Though he appeared in numerous silent films, such as Wings and Beggars of Life, his career didn't really take off until sound arrived. Arguably his best-known film role was the annoying bus passenger Oscar Shapeley, who tries to pick up Claudette Colbert in the Oscar-winning comedy It Happened One Night (1934), quickly followed by one of his best performances as the boozy press agent Owen O'Malley in Howard Hawks' Twentieth Century. (Six years later, he co-starred as one of the reporters in another Hawks classic, His Girl Friday.) In 1937, Paramount teamed him with Lynne Overman as a pair of laconic private eyes in two B comedy-mysteries, Murder Goes to College and Partners in Crime. From 1950 to 1954, Karns played the title role in the popular DuMont Television Network series Rocky King, Inside Detective. His son, character actor Todd Karns, also appeared in that series. From 1959 to 1962, Karns was cast as Captain (then Admiral) Walter Shafer in seventy-three of the ninety-five episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama series, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper in the title role of a United States Navy physician, and Abby Dalton as nurse Martha Hale. His final film was another Hawks comedy, Man's Favorite Sport?, in 1964.
Movies & TV shows
Man's Favorite Sport?
Roger Willoughby is a renowned fishing expert, who, unbeknownst to his friends, co-workers, or boss, has never cast a line in his life. One day, he crosses paths with Abigail Paige, a sweetly annoying...
1 TV show
The Lucy Show
The Lucy Show is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962–68. It was Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy. A significant change in cast and premise for the 1965–66 season divides the program ...
1 TV show
Richard Diamond, Private Detective
Richard Diamond, Private Detective is an American detective drama which aired on radio from 1949 to 1953, and on television from 1957 to 1960.
1 TV show
December Bride is an American sitcom that aired on the CBS television network from 1954 to 1959, adapted from the original CBS radio network series that aired from June 1952 through September 1953.
Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven
Eddie Tayloe's grandfather leaves him six thousand dollars and the money belt it came in, freeing Tayloe to leave his dull newspaper job in Texas and move to New York to become a playwright. Along the...
Speed to Spare
Stunt driver Cliff Jordan takes a job with his old pal Jerry McGee, branch manager of an express trucking firm. Jerry is married to Mary, Cliff's former girl friend. Also working for Jerry is Pete Sim...
The Inside Story
A collection agent arrives in a small town with $1000 for a local farmer. Whilst waiting for the farmer to arrive the money is put in a safe at a hotel for safe keeping. However, it is removed by mist...
John Calvert takes over as the Falcon in this Poverty-Row continuation of the film series.
That's My Man
A poor young man is finally able to achieve his dream of running a horse at the track, but when he starts becoming successful, he begins to lose sight of what mattered to him before.
Vigilantes of Boomtown
The ranch of Red Ryder (Allan Lane) and his aunt, The Duchess (Martha Wentworth), is being used as the training site for "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (George Turner) for his upcoming fight in Carson City, ...
I Ring Doorbells
Set at a major newspaper, this crime drama centers on a fellow who returns to newspaper reporting after he bombs as a playwright. Believing his grown son is in danger of marrying a gold digger, the pa...
One Way to Love
A Chicago team of radio scriptwriters must split up when he takes a job with his bride-to-be's father, and the other must write commercial jingles.
Two T-men (Bruce Cabot, Roscoe Karns) track a tax evader and his money to an Idaho ski resort, where a raven tends bar.
The Navy Way
The experiences of a disparate group of young men as they make their way through Navy boot camp.
Hi, Good Lookin'!
An usher at a radio station studio pretends to be an executive at the station in order to help a pretty girl become a singer.
Unusually elaborate for a PRC film, Minstrel Man is a lively musical drama built around the talents of veteran vaudevillian Benny Fields. The star is cast as Dixie Boy Johnson, who rises from the rank...
His Butler's Sister
aspiring singer Ann Carter visits her stepbrother in New York, hoping to make it on Broadway
My Son, The Hero
Learning that his long-unseen son is soon to arrive for a visit, a small-time con-man enlists the help of his cronies to help him pretend to be a wealthy and important businessman. Comedy.
No relation to the 1950 Frank Capra film of the same name, the 1943 Technicolor musical Riding High is a by-the-numbers vehicle for Dorothy Lamour and Dick Powell. Lamour stars as Ann Castle, a former...
Two writers, friends since childhood, fight over their books and lives.
