Clarence Morehouse

born: 23 September 1894
Berkeley, California,
United States of America
died: 14 March 1965
West Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(age 70)

American actor and assistant director who also wore many other hats working in the film industry, variously working at times as a purchasing agent, stage manager, writer, director, stuntman, stand-in, and extra. He also found time to author a book on the card game Panguingue and serve as manager and "front" for Hollywood gorilla man Charles Gemora. His last name has also been spelled "Moorehouse."

An extensive timeline of the life and work of Clarence S. Morehouse:
--- 23 Sep 1894: born in Berkeley, California to Viola Elaine (née Haley, 1862-1929) and grocer James Edward Morehouse (1857-1927). Clarence was the third of seven children (actually eight, but one died before 1900; I don't know which "order" this sibling would have arrived in).
--- 16 May 1900: five-year old Clarence was playing with another young boy, Arthur Peterson, the son of a shoemaker; in a moment of rough play, Clarence chucked a stone which clipped poor Arthur in the forehead. The wound was "ugly" and bled well, but Arthur -- who, per the 1900 Census a month later, was six years old and living at 2152 Shattuck Street -- was ultimately okay (and would, in fact, outlive Clarence by about twenty years, passing away in 1983).
--- 12 Jun 1900: 1900 U.S. Census; five-year old Clarence is living with his family at 1814 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
--- 30 Dec 1902: eight-year old Clarence broke his forearm while swinging on a rope tied to the rafters of a barn behind his father's grocery store (1814 Shattuck); the rope snapped and Clarence hit the ground.
--- 21 Apr 1910: 1910 U.S. Census; 15-year old Clarence is living with his family at 1936 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. He is a student.
--- 21 Mar 1916: working as a taxicab chauffeur in Berkeley. In this job and on this date, he played a brief part in the story of a "crazed" University of California coed who had escaped from the university infirmary after having been placed there "[s]uffering from a temporary nervous collapse which had been induced by the strain of overstudy . . . " (She was eventually found later that night and was returned to the infirmary.)
--- 05 Jun 1917: World War I draft registration card; 22-year old Clarence is residing at 2102 Third Ave., Los Angeles, and is working as a "chauffeur (student)," but no employer "at present." Statistics: medium height, medium build, gray eyes, brown hair.
--- 11 Jan 1918: 23-year old Clarence marries Marie Celeste Walsh, a 21-year old stenographer from Missouri; Clarence is working as an assistant director, but it is not specified where.
--- 09 Mar 1918: enlisted for service; service no. "143 68 42."
--- Dec 1918: is assistant manager of the Naval Reserve football team.
--- 19 Jan 1919: discharged as "Yeo 2c NRF."
--- July 1919: at Bull's Eye, promoted from purchasing agent to assistant director with Leo White.
--- 05 Aug 1919: the first of a series of "movie dances" was held at the Mitchell Hollywood studio under the direction of Jimmy Mitchell, with this first night being "Bullseye Night"; among those present from the Bullseye Company were Morehouse, Charles Parrott, James Parrott, Stanley Blystone, Charles Dorety, and other members of the company.
--- 26-27 Jan 1920: 1920 U.S. Census; Clarence (age 25) and Celeste (age 23) are living at 1137 Bronson Ave., Los Angeles. Clarence is a "stage manager" at a "studio."
--- 03 Feb 1920: first of an eventual three daughters, Marie Viola Morehouse, is born; at this time, Clarence is "employed" (no specific occupation given) by "Christie Film Co." A newspaper blurb (Los Angeles Herald, 23 Feb 1920) mentioning the occasion reported, "Gobs of cigars were distributed at the Christie studio this morning," and identified Morehouse as an "ex-gob and youthful stage manager."
--- Dec 1920: assistant director on comedies directed by and starring Harry Keatan, produced by Keatan's own company; "Faire Craven is doing the ingenues and Hal Mohr is at the camera."
--- late 1921-early 1922: assistant director (to Ray Grey) on the Paul Parrott comedies at Hal Roach.
--- 12 Dec 1921: second daughter, Ruth Celeste Morehouse, is born; now, Clarence is an "assistant director of moving pictures" at the "Hal Roach Studio."
--- early Feb 1922: acting in comedies starring chimp actor Little Napoleon, directed by Harry Burns, for producer Morris R. Schlank; other cast includes Walter Wilkinson, Dorothy Vernon, Max Asher, Lillian Biron, James Parrott, Clarence Hennecke, Fritzi Fern, and others.
--- Feb 1922-Dec 1923: assistant director on the new "Our Gang" comedies at Roach; this association continues through late 1923, with films released into mid-late 1924.
--- 19 Apr 1922: a local Colton, California news item mentioning the Morehouses visiting friends mentions that, "Mr. Morehouse is manager for a moving picture company."
--- 28-29 May + 02 Oct 1923: briefly filled in as director on these dates during the filming of the Our Gang film "Sunday Calm."
--- 30 July 1923: the Hollywood Daily Citizen reports, "Clarence Morehouse, assistant at the Roach studios, is building a duplex dwelling at 1139 Bronson avenue, which will be completed August 5. At that time Mr. Morehouse and family will move from 1137 Bronson where they are now residing to one of the apartments in the new residence. French doors, tiled baths and hardwood floors are noted in the plans." This would serve as the Morehouse family residence for about twenty years.
