Wednesday, March 4, 2015


As he dons one more batty disguise,
Mr. Moto does battle with spies
Without doubt, in intrigue,
They're all out of their league
When he starts in to batting those eyes.

Leon Ames and Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto, working undercover in Mysterious Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1938)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oscar the Slouch

Although Lorre would often act bored,
From each pore acting talent just poured
But his character range,
Straight from "scary" to "strange,"
They'd ignore when they gave an award.

Image: Peter Lorre in All Through The Night (Vincent Sherman; 1941). A natural born thespian, Lorre was never nominated for an Academy Award.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Toothy in Disguise with Dialects

We know from so many reports
That Moto's a genius of sorts.
Although, one surmises,
He got his disguises
For Christmas from FAO Schwartz.

Donald B. Benson

Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) dons a disguise in the first film in the series, Think Fast, Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1937).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cool, Calm and Affected

He seems mellow and slightly mysterious
But the fellow can fight something serious
Best look out, for, if crossed,
All about you'll be tossed
To your health that's a mite deleterious.

Peter Lorre is that mild-mannered Jiu-Jitsu and Judo expert, Mysterious Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1938).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Daze

About time that my ass should get going
Off the dime to where blasts aren't blowing
I'd include Honolulu
Or pursued by the Zulu
Any clime where, at last, it's not snowing.

Yes, I know the East Coast has had it much worse than here in Chicago. But that won't stop me from bitching about it. Image: February 1, 2015 in Chicago; ABC News

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Ghost of a Chan

With Oland the Swede on vacation,
The story would need alteration.
Nix China and Chan,
Align with Japan,
And deed it a new sleuthing Asian.

Donald B. Benson and Surly Hack

Harold Huber, Peter Lorre and Keye Luke in Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938). The script was originally written as a Charlie Chan film called Charlie Chan at Ringside, but Swedish born Warner Oland, who had played Chan in previous films, left the set due to illness, and it was retooled for Peter Lorre's Mr. Moto. The part of Lee Chan, Charlie's "number one son" was kept, and was played by the actor who defined the role, Key Luke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You're Darn Teuton


Moto's gone incognito, watch out!
Like a blonde Hirohito, but stout
Lorre's range is quite narrow
(For he's strange to the marrow)
So he dons this deceit and plays kraut.

David Cairns

Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto disguised as a German, in Mysterious Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1938).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dental Detective

He is Nippon's diminutive sleuth
With a chip in each squint little tooth
But his snaggly smile
Masks magnificent guile
Moto's hip to each sinister truth.

David Cairns

Peter Lorre as the title Japanese detective in Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mr. Moto's Gambol

The moguls could not be forlorner
Sans Oland, they're left in a corner.
They rewrote the story
And gave it to Lorre --
The first part he got from a Warner.

Donald B. Benson

Image: Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom, Peter Lorre, and Key Luke in Mr. Moto's Gamble (James Tinling; 1938). More than you need to know, from Wikipedia: "It was originally written as a Charlie Chan film called Charlie Chan at Ringside, but Warner Oland, who had played Chan in previous films, left the set due to illness. (That was the end of Oland's film career, and he died months later.)

Fox had already spent $100,000 on the film. The script was rewritten as a Mr. Moto movie, featuring Keye Luke, in his one appearance in the Mr. Moto series, as Lee Chan, son of Charlie Chan. Lee Chan is Mr. Moto's student in his criminology class at San Francisco University. Mr. Moto mentions that he has heard from Charlie Chan in Honolulu. Mr. Moto says he and the head of the homicide squad are mere amateurs compared to Charlie Chan."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Pan Behind the Mask

This daring outsmarter of spies
Is wearing an artful disguise
When the case has been closed
And his face is exposed,
We'll be staring in startled surprise.

Well, not quite. Mr. Moto may have been a master of disguise, but Peter Lorre had a hard time disguising his distinctive voice. Image: Lorre in Mysterious Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1938).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Celibated Detective

By Donald B. Benson

Though Moto was cultured and mellow,
The girl would choose some other fellow.
So Moto by habit
Stayed chaste as an abbot
Or that punchinello, Costello.

With beauty in danger he'd meet up.
But ere Mr. Moto could heat up,
She's lovingly staring
At handsome red herring --
And THAT'S why the villains got beat up.

We really should take time to ruminate.
Was Moto, in fact, really celibate?
With Miss Lotus Long
There's chemistry strong.
Perhaps after fadeout they'd celebrate.

Peter Lorre and Lotus Long in Mysterious Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1938).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No Thank You, Mr. Moto

As the head of the class in detection,
Moto's bed should be passing inspection
But each hottie pursued
Tells him "Not in the mood"
And instead of a lass there's dejection.

Image: Peter Lorre in Thank You, Mr. Moto (Norman Foster; 1937).

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Lass and a Lack

Again Moto ends up alone 
No Jennifer, Brenda, or Joan  
No adoring young sweet
With amor to entreat,
No "benefits" friend of his own.

Love hangs up on Peter Lorre: Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939).