Frank Lackteen, Features Perfectly Suited for the Villain, the Bread and Butter of His Career

Frank Lackteen

Frank Lackteen

 

Frank Lackteen, what can one say about a man with nearly two-hundred (albeit, many uncredited roles and extra work) celluloid appearances? So, I will begin at his beginning, because his beginnings molded his film future. He was born Mohammed Hassan Lackteen, in Labanon, 1897. He, his mother and father made their way from Marseilles, France aboard the Hamburg-American Lipe, in 1905, he was eight years old. They lived for a while in Kingston, Jamaica, before finally making the move to the United States. In 1928, Lackteen was still married to his first wife Sarah, but by June of 1932 he has married Muriel Dove and they had a daughter (Muriel Elizabeth) in 1936.

A swarthy 5’ 10½, with high-cheekbones, 145 pounds, gave this actor an edge in playing the exotic villain and or an everyday bad guy, often enough playing Native Americans, Hispanic, and even Asian characters. Once talkies arrived Lackteen was just that much better with his unusual, indeterminate accent. Lackteen made himself a student of Native American lore, and became familiar with the customs of the Navajo people by considerable time with them. For the filming of The Last Frontier, 1926, he had a ‘Hogan’ built which he used for his lodging while on location;[1] that is what I call dedication to the acting process and getting into the role!

Frank Lackteen The_Emporia_Gazette_Sat__May_3__1924_Frank Lackteen Williamsport_Sun_Gazette_Sat__Dec_22__1928_

 

For 1925’s Sunken Silver, Lackteen was the first actor hired for this Pathé Serial.[2] The engagement required Lackteen to make a cross country journey, at the time he was filming, Idaho, and made his way for the location shooting in Florida. The original title of the flick was to be Black Caesar’s Clan (Black Caesar’s Clan, was written by Albert Payson Terhune in 1922), later changed to what we now have. I do find it odd that in the writing credits the story’s author is not mentioned, only Frank Leon Smith, who of course adapted the book for the screen.

In Tome Waver’s interview with SF, horror, B-picture -maestro Alex Gordon made it sound as though he had the aging Lackteen on most of his pictures (“I always use Edmund Cobb and Frank Lackteen”),[3] yet Lackteen only worked on three Gordon productions: The Atomic Submarine, 1959. Requiem for a Gunfighter, and The Bounty Killer, both in 1965. According to the Gordon interview, Lackteen was paid the daily minimum of $100.00 for his uncredited walk-on for The Atomic Submarine;[4] these Alex Gordon films were the last roles for Mr. Lackteen.

 

By C. S. Williams

 

[1] Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) November 26, 1926

[2] Exhibitor’s Trade Review, February 28, 1925

[3] Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers, edited by Tome Weaver, McFarland

& Company, 2003, page 103

[4] Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers, edited by Tome Weaver, McFarland & Company, 2003, page 103

 

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Frank Lackteen, Features Perfectly Suited for the Villain, the Bread and Butter of His Career

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s