As character actors go, he had quite a career. He was always the stiff, stern company man or governmental hack – the guy who had a ready “no” for anything you needed.
Charles Lane’s resume on IMDB is as long as your arm. There are 300+ entries, many of them for multiple appearances on the same TV series. On Bewitched alone he was Mr. Roland, Mr. Cushman, Mr. Jameson, Mr. Harmon and Mr. Mr. Meikeljohn.
Like most character actors, he wasn’t well known by name. If you’re too well known, your value as a ‘character’ diminishes. The ratio of those who knew him to those who knew his name had to be 100:1, maybe more.
I most remember Charles Lane as Homer Bedloe, president of the railroad (the CF&RW) that employed Floyd and Charlie and ran the Cannonball between Hooterville and Pixley with that stop at Petticoat Junction’s “Shady Rest Hotel.”
Mr. Bedloe was out to get Kate Bradley, while Kate’s Uncle Joe tried to get Bedloe. Kate was always victorious. By definition, everyone on Petticoat Junction prevailed against Uncle Joe! Homer Bedloe never got more than a Pyrrhic victory.
It wasn’t until I read about him in Wikipedia and saw his ‘original’ name (Charles Gerstle Levison) that I realized he was Jewish. They had Jews in San Fransisco in 1905? Who knew?
Charles Lane was 102 when he died on Monday in Southern California. He was one of my all-time favorite mean people.
A documentary on his life is in production. I’d like to see “You Know the Face” when it’s released. Meanwhile, the clip below is from Nickelodeon on the occasion of his 100th birthday.