Monday, July 10, 2017

'Mooners Monday #19: The Secret Origin of Carlos Sanchez

Some of you may be shocked/outraged/totally indifferent (hey, I have to be honest) that the winner of our first dance contest, one based on "Mama Loves Mambo," was Angelina Manicotti and NOT the dance instructor who gets the whole Chauncey Street gang moving in the first place: Carlos Sanchez, Mr. Suave himself:

Well, would it surprise you to know that Carlos Sanchez is played by a Hungarian fella named Charles Korvin? He was born Geza Karpathi, moved to the USA in 1940, and made his Broadway debut several years later, according to his obituary in The New York Times. A producer spotted him there, and he soon became a contract player for Universal.

Some of his notable film roles include Berlin Express and Ship of Fools, which his family claimed broke a blacklisting in Hollywood. The latter movie came out in 1965, but obviously Korvin was working all throughout the 1950s in TV, including as Carlos Sanchez.

Let's go back to The Official Honeymooners Treasury, which reports that Korvin lied in his 'Mooners audition and said he could dance the mambo. When he got the part, he went to a Manhattan dance studio for a mambo crash course. Here's another reason to appreciate this fantastic book: The authors interviewed Roberta Weir, the former Rockette who taught Korvin that week.

Weir remembered recognizing the actor right away and struggling to get him up to speed. He was not at all a dancer, she told Crescenti and Columbe:

"He was a charming man, but before he left, I told him, 'I'm surprised you can walk.' He was so uncoordinated. I remember when that show was on the first time and I looked to see what he did, I was embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to know I taught him."

Well, maybe he wasn't the best dancer, but in fairness, anyone would look like a piker next to Mrs. Manicotti. And mambo or no, he sure is dashing!