John A. Keel: film comedian? Well, not professionally; but he did make some memorable appearances in independent films.
One of John’s friends for many years was Ed Lord, a bass player who worked and taught in NYC. I don’t know much about his career, except that he played at one time with the Glenn Miller band. Like John, Lord was a member of the Metropolitan Motion Picture Club, an organization of 8mm film-makers. Many members just shot simple vacation and home movies. Others, like Ed Lord (and, most conspicuously, George and Mike Kuchar) made more ambitious narrative films, often with sound.
John made a few films with Lord; I don’t know how many. Two I do know of are “On Exhibition” and “A Day at the Fair.” In the first, John, in a rumpled suit and a few days of beard, is thrown out of a number of bars, only to stumble into the Museum of Modern Art, where he blearily confronts the exhibits. In the second, he waits in line at the 1964 World’s Fair; and repeatedly loses his place, tries to cut in, and scuffles with other patrons. He wears a striking outfit for this role: Bermuda shorts, black socks and sneakers, sunglasses, a pipe, and a bright red and white cap with a long blue feather. It certainly makes him easier to spot in long shots. I’m happy to report that John turns in funny, relaxed performances as both stumblebum and boor.