When I was growing up, there were numerous Westerns on television. Being raised by TV, I was familiar with most. One of them was The Rifleman (1958-1963).
The Rifleman, aka Lucas McCain, was played to his macho hilt by Chuck Connors, a 6’5″ athlete (from Wikipedia, in part):
Kevin Joseph Aloysius “Chuck” Connors (April 10, 1921 – November 10, 1992) was an American actor, writer and professional basketball and baseball player. He is one of only 12 athletes in the history of American professional sports to have played both Major League Baseball and in the National Basketball Association. With a 40-year film and television career, he is best known for his five-year role as Lucas McCain in the highly rated ABC series The Rifleman (1958–63).
There was a book, first published in 1965, entitled Hollywood Babylon. There have been two subsequent printings. The book went out of it’s way to defame the famous in Hollywood, mentioning the scandals, the rumors, the crime, the ‘dirt’ for which the public was so hungry. Sal Mineo, Sharon Tate, Jayne Mansfield et al.
I don’t believe Chuck was mentioned in any of them.
The theme of the TV show was almost always (TV violence aside), a lesson which Lucas (a widower) would impart to his young son, Mark. I remember one particular episode wherein the lecture was (at the end of the show after much gunfighting) regarding people who are different. And just because they are different, doesn’t automatically make them BAD. And how we, as honest human beings should strive to be accepting of such folk.
Of course, I was a kid, so this message went over my head. When I saw the show again years later, some additional context was added.
An acquaintance, who has been a professional gun writer for many years, happened to see Chuck Connors at a large California gun show. IN FULL DRAG! – complete with a wig and makeup! This was a short time before he passed away.
This is not to defame Mr. Connors, but to suggest perhaps he and the TV show writers had a meeting-of-the-minds (?)
There are further rumors regarding Mr. Connors behavior all over the Internet. As there are with pretty much anyone regarded as ‘famous’.
Just because it says so on the Internet doesn’t make it true! – Abraham Lincoln
I remember sharing this tale with a collections manager @ TMCCC* (my last workplace). He ran away from me, covering his ears as though he were five years old! Obviously, I had been messing with a macho hero of his!
Be judicious with whom you share this tale.
*That Major Credit Card Company
I’m thoroughly convinced. Hollywood has officially run out of ideas.
We were watching commercial TV last night. The big promo was the announcement of the premiere of the new TV show Prison Break! (Hmmm? Wasn’t there a show with a similar title a few years back? Hey look! – they have the same cast!)
Television has a plethora of repeats or re-writes. Time After Time, based on the 70’s film with the same name, is now a series. (BTW – there are at least another THREE time-travel-themed TV shows. Stop looking at each other’s papers!)
I realize there are only so many formats, and popular themes make money. And, to be honest, I enjoy some of the retreads.
But, how many?
Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, Star Trek Generation ∞, C.H.I.P.s, Going in Style, ….
When did sequels and re-writes champion original ideas and thoughts? (not to mention some re-makes are abysmal! The Man From UNCLE?)
Get some original ideas, people!
Remember last year, and the celebrities just dropping like flies?
Well, it is continuing unto 2017!
And how sad is THAT? 😦
BILL PAXTON, who went from bit player to fifth lead, to third lead, to romantic lead (!) to character actor. (You KNOW how I love character actors!)
If you don’t follow Hollywood news, you will not have heard. But, he passed away from complications after heart surgery Saturday at age 61!
And from all reports was a funny, decent, kind man. (Sometimes, when these Hollywood folks go away, little is said about their character. Because they are @$$holes. Obviously, not in this case.) He was married 30 years, and had two children. Hardly stereotypical Hollywood.
Stripes, The Terminator, Weird Science, Aliens, Miami Vice (TV), Navy Seals, Tombstone, True Lies, Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic, Big Love (TV), Hatfields & McCoys (TV), Training Day (TV) – just to name a few.
Word is the remaining episodes of Training Day are ‘in the can’ and will be shown. Sadly, even if he had survived, word is also it would probably not have been renewed for a second season.
RIP, Bill. You
will be are missed!
Death, obviously knows no change in calendars…
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Connors, who starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix,” has died. He was 91.
The actor died surrounded by family Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital from complications of leukemia that had been diagnosed a week earlier, said his son-in-law, Mike Condon.
“Mannix” ran for eight years on CBS beginning in 1967. Viewers were intrigued by the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective who could mix it up with the burliest of thugs and leap on the hood of a racing car to prevent an escape. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl that left the culprits bruised and beaten.
“Up until Mannix, most private investigators were hard-nosed, cynical guys who lived in a seedy area and had no emotions,” Connors theorized in 1997. “Mannix got emotionally involved. He was not above being taken advantage of.”
In the first season, Joe Mannix was a self-employed Los Angeles private investigator hired by a firm that used computers and high-tech equipment to uncover crime. The ratings were lukewarm. Connors feared the series would be canceled but it was produced by Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio, and CBS was reluctant to antagonize its biggest star.
In the second season, Mannix opened his own office and combatted low-lifes by himself. The ratings zoomed.
When “Mannix” was revised the office acquired a secretary, played by African-American actress Gail Fisher.
The network was concerned that affiliates in the South might object to her character but “there wasn’t any kind of backlash,” Connors recalled.
Another highlight was the theme music by legendary screen composer Lalo Schifrin.
Connors also starred in the TV series “Tightrope!” and “Today’s FBI.” Each lasted one season.
His movie and TV career stretched from the 1950s to 2007, when he had a guest role on “Two and a Half Men.”
Connors made his film debut in 1952’s “Sudden Fear,” which starred Joan Crawford. Other films included “Island in the Sky,” ”The Ten Commandments,” and a remake of “Stagecoach.”
Connors, born Krekor Ohanian in 1925, was from an Armenian community in Fresno. He served in the Air Force during World War II and played basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles.
After graduation he studied law for two years but his good looks and imposing presence attracted him to acting. In an era when film actors were given names like Tab and Rock, he appeared as Touch Connors — “Touch” being his basketball nickname. He later changed it to Michael and finally, Mike.
Connors and his wife, Mary Lou, were married in 1949 and had two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Dana. Their son, beset by hallucinations starting in his teens, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and before his death lived in a small residential care facility. Connors and his wife championed efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness.
In addition to his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Connors is survived by a granddaughter, Cooper Wills.
The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.
We humans always seem to make the passing of time with a New Year, with the hope that Death will do the same.
But, he never stops.
There have been others, Mary Tyler Moore being the most notable.
But my high school TV years were filled with shows like Mission Impossible.
For me, Mannix filled the generational gap between 77 Sunset Strip and Magnum.
This was Mike Connors image, even though he did other things.
He even did a show where he was named Ohanian – his real Armenian name – but it didn’t take.
He once quipped as Mannix he was hit on the head something like 57 times, but always came back. Maybe PIs should be issued safety helmets?
Godspeed, Mike. R.I.P.
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.
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. 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. The arrest became the inspiration for the exploitation film She Shoulda Said No! (1949), which starred Leeds. 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!”
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.
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! 😛
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.
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’.
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:
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 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…
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…
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)