Video of the Week: Behind the scenes of “A Time for Killing”

There is a Kickstarter campaign going on right now in support of a super-cool documentary-in-progress by the name of That Guy Dick Miller, directed by Elijah Drenner, the director of American Grindhouse. It’s all about, well, Dick Miller – one of the greatest character actors who ever lived and one of Roger Corman‘s favorite featured players. This week’s video is some rare 8mm behind-the-scenes footage revealed for the first time by the campaign. It was shot during the making of A Time for Killing (1967), which I believe is the only film that Timothy and Miller appeared in together. Tim can be glimpsed at about the 1:10 mark.

Behind the scenes of A Time for Killing (unable to embed, sorry about that!)

Says Drenner, “The film was begun by Roger Corman, but finished by director Phil Karlson. Never released on DVD, this film begs to be re-discovered. And I think you will agree after you see this clip. Dick co-stars with an incredible cast, many of whom you will see playing around on set, including Glenn Ford, Harry Dean Stanton, Inger Stevens, Timothy Carey and George Hamilton. You’ll also see a tall, lanky Corman in a white cowboy hat with black sunglasses setting up shots and blocking scenes for actors.” And I swear I see Katharine Ross in there too, even though she’s not in the film.

So how cool is this?? That Guy Dick Miller promises to be a terrific look at a much-loved cult legend. Please consider contributing to the campaign if at all possible – they are not even halfway to their goal, and there are only two weeks left! (And I was not paid to say that!) Tell your friends too!

“A True Visionary Crackpot”

Having recently seen and enjoyed American Grindhouse (2010), I hastened to add Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema (1996) by Eddie Muller and Daniel Faris to my book collection. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received the book and found two pages dedicated to Timothy! Maybe it’s me, but Muller and Faris don’t seem to be quite as enamored with Tim as I am – or at least not quite as forgiving of his foibles (see the caption for the above photo [click to embiggen], taken I believe in 1956 when Tim was shooting footage for his script AL). But it’s still a darn good read and worth your time.

The piece also pointed me to an interesting news item I hadn’t seen before. While promoting The World’s Greatest Sinner in 1965, Tim was a guest on the notorious Joe Pyne‘s radio show. Pyne was the original “shock jock,” deliberately antagonizing his guests and listeners to get a rise out of them and boost ratings. The book stated that Tim’s appearance on the show “resulted in a fist-swinging melee’ in the audience.” This would seem to imply that Tim was a guest on Pyne’s television show, but no evidence of that can be found at this point. The following article from the Reno Evening Gazette, dated September 23, 1965, tells the story:

Whether this actually happened or was just a publicity stunt has been lost in the mists of time.

The Grindhouse book was published in 1996, only two years after Tim’s death, so it perhaps can be forgiven for reporting some familiar inaccuracies. In fact, it may have become the basis for some of them (i.e., Tim being born in El Monte [he lived most of his adult life there, but he was born in Brooklyn], being physically attacked on-set by Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando, etc.). Many people have said in so many words, “If only Timothy had played the game, he could have been a big star.” He wasn’t interested in “playing the game,” so in the minds of many he’s been written off as a crackpot and a joke, just a footnote in the annals of Hollywood. That is too bad. These people are depriving themselves of a real treasure.