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REMEMBERING
VITO SCOTTI

by Ronald L. Smith

VITO SCOTTI (January 26, 1918-June 5, 1996)

For many of us, the favorite antagonist for Froggy the Gremlin wasn't Smilin' Ed or Andy Devine, it was...

VITO SCOTTI.

Usually a stereotypical and excitable Italian (pastry chef or musician), he was the epitome of comical exasperation and cartoonish anger.

Vito was almost a willing part of the Froggy the Gremlin delerium, deliberately standing next to him and almost encouraging abuse. And since he was usually giving a boastful demonstration of some ridiculous skill, we couldn't wait for Froggy to start heckling him and playing practical jokes.

Yet we loved Vito Scotti...not enough to be really upset with his destruction, of course. But since he sort of asked for it...and even seemed to enjoy fighting with Froggy...we didn't feel too badly when he ended up stalking away in a rage.

He was a different kind of straight man. The ideal target for anyone being comedically "destroyed" is a humorless snob, (Margaret Dumont), a windbag (Billy Gilbert), a bully (Eric Campbell), or a nasty figure of authority (Donald MacBride, Edgar Kennedy).

Vito wasn't any of those. He was something else.

All through his career he never upstaged the stars (check out "The Odd Couple" "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Gilligan's Island" for examples) but he did get his share of legit laughs in comic support.

Though born in San Francisco, Vito spent a few years in Naples. When he was seven he returned to America thanks to his mother who was starring in Italian theater productions in New York. While there was probably bigger attendance at the 2nd Avenue Jewish Theaters, there was also a strong market for Italian dramas in that neighborhood, and material based on the "Commedia dell'Arte" farces.

Vito emerged with a solo nightclub act, and was known as both a suave magician and a fine mime. By 1948 he was appearing in films, often cast as a Latino. He played a Mexican in "Illegal Entry" (1949) and "The Fabulous Senorita" (1952). That same year he won the part of Luigi Basco in the TV version of "Life with Luigi."

In 1954 and 1955, Vito showed off twin talents for the "Andy's Gang" series...playing Rama in the filmed adventures of an elephant boy in India, and performing as everything from a Mexican bandit to an Italian pastry chef opposite Froggy the Gremlin.

Froggy was such a weird character...essentially immobile, unable to do much beyond hopping from side to side...it took a special kind of patsy to make him seem truly and dementedly dangerous. That was Vito. While very few epsidoes of the show are in circulation these days (maybe a dozen) a good percentage are Vito's. So watch 'em for yourself...

....And watch for Vito on all your favorite TV show reruns.

Vito played dozens of dramatic roles in hit TV shows, and in the early 60's was often seen on sitcoms. He was versatile enough to come back to the same show in a different character. He was a Japanese sailor in one episode of "Gilligan's Island" and a Russian doctor in another. During the 1964 season of "The Addams Family" he was "Sam Picasso" "Professor Altshuler" and "Miri Haan" in three different shows.

He was featured as a Gypsy in an "Andy Griffith Show," and was in his Italian mode as Mario for the "Eat at Mario's" episode of "Bewitched."

My favorite Vito appearance was in "The Dick Van Dyke Show." It was his Chaplinesque turn as a lovable house painter who can perform magic tricks and who has a very eccentric appreciation of the art of painting a wall.

Vito's movie credits were almost endless...and Italian. He was Vittorio in "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash" and Armando in "Herbie Goes Bananas" and Nazorine in "The Godfather." The little fellow with the suave mustache always added touch of class to the shows he was in, and he was on the screen until he could no longer battle the lung cancer that took his life. His last screen role was as the manager at Vesuvio's in a scene for "Get Shorty" in 1995.

A great supporting player and character actor, Vito rarely had a lead role in his career...but he was always the center of attention for the time he was on the screen, and such a familiar face that he seemed like a friend.

