Lester Cowan



Life Events


Hired by the Motion Picture Academy where he wrote book on advent of the talkies and helped start the annual Academy Awards


At behest of Motion Picture Academy originated lecture series for University of Southern California, which was first college course in film studies


Named executive director of the Motion Picture Academy


First film as production supervisor, "The Whole Town's Talking"


First film as producer, "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man"


Initiated first Soviet-American co-production arrangement for film "Meeting at a Far Mountain" (never filmed)


Movie Clip

Whole Town's Talking, The (1935) -- (Movie Clip) I've Got A Stamp From Shanghai Lowly ad-clerk Jones (Edward G. Robinson), fazed because he’s the look-alike of the major gangster identified in that day’s newspaper, is noticed in the cafe by Hoyt (Donald Meek), then joined by just-fired colleague “Bill” Clark (Jean Arthur), with whom he’s secretly smitten, trouble ensuing, in John Ford’s The Whole Town’s Talking, 1935.
Story Of G.I. Joe, The (1945) -- (Movie Clip) Joe McCloskey's Winning The War Still in North Africa, Burgess Meredith as war correspondent Ernie Pyle, killed in action in Japan before this film by William A. Wellman, based on his dispatches, was released, steps out of the column, hears from some soldiers, and begins one of his famous narrations, from The Story of G.I. Joe, 1945.
Story Of G.I. Joe, The (1945) -- (Movie Clip) Lousy Kraut Swine! Capt. Walker (Robert Mitchum) and Sgt. Warnicki (Freddie Steele) in William A. Wellman's landmark shootout sequence in a bombed-out Sicilian church, from The Story of G.I. Joe, 1945.
Story Of G.I. Joe, The (1945) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, So Long, Ayrab Opening credits followed by soldiers under the command of Lt. Walker (Robert Mitchum), North Africa, 1944, adopting two scrappy old dogs, one of whom is Correspondent Ernie Pyle (Burgess Meredith) in The Story Of G.I. Joe, 1945.
Whole Town's Talking, The (1935) -- (Movie Clip) So Long, Slaves! The newspaper editor (Wallace Ford) and ad agency boss (Paul Harvey) are celebrating with lowly employee Jones (Edward G. Robinson), who’s never had a drink before, their idea to have him write about his gangster lookalike, and he meets his supervisor (Etienne Girardot) and his beloved fired colleague Clark (Jean Arthur) on the way out, in The Whole Town’s Talking, 1935.
You Can't Cheat An Honest Man (1939) -- (Movie Clip) Circus Giganticus Opening scenes having established his semi-normal adult children, and lawmen on his trail, we meet W.C. Fields as Larson E. Whipsnade, with his traveling circus, beset by a crooked union rep (Edward Trophy) and would-be apprentice (Grady Sutton), in You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man, 1939.
You Can't Cheat An Honest Man (1939) -- (Movie Clip) Are You Eating A Tomato? Much as it would have played in their earlier vaudeville days, W.C. Fields as circus proprietor Whipsnade, and Edgar Bergen with his ever-present dummy Charlie McCarthy (playing off the latter’s long-running radio feud with Fields), plus the dumber Mortimer Snerd, in You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man, 1939.
You Can't Cheat An Honest Man (1939) -- (Movie Clip) My Elephant Stepped On Your Dog? Just finished standing-in as the bearded-lady circus sharpshooter, W.C. Fields as proprietor Whipsnade evades his creditors (Arthur Hohl, Ferris Taylor) as his worried daughter (Constance Moore) arrives, then tangles with the wily daughter (Evelyn Del Rio) of an employee, in You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man, 1939.
My Little Chickadee (1940) -- (Movie Clip) The Old Heave Ho! Newly married Twillie (W.C. Fields) and Flower Belle (Mae West) check into the hotel at Greasewood City in Universal's My Little Chickadee, 1940.
My Little Chickadee (1940) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, Flower Belle Opening credit sequence followed by Flower Belle (Mae West) getting snatched by "The Masked Bandit" (Joseph Calleia) in the W.C. Fields/Mae West comedy My Little Chickadee, 1940.
My Little Chickadee (1940) -- (Movie Clip) Indians! Twillie (W.C. Fields) is introducing himself to Flower Belle (Mae West) when Indians attack the train in My Little Chickadee, 1940.
Ladies In Retirement -- (Movie Clip) My Treasures Housekeeper Ellen (Ida Lupino) with kooky sister Louisa (Edith Barrett), wondering about equally kooky and dependent sister Emily (Elsa Lanchester), arriving home to find she's had a row with employer and host Miss Fiske (Isobel Elsom), in Ladies In Retirement, 1941.


Max Cowan
Anna Cowan
Robert Cowan
Bernard Cowan
Alice Richmond


Ann Ronell