Our pic of the day is from Walter Doniger’s Unwed Mother (1958). The titular character, naive Betty Miller (Norma Moore), has been knocked up by insincere cad Don Bigelow (Robert Vaughn). In desperation she visits a grumpy, greasy-haired back-alley abortionist, played by Tim. Things don’t go very well.
Vaughn had some interesting things to say about Tim’s characterization in his autobiography, A Fortunate Life:
The second picture I did was for Allied Artists and was titled Unwed Mother, a very provocative title for the late fifties. It starred Timothy Carey, an actor who had scored in Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory alongside Kirk Douglas. In our picture, Timothy played the role of an abortionist (also pretty frisky stuff for that time). When he arrived on the set to do his scene, dressed appropriately in a cheap dark suit, he opened his black medical bag and from it brought out some of the ugliest, vilest-looking knives, tools, hammers, and sundry stuff you’d likely see only in some triple-X horror movie. This bag had not been furnished by the prop department, nor was a bag of that kind mentioned in the script. It was all Timothy’s idea, and he had to be talked out of using it in his scene by the director, who threatened to have him fired and, if possible, kicked out of the Screen Actors Guild. He finally did acquiesce, and I heard very little about or from him since then.
I guess Vaughn forgot about the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode he and Tim did together in 1967.
This made me laugh. It’s a great insight into Tim’s mind and how it worked. He challenged everybody, that’s what I admire about him. If he had something to say he said it and let the chips fall. Robert Vaughn is a bit off beat in a different way. I was in the lobby of a movie theatre in Hollywood just about to see a film starring Robert Vaughn and as I went through the door I realize that I had just seen Robert Vaughn standing in the lobby seconds before, a delayed reaction I guess. Of course I rushed out to the lobby to pay my respects and he was gone, He saw in that instant that I recognized him. Where the hell did he go so fast? Maybe the mens room, I didn’t bother to check. I think his aloof on screen presence was a true part of his personality. Too bad he didn’t want to be recognized that day. I’m still a fan though.
Same experience I had strolling through Olivera St. in downtown L.A. I turned to check out a cute girl next to me kept walking realized that cute girl was Sandy Duncan turned around to say hello and just like Robert she was gone. They both must have gone to fan advanced school avoidance techniques classes. They were both masters of it.
That’s why Tim was the best. When I recognizes him he looked me straight in the eye and said hello to my hello. I complimented him, which is all most fans want to do. I’ll always remember my moment with Tim, however Robert and Sandy have long been in my rear view mirror. Richard
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Almost 2 years later, but I love this comment, Richard!