Stage Door Canteen
The Stage Door Canteen is where famous stars of the theater and films appear and host a recreational center for servicemen during the war, and it is visited by a young soldier on a pass in New York Ci...
A Tragedy at Midnight
The host of a whodunit radio show finds himself involved in his own mystery when he awakens to find a woman with a knife in her back in his bedroom.
A film company hires a gangster to mock himself holding up a bank, but he succeeds too well and makes off with the money. But all ends well.
You Can't Escape Forever
A demoted reporter (George Brent) and his girlfriend (Brenda Marshall) seek to expose a crime kingpin.
Woman of the Year
Rival reporters Sam and Tess fall in love and get married, only to find that their relationship is strained when Sam comes to resent Tess' busy lifestyle.
Half Shot at Sunrise
After his wife walks out on him, obnoxious Roscoe takes his son to the movies and creates havoc in the theater.
The Gay Vagabond
Farce of identical twins and a wife who takes up real estate business.
Road to Happiness
A struggling singer, devoted to his young son, fears the child's super-spoiled, unloving but wealthy mother will gain custody of the boy.
Footsteps in the Dark
A high-society gent has a secret life in which he writes murder mysteries and hangs out with the police trying to solve crimes. When his wife wants to know about his disappearances and late nights out...
Black Eyes and Blues
Roscoe's wife decides to divorce him and heads for Reno.
They Drive by Night
Joe and Paul Fabrini are Wildcat, or independent, truck drivers who have their own small one-truck business. The Fabrini boys constantly battle distributors, rivals and loan collectors, while trying t...
Meet the Missus
Gran Higgins falls under the spell of a love-starved widow.
Ladies Must Live
A small town farmer, who happens to be very wealthy, meets and falls for an actress, but his friends warn him she's only interested in his money.
A man's ex-wife is found murdered, and he finds himself to be the prime suspect.
An inventor (John Garfield) and his bride (Anne Shirley) get testy in the city as they try to make ends meet.
His Girl Friday
Hildy, the journalist former wife of newspaper editor Walter Burns, visits his office to inform him that she's engaged and will be getting remarried the next day. Walter can't let that happen and fram...
Everything's on Ice
Comedy about a little girl who's uncle makes her an ice skating star, only to take all of her money.
Freddy's wife told him that she was pregnant before he was supposed to film a new production. The producer was forced to start a countrywide competition for college girls because he couldn't find a re...
King of Chinatown
Violene and death stalk the Chinese of a big American city, but one man, Dr. Chang Ling, and his daughter, Dr. Mary Ling, defy the racketeers who are responsible, and, against terrific odds, bring pea...
That's Right - You're Wrong
J. D. Forbes, head of the almost-bankrupt Four Star Studios in Hollywood contacts band leader Kay Kyser, who puts on a radio and-live theatre program called "The Kollege of Musical Knowledge," to appe...
Joe McKnight temporarily leaves his fiancée, Nora Langdon, for an expedition in a South American jungle. Nora gets a position as librarian in the small town of Midberg, where she boards with the Smith...
You and Me
Mr. Morris, the owner of a large metropolitan department store, gives jobs to paroled ex-convicts in an effort to help them reform and go straight. Among his 'employed-prison-graduates' are Helen Robe...
Thanks for the Memory
Steve Merrick is an out of work writer who stays home and plays house husband while his wife goes to work for her former fiancé and Merrick's publisher who is still carrying a torch for her.
A federal agent goes after a hijacking ring that uses beautiful women to help it hijack the rigs of unsuspecting truckers.
Dangerous to Know
Racketeer Steve Recka (Akim Tamiroff), art patron and political power-maker, rules his town and Madame Lan Ying (Anna May Wong), his beautiful Oriental friend and hostess (read:mistress), with an iron...
The title character is a resourceful young man who knows a whole little about a whole lot of things, and who concentrates by playing his saxophone. Clarence ingratiates himself with the wealthy and ec...
Murder Goes to College
Whodunit in a college setting.
Night of Mystery
One of a series of movies based on the character Philo Vance
A gangland murder is the motivating factor of this fast-moving crime drama. George Murphy stars as reporter Kent Shevlin, whose investigation of the murder leads to a tenure as a temporary FBI agent.
Frances Farmer's second film is a typical B-programmer from the Paramount lot of 1936--up and coming stars (John Howard, Robert Cummings, Grant Withers, Farmer) in a concerning the Coast Guard and smu...
