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The King of Film Noir

Those familiar with this blog know I loves me character actors and film noir.  I’m certain this evolved from my Dad’s love of film and character actors.

Humphrey Bogart is one of my favorites, but there are so many others.

Robert Mitchum is the king.

If you’ve not seen The Night of the Hunter or (the original) Cape Fear, you have missed something.

Of course, he had an ‘interesting’ private life.  One of the early Hollywood types busted for marijuana use, he served a week in the county jail, then more time in a prison farm. (from Wikipedia)

On September 1, 1948, after a string of successful films for RKO, Mitchum and actress Lila Leeds were arrested for possession of marijuana.[7] The arrest was the result of a sting operation designed to capture other Hollywood partiers, as well, but Mitchum and Leeds did not receive the tipoff. After serving a week at the county jail, (he described the experience to a reporter as being “like Palm Springs, but without the riff-raff”) Mitchum spent 43 days (February 16 to March 30) at a Castaic, California, prison farm, with Life photographers right there taking photos of him mopping up in his prison uniform.[8] The arrest became the inspiration for the exploitation film She Shoulda Said No! (1949), which starred Leeds.[9] The conviction was later overturned by the Los Angeles court and district attorney’s office on January 31, 1951, with the following statement, after it was exposed as a setup:

After an exhaustive investigation of the evidence and testimony presented at the trial, the court orders that the verdict of guilty be set aside and that a plea of not guilty be entered and that the information or complaint be dismissed.

He did appear to be an early version of the stereotypical beatnik, but, considering his career, certainly not with an aversion to work(!)  Robert Mitchum was an American actor who was in over 110 films and TV series over the course of his career. (Wikipedia)

He was married to his wife Dorothy for 57 years!  He reportedly proposed by saying to her, “Stick with me Baby, and you’ll be farting through silk!”

Mitchum as Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962)

Mitchum as Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962)

At The Movies

Regular readers know I love movies and TV.  What you may not know is, I rarely go ‘out’ to the movies.

Part of the reason is the technological shift in how we can view movies.  I get them directly on my satellite dish, or through services like NETFLIX™.  I even own a ‘few’ on DVD! (I know – OLD technology!)  😛

There are more than enough from which to choose.

And there’s this (from FB, in part – not me!):

Went to the H****** Metrocenter 12 …at the 01:30pm “Jupiter Ascending”…Me and 2 others of my party had to walk out!!!
Some trashy family with 3-4 kids sat right next to us and talked and talked ..and talked…and also they let their kid run up and down in front of us!

Then to top if off….the father had the nerve to pick up one of our parties drinks and hand it to his kid to drink out of ….then said sorry and handed it back “AFTER” his kid (& himself took turns slurping it down!).

I had to had have a friend get a manager…2 (Two) times….then finally got our money back and walked out!!

BAD!!!! I wont be back to the H****** Metrocenter 12…sad missed a film that I had been wanting to see for weeks!

Metrocenter used to be a family-friendly huge, upscale mall, wherein many weekends were spent window and actual shopping.  With my then wife and young daughter.  Now, with most of the brick-and-mortar department stores closed, it’s become a hang out for misguided yutes.

I remember even in pre-VHS days, attending a different theater and encountering rude people.  As the film began, three yutes (misguided teens) began talking loudly to each other and the screen.  Against my better judgment, I approached them and strongly suggested I paid good money to hear the movie, and not to hear them sh*** and j***. (Using a 40’s vernacular with which I’m certain they lacked familiarity).

They quieted down, and I spent most of the movie checking my six for some variety of retaliation.  Thankfully, none came.

While I sometimes miss the big screens and speakers (remember CINERAMA™ and Dolby­™?), it is nice knowing I can pause the film for bathroom and/or beverage, and even watch in my skivvies.

AH! Technology!

