Video of the Week: “The Blackbirder” revisited

Two weeks without posting – yikes! My apologies, folks. Well, as tomorrow’s Thanksgiving here in the US, I thought I would make our Video of the Week something that we can all be extremely thankful for. We’ve shown it before, but here it is again – Timothy’s performance as Lute Purdy, fur trapper and bounty hunter, from the Daniel Boone episode “The Blackbirder”. It first aired on October 3, 1968. Lute is one of Tim’s most richly drawn characters, and he’s in practically every scene. Another thing we can be thankful for!

Also, Lute just looks like the kind of guy who would go out and shoot wild turkeys, or something. Doesn’t he? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Video of the Week: “Song for Lilly Christine” by Big Rude Jake revisited

As I head off this morning for my third BurlyCon experience, I leave you with this video that I’ve shared before (but I have a feeling you won’t mind too much). Timothy arrived in LaFitte, Louisiana in the fall of 1956 to begin filming Bayou. He had an unusual assignment from the film’s producers – he had to learn to “dance real wild.” In New Orleans he asked a cab driver to help him out. The cabbie took him straight to Leon Prima’s 500 Club in the French Quarter. A stunning, statuesque burlesque dancer by the name of Lilly Christine, billed as “The Cat Girl,” was performing there. Tim returned to the club every night for a week to watch her dance. I’m sure he needed little persuasion to conduct this kind of research. After all, it was for the good of the film, right?

This is a beautiful gallery of stills accompanied by the awesome tune Song for Lilly Christine by the one and only Big Rude Jake. Enjoy!

Quote of the Week

The first day I visited Universal Pictures in 1978, I met a legendary actor at the studio commissary. Timothy Carey. I went up to talk with him.

He didn’t look as he did in the movies, but I sure recognized him. Whatever quality he had on the screen floated around him like a wraith. You know what I mean.

He was the crazed horse sniper in The Killing, delivering lines through his teeth like an insane Kirk Douglas parody, working out the details of his grisly shooting job, all the while lovingly scratching a puppy.

He was the condemned French soldier in Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory, set unfairly to die before the firing squad. His cellmate says a roach in their cell will outlive them, and Carey crushes the insect, commenting “Now you’ve got the edge on him.”

Later, as they march helplessly to the firing squad, Carey improvises his own forlorn dialogue, to tremendously moving effect. He was one of only a few actors Kubrick would allow to do that.

I talked to Tim Carey quite a while. He was very friendly and didn’t mind. He really made my day. We talked about movie acting and Stanley Kubrick and Marlon Brando and Frank Zappa and Jack Nicholson and the indie feature movies Tim made with his own money.

Then we had to go. It was time for my appointment. He was at Universal to do some other business.

He raised and trained attack dogs now, and gave me his business card for his dog-training company “K-9 Attack Dogs.” It was in my wallet for a long time, and then on my bulletin board, (next to Stanley Kubrick’s phone number). I called Mr. Carey a couple of times; he was always nice, even though I wasn’t in the dog market.

I’m so glad I met him; he was an original. What a character in real life, and when the cameras started rolling, always completely perfect for the screen. Every movie he was in, he stole the frame, no matter who else was in it. Kirk Douglas, Marlon Brando, anybody. What a career.

And talk about chutzpah – he once climbed over the Fox studio wall – in a suit of armor – to get an audition for Prince Valiant. Can’t beat that. Lots of people have been influenced by him. I know I have.

Quentin Tarantino‘s script for Reservoir Dogs is dedicated to a list of influences. Timothy Carey heads that list.

Timothy Carey, I salute you.

Paths of Glory

Charles Herbert 1948 – 2015

We were very sad to learn today of the sudden death on Halloween of Charles Herbert, child star of the 1950s and ’60s and Timothy’s nemesis in Bert I. Gordon‘s The Boy and the Pirates (1960). As it’s Video of the Week Wednesday, we dug into the archives and are re-posting this enjoyable video review of Pirates.

“Do you know who Timothy Carey is?” Herbert asked Classic Images during a 2006 interview. “He, on that movie [Pirates], probably scared me more than the Colossus of New York [laughs]! But he was a nice man, and he always tried to make you feel, ‘I’m not really crazy,’ and you would say, ‘Okay.’ And then he would walk away and you’d go, ‘He’s CRAZY!’ He was a scary man.” We wish Mr. Herbert peaceful rest.

Quote of the Week

I apologize for not posting anything last week. It was a rough week for me – I lost both my cat and my father the previous weekend. I promise to get back on track this week!

The third of the four titular convicts was Timothy Carey, an oddball supporting actor usually cast as a psychopath. Carey’s large frame, sad eyes, and drawling voice made him memorable even when playing bit parts. Shortly after his work on Convicts 4, Carey set out to broaden his horizons by sheer moxie – producing, writing, directing, and starring in The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). That B-movie epic finds Carey playing a rock-n-roll atheist evangelist who sets out to become a dictator (the film is even weirder than this description makes it sound).

Convicts 4

Quote of the Week

The greatness of Timothy Carey, and indeed his essence, is the man as a symbol. It is not so much what he has done for others, but what others have done and will do because of his example. This is the true measure of the man. What has come out of his artistic work, his life and examples, is the kind of inspiration that can animate a generation.

The World’s Greatest Sinner alone supplies a completed vision and a working demonstration of unwavering artistic courage and reverence for life. It represents enduring proof that honest cinematic self-expression is a rare event that needs to be celebrated.

Romeo Carey, “Making Sinner, A Work-In-Progress,” from Dead Flowers (Vox Populi/Participant Press, 2011)

Shot from SINNER as seen in The Devil's Gas by Romeo CareyA shot from The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) as seen in Romeo Carey’s short film The Devil’s Gas (1990), Timothy’s final film appearance