Cain and Mabel
A chorus girl and a heavyweight boxer are paired romantically as a publicity stunt.
A fast-talking boxing manager and the somewhat hapless fighter he manages happen to run into a young man who was a good prizefighter in his day but is now out of the sport and has a drinking problem. ...
Wings in the Dark
In his dedicated pursuit of technology that will aid pilots to safely "fly blind" during adverse conditions. aerial innovator Ken Gordon is literally blinded in an accident, but this setback doesn't d...
Idiosyncratic new recruit Francis "Ike" Farrell is trying to help the Cubs with his pitching and hitting.
Four Hours to Kill!
A detective who has "four hours to kill" before delivering his prisoner, an escaped killer, spends the time in the lobby of a Broadway theater where a musical is playing. The film focuses on the relat...
Front Page Woman
Ace reporter Curt Devlin and fellow reporter Ellen Garfield love one another, but Curt believes women are "bum newspapermen". When a murder investigation ensues, the two compete every step of the way,...
Red Hot Tires
An escaped convict redeems himself by becoming an auto racing champion.
Come On, Marines!
"Lucky" Davis, a ladies-man and a devil-may-care U. S. Marine Sergeant, is leading a Marine-squadron on an expedition through a Phillipine jungle where an outlaw bandit is leading a guerilla-war rebel...
Shoot the Works
Jack Oakie stars as seedy sideshow barker Nicky, who uses everyone he meets to get ahead. Nicky isn't even above exploiting his singing sweetheart Lily (Dorothy Dell) to suit his purposes, but this ti...
I Sell Anything
Auctioneer Spot Cash Cutler is planning the scam of a lifetime, but will he get burned?
It Happened One Night
A reporter and a heiress are stuck with each other when the bus leaves them behind at one of the stops while they travel to New York.
Oscar Jaffe is a successful Broadway director, Lily Garland his biggest star. When she leaves his direction, his success goes with her. When he recognizes her aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, the...
The Women in His Life
An immensely successful criminal lawyer is blindsided when he learns that his new case involves his ex-wife, who left him.
One Sunday Afternoon
Middle-aged dentist Biff Grimes reminisces about his love for Virginia Brush and her husband Hugo, his ex-friend, who betrayed him.
A Lady's Profession
A couple of down-and-out British aristocrats buy an American roadhouse.
Today We Live
Two lovers are living together and are not married; they had made a promise as children to get married when they grew up, but they "didn't wait."
Tired of the dangerous life as gambling boss, Ace Corbin 'retires' from the racket and travels cross-country by train to begin a new life with a new name. On the train, he meets Eleanor and they fall ...
A Russian waiter in New York City becomes a national celebrity after he develops a "system" for winning at contract bridge.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice discovers that an ordinary library mirror is a portal into another world when she is in this version of the Lewis Carroll classic. As she adjusts to her constantly changing size, thanks to some ...
One Way Passage
A dying woman and a debonair murderer meeting and falling in love on a trans-Pacific crossing, each without knowing the other's secret.
They Call It Sin
An innocent, young, small town church organist is thrown out of her home, told she was adopted and that her mother was an evil woman. She follows a crush to the big-city and left fending for herself.
A young innocent falls for a compulsive gambler.
The Crooked Circle
A group of amateur detectives sets out to expose The Crooked Circle, a secretive group of hooded occultists.
Idealistic attorney Anton Adam makes headlines when he successfully prosecutes a prominent New York racketeer named Gilmurry. Adam's sudden renown attracts the attention of high-profile legal eagle Gr...
When his father is murdered, erstwhile conman Nick Darrow asks the cops if he can go undercover to find the killers, and maybe even stop a crime ring that has been plaguing the police. The sister of a...
The Roadhouse Murder
After he stumbles across a murder, a young reporter devises an elaborate scene to keep his newspaper stories about the crime front-page news. Eric Linden, Dorothy Jordan, Bruce Cabot, Roscoe Ates, Ros...
On her first night as a dockside dancer, Mary Foster loses her job when she tries to fend of the advances of first mate Groder. On the street and being pursued by a Policeman who thinks she is a pros...
Two Against The World
A socialite finds herself involved in a murder trial that is prosecuted by her boyfriend.
If I Had a Million
An elderly business tycoon, believed to be dying, decides to give a million dollars each to eight strangers chosen at random from the phone directory.
