Birthplace: Kenosha, WI
You Know Him As: The director of such films as “My Little Chickadee,” “The Bank Dick” and “Million Dollar Legs.”
Did you know?: Eddie Cline directed the 1943 hit “Swingtime Johnny,” which starred the Andrews Sisters: Laverne, Maxene and Patty.
Edward F. Cline was born on November 7, 1892, in Kenosha. Despite living in little Kenosha County, with but 15,000 citizens, Cline dreamed of a much grander life as a director in Hollywood.
He was able to begin his career in the movie industry at age 21, with a brief stint acting as one of Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops in 1913. Mack Sennett, through his Keystone Film Company, produced a plethora of silent film comedies featuring an incompetent group of policeman, of which the cast could change for every movie.
After this, Cline began assisting Sennett in his productions. By 1916, he had learned and gained respect from Sennett to the point that he was directing shorts at the Keystone Film Company. Cline became quite prolific through the 30’s, ultimately directing nearly 100 short films between 1916 ‘36. During the early ’20s he co-wrote and co-directed 17 of silent film actor/director
In 1932 Cline directed the actor and comedian in the satire “Million Dollar Legs.” At this point he became one of the few directors that the irritable comedian could tolerate. Cline went on to direct the classic features which marked Fields’ career during the early ’40s: “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man,” “My Little Chickadee” (co-starring
He ended his career with Monogram Picture Corporation’s low-budget “Jiggs & Maggie” comedy movies. These were based on the popular comic strip &!@*#led “Bringing up Father,” which was commonly known as “Jiggs & Maggie.” The comic follow the lives of an Irishman named Jiggs who lives in America with his wife, Maggie. He comes into wealth but still wants to keep his old pals and old ways, despite his wife, who tries to use their new wealth to climb the social ladder.
Cline also worked with Lindley Armstrong “Spike” Jones on the filming of two half-hour pilot films in 1949, featuring Jones and his band. Spike Jones was a popular musician and bandleader who parodied and satirized popular songs. Jones had enlisted Cline’s help to get on TV, as he was shrewd enough to see the potential in that medium. However, neither films were successful. Jones went on to find more success on live television, where his spontaneous antics could be better appreciated.
During his over 40-year film career, Cline was credited under several different variations of his name: Edward F. Cline, Eddie Cline, Edward Cline and Edward Francis Cline.
Eddie Cline passed away at age 68 on May 22, 1961 in Hollywood, Calif.
Biography by Katie Doucet