Our video this week is the first of two episodes of The Greatest American Hero in which Timothy appears. It’s “Fire Man,” and it was first broadcast on May 6, 1981. He portrays crooked auto yard manager Cameron, a fellow with a nasty disposition and interesting eyebrows. He first appears at about the 19 minute mark.
Again, it’s Hulu, so I apologize in advance for the ads. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, this episode was directed by Gabrielle Beaumont, who holds the distinction of being the first female director in the Star Trek franchise. Engage!
In the midst of freezing temperatures across the nation (and it’s not even officially winter yet), let’s take a trip back to the beach and those carefree days of summer. Except that we’ll be stuck in a pool hall. Our pic today is from Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), the second film in which Timothy appears as that pool-cue-slinging ne’er-do-well South Dakota Slim. Here he forces himself to be polite to vapid pop singer Sugar Kane (Linda Evans), under the insistence of Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his gang.
She looks so girlish and sweet here – it’s hard to believe this is the same Linda Evans who would achieve fame in the ’80s on Dynasty. Well, you gotta start somewhere!
Today brings the birthday anniversaries of two of Timothy’s most important colleagues. Firstly we offer warmest 97th (!) birthday greetings to the legendary Kirk Douglas. Tim attempted to steal the spotlight from him in his uncredited (and we believe largely excised from the film) role as one of the workers attempting to rescue Douglas’ Ace in the Hole (1951) (aka The Big Carnival), directed by Billy Wilder. “First show I worked on, first show I got fired from,” said Tim. Douglas encountered him again six years later in Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory (1957). Some believe that Tim may have been paying sly homage to Douglas’ famous clenched-teeth delivery in his first outing with Kubrick, The Killing (1956). True or not, Tim may have annoyed the hell out of Douglas, but we still think he’s great. Happy birthday, Kirk!
Today also is the 84th anniversary of the late great John Cassavetes‘ birth. Tim found in him a kindred spirit, a true visionary who would not let the powers-that-be put limitations on his creativity. “I forget exactly how we met,” said Tim. “But I grabbed myself on his compassion about [The World's Greatest] Sinner and he seemed like he just couldn’t do enough for me.” Cassavetes directed him twice: in Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), in which Tim gave us Morgan Morgan, the vagabond poet; and in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), where we first met Flo, the gangster with a heart of gold. Tim took Cassavetes’ death in 1989 very hard; he had lost a true friend and mentor. We can only ponder the visions that have gone unfilmed, by Cassavetes and Timothy as well.
Carey’s first and only follow-up to his directorial debut The World’s Greatest Sinner was every bit as weird and offbeat a project. It was funded in large part by his friend John Cassavetes. The proposed 70 minute TV pilot entitled Tweet’s Ladies of Pasadena focused on a gardener named Tweet Twig (Carey) who dreams of clothing all the naked animals in the world. Not strange enough for you? Get this: he’s married to a lady wrestler and is the only male member in a knitting club run by old ladies. Sadly, the truly bizarre show was never greenlit. I guess Hollywood just wasn’t ready for a Tim Carey-style TV series.
Our pic today is another from Timothy’s cameo appearance in the East of Eden television miniseries. Part I, the only segment in which he appears, first aired on February 8, 1981. He portrays a fire-and-brimstone circuit-riding preacher, warning against the dangers of “the devil’s holy water.”
I’m sure the producers realized he had been in the 1955 film as well, and hoped to get a little in-joke going with any film buffs who happened to be tuning in. Not to mention the fact that he portrays characters at complete opposite ends of the moral spectrum.
Today we take another look at Tiller Evans, the abusive suitor of the Gunsmoke episode “The Gentleman”. It was first aired on June 7, 1958. He’s got Marshal Dillon (James Arness) in his sights, but it won’t be ending well for him.
This episode was directed by fellow Brooklynite Ted Post. He enjoyed an almost 50-year career as a prolific director of television programming, including 56 episodes of Gunsmoke. He passed away just this past August at the age of 95.
Our video of the week is the episode of The Big Valley known as “Teacher of Outlaws”. It was first aired on February 2, 1966. Timothy shines as Preacher Clegg, the Scripture-spouting gunslinger who has an eye for the ladies, even if they’re old enough to be his mother. (But it isBarbara Stanwyck, so you can’t blame him too much.)
Again I apologize for the ads, but that’s Hulu for you. I truly believe this is one of the best episodes of the series, with or without Tim (but preferably with, am I right?). Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
We here at the TCE are thrilled to wish a very happy 74th birthday anniversary to the great Don Calfa! Romeo Carey and I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing him last summer, at his memorabilia-packed home deep in the California desert. He shared some amazing memories of working with Timothy in Peeper (1975), and of his friendship with Tim in general. Here are the two of them in a scene filmed aboard the Queen Mary.
Calfa is very much like Tim in that he brings his unique presence and flair to every role, no matter how large or how small. He’s a big part of what makes it so much fun to go to the movies. Happy birthday, Don!
Those ingrates The Monkees bite the hand that feeds them in this ninety minute psychedelic romp that attacks the pop dominated music industry with the odd tune thrown in. Carey pops up from time to time as Lord High ‘N’ Low, to represent all things evil and malicious in the rock stars’ world. Why wouldn’t every director in Hollywood be clambering for Carey’s services after seeing him hand-crank himself into a room in a mechanical wheelchair with a noose around his neck and say “Atta boy Mike!” in a hundred different demented ways. I think that is genuine fear on the Monkees’ faces as Carey shuffles towards them while apparently having a rage-induced stroke. Good comedy cloak work also in a performance that never dips under ‘11’.
After stuffing ourselves yesterday, we deserve a rest. And where better to put up our feet than in the clink? We close the holiday week with another look at Convicts 4 (1962), Millard Kaufman‘s prison biography of artist John Resko (Ben Gazzara). Unbeknownst to Resko and his old pal Nick, they’re about to have an unfortunate encounter with Iggy (Ray Walston, with his back to the camera), not one of Resko’s favorite people.
Award-winning Walston was one of the most beloved character actors around, working steadily from the 1950s up until his death in 2001. I’m sure we all know him best from his role in the comedy series My Favorite Martian (1963-66). He, however, wished that we didn’t. “I never should have done My Favorite Martian,” he told USA TODAY in 1995. “I didn’t work in TV or film for three years after. Everyone thought of me as a Martian. Do you know what it’s like to go to Madrid, Spain, on vacation and have a guy yell out, ‘Hey, Martin!’ and put antennas behind his head? When that happens, you know your career is dead.”