--- c. Jan-Feb 1924: assistant director to Leo McCarey and Ralph Ceder on the Charley Chase "Jimmy Jump" comedies at Roach (replacing Leo Gerstad; succeeded by Clarence Hennecke).
--- May-Aug 1925: assistant director on James Finlayson and Clyde Cook comedies at Roach; comedies released into late 1925/early 1926.
--- late 1925: co-wrote stories for four independent silent comedies (Davis Distributing Company) with King Benedict, all directed by former "Our Gang" writer/director Mark Goldaine; two of the comedies were entries in the "Our Gang" knock-off series "Hey Fellas!" Morehouse is listed in the copyright deposits for all four comedies (all copyrighted Nov-Dec 1925) as "C. S. Morehouse."
--- 27 Sep 1926: third and last daughter, Clarcel Ann Morehouse, is born; father Clarence is an "assistant director" in "motion pictures" (unspecified at which studio).
--- 01 Feb 1927: the Los Angeles Record reports, "NOW A SCRIVENER: Clarence Morehouse, formerly assistant director at the Hal Roach studio, is making his initial bow as writer and gag man this week at the Sunset studio. Stan De Lay is directing the Morehouse story, a kid comedy, with R. B. Wilcox and W. K. Wolcott behind the new enterprise."
--- Feb 1930: is the manager for boxing gorilla "Sir Charles II" -- a.k.a. Charles Gemora.
--- 05 Apr 1930: 1930 U.S. Census; The Morehouse family -- Clarence S. (35), Celeste (33), and daughters Marie (10), Ruth (8), and Clarcel (3) -- is living at 1139½ N. Bronson Ave., Los Angeles. They own the home, valued at $15,000, and have a radio set. Clarence is a "promoter," working in "moving pictures." The Messinger family, including Gertrude and Buddy, live nearby at 1131 N. Bronson Ave.
--- June-July 1930: "Ingagi" is a fraud! The supposed documentary about native women who worship the titular gorilla in the Belgian Congo is, in fact, a hoax. And the titular gorilla is none other than a Mr. Clarence Morehouse... at least as initially reported in the papers. It isn't exactly known how much and if Morehouse actually put in some time in the Ingagi costume, but it is better known that it was, in fact, Charles Gemora inside the ape suit. Morehouse served as Gemora's manager and often his "front" (as Gemora apparently often preferred) through late 1937.
--- July 1931: on the board of directors at Gold Metal Consolidated Mining Co.; referred to as a "Hollywood movie producer."
--- 06 Aug 1933: he and his timely arrival saved his brother-in-law, sports syndicate head Christy Walsh, from drowning in the swimming pool at Walsh's home after Walsh slipped and fell backwards into it; this occurred just a few minutes before Walsh was to leave for the World's Fair in Chicago.
--- 18 Jan 1934: appears Morehouse, age given as 38 (actually would've been 39), was arrested along with a number of others as part of a nighttime gambling raid.
--- 1937: authors "Panguingue," an instructional book on the card game of the same name; Roach colleague Stan Laurel owned a copy.
--- 22 Apr 1940: 1940 U.S. Census; The Morehouses -- Clarence S. (44 - actually 45), Marie C. (43), and daughters Marie V. (20), Ruth C. (18), and Clarecel [sic] A. (13) -- are still living at 1139½ N. Bronson St. [sic]. Clarence is an "actor" in "motion picture production"; in 1939, he worked only 13 weeks and earned $1,300. Daughter Marie is a stenographer at a bowling alley, while Ruth is a "new worker."
--- 25 Apr 1942: World War II draft registration card; 47-year old Clarence is residing at 5849 Sunset Blvd. (Hotel St. Moritz), Los Angeles, Calif. His employer is Central Casting. He names his wife, Mrs. Celeste Morehouse, as the person who will always know his address -- but interestingly, he gives her address as 606½ Park Ave., Washington, D.C. (more on that below). Statistics: 5'9", weighs 143, has gray eyes, brown hair/bald, ruddy complexion, and a "scar [at the] base of [his] left thumb."
--- Sep 1945: Marie C. Morehouse granted a divorce from husband Clarence S. Morehouse.
--- 1947: working as Dick Powell's stand-in on "To the Ends of the Earth" (Columbia, filmed Dec 1946-Feb 1947, released Feb 1948). A newspaper blurb mentioning Morehouse's newest duty brings up "his" former role of Ingagi.
--- 04 Apr 1950: 1950 U.S. Census; 54 (actually 55)-year old Clarence "Moorehouse" [sic] is lodging with two others at 5934¼ Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. Interestingly, he claims to have never married. He is a "movie stand in" at a "motion picture studio," working 48 hours the previous week.
--- 09 Jun 1961: was among 30 veteran film extras to be presented with gold life membership cards by guest of honor James Garner at the annual Screen Extras Guild membership meeting; criteria for the honor was to be at least 65 years old and to have worked continuously as a film extra for at least 30 years. Among the other 29 extras to be so honored included Bobby Barber, Denver Dixon, Mathew McCue, Loretta Russell, George Sowards, and Blackie Whiteford.
--- 14 Mar 1965: passes away at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where he had been a patient for the previous three years. Survived by his three daughters (all now married), two sisters, two brothers, and three grandchildren. As a WWI veteran, he is buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery.

