Reginald Gardiner

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Abstract from Wikipedia : Reginald Gardiner (27 February 1903 – 7 July 1980) was an English-born actor in film and television and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in Great Britain. His parents wanted him to be an architect, but he insisted on a careere as an actor. He started as a super on stage and eventually became well known on the West End stage. He was also well known to wireless listeners and was known on air for his amusing train and car noises. Gardiner started film work in crowd scenes, making his big film break in 1926 in the silent film The Lodger, by Alfred Hitchcock. Moving to Hollywood, he was cast in numerous roles, often as a British butler. One of his most famous roles was that of Schultz in Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. He also performed memorable turns as the spurned "almost-husband" in The Doctor Takes A Wife and Christmas in Connecticut. On 4 October 1956, Gardiner appeared with Greer Garson as the first two guest stars in the series premiere of NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. He made other guest appearances on television sitcoms of the 1960s, including Fess Parker's ABC series, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Stanley Holloway's Our Man Higgins. His last major role was alongside Phyllis Diller in her 1966-1967 ABC series, The Pruitts of Southampton. He also recorded a curious and eccentric classic called "Trains" which was regularly played on a 1950s British radio program called Children's Favourites. This record consisted of Gardiner, sounding slightly tipsy, reciting a monologue about steam railway engines (which he claimed were 'livid beasts') and impersonating both the engines themselves and the sound of trains running on the track. This latter he famously characterised as 'diddly-dee, diddly-dum' to mimic the sound pattern as the four pairs of bogie wheels ran over joins between the lengths of track. (A sound no longer heard since welded rail joins were introduced. ) "Trains" was released as a 78 and 45 by English Decca Records (F 5278) which remained on catalogue into the 1970s. At the end of the record, Gardiner signs off with "Well folks, that's all: back to the asylum. " He was summoned to Buckingham Palace to give a performance in person. Gardiner died of a heart attack on 7 July 1980.

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