Monday, April 26, 2021

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: part 1

 I've figured out a way to do the ballplayers-in-entertainment series that I hope will be fun. While just about every baseball star has played himself on a TV show or two (sometimes more, particularly LA Dodgers), there have been quite a few, stars and otherwise, who have played roles other than themselves. I thought it would be fun to present it as an obscure Hollywood actor who just happened to appear on some baseball cards, revealing the player only at the end.

Starting today with one of the more prolific of these examples, today's subject appeared in over a dozen TV shows and movies, mostly in the mid-1970s.

His "big break" came in 1977, when he landed a supporting role in a Norman Lear sitcom, "All That Glitters". Lear's idea was a soap-opera spinoff where all the gender roles were switched. While being cast in a Lear sitcom was huge in the 1970s, "All That Glitters" ended up being one of his rare flops. Our hero played Glen Langston, the eye-candy trophy husband of Anita Gillette's character Nancy Langdon, a powerful businesswoman.

Most of his other roles were minor characters on various TV show episodes. Here he appears behind Martin Brooks and Richard Anderson in a 1976 episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, "Carnival of Spies", filmed at the Pike Amusement Park in California. During filming in the amusement park, the arm of a wax dummy fell off, revealing human bones. It turned out to not be a wax dummy at all but the mummified remains of a bank robber named Elmer McCurdy who was shot and killed in 1911.  When no next-of-kin claimed McCurdy's embalmed body it was sold to a traveling carnival, and was exhibited in various forms over the next 65 years, though by the time it had arrived at Pike, probably in the late 1960s, it's original form had been forgotten and it was thought to be a regular wax dummy.
Also in 1976, our hero played a police officer on an episode of McMillan & Wife, here observing a confrontation between characters played by Rock Hudson and Paul Benedict. John Schuck is on the far right. (Thanks Jon for correcting me on a couple of these!)
Finally, a publicity still of our hero's co-starring role in the TV Movie "Pleasure Cove" from 1979, where he and fellow con-artists played by Tom Jones and Barbara Luna pose as vacationers in a holiday resort.
Have you guessed who our mystery actor is? He had almost as many baseball cards as acting credits.
Wes Parker played nine seasons in the major leagues, all with the Dodgers, before retiring suddenly in 1972, partially to pursue his acting career. I have eight of his ten Topps cards (missing '64 and '68). He was known primarily for his defense, and set several records for first base defense during his career. He was also an announcer for the Dodgers for a short time. In 1985 he largely quit acting after he became a Christian in 1980, though he continued to do some commercial work, and more recently a few video game voices. Other acting credits included the movies Cry from the Mountain and The Courage and the Passion and appearances on episodes of Police Woman, Police Story, Matt Helm and Emergency. He also played himself in an episode of The Brady Bunch. In a 2011 interview with the Hidden Films blog he gives a lot of detail on his acting career.


  1. Never heard of the show... All That Glitters. But I remember Wes Parker. I'm pretty sure the only reason I know him is because he appeared on The Brady Bunch.

  2. This is going to be a fun series. Looking forward to the next installment!

  3. I LOVE the idea for this series!!! That being said, it might be a good idea to double-check some of your sources. For example, the Six Million Dollar Man still features Martin Brooks and Richard Anderson, not H.M. Wynant and Michael Strong. And in the McMillan and Wife still, John Schuck is on the far right. The confrontation is between Paul Benedict (I believe) and Rock Hudson.