Quote of the Week

[Martin] Scorsese was shaken. He went home, summoned his friends, [John] Milius, [Brian] DePalma, [Steven] Spielberg, to his house on Mulholland. “Can you come up here right away?”

“Why?” Spielberg asked.

“Well, it’s an emergency.” Spielberg jumped in his Mercedes and drove over from Laurel Canyon. “I had never seen  Marty so upset,” he recalls. “Verging on tears, but leaning toward rage. He shattered a glass Sparkletts bottle all over the kitchen floor. We were holding his arms, trying to calm him down, find out why he was so upset. He finally came out with the fact that Columbia had seen his movie [Taxi Driver], had hated the ending, and wanted him to take out all the violence, the entire shoot-out, to cut away from the splintering fingers and the blood spouting and puddling. They felt the film was bound for an X rating, and he was being forced to Disney-ize it. Eventually he began to tell us the story of an actor, Timothy Carey, when he was auditioning for Harry Cohn in the early ’50s. In the middle of his audition, he broke down and said, ‘This is so humiliating standing up here and acting for you people who know nothing about actors, nothing about my art,’ and he pulled out a gun and fired at the executives, full-load blanks, and then had trouble getting a job for years after that. That was his [Scorsese’s] fantasy. He pointed a finger at Stanley Jaffe, and said, ‘He’s the head of the studio, he’s the guy I’m angry at, so I’m gonna get a gun and shoot him.’ He wasn’t serious about it, but he was relishing the rage, and he wanted us to share his anger.”

Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (Simon and Schuster, 1998)

Scorsese directing DeNiro in Taxi Driver

Scorsese directing Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver (1976)

Quote of the Week

One day on my first Dragnet, I stepped outside the soundstage to have a cigarette with Jack [Webb] and Ben Alexander. As we were standing there, we heard a commotion and looked toward the front gate of the Disney lot, and through a chain-link fence we could see a couple of studio guards chasing a tall guy in our direction. The guy came flying over the fence and landed on our side of it and grabbed a-hold of Jack’s lapels and pushed him up against the wall, babbling, ‘You gotta use me on the show! You gotta use me on the show!’ It was frightening! Turns out it was a madman of an actor named Timothy Carey. With a crazy look on his face, he demanded that Webb let him appear on Dragnet and Webb, obviously hoping to calm him down and get him to let go, said, ‘Yeah, sure, you’re in the show, when do ya want to start??’ Jack assured Carey that he would be in a Dragnet, and that quieted him down; the guards arrived at that point and took him away.

Timothy Carey might have been a great Dragnet villain but he scared the shit out of us. He was nuts! Carey was an actor who would do anything to get a role; I once heard that he went into the Columbia Studios office of the producer of the motion picture The Caine Mutiny, pulled a gun on him and said, ‘You gonna give me a part in this show?’ When you have that burning desire to be an actor and be on the screen, some people will do whatever it takes.

Paul Picerni, from Steps to Stardom: The Autobiography of Paul Picerni by Paul Picerni with Tom Weaver (BearManor Media, 2007)

Flight to Hong Kong

Timothy with Rory Calhoun in the only film he and Picerni did together (no scenes together though), Flight to Hong Kong (1956)

Pic of the Day: “Rumble on the Docks” promo still

Today’s pic is an original promotional still from Rumble on the Docks (1956), directed by Fred F. Sears. It still bears the original studio stamp and a typed notation glued to it on the back. The note reads “RACKETEER’S HENCHMAN BEATEN – Tim Carey, trigger man for crooked union boss, is found beaten and brought to latter’s headquarters in a scene from Columbia’s ‘Rumble on the Docks,’ produced by Sam Katzman.”

Rumble on the Docks

Tim is being propped up by James Darren and Robert Blake, the latter his future co-star in Revolt in the Big House (1958) and four Baretta episodes in the ’70s. Darren enjoyed a successful career as a teen heartthrob and singing sensation in the ’50s and ’60s, then found his niche on television in The Time Tunnel and many other series. Trekkies will remember him as the holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine on several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the late 1990s.

Quote of the Week

GL: You got fired from your first job, didn’t you?

TC: That’s right. Billy Wilder fired me from Ace in the Hole [51]. I’d just gotten out of drama school in New York, and I’d gone to California, where they threw me out of Columbia Studios. So on my way back, I stopped to look up Wilder in New Mexico, where he was shooting. I said, “Mr. Wilder, I’m here, I’m Timothy Carey, I studied the Stanislawski method.” He said, “Ja, okay, you go sign up, tell them I sent you.” So I was in the show, playing one of the workers trying to dig the fellow out of the hole. And I’m watching the camera, angling to get myself in a full shot. I wanted to be in that scene so much I stood in front of Kirk Douglas. I wanted to be seen by the guys back in Brooklyn, you know. But all of a sudden someone taps me on the shoulder. “The director doesn’t want you anymore.” He gave me five vouchers, each worth $7.50. First show I worked on, first show I got fired from.

– Grover Lewis, “Cracked Actor”, Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004; interview conducted in 1992

Ace in the Hole

Is that Timothy back there??