Another one from the archives! This is Timothy and Peter Graves‘ big fight scene at the end of Bayou (1957), aka Poor White Trash, directed by Harold Daniels. The entire film has been building up to this, and it’s worth the wait.
Our week begins with another look at the Ellery Queen episode “The Adventure of Caesar’s Last Sleep,” first airing on March 14, 1976. Rent-a-hit-man Bonner is on the phone clearing up some details with his latest client.
Also seen in this episode (no scenes with Timothy, unfortunately) is familiar character player Michael V. Gazzo. Like Tim, he attended drama school after World War II on the G.I. Bill. He first gained success as a Broadway playwright with A Hatful of Rain, which later became a film directed by Fred Zinneman. He enjoyed a forty-year career as a memorable character actor on television and the big screen. He is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance as gruff mafioso Frankie Pentangeli in The Godfather: Part II (1974).
That long face, those droopy eyes – Timothy Carey is unmistakable, unpredictable, and electrifying with those lizard features that became both a blessing and a curse. [...]
A true maverick known for improvising and getting fired, he’s worked with Roger Corman, Coppola, and Cassavetes, including a memorable turn as a mafia heavy in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (we know just from the look in Carey’s eyes that Ben Gazzara is in deep, deep shit).
Carey is an actor to get excited about; like Bruce Dern, there’s a manic energy inside him, a screw loose combined with a fearless realism. He often didn’t seem like an actor at all, more like a wonderfully intuitive amateur dragged out of a skid row bar and slid in front of the camera.
Nic Cage wishes he was Timothy Carey, but Carey didn’t have things easy…
“I can’t even take a stroll through a park. As soon as women see my face they start gathering up their children and running for home.” – Timothy Carey
Thanks to Careyphile Eric Levy over at the Criterion page, I have discovered a contemporary song that name-checks Timothy! Check out “Moonrock Mambo” by Yo La Tengo, and pay close attention at about the 3:02 mark.
I knew these guys were cool, but their coolness factor just shot up a thousand points in my book. Sweet!
Columbus Day? Forget that. Here at the TCE it’s Columbo Day. Presenting our first glimpse of Bert, confidant of Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) and the friendly chili slinger of Barney’s Beanery in the inaugural Columbo episode, “Ransom for a Dead Man”. The date was March 1, 1971. Bert got his own diner later on in the episode “Dead Weight” (10.27.71).
Barney’s Beanery really exists. It’s been a Los Angeles landmark for nearly one hundred years, favored by movie stars, rock gods and the average Joe alike. Apparently they still serve a mean bowl of chili. Heck, you can even order online now. Will wonders never cease.
Carey is a Brooklyn boy who never went far in high school but has acted in 16 films and six TV shows. He says: “What I really want to do is write. I’ve got a script right here, which I call L.A., that I’d like you to read.”
Carey isn’t about to quote Shakespeare but he’s living proof that “All the World’s a Stage…” He’ll say: “I joined the U.S. Marines at 15, was at Parris Island and finished boot training when they learned my age. Then I was out.”
That brief hitch with the Leathernecks was enough to entitle the unusually tall (6 feet 5 inches) Carey to go to school on the GI Bill. He elected drama school. He says: “When I got to Hollywood, I heard Henry Hathaway was casting Prince Valiant. I rented a Viking costume for $15, climbed a studio fence, confronted him with drawn sword. I didn’t get the part.”
Carey’s early penchant for such monkeyshines had him in the doghouse with half of Hollywood—but he’s acting and eating while many a more retiring youngster is waiting for a call, he says.
- George Murray, “Loop Movies,” Chicago Daily News, January 15, 1958
Timothy during the unfinished A.L. shoot, 1956
As I head off this morning for my second 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. Posting will probably be sporadic for the next five days or so. Enjoy!