VITO SCOTTI'S FILM CREDITS

1. Get Shorty (1995)
2. National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
3. Beverly Hills Brats (1989)
4. .Columbo: Murder - A Self-Portrait (1989) (TV)
5. Side Roads (1988)
6. Stewardess School (1987) .
7. Blood Feud (1983) (TV)
8. Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
9. Haunting of Harrington House, The (1981) (TV)
10. Ghosts of Buxley Hall, The (1980) (TV)
11. .Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
12. .Nude Bomb, The (1980)
13. .Zero to Sixty (1978)
14. Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977) (TV)
15. Big Bus, The (1976)
16. Wonder Who's Killing Her Now (1975)
17. Wild McCullochs, The (1975)
18. Adventures of the Queen (1975) (TV) .
19. Big Rip-Off, The (1974) (TV)
20. .How to Seduce a Woman (1974)
21. Columbo: Negative Reaction (1974) (TV)
22. Twice in a Lifetime (1974) (TV) .... Carlos 23. Columbo: Swan Song (1974) (TV)
24. Herbie Rides Again (1974)
25. Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973) (TV)
26. Columbo: Any Old Port in a Storm (1973) (TV)
27. World's Greatest Athlete, The (1973)
28. Napoleon and Samantha (1972) .
29. When the Legends Die (1972) .
30. .Godfather, The (1972)
31. Boatniks, The (1970) .
32. Aristocats, The (1970) (voice) .
33. Cactus Flower (1969) .
34. .Head (1968) .
35. How Sweet It Is! (1968) .
36. Secret War of Harry Frigg, The (1968)
37. .Perils of Pauline, The (1967)
38. Warning Shot (1967)
39. .Caper of the Golden Bulls, The (1966)
40. What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)
41. .Blindfold (1965)
42. Von Ryan's Express (1965)
43. Pleasure Seekers, The (1964)
44. .Rio Conchos (1964)
45. Wild and Wonderful (1964)
46. Dime with a Halo (1963)
47. Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)
48. Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
49. Saint of Devil's Island (1961)
50. Explosive Generation, The (1961)
51. Master of the World (1961) .
52. Pay or Die (1960)
53. Where the Boys Are (1960)
54. Party Girl (1958) .
55. Conquest of Space (1955)
56. Sabaka (1954)
57. Assignment: Paris (1952)
58 Fabulous Senorita, The (1952)
59. Stop That Cab (1951)
60. .East Side, West Side (1949)
61. Illegal Entry (1949)
62 Criss Cross (1949)
63 Cry of the City (1948)
VITO SCOTTI'S TELEVISION WORK

