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People You Forgot Were in Woody Allen Films

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When you stop and examine the films of Woody Allen, you realize that at least half of Hollywood has worked with this guy. Sometimes it’s a bit part that catches attention years later when the person is more famous, such as Jeff Goldblum in “Annie Hall,” or Zach Braff in “Manhattan Murder Mystery.” Sometimes it’s a bigger role that got lost in the shuffle, like Gene Hackman in “Another Woman.” Either way, in honor of the new Woody Allen documentary on PBS Nov. 20 and 21, here are some Woody Allen actors you might have forgotten.

SETH GREEN

A very young Seth Green played Woody’s narrator character as a young boy growing up in 1930s Queens in “Radio Days.” Green is very good in the 1987 film; my favorite scene is when he uses his Masked Avenger Secret Decoder Ring.

MADONNA

The always interesting Madonna shows up in Woody’s “Shadows and Fog” in 1991 as a circus artist having an affair with a clown played by John Malkovich. Both her wardrobe and her screen time are scant.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Williams had a small role in 1997’s “Deconstructing Harry.” I liked this movie quite a bit, but there were so many cameos that they got distracting. Even sportscaster Joe Buck found a way into this one.

TRUMAN CAPOTE

I love this. In a scene from 1977’s “Annie Hall,” Woody is joking with Diane Keaton about a guy on the street who looks like he won a “Truman Capote look-alike contest.” In fact, it IS Capote. Nice.

STEVE CARELL

What’s weird about Carell’s cameo in 2004’s “Melinda and Melinda” is that it doesn’t tap into either one of Mr. C’s tendencies: his absurd, outlandish comedy characters or his sweet, everyman characters.

BURT REYNOLDS

Reynolds was intensely understated in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)” in 1972. He and Tony Randall were part of the team of people working in Woody’s brain to get him through a dinner date and sex.

LEWIS BLACK

How cool is it to watch “Hannah and Her Sisters” from 1986 and suddenly find comedian Lewis Black walking down the hall with Woody? This movie is filled with cameos by famous (or eventually famous) people: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Turturro, J.T. Walsh, Richard Jenkins, Benno Schmidt.

EDIE FALCO

Despite the brevity of Falco’s role in “Bullets Over Broadway” from 1994, it proved to be a pivotal break in her acting career. You know who else has a bit part in this film? Tony Sirico, who would achieve fame with Falco in “The Sopranos.”

SAUL BELLOW

Literary lion Saul Bellow was a perfect choice to be among the famous commentators in “Zelig,” Woody’s 1983 film about a guy who spent a good deal of the 20th century assimilating too much.

JIMMY FALLON

Thank goodness Fallon was already famous before his small part in 2003’s “Anything Else.” Not many people went to see this one, which was something of a return to the relationship territory of “Annie Hall,” for a new generation.

PAUL GIAMATTI

The fantastic Paul Giamatti was in two of Woody’s movies:  1995’s “Mighty Aphrodite,” and 1997’s “Deconstructing Harry.” I preferred “Deconstructing Harry.”

SIGOURNEY WEAVER

You’ll just have to take my word for this one. At the end of the great “Annie Hall,” Woody meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Diane Keaton, outside a movie theater. Each is with a date – in Woody’s case, a young Sigourney Weaver.

MILTON BERLE

Berle played himself in 1984’s “Broadway Danny Rose,” which is one of my favorite movies. Woody is a low-rent talent agent who handles a club singer with a shot at being in a Berle TV special.

BRENT SPINER

I’ll end with a truly obscure one. Star Trek’s favorite android, Data, showed up as “fan in lobby” in “Stardust Memories” from 1980. Woody’s at a film festival of his character’s “older, funnier” films.

That’s all, folks, although there are many, many more examples: Liam Neeson in “Husbands and Wives,” Dan Aykroyd in “Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” Bella Abzug in “Manhattan” …

A Dozen Great “Greens”

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In honor of the new Green Lantern movie, here’s a tip of the cap to 12 people, places and things as cool as their emerald hue. Red and blue may get most of the attention, black may be more sophisticated and green itself may have had its name co-opted by the environmental movement, but these 12 are evergreens.

JOLLY GREEN GIANT

Aside from Mr. Clean, what fictional product spokesman is as ominously cool as the J.G. Giant? He barely speaks, we mainly only see his hands, AND we were willing to buy corn from him for years that didn’t even look like real corn!

MOE GREEN

For those unfamiliar with “The Godfather,” Moe is a Vegas casino owner who unwisely rebuffs Michael Corleone’s business offer. Not a week goes by among my circle of friends without at least one Moe Green reference. It’s great shorthand for misplaced indignation. Poor Moe.

NEW HAVEN GREEN

There are centuries of history here, but that’s not why I love the Green. I’ve sat here on a blanket with my wife and listened to music; started and finished road races; met friends for bike rides; strolled past before dinners and after bar hopping; attended more rallies than I can count. Life happens on this Green.

GREEN ONIONS

God bless Booker T & the MGs, and that Hammond organ.

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY

John Ford’s 1941 film is wonderful, but Richard Llewellyn’s book is a rich, soulful look at family, fate, love and hard work in a coal mining village in Wales. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

SETH GREEN

So jealous of this kid. Not only is he part of “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken,” but he’s been in some of my favorite “Austin Powers” scenes.

GREEN LANTERN

Don’t know if the new movie is any good, but the Hal Jordan of the 1960s and ’70s was super good. I always got a kick out of the fact that he could manifest near-limitless energy into anything he wanted, and he often chose a huge, green boxing glove. Dumb as it sounds, that’s EXACTLY what most guys would do.

THE BIG GREEN MONSTER

I don’t have a horse in the whole Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, being a National League guy, but I have a healthy respect for any ballpark willing to replicate the exciting ricochets my friends and I experienced playing Wiffle Ball next to my parents’ house. There always has to be a Fenway Park.

SYDNEY GREENSTREET

Before there was the Kingpin, before there was Jabba the Hutt, there was Sydney Greenstreet. His voice was like molasses poured on sandpaper. Here’s a scene from a relatively minor work, 1948’s “The Woman in White.”

WINNING THE GREEN JACKET AT THE MASTERS

It’s the ugliest jacket everyone wants to have. I can’t think of a better way to honor it than to show the finish of the 1986 Masters.

SOYLENT GREEN

I forget – what is Soylent Green, again?

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

Not easy at all; not easy at all.