Quote of the Week

Timothy Carey. The face. The jowls. The unshaven stubble. Those teeth. How he stood. How he walked… and fuckin’ hell, how the man talked! Oozing his way across screens, TV, and drive-in… big movies, tiny oddities, TV appearances.

Was Ernest Borgnine gunning him down in “Airwolf” once? I’m pretty sure that happened. He gave off the impression of smelling like an egg and pepper sandwich, or even a chain-smoking gravedigger in the words of one onlooker to his crazed career.

His appearances in Kubrick films always fascinated me as this was clearly a character who played by his own highly idiosyncratic, possibly hypocritical rules — who operated from a revised script that existed only in his head, occupying a parallel film universe to characters he’d share the screen with.

Drawing attention to himself with little twitches and odd ticks — you couldn’t help but stare at him. He stole every scene he was in just by breathing heavily… Then came his work with Cassavetes, another genuine celluloid crazy who did things his way. Obviously they got on great for a while and sweated through several films together.

I’d heard about The World’s Greatest Sinner for years without getting hold of a copy. In the interim, his other acting roles and interview in Psychotronic were fetishized to a terrifying degree… Then: a breakthrough. My chance finally came when his son Romeo presented a print at the Egyptian Theater. I was inexplicably sitting behind Poison Ivy and Lux Interior of The Cramps when the film began to go through the projector and without a doubt it changed my life. Or were they there a little later at a Maria Montez night?

These life-changing, namedropping experiences happen thick and fast in retrospect and begin to stick to each other like filthy magazine fragments in the gutter.

The World's Greatest Sinner

Happy New Year!

All of us here at The Timothy Carey Experience (me, the hubby, and Cirrus the cat) wish you all the best for 2016! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for the blog; it means the world to us. Here’s to another fabulous year! Have a wonderful celebration tonight; stay safe and, like Loxie here, party like it’s 1929!

Ain't We Got Fun - 1959

Pic of the Day: “Ambush” revisited

We have a theme this week, and it’s “Timothy in color.” So let’s get the ball rolling with “Ambush,” the episode of Kung Fu that was first aired on April 4, 1975. Grumpy outlaw Bix Courtney is, well, grumpy.

Kung Fu

This episode was one of the earliest instances in which Tim is billed as Timothy Agoglia Carey. Agoglia was his mother’s maiden name. Her father, Rocco M. Agoglia, was proprietor of the Bank of Agoglia in Brooklyn. He is buried there in a beautiful mausoleum in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Quote of the Week

Modern hipsters didn’t invent the cult actor. Oh, we might all feel really cool raving about icons like Christopher Walken or newcomers like Michael Shannon. There’s still a long history of weirdo artists infiltrating our movie theaters and living rooms. Just consider the epic strangeness of Timothy Carey. He maintained a perfectly normal career as a character actor right through the 1980s. In fact, Carey would’ve managed one more great role if he’d passed Quentin Tarantino’s audition to play the crime boss in 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino cast veteran oddball actor Lawrence Tierney instead. The director dedicated Reservoir Dogs to a list of idols that included Carey, though. That was nice–especially since Carey would pass away in 1994.

But why would Tarantino dedicate his first feature to a guy who’d shown up in mainstream TV shows like Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, and CHiPs? That’s because Carey was far more than a character actor. He was a beatnik visionary and a true wild man. The young actor first made a name for himself by stealing a scene from Marlon Brando in the pioneering biker epic The Wild One. Carey didn’t even get billing, but the hulking actor with the basso voice was soon being used as a heavy by all kinds of directors. He gave one of his most compelling performances as a crazed Cajun in 1957’s Bayou, where he contributed to a sleazy atmosphere that kept the movie playing the drive-in circuit well into the ’70s.

Stanley Kubrick cast Carey in memorable roles for both The Killing and Paths of Glory, and a lot of other directors–including John Cassavetes–loved Carey’s knack for crazed improvisation. That was the kind of Hollywood connection that got Carey playing parts in three episodes of Columbo. Other directors, however, couldn’t tolerate Carey’s maniacal Method acting.

Carey did a lot to sabotage his own career, too. He turned down roles in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II–and walked off the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. That’s three less classics in Carey’s weird filmography, but he found time to appear in Chesty Anderson, U.S. Navy and the Joe Don Baker epic Speedtrap. To be fair, Chesty Anderson gave Carey the freedom to let loose with one of his more amazing performances.

Carey also wrote and directed himself to an amazing role in 1962’s The World’s Greatest Sinner–which was pretty much forgotten for most of Carey’s career. Originally, the film’s legend was kept alive by some musical contributions from Frank Zappa. Then Sinner began to build a bigger reputation as Carey’s own careening genius built his own cult. It’s an amazing film, and was recently restored and is now available to the masses. There’s no other movie like it.

Speedtrap

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: Frank Zappa on the Steve Allen Show, 1963 revisited

We received the sad news today of the passing of Gail Zappa, Frank Zappa‘s widow and the fierce guardian of his legacy. It seems appropriate, then, to reach back into the archives and re-post this video of young Zappa’s appearance on The Steve Allen Show back in 1963. He talks a bit about his involvement in The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) and seems rather embarrassed by the whole thing. Then he plays a bicycle.

We send our love and support to the Zappa family, and thank them and Gail for protecting and curating Frank’s work for posterity. Peaceful rest.