Night After Night
A former boxer falls in love with a wealthy society girl after purchasing a classy speakeasy.
Ladies of the Big House
A woman (Sylvia Sidney) tries to save her husband (Gene Raymond) from the electric chair after both are sent to prison for a murder they didn't commit.
A novelist and his younger brother fall in love with the same woman.
Ivy Stevens is a cafe entertainer who is in love with a shifty salesman who deserts her. Carl, a Salvation Army officer, saved her in her attempt to commit suicide. Ivy joined the Salvation Army becau...
Left Over Ladies
Two married couples are involved in divorce proceedings; Patricia and Ronny, who are still in love with each other, and Jerry and Amy who couldn't care less for each other. Patricia's friendship with ...
The love of beautiful Helen, Frisky's wife, and the glory associated with a successful expedition to the South Pole were the subject of a fight between the commander and the Navy pilot. Frisky tried a...
Safety in Numbers
Before handing over a large inheritance, a guardian hires three chorus girls to educate his charge about the "underside" of big-city life.
On the day before his second wedding, a man finds out that his bride-to-be has had a baby.
The Costello Case
An Irish policeman handles gangsters, a mystery woman and a wise-guy reporter.
Eddie Haskins, a wisecracking young man, teams up with two ham-acrobats known as 'Bugs & Sunny', and ,when they are all kicked out of a vaudeville theater in California, they enlist in the U. S. Caval...
A hard-boiled nightclub owner saves a beautiful young girl from drowning. He promptly falls in love with her, but she prefers a younger, more-genteel lover.
A series of murders that take place in an old, dark mansion are suspected of being committed by an ape. (lost film)
The Flying Fleet
Six friends, all hoping to become aviators, are to graduate the next day from the United States Naval Academy. When the officer of the day becomes sick, Tommy Winslow has to take his place, while the ...
On a slow news day, the wisecracking staff of a newspaper write articles about the serious safety issues of a local excursion steamboat line.
New York Nights
Show girl Jill Deverne is married to song writer Fred Deverne, and everyone is involved in the Broadway night life and endless parties. Jill is being pursued by a gangster, and she leaves her husband ...
Beggars of Life
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal a car in th...
The Trail of '98
Fortune hunters from all over the country rushing to the Klondike in 1897 to seek their fortunes in the gold are tested by hardships of the journey.
The film is about a desert-bound member of the French Foreign Legion who exposes a betrayer to the Legion and is then sent on a mission among the Arabs to conclude the signing of a crucial peace treat...
The Vanishing Pioneer
The Vanishing Pioneers is a 1928 silent western film directed by John Waters and starring Jack Holt. Holt's son, Tim makes his screen debut in this film The film is now lost. Parts of the film were sh...
A composer and his daughter emigrate to America in the hope that he can sell his symphony. But he meets with little success and begins to give up hope. His daughter and her friends, however, never giv...
The Desert Bride
Captain Maurice de Florimont (Allan Forrest), a French Army intelligence officer, is captured by Arab nationalists while on an espionage mission. His sweetheart Diane Duval (Betty Compson) is also tak...
Bert, a pitcher for a baseball team in a small town, is given the opportunity to try out for a team in the big leagues. Unfortunately, he incurs the enmity of McRae, the league's leading home-run hitt...
The Shopworn Angel
Shortly after the United States enters World War I in 1917, a Broadway actress agrees to let a naive soldier court her in order to impress his friends, but a real romance soon begins.
The Jazz Singer
A young Jewish man is torn between tradition and individuality when his old-fashioned family objects to his career as a jazz singer. This is the first full length feature film to use synchronized soun...
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, both in love with the same woman, become US Air Corps fighter pilots and, eventually, heroic flying aces during World War I. Devoted best friends, their mutu...
You'd Be Surprised
A diamond is stolen at a houseboat party given by the district attorney. He gives the thief a chance to return it by putting an empty box on a table and turning out the lights. When the lights are tur...
The Ten Commandments
The first part of the story tells about the journey of the Jews from Egypt to the promised land, as well as the receipt of the tablets and worship of the golden calf. Through a story set in San Franci...
Working as a wardrobe girl in a cheap traveling stock company, Mamie Judd secretly loves Jenks, the leading man, who scarcely notices the young girl. She saves Neal Selden, son of a small-town banker,...
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Roscoe_Karns", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.