Pics of the Day: More SINNER-related ephemera

Today, my last post before the blog goes on a short hiatus, I present two pics pertaining to Timothy’s magnum opus, The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962).

First up is an amazing piece of memorabilia that comes our way via Facebook friends (and super human beings) Bill Ackerman and Heather Drain. It’s a letter from Timothy to Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premiere at the time of Sinner‘s release. It appeared in the May 1, 1962 issue of Variety. The print is pretty small, so here is how it reads:

Mr. Nikita Khrushchev 

Kremlin, Moscow, U.S.S.R.

Dear Mr. Khrushchev:

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Timothy Carey. I am a motion picture producer-distributor.

I am writing for one reason. It has been said by many that you are the world’s greatest sinner. I made a film by the same name, wherein the leading character is quite similar to you, a man who wants to be God. I would like to send you a print for your viewing because it can be very enlightening. The subject matter deals with a great sinner who finally repents.

I’ve tried to show that there is some good in all human beings. I sincerely believe that there is a potent moral message in the “Sinner” and this movie can help the world, especially people who are out to conquer it. “The World’s Greatest Sinner” realized that a man doesn’t profit when he suffers the loss of his soul.

Sincerely yours,

 Timothy Carey

Letter to Nikita

I wonder if Mr. Khrushchev ever received his copy?

Secondly is a lovely photograph of Romeo Carey with Betty Rowland, taken when he interviewed Betty at her home in 2012. As previously reported, Betty, who portrayed long-suffering Edna Hilliard in Sinner, passed away recently. You can visit her online memorial here.

Betty Rowland with Romeo Carey, 2012

And that is all from me until March 31! Byron and I are headed down to Los Angeles for the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival! Trust me, if anything Timothy-related should happen there, I’ll be your girl reporter on-the-spot!

Video of the Week: “Worlds Greatest Sinner” Music Video J.T. Productions (Re-edited)

Hmm. Let’s see how long this one stays up. It’s scenes from The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) as background for some music tracks by some groups with “monkeys” in their names. It was created by J.T. Productions. As there are about one thousand outfits calling themselves J.T. Productions on the internet, I have no idea who these guys are. The video is interesting, anyway.

I imagine a cease and desist letter is in this outfit’s future, so enjoy while you can!

Quote of the Week

Actor Timothy Carey was one of Hollywood’s true eccentrics, and when you consider how many crazy people there are in Hollywood, that’s no small claim. But even amongst that kind of competition Carey was a one-of-a-kind. Stanley Kubrick clearly saw something unique in him too, and gave him memorable roles in two of his early films, ‘The Killing’ and ‘Paths of Glory’, and from there the legendarily unpredictable Carey went on to become the ‘go-to’ man whenever a strange oddball character part needed to be cast. But he was also itching to make his own unique statement on film and from 1958 to 1961, whenever he could scrape a few bucks together he went about shooting scenes for his own labour of love: ‘The World’s Greatest Sinner’. Clarence Hilliard (Carey) is a frustrated insurance salesman who quits his meaningless job one day after he’s struck with the revelation that there is no god but man, and every man is a god whose birthright is eternal life. He starts preaching his gospel on street corners but after witnessing an ecstatic crowd at a rock and roll gig, Clarence forms his own band and soon learns how to get his message across while whipping his audience into a frenzy. With his growing fan base he decides to not only become the head of his own religious cult (rechristening himself ‘God Hilliard’ in the process), but also decides to form his own ‘Eternal Man’ political party and put himself forward as the next presidential candidate. But the biblical God has other ideas…

So as you can see, nothing too ambitious – just God, the universe and everything in between. But I have to be honest here, as fascinating as ‘The World’s Greatest Sinner’ is, it’s not a well-made film by any stretch of the imagination. It’s been made on a very low budget and for most of the running time the film is barely coherent. The direction is stilted, the editing is choppy and amateurish, and the cast are clearly people Carey just found on the street and said, ‘Hey, you’re in my movie. Now say this!’

But Carey’s as charismatic a presence as ever and the whole thing is still worth a look – even if it’s only the once – just so you can say you’ve seen it (Carey never put the film out on general release and for most of its 50-year history it’s been confined to an occasional special showing at selected cinemas). And believe it or not the title song is composed and sung by a young unknown named Frank Zappa. So altogether now: ‘As a sinner he’s a winner / Honey, he’s no beginner / He’s rotten to the core / Daddy, you can’t say no more / He’s the world’s greatest sinnnnner…’

Weirdness Factor: Off the scale
This one starts off being narrated by the devil in the form of a snake, and things only get stranger after that. I guarantee you will not find an odder movie anywhere else – this one really is in a class of its own.
The World's Greatest Sinner

Happy Friday the 13th!

This has pretty much become my default post for Friday the 13th. We actually have three of them this year, and for some reason I missed last month. So just remember, not all good luck charms are lucky, as the unfortunate Nikki learned in The Killing (1956).

the unluckiest horseshoe of all time

Let this be a warning – to you.  Also stay away from big guys in hockey masks wielding sharp farm implements.

Videos of the Week: “The World’s Greatest Sinner”

Today, on the 86th anniversary of Timothy’s birth, we receive the sad news of the passing this morning of Betty Rowland. Betty portrayed Clarence Hilliard’s long-suffering wife Edna in The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). This is not Betty Rowland the burlesque performer, as has been previously reported. I cannot get these videos to embed for the life of me, but here are links to clips from Sinner that feature Betty.

This is the Place

Come Out of the Darkness!

Romeo Carey visited Betty last year and got a wonderful interview with her. I hope to be presenting more about Betty in future blog posts. For now, we wish her peaceful rest and send much love to her family.

Pic of the Day: “Kidnap”

Finally, it’s here! Today’s pic is from the just-released-to-video CHiPs episode “Kidnap,” first broadcast on January 26, 1980. Timothy is a ne’er-do-well by the name of Solkin, who, along with his partner in crime Bickel (Warren Berlinger), is on his way to court to face a number of charges. Needless to say, things go awry from there.

Kidnap - 1980

This episode was directed by Gordon Hessler, who had previously directed Tim in the Kung Fu episode “Ambush” (4.4.75). Unfortunately Tim doesn’t get too much to do here other than drive a Rolls-Royce, but he does get some good line reads in. I had forgotten how enjoyably silly this series could be. Check it out!