1."Mad About You" "Mad About You: Part 1" (episode # 3.13) 2/2/1995
2."Golden Girls, The" "Foreign Exchange" (episode # 4.14) 2/4/1989
3."Charles in Charge" "Five Easy Pizzas" (episode # 3.19) 1989
4."Who's the Boss?" "All in the Famiglia" (episode # 4.14) 1/12/1988
5."Golden Girls, The" "Rose's Big Adventure" (episode # 3.21) 1988
6."Who's the Boss?" "Tony the Nanny" (episode # 2.12) 12/17/1985
7.Faerie Tale Theatre: Pinocchio (1983)
8."CHiPs" ( "Journey to a Spacecraft" (episode # 6.15) 2/6/1983
9."Charlie's Angels" "Homes $weet Homes" (episode # 4.18) 1/30/1980
10."Young Maverick" ( "Fistful of Oats, A" (episode # 1.2) 12/5/1979
11."Happy Days" "Married Strangers" (episode # 6.20) 2/6/1979
12 ."CHiPs" "Highway Robbery" (episode # 1.9) 12/1/1977
13 ."Ark II" playing "Sancho Panza" "Don Quixote" (episode # 1.14) 12/11/1976
14."Bionic Woman, The" "Assault on the Princess" (episode # 2.4) 10/6/1976
15. "Bionic Woman, The" "Fly Jaime" (episode # 1.11) 5/5/1976
16 ."Adam-12" "Alcohol" (episode # 7.9) 12/10/1974
17."Gunsmoke" "Sergeant Holly" (episode # 16.14) 12/14/1970
18."Barefoot in the Park" (1970) recurring role as Mr. Velasquez
19."To Rome with Love" (1969) recurring role as Gino Mancini
20."Get Smart" "Hello, Columbus - Goodbye, America" (episode # 5.24) 5/1/1970
21."Odd Couple, The" "Felix, The Calypso Singer" (episode # 1.30)
22. "Gunsmoke" "Danny" (episode # 15.4) 10/13/1969
23 "Hogan's Heroes" "Return of Major Bonacelli, The" (episode # 4.25) 3/15/1969
24."Flying Nun, The" recurring role as Capt. Gaspar Formento (1968-1969)
25."Gunsmoke" "Pillagers, The" (episode # 13.9) 11/6/1967
26."Man from U.N.C.L.E., The" ( "Matterhorn Affair, The" 3/3/1967
27."Monkees, The" "Case of the Missing Monkee" (episode # 1.17) 1/9/1967
28."Wild, Wild West" "Night of the Infernal Machine, The" (episode # 2.14) 12/23/1966
29."Batman" "Bird's Last Jest, The" (episode # 2.28) 12/8/1966
30."Batman" "Penguin's Nest, The" (episode # 2.27) 12/7/1966
31. "Gilligan's Island" "Ring Around Gilligan" (episode # 3.8) 11/7/1966
32."Wackiest Ship in the Army" (1965)(episode # 1.29) 4/17/1966
33."Gilligan's Island" "Friendly Physician, The" (episode # 2.29) 4/7/1966
34."Andy Griffith Show, The" "Gypsies, The" (episode # 6.23) 2/21/1966
35. "Gunsmoke" "Hostage, The" (episode # 11.12) 12/4/1965
36."Addams Family" "Morticia, the Sculptress" (episode # 2.9) 11/12/1965
37. "Virginian, The" ( "Nobility of Kings" (episode # 4.8) 11/10/1965
38. "Laredo" "I See By Your Outfit" (episode # 1.2) 9/23/1965
39. "Get Smart" ( "Mr Big" (episode # 1.1) 9/18/1965
40 ."Bewitched" ( "Eat At Mario's" (episode # 1.35) 5/27/1965
41. "Gilligan's Island" "Diogenes, Please Go Home?" (episode # 1.31) 5/1/1965
42 "Addams Family, The" ( "Addams Family and Spacemen" (episode # 1.27) 4/2/1965
43 ."Man from U.N.C.L.E., The" (1964 "Yellow Scarf Affair" (episode # 1.17) 1/25/1965
44."Gilligan's Island" ( "So Sorry, My Island Now" (episode # 1.15) 1/9/1965
45. "Addams Family," "Art and the Addams Family" (episode # 1.14) 12/18/1964
46. "Addams Family, The" "Addams Family Meet the VIPs" (episode # 1.11) 11/27/1964
47.."My Favorite Martian" "Hitch-Hiker To Mars" (episode # 1.21) 3/1/1964
48."Temple Houston""Slight Case of Larceny, A" (episode # 1.21) 2/13/1964
49. "Rifleman, The" "Which Way'd They Go?" (episode # 5.25) 4/1/1963
50."Wide Country, The" ( (episode # 1.24) 3/21/1963
51."Dick Van Dyke Show, The" ( "Give Me Your Walls!" (episode # 2.23) 2/27/1963
52."Stoney Burke" "Matter of Percentage, A" (episode # 1.17) 1/28/1963
53."Rifleman, The" "Sixteenth Cousin, The" (episode # 5.17) 1/28/1963
54."Rifleman, The" "Waste (Part 2)" (episode # 5.2) 10/8/1962
55 "Rifleman, The" "Waste (Part 1)" (episode # 5.1) 10/1/1962
56."Twilight Zone, The" "Gift, The" (episode # 3.32) 4/27/1962
57."Bronco" : "Last Letter, THe" (episode # 4.12) 3/5/1962
58."Rawhide" "Long Count, The" (episode # 4.13) 1/5/1962
59."Investigators, The" "De Luca" (episode # 1.8) 11/23/1961
60.."Bonanza" "Lonely House, The" (episode # 3.4) 10/15/1961
61."Frontier Circus" ( "Depths of Fear, The" (episode # 1.1) 10/5/1961
62."Bonanza" ( "Thunderhead Swindle" (episode # 2.30) 4/29/1961
63."Zorro" "Adios, El Cuchillo" (episode # 3.2) 11/6/1960
64."Zorro" "El Bandido" (episode # 3.1) 10/30/1960
65."Cheyenne" "Counterfeit Gun" (episode # 5.2) 10/10/1960
66."Mr. Lucky" : "Election Bet" (episode # 1.34) 6/18/1960
67."Deputy, The" "Trail of Darkness" (episode # 1.37) 6/18/1960
68."Deputy, The" "Standoff, The" (episode # 1.36) 6/11/1960
69."Twilight Zone, The" "Mr. Bevis" (episode # 1.33) 6/3/1960
70 "Deputy, The" "Lucifer Urge" (episode # 1.33) 5/14/1960
71."Shotgun Slade" "Deadly Key, The" (episode # 1.23) 3/8/1960
72."Wagon Train" ( "St. Nicholas Story, The" (episode # 3.12) 12/23/1959
73."Bronco" ( "Last Resort, The" (episode # 2.5) 11/17/1959
74."Perry Mason" "Case of the Howling Dog, The" (episode # 2.23) 4/11/1959
75."Californians, The" "Deadly Tintype" (episode # 2.26) 3/31/1959
76."Mike Hammer" (1957) recurring role
77."You Are There" "Recovery of the Mona Lisa" (episode # 4.23) 4/8/1956
78."Andy's Gang" (1955) recurring roles
79."Life with Luigi" (1952-1953)