa Charlie’s!  Now, what should I watch – the classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (he played a reporter) or the 1951 “Superman” (he was a worker at the Daily Planet) or that crime thriller “Strangers on a Train” (he was a cop)?  The popcorn is cooking and where are those bonbons?   For a complete listing of Charles Sherlock’s movie, go to


  1. What a wonderful find on your grandfather! Yes, your gratitude is understandable, considering the number of films that must have needed to be catalogued! Imdb is great!

    I've wondered about doing the same thing, myself. My mother was an actress in NYC and Canada. She did some radio work and a film in Canada, and I'd love to be able to find examples of her work. I have her professional portfolio, but it is all stills. Having clips of her scenes would be such a treasure.

    Now that you've found the list, it would be wonderful to make a collection of the actual clips from the films that feature him--a collection focusing on his roles in all these films. What a treasure to pass on to family!

  2. Yes, Jacqui, that is my goal -- to create a DVD of the clips from his movies to share with my kids and siblings.