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|Born||Martti Elis Niemi
20 July 1914
|Died||3 May 1960
Martti "Masa" Elis Niemi (20 July 1914 – 3 May 1960) was a Finnish actor. Niemi started his career as a drummer, but became popular as a comedian. He is most famous for his role as "Pätkä" (in English: Stub) in all thirteen original Pekka ja Pätkä movies.
He committed suicide in Tampere, after frustration because of lack of roles. He took an overdose of sleeping pills and died of intoxication. He left a suicide note written in verse form saying: "Hyvä on olla, kun on nolla. Hyvästi. -T. Masa" ("Life is a lull / when you're a null. Good bye, Masa.") Some people suppose his death could have been an accident. Masa Niemi suffered from disturbance of mental health and alcoholism.
Masa Niemi was only 154 cm tall (about 5 feet ½ inch), but he is said to have drunk at least a bottle and a half of Koskenkorva hard liquor every day. By careful examination of the films, several scenes can be spotted where Niemi was drunk on set. For example, Niemi would never have agreed to do the scene where Pätkä is lifted up 10 metres with a crane up if he hadn't drunk a bottle of Koskenkorva just before.
A few years after Niemi's death, there was an attempt to search for a new Pätkä to accompany Pekka. The producer even had a new script ready. The attempt was cancelled, because they could not find a suitable replacement. After a couple of decades, Visa Mäkinen made two more Pekka Puupää films, with Jaakko Kallio playing Pätkä.
- Suviyön salaisuus (Secret of summer night) (1945)
- Kipparikvartetti (Four skippers) (1952)
- Lentävä kalakukko (1953)
- Pekka Puupää (Peter Woodhead) (1953)
- Me tulemme taas (Here we come again) (1953)
- Pekka Puupää kesälaitumilla (Pekka and Pätkä on a summer holiday) (1953)
- Hei rillumarei! (1954)
- Pekka ja Pätkä lumimiehen jäljillä (1954)
- Taikayö (Magical night) (1954)
- Majuri maantieltä (The major from the roadside) (1954)
- Pekka ja Pätkä puistotäteinä (1955)
- Kiinni on ja pysyy eli Pekan ja Pätkän uudet seikkailut (1955)
- Pekka ja Pätkä pahassa pulassa (1955)
- Pekka ja Pätkä ketjukolarissa (1957)
- Pekka ja Pätkä salapoliiseina (1957)
- Pekka ja Pätkä sammakkomiehinä (1957)
- Pekka ja Pätkä Suezilla (On the Suez) (1958)
- Pekka ja Pätkä miljonääreinä (As millionaires) (1958)
- Ei ruumiita makuuhuoneeseen (No bodies in the bedroom) (1959)
- Yks' tavallinen Virtanen (Just an ordinary Finn) (1959)
- Pekka ja Pätkä mestarimaalareina (1959)
- Isaskar Keturin ihmeelliset seikkailut (Isaskar Keturi's wonderful adventures) (1960)
- Pekka ja Pätkä neekereinä (1960)
- Kaks' tavallista Lahtista (Two ordinary Finns) (1960)