A little more on the wife and kids:
--- Clarence's former wife, Marie Celeste Walsh, was born on 31 July 1896 in St. Louis, Missouri to Marie Louise (Christy) and Walter D. Walsh, and was raised in California, specifically in San Francisco (1900 Census) and Los Angeles (1910 Census). As noted above, at the time Clarence filled out his WWII draft card (25 Apr 1942), Mrs. Celeste Morehouse is living at 606½ Park Ave., Washington, D.C., while Clarence was living at the Hotel St. Moritz in Los Angeles; at the time, Celeste was possibly working for the U.S. government and/or possibly separated from Clarence. After her divorce from Clarence, Celeste (Walsh) Morehouse married Joseph Anthony Moran on 19 September 1946 in Arlington, Virginia; her occupation is listed as "U. S. Gov't," his the "D. C. Gov't." Marie Celeste Moran died on 12 September 1966, aged 70, at her Sherman Oaks, CA home.
--- Eldest daughter Marie Viola Morehouse appeared in two 1921 films as an infant. She married cameraman Leonard M. Poole in 1943; at the time, Marie was a stenographer in "picture prod." She later married screenwriter and former child actor Dean Riesner. Marie Riesner died of cancer on 30 November 1994, aged 74, in Los Angeles County, CA; she was living in Encino, CA at the time. A brief mention of her passing (Los Angeles Times, 07 Dec 1994) mentions she was a "retired secretary for 20th Century Fox."
--- Middle daughter Ruth Celeste Morehouse married Carmelo "Mike" Messina sometime between 1940 and 1944. Ruth enlisted in the Women's Army Corps on 15 July 1944 in Washington, D.C. Ruth and Mike had two children, Michael and Lisa. Ruth Celeste Messina died on 28 September 1974, aged 52, in a Sacramento, CA hospital "after a long illness."
--- Youngest daughter Clarcel Ann Morehouse (who later went by Clare or Clara) married a Mr. Reuter. Clara A. Reuter died on 06 June 1970, aged 44, in Los Angeles County, CA.
Real name: Clarence Stanwood Morehouse
Height: 5'9"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.