 

Another Night As A Security Guard

I think I was first employed as a private security guard in 1972.  Last, in 1987.  For about six different companies over the years.  Interspersed with being a process server, private investigator, security consultant and numerous other jobs.

Consequently, sometimes my memories conjoin, and sometimes fade.  Sometimes, they make me cry (like restricting access to the urgent care facility to allow access for a seriously ill cancer patient – because the cancer made them stink!), and other times they make me chuckle.

Why haven’t I posted about this funny ever before?  I’d forgotten about it.  A recent course of Nyquil™ helped me to remember!  😛

Well, anyway…

I was a graveyard shift guard for an urgent care facility three days.  And substitute guard supervisor for two.  Often filling in for sick, ill, and lazy guards.  And those who just decided to quit at the last minute.

(If I couldn’t bribe someone else to fill in…)

One of the offices for the urgent care was adjacent to a popular stage theater/movie house.  And sometimes, the audience parking would bleed over into our lot.  Our job, as security, was to make certain they simply didn’t restrict patient parking.

Usually no issue or biggie.

But this was Phoenix’s Sombrero Playhouse!  Where much of central Phoenix ‘old’ money would go to watch plays, and sometimes first-run films.  Then they’d go up 7th Avenue to The Islands for a nice dinner out.

sombrero

Generally nice, older folks who didn’t want to be annoyed.  And had money to enforce that.

And, I was a conservative, somewhat sheltered young lad.  Just trying to do my job.

As a last minute aside, I was told there was a new movie at the Sombrero.  And some of the patrons ‘dressed in costume and makeup’ to see the film.  I was not to express alarm at their ‘getup’.

O-kaay.

I’d not heard of the film.  It was THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!

So, a guy pulls in and asks me if it’s okay to park in the clinic lot.  I apologize and say no.  The first of many times that evening to people who looked (somewhat) like this:

rocky

I didn’t express alarm, but did have to stifle laughter!

And my boundaries were again widened.  Not because I wanted them to be, necessarily.

And Rocky Horror became an underground hit.  And took over ‘Midnight Movies’ at my nearby theater, The Valley Art.  The used to run indy films, then it became nothing but Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday midnight!

Times were a changin’…

 

What Have We Learned?

What have we learned from the events of this week?

We cannot control others. (as if we didn’t already know this!)

Politicians are maddening.

The World is crazy.

People pass away when they do.  Something else over which we’ve no control.

Carrie Fisher.  Many of us feel sad because we liked her irreverent spirit, and The Star Wars character.  She was way too young.

And, of course, death reminds us of our own mortality.

Debbie Reynolds.  Debbie is of course, more of my parent’s generation.  But I grew up on many of her movies, and have an special fondness for Singin’ In The Rain.  The dancing.  The music.  The comedy.

And the fact it came out the year I was born.

Debbie’s demise was no surprise to me.  Nature says parents should not outlive their children.  Except sometimes they do.

Both my (ex)wife and I did.  Stating this is unpleasant is the understatement of a lifetime.

I understand how Debbie’s age and grief could precipitate strokes.  And I felt for her.  And mourn her passing.

We’re it not for blood pressure medication, I would be in stroke territory myself.  And for a few years after the accident, I thought it a distinct possibility.  And maybe hoped it would happen.

We’re on the cusp of another New Year.  Hopefully, better than the last.  You know what I’m going to say:

HOLD THOSE CLOSE WHOM YOU CARE ABOUT, AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM – ESPECIALLY YOUR KIDS!

YOU NEVER KNOW…

 

The 300

No, not THOSE 300 (the Spartans – “Molon Labe”, etc.)

Those of you who have read this blog for more than a week (poor bast***s) know me well enough to know I was raised on TV and movies.  I’m still hooked, and love nothing more than wasting my time in front of the idiot box selecting from either live television or the DVR.

Besides, I cannot afford to do much else.

