Their recording of “Aba Daba Honeymoon” in the MGM Musical was a huge success, and he also starred as the lion in “Fearless Fagan” on Broadway.
Carleton Carpenter, the actor, singer and MGM signed with Debbie Reynolds who sang the hit “Aba Daba Honeymoon” on the romantic musical “Two Weeks of Love,” has died. He is 95 years old.
Carpenter died of natural causes Monday at his home in Warwick, New York, his friend Alan Eichler announced.
After starring on Broadway with the likes of Angela Lansbury, Ray Bolger and Hermione Gingold, the lanky Carpenter was signed by MGM, who quickly assigned him to Summer Stock (1950), starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland.
Garland caused so many delays that Carpenter was able to work on “Father of the Bride” (1950), playing one of Elizabeth Taylor’s suitors, and his first role with Reynolds in “Three Littles” Words” (1950). (She says “I want to be loved by you” next to him.)
Armed with the power of the number, he and the equally lovable Reynolds were tasked with restoring the vaudeville tune “Aba Daba Honeymoon” for Two Weeks of Love (1950), a duo from top-line Jane Powell and Ricardo Montalban stole the spotlight.
The soundtrack of their song was released as a single for the first time, selling more than 1 million copies while peaking at number three on the Billboard charts. He performed with Reynolds and toured the Loews Theater in New York’s Capitol Building and around the country.
(They used clips from “Three Little Words” and “Two Weeks of Love” in the 1974 film That’s Entertainment, which celebrated MGM’s 50th anniversary.)
The 6-foot-3 Carpenter then starred as Harley “Tumbleweed” Williams in a full moon sky, opposite Jan Sterling – a film that playwright William Inger claims he made to the bus stop Inspiration — and as a real-life soldier to bring his pet lion into the army with him in Stanley Donen’s Fearless Fagan, released in 1952 .
Carpenter also appeared with Burt Lancaster in Vengeance Valley (1951), with Dorothy Gish in Robert Siodmak’s The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951), with Richard Widmark in Richard Brooks’ Occupy the Heights! (1953) and James Garner in Periscope (1959).
Carleton Upham Carpenter Jr. was born on July 10, 1926 in Bennington, Vermont. In 1944, when he was a student at Bennington High School, he had a Broadway role in David Merrick’s first feature, Bright Boys.
He later served as Seabee in the U.S. Navy, helping build the airstrip that Enola Gay flew to Hiroshima in 1945 during World War II.
After his service, he worked on The Trilogy with Bolger in 1946, The Almanac with John Murray Anderson of King Gold in 1953-54, and Paradise with Burt Lal in 1957 Hotel as well as a Broadway role in her Broadway debut Lansbury. (Shortly after the comedy opened, the producers elevated his name to the title alongside Lal and Lansbury.)
Carpenter made his film debut in producer Louis de Rochemont’s controversial “Lost Boundaries” (1949), about a man believed to be white. black family.
He returned to New York at the end of his MGM contract to appear in the Yearbook and played Cornelius in Mary Martin’s Hello, Dolly!, which toured the United States and the Far East, including at the height of the war Entertaining troops in Vietnam.
He starred alongside Ann Sothern in the 1954 Max Liebman TV movie The Lady in the Dark, and they recorded the score for RCA Victor. He also starred in Sidney Lumet’s 1955 production of George Kelly’s The Show-Off, and co-starred in the musical version of Mother Goose with Shirley Temple in 1958 for her Shirley Temple storybook series.
His other TV appearances include Perry Mason, Father Knows Best, Goodyear Playhouse, General Electric Theatre, The Millionaire, The Rifleman and his own series, Luke and the Tenderfoot in 1955.