21


1922
Young Sherlocks
Balloon man

1923
The Big Show!
Police officer

1923
A Pleasant Journey
Police officer
(in parade he is 5th from left)

1924
The Sun Down Limited
Man eating lunch in railroad yard

1924
Fast Company
Bellhop
[*unsure]

1925
Whistling Lions
[?]

1926
The Fourth Alarm!
Fireman

1926
War Feathers
Red Dog townsman

1927
Bring Home The Turkey
Detective

1927
Love My Dog
Ventriloquist/Dog catcher

1927
The Glorious Fourth!
Workman

1927
Dog Heaven
Store proprietor

1928
Playin' Hookey
Cop
[*unsure]

1928
The Smile Wins
Man with busted pipe

1928
Barnum & Ringling, Inc.
Bellhop
[*unsure]

1928
You're Darn Tootin'
Musician/Pedestrian

1928
Crazy House
Workman

1929
Election Day
Gangster

1929
Little Mother
Man at window

1935
Tit For Tat
Passerby

1935
Southern Exposure
Juryman #9

1936
The Lucky Corner
Pedestrian

1938
Block-Heads
Pedestrian

1939
Zenobia
Townsman

Acknowledgements:
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M9P7-ZQQ (1900 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:66ND-BMN7 (1900 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MV2C-LMG (1910 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZVJ-6TR (WWI draft reg. card)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8DC-KPM (1918 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XLHD-CT1 (1918 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:4189-2JMM (1918 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHQN-75Q (1920 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGL7-R9YG (daughter Marie Viola's birth certificate, 1920)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGL7-G1Y8 (daughter Ruth Celeste's birth certificate, 1921)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGLW-LM3B (daughter Clarcel Ann's birth certificate, 1926)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJB-M85 (1930 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9CX-76V (1940 Census)
Clarence Stanwood Morehouse, "U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942" (Ancestry.com)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6XGH-B169 (1950 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP4V-8J3 (CA Death Index)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JTHD-BMS (Social Security Death Index)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:71J3-S4ZM (U.S. Veterans Adm. Master Index)
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3736723 (Find a Grave)
http://theluckycorner.com/crew/morehouse.html (Robert Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/monsterkidclassichorrorforum/the-sign-of-the-cross-1932-t32039-s40.html (The Classic Horror Film Board)
https://www.julienslive.com/lot-details/index/catalog/107/lot/44752 (Julien's Auctions)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/608442640/ (Berkeley Daily Gazette, 17 May 1900)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/72336880/ (Oakland Tribune, 18 May 1900)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/72344877/ (Oakland Tribune, 31 Dec 1902)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/80745837/ (Oakland Tribune, 22 Mar 1916)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=EISBN19180201.1.5 (San Bernardino News, 01 Feb 1918)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/695247889/ (The Tidings [Los Angeles, CA], 01 Feb 1918)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380381443/ (Los Angeles Times, 03 Dec 1918)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SPNP19181203.2.22 (San Pedro Daily Pilot, 03 Dec 1918)
https://archive.org/details/camera1919losa/page/n213/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 06 Jul 1919)
https://archive.org/details/camera1919losa/page/n221/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 13 Jul 1919)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380525920/ (Los Angeles Times, 04 Aug 1919)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=LAH19200223.2.589 (Los Angeles Evening Herald, 23 Feb 1920)
https://archive.org/details/camera03unse/page/n696/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 04 Dec 1920)
https://archive.org/details/camera04unse/page/n597/mode/1up?q=clarence&view=theater (Camera! 05 Nov 1921)
https://archive.org/details/camera04unse/page/n814/mode/1up?q=clarence&view=theater (Camera! 21 Jan 1922)
https://archive.org/details/CloseUp05Feb1922/page/n7/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Close-Up, 05 Feb 1922)
https://archive.org/details/camera04unse/page/n871/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 11 Feb 1922)
https://archive.org/details/closeup1920192300clos/page/n32/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Close-Up, 05 Apr 1922)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/626250009/ (Colton Daily Courier, 19 Apr 1922)
https://archive.org/details/camera05unse/page/n418/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 02 Sep 1922)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/682805848/ (Hollywood Daily Citizen, 30 Jul 1923)