And television has evolved from my childhood in the 50’s (3, 4 or 5 channels, shutting down at night with The National Anthem, followed by a ‘test pattern’ – youngsters, ask anyone born before 1960!) to a multitude of cable and satellite networks broadcasting 24/7, numbering in the hundreds, visible on flat digital TVs, tablets, PCs and even smartphones.  From pretty much anywhere in the ‘civilized’ world!

Of course, much of it is crap!  😛

Didn’t Steve Martin say, “147 channels and nothing’s on.” ?

Of course, I can watch Underwater Argentinian Curling at 0300, if I choose!  (just kidding, but not by much.)

I didn’t pay much attention to the actors of my youth (except the character actors – love them!), specifically, the number.

The few shows from Hollywood, those from NYC, how many actors were in that pool in say, 1956?

Fast-forward to 2016, with all this technology, with all these networks and shows, all these choices…

How many actors in this pool?

I contend it’s roughly 300.  Because of my largely unscientific but copious viewing habits, I’ve noticed actor A on that series (lead) when that series gets cancelled, shows up on a new series (as a second lead) almost immediately!

And if THAT series gets cancelled, they magically appear in a third, almost immediately.  As a special guest.  One week, the guy’s a federal special agent, the next he’s a city cop.  And in 13 weeks (or less) he appears as a metrosexual TV reporter.

Of course, most of these folks are extremely ‘talented’, (or at least pretty people!)

Look at Ted Danson.  He began as a murdered cop in ‘The Onion Field’, Went to ‘Cheers’, then ‘CSI’, then ‘CSI Cyber’ and now ‘The Good Place’.  With lots more in between.

It just seems I keep seeing the same actors in different roles on different shows in different seasons.  Sometimes, it’s the only way I find out the previous show was cancelled!

And watching reruns makes it even more confusing.  I just watched an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (2001-2011), with Michael Emerson (as the main bad guy).  He has an ‘affair’ with Cara Buono, whom he ends up murdering.  (Victim #3).

Move to Person of Interest (2010-2015).  Michael Emerson is now Mr. Finch, the creator of ‘the machine’ who spies on everyone, and Cara Buono guest stars as Martine, whose job it is to assassinate Finch and his agents.  While I’m certain Mr. Emerson put in a good word with the casting folks, it further acknowledges the almost incestuous nature of the 300.

And why there are only 300.

Well, back to the idiot box…

Cara Buono

Cara Buono

Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

I Agree With Bill Maher!

This makes two times!

Bill Maher said Donald Trump is right that the U.S. should have a profiling service that uses techniques employed by security guards in Israeli airports. The HBO host also said people already profile and that “all police work is profiling,” we just do it “stupidly.

BILL MAHER: He is for profiling, that’s what he said. But he said we should do it the way Israel does. And, like, every once in while Donald Trump says something right. Because we profile already, we just do it stupidly. All police work is profiling. Discrimination does not mean prejudice; discrimination means telling un-like things apart…

More with video @ Real Clear Politics

(from Free North Carolina)

And how weird is THAT?
Mr. Maher began as a ‘comedian’, claiming he is a ‘libertarian’, then skewed far left (one presumes to attract a bevy of leftist sycophants?)  Most of the time, he seems to agree with the progressives (“I think America needs to be dragged to gov’t healthcare, kicking and screaming if necessary.”).  He says he owns two guns, with which he practices, in case of a home invasion, but has come out for repeal of The Second Amendment!
But, as it is said of a broken clock…

Ray Donovan

ray-donovan

click for wiki

Yep, yet another TV show to which I am addicted.

A transplanted Southie Irish guy (played by Liev Schrieber), transplanted to L.A., makes his living by being a ‘fixer’ for rich Hollywood (and other) types.

Sometimes the fix is a simple contract negotiation.  Sometimes it’s more complicated – like involving blackmail, kidnapping and murder.  Or covering up his client’s crimes.  Like murder, robbery and prostitution.

He does very well with it, too.  Mercedes CLS 550.  Nice house.  Kids in private schools.

