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

Christopher Lee 1922 – 2015

Today we learned of the passing last Sunday of Sir Christopher Lee. The legendary horror icon was 93. He and Timothy never made any films together, unfortunately. But there was a period in the mid-1970s where, if you caught him just right, Tim looked an awful lot like Lee.

The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep - 1976Ellery Queen, “The Adventure of Caesar’s Last Sleep” (3.14.76)

Angels on Ice - 1977Charlie’s Angels, “Angels on Ice” (9.21.77)

Today is a very sad day. There will never be another quite like Christopher Lee. We here at the TCE wish him peaceful rest.

Christopher Lee

Pic of the Day: “Angels on Ice” revisited

Today our pic revisits the second of the two Charlie’s Angels episodes in which Timothy appears. It’s “Angels on Ice,” first broadcast on September 21, 1977. Tim’s vaguely Russian gang leader moonlights as a security guard. It’s all part of the gang’s diabolical plan to commit mayhem at an ice show.

Angels On Ice - 1977

I would find nothing suspicious about a security guard who looked like that. Nope. Nothing at all.

Pic of the Day: “The Blue Angels” revisited

Finishing up the work week is another look at “The Blue Angels,” the episode of Charlie’s Angels that first aired on May 4, 1977. Timothy is about to get shot by Ed Lauter in the first few minutes of the episode. I have no idea what happens after that. With no Tim, I just lost interest.

Blue Angels - 1977

I really should give this episode another chance, given that it was directed by the great Georg Stanford Brown. Known mostly for his fine acting, he’s also an accomplished director of series television and made-for-TV movies. He’s even voiced a video game character or two. Tim would have been a great voice-over artist, I think.

Pic of the Day: “Angels on Ice” revisited

Today we look again at the Charlie’s Angels episode “Angels on Ice”. It was first aired on September 21, 1977. Timothy displays his stellar profile as he and Lee Delano work on their evil plan to assassinate world leaders during an Ice Capades-style show.

Angels on Ice - 1977

At the helm for this episode was Robert (Bob) Kelljan, who began his career as a character actor in such 1960s drive-in classics as Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) and Psych-Out (1968). He soon moved behind the camera, blessing us all with Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), The Return of Count Yorga (1971) and Scream Blacula Scream (1973) (I’m not being snarky, I’m completely serious – I truly love these films!). Series television provided steady work, and he was busy directing right up until his tragic death from cancer at age 52.

 

Pic of the Day: “The Blue Angels” revisited

Today’s pic is another of Timothy’s fleeting appearance in “The Blue Angels,” the episode of Charlie’s Angels that first aired on May 4, 1977. He appears at the beginning of the episode, has a brief exchange with the late great Ed Lauter, gets shot by him, and dies. Don’t ask me what happens after that; I lost interest.

The Blue Angels - 1977

Directing this episode was the great Georg Stanford Brown, seasoned veteran of films and television since the 1960s and still active today. He has nearly as many directing credits as acting credits, and is equally skilled at both.

Pic of the Day: “Angels on Ice” revisited

Thank God it’s Friday! We close the work week with another look at the Charlie’s Angels episode “Angels on Ice,” first gliding into homes across America on September 21, 1977. Timothy and his fellow gang members, including Lee Delano (leaning across Tim), are enjoying a communal meal and an awkward belly dance by Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

Angels on Ice - 1977

Here’s wishing you all a great weekend! Visit your local Middle Eastern dining establishment, stuff yourselves with yummy food and tip your belly dancers generously! Unlike Ms. Smith, they are professionals. (No offense, Jaclyn.)