https://archive.org/details/camera06unse/page/n969/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+moorehousc%22&view=theater (Camera! 19 Jan 1924)
https://archive.org/details/camera06unse/page/n995/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+moorehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 26 Jan 1924)
https://archive.org/details/camera06unse/page/n1019/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+moorehouse%22&view=theater (Camera! 02 Feb 1924)
https://archive.org/details/catalogofcopyrig2211libr/page/1852/mode/1up?q=%22c+s+morehouse%22&view=theater (Catalogue of Copyright Entries, 1925)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/677964938/ (Los Angeles Record, 01 Feb 1927)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/385469325/ (Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb 1930)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/608499348/ (Los Angeles Evening Express, 28 Feb 1930)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/103951356/ (Oakland Tribune, 15 Jul 1931)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SCEN19310715.1.2 (Santa Cruz News, 15 Jul 1931)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=DNLA19330808.1.2 (Illustrated Daily News [Los Angeles, CA], 08 Aug 1933)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/683104936/ (Citizen-News [Hollywood, CA], 19 Jan 1934)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380707855/ (Los Angeles Times, 05 Sep 1945)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/331863424/ (Tampa Bay Times, 11 Oct 1947)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/684258892/ (Citizen-News [Hollywood, CA], 07 Jun 1961)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/580354076/ (Valley Times Today [North Hollywood, CA], 09 Jun 1961)
https://archive.org/details/variety-1961-06/page/n76/mode/1up?q=%22clarence+morehouse%22&view=theater (Variety, 14 Jun 1961)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/701972728/ (Evening Vanguard [Venice, CA], 16 Mar 1965)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/620565528/ (Sacramento Bee, 30 Sep 1974)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/620565743/ (Sacramento Bee, 30 Sep 1974)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/158700441/ (Los Angeles Times, 07 Dec 1994)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV19-MVPK (ex-wife Celeste's second marriage, 1946)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:HGW2-7F6Z (ex-wife Marie Celeste Moran's death/burial record, 1966)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BC-J4WH-C?i=548 (ex-wife Marie Celeste Moran's funeral service record, 1966)
1917 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S student r 2102 3d av
1918 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence photoplayer r2207 3d av
1920 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S h6053½ Sunset blvd
1921 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S h1137 N Bronson av
1922 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S h1137 N Bronson av
1923 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence F [sic] asst dir Hal E Roach Studio h1137 N Bronson av
1924 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence L [sic] asst dir h1139 N Bronson av
1925 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S mot pict dir h1139 N Bronson av
1926 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S h1139½ N Bronson
1927 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence scenario writer h1139½ N Bronson
1928 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S actor h1139½ S [sic] Bronson av
1929 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence (Celeste) scenario writer h1139½ N Bronson av
1930 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence (Celeste) mot pict dir h1139½ N Bronson av
1931 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S h1139½ N Bronson av
1932 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (Celeste) (United Hwood Casting Co) h1139½ N Bronson av
1933 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence (Celeste) h1139½ N Bronson av
1934 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence (Marie) lab h1139½ N Bronson av
1935 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence I [sic] (Celia [sic]) h1139½ N Bronson av
1936 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (Celeste) studiowkr h1139½ N Bronson av
1937 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (Celeste) studiowkr h1139½ N Bronson av
1938 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (M Celest [sic]) studiowkr h1139½ N Bronson av
1939 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (M Celeste) studiowkr h1139½ N Bronson av
1940 L.A. City Dir.: Morehouse Clarence S (Celeste) studiowkr h1139½ N Bronson av
Jesse Brisson (all work, research and bio notes)

This page was last updated on: 02 June 2024