Quote of the Week

The three wonderfully distinctive personalities I encountered and will mention in this series were all outspoken, eccentric to be sure, but full of passion for the unusual things in life. They all shared a sharp and wicked sense of humour and a youthful exuberance that probably presented itself to most who crossed their paths. I’m fairly certain of this because I had friends who encountered them as well. I feel extremely fortunate to have met all three. Sadly they have all passed on.

Part 2:

Another strange but colorful personality belonged to Timothy Carey, a character actor extraordinaire who I first met and spoke with just outside a Century City movie complex during a Los Angeles Film Exposition. He was protesting alone, holding a sign about the Expo’s organizers not showing his film The World’s Greatest Sinner. He paced back and forth while shouting phrases like “They show other people’s films but they won’t show my film” and “I worked with Brando and Kubrick but they won’t show my film.” He almost sounded like the whiny character he played in Paths of Glory. When I spoke with him while he protested, he just reiterated the above. When I spoke with one of the Expo’s organizers, he stated simply “It’s a really bad film.” (I’ve never seen it).

I ran into him again outside of a privately owned L.A. health food store. The store’s Korean owners rather cynically referred to this strange guy as tending to their outside herb garden. At the time I was with a friend who was clinically diagnosed as psychotic and he seemed to easily develop a rapport with Mr. Carey, especially when he mentioned that Carey should consider selling the herbs growing in the small garden bed. So imagine my surprise when I got home and heard on my answering machine Timothy Carey’s message that “The herbs are in the offing” amidst a reference to watching with some friends one of his memorable scenes in Paths of Glory where he suddenly kills a cockroach.

Another close attorney friend of mine and movie buff met Carey and told me of his plans to appear in a play Carey wrote about a guy who farts someone to death. It was never produced to my knowledge and instead of appearing in his play my attorney friend became pallbearer at his funeral. Timothy Carey died at only 65 years of age in 1994. He improvised his way into acting immortality. His cinematic legacy has become truly inspirational. He possessed a real life persona that was above all else, honest, caring and genuine and will be sorely missed.

A.G. 

Timothy Carey (March 11, 1929 –  May 11, 1994) R.I.P.

Arthur Grant, “Close Encounters of the Treasured Kind #5: The Eccentrics Part 2″; The Cinema Cafe, January 22, 2014

Convicts 4

Pic of the Day: “Naked Gun” revisited

It’s time we took another look at the low-budget Western Naked Gun (1956), directed by Edward (Eddie) Dew and an uncredited Paul Landres. Timothy’s hot-headed henchman Hartman has just had a knock-down-drag-out fight and is being escorted off the premises by an unknown extra.

Naked GunHere’s another of Tim’s early films that is long overdue for a proper commercial release. Let’s get on that, powers-that-be!

“Video” of the Week: “The World’s Greatest Sinner” by The A-Bones

Here’s another one from the archives, gang! OK, it’s not really a video. But whattaya want, it’s on YouTube, so that kind of counts. Doesn’t it? Anyway, presenting The A-Bones‘ stellar 1993 cover of the Frank Zappa-penned theme song for Timothy’s masterwork, The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). And of course, that is Tim himself introducing the tune.

The A-Bones, from Tim’s old stomping grounds of Brooklyn, New York, are an awesome rock’n’roll band who have been together in one incarnation or another since 1984. Timothy’s introduction for their Sinner cover may very well have been his last professional gig, as he passed away a year later. Long live the true fart!

Pic of the Day: “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” revisited

Today we need to take another look at the handsome mug of Flo, the garrulous torpedo of John CassavetesThe Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Here he reminds an off-screen Cosmo (Ben Gazzara) that $23,000 is a lot of money.

The Killing of a Chinese BookieTaking up the foreground on the right side of the pic is Robert Phillips, who my MSTie pals will recognize as the exasperated police chief of Mitchell (1975). “You’re gonna get me mad, Mitchell, and when that happens I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. Now get out.”

Quote of the Week

How did Paths of Glory come together?

Once Kirk Douglas agreed to do the film, he was very helpful in influencing United Artists to finance it. He was scheduled to do another film for UA called The Vikings, and I think he suggested that if they didn’t do Paths of Glory, he would take The Vikings elsewhere. Do you know the story about how I fired Tim Carey on the set of Paths of Glory?

I don’t!

Well, I got a call at six in the morning from the Munich police, saying Tim had been found abandoned on the highway, bound hand and foot, claiming he’d been kidnapped.  They thought production was responsible, looking for publicity, that it was a staged act. I said I knew nothing about it, but we needed him to work—they were holding him down at the police station.  I told them that Tim was making up this story because he wanted the publicity, not us. So they said they would accommodate us by bringing him to the film studio—they were gonna interview him there. But Tim wouldn’t agree to the statement he was supposed to sign, he kept changing things about it. So I went up to Tim and said: “We’re all waiting for you. Sign the paper and get to work.” And he wouldn’t sign the paper, so I fired him right there. You’ll notice in the battle scene, you never see the three men put on trial for cowardice. That’s because the battle was the last thing we filmed, and we couldn’t show the two other actors without showing Tim, too.

James B. Harris, “Interview: James B. Harris” by Nick Pinkerton; Film Comment, April 3, 2015

Paths of Glory

Pic of the Day: “Ain’t We Got Fun” revisited

Today we take another gander at Loxie, the fire-loving torpedo behind a bootlegger, from the episode of The Untouchables known as “Ain’t We Got Fun.” It first aired on November 12, 1959. Loxie is taking in a comedy show with his boss, Big Jim Harrington (Ted de Corsia) and Harrington’s moll, Renee Sullivan (Phyllis Coates).

Ain't We Got Fun - 1959

It still boggles my mind that Timothy received no screen credit for this rather important role. I can only imagine which higher-ups he must have irritated and what he must have done to irritate them to lead them to remove his name from the credits.

Video of the Week: Quentin Tarantino Discusses Timothy (and others!)

This week’s video is a little different. Director and film buff extraordinaire Quentin Tarantino talks about the folks who inspired him and to whom he dedicated the Reservoir Dogs (1992) script. At the top of that list is Timothy. He talks about Tim coming in to read for the part of Joe Cabot, which eventually went to Lawrence Tierney. QT also does a passable impersonation of Tim.

Love him or hate him, I for one am grateful to Tarantino for considering Tim for the role and for being willing to give him a chance.