Of course, it’s never as easy at all that.  A history of killing the priest who molested he and his brother.  A wife with breast cancer.  Teen kids acting out.  Currently, he’s pissed off the Russian mob.  And he has an ex-con father (Jon Voight) who has his own criminal agenda and cannot seem to stay out of jail.

And the FBI is on his ass!

So, many times, HE becomes his own client!

It’s on Showtime, and next week is it’s 4th Season finale. (It’s also available on You Tube and other venues).

It has the usual extreme violence, sex and language.  If you are easily offended, you might stay away.  (FTC – Neither Showtime or the production folks give me anything.  I would accept a Mercedes from Mr. Schreiber, if he offered!  🙂  )

Hugh O’Brian RIP

Okay, 2016, enough already!

Another one of my childhood icons, Hugh O’Brian, passed yesterday…

He was 91.

For those too young to be baby-boomers, he was Wyatt Earp in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1955-1961.

When the Western was King.

(Yeah, he didn’t sport a mustache, and didn’t truck with hookers on the show, I know!)

(from Wikipedia)

O’Brian first attended school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then the (now defunct) Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. O’Brian dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At seventeen, he became the youngest Marine drill instructor.

(…)

Hugh O’Brian dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries. The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in an essay on the topic:

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.

— Hugh O’Brian, The Freedom to Choose[10]
When I get depressed, and think the Hollywood crowd consists primarily of self-centered leftist morons, I remember there are folks out there who have dedicated their lives not only to entertainment, but the betterment of others.
Hugh O’Brien is one of those folks.
And now he’s gone.
RIP, Sir!  And thank you!
hugh

Jon Polito RIP

(It’s said it comes in threes.  Guess it all depends on when one begins counting, and what the criterion are…)

You all know me and my love of character actors.  Mr. Polito first appeared on my radar in the wonderful 80’s TV show Crime Story, as a third lead mobster versus Dennis Farina and his major crimes crew.   (Any resemblance of the show’s character to Sam Giancana was purely coincidental, I’m sure…)

Later, it was Miller’s Crossing, Homicide: Life On The Street, Barton Fink, The X Files and many other shows and films.

Almost always playing some flavor of wiseguy.  Oh, he played in THAT, too!  He played cops, too (as mob-cast guys often do!)

Turned out he was distantly related to a friend of mine here locally with the same last name!  I’m sorry for your loss.

Your gruff voice and persona will certainly be missed!

jon polito

 

 

 

Mr. Crayola

I’m no artist.  Cannot draw/paint/sculpt to save my life.  Lucky to be able to sketch a short straight line if needed, usually crooked.  (I can sing (moderately) – but, is my singing ART?)

Because of this, I’ve a great appreciation for true artists, people like my college roommate Dave – who has been making art since he could walk.  And the classical artists – Leonardo, Michaelangelo and such.  Modern folks not-so-much.  An exploration of random color splotches doesn’t move me as does La Giocanda.

And my understanding of art is it is to make one feel something…

My friend Doc In Yuma sent me a collection of art (via email) which did move me.  Not just because of the skill of the artist, but, because of the media used.

Crayons!

A few examples, and his story:

MR CRAYOLA
Mr. Crayola Don Marco
Don Marco, the Master Crayola Artist

Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920’s. His interest in art was evident even before starting school. As a young adult in the Army Air Corp, he began his life’s career in Air Traffic Control, which continued until his retirement from Honolulu International Airport in 1973. Much of his spare time was spent as a professional artist.
Before retirement, Don started developing a technique to create fine art, using Crayola Crayons. Shortly after retiring, he published his first print. Living in Southern California, his work was in demand, including commissions from Burt Reynolds and a one-man show at his Dinner Theater in Florida …

It’s hard to imagine these are done with crayons!
Burt Reynolds

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Seascape

Story Don Marco..... The Master Crayola Artist

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…