Pic of the Day: “Alaska Seas” revisited

Today we take another look at Alaska Seas (1954), the nautical adventure directed by Jerry Hopper. Fisherman Matt Kelly (Robert Ryan) has come to claim his boat from repairman Wycoff, who claims that Kelly owes him $920.60 and is very unhappy when Kelly offers him a fraction of that.

Alaska Seas

Wycoff comes across as quite a bit older than the 24 Timothy was when he made the film. He and Ryan worked together again in The Outfit (1973). Tim told Grover Lewis, “I did a show with Bob Ryan once – he was great, but he wouldn’t allow a lot of takes. ‘This is it,’ he’d say.” Alaska Seas is still available on Netflix Streaming, so give it a gander.

Quote of the Week

GL: So you had a lot of trouble with other actors.

TC: A few of them didn’t like what I was doing, yeah. I did a show with Bob Ryan once – he was great, but he wouldn’t allow a lot of takes. “This is it,” he’d say. Adolphe Menjou didn’t care much for me, either. He was a man of the old school, and when we were in Munich shooting Paths of Glory, he thought I’d disgraced the company with my behavior. I had a toy monkey with me, and I was walking around with holes in my shoes.

GL: James Harris, the producer, told me you embarrassed the crew, that the Germans wanted to throw the whole company out of the country.

TC: Harris fired me. He made sure I’d done all my scenes, then fired me the next day. Emile Meyer, the guy playing the priest when we are being executed, also didn’t like me. He wanted to punch me because in my death scene I was biting his arm, saying, “I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die” [laughs]. Kubrick pulled me aside and said [menacing whisper], “Make it good, Tim. Kirk doesn’t like it.” When he fired me, Harris said, “You’ve already stolen all the scenes!”

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

Quote of the Week

GL: I’m still trying to digest the fact that you passed up a role in The Godfather.

TC: I was offered a spot in both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. To play Luca Brasi in the first one, and the Mafioso boss who gets killed on the stairs at the opening of the second one. But I didn’t do either show, because if I had, I woulda been just like any other actor – out for the money. Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me on the show, but I kept saying no. To get out of going to New York, I kept saying I wanted more money, and they got tired of it, I guess…

GL: What kept you out of Godfather Part II?

TC: I went to talk to Francis at Paramount. I already had the part, but I still wanted to do a scene. Francis and his pals were sitting around his office and I brought a box of cannolis and Italian pastries as gifts. I said, “I brought you this gift to pay respect to my friends,” and I reached down into those dripping cannolis and pulled out a gun – boom boom! – and blew the hell out of all of them. And then I shot myself and staggered over and fell on [producer Fred] Roos’s desk – all the contracts went flying. And Coppola grabbed my blank gun and shot me back – bang bang! – like a kid. It was byootiful – I took ’em completely by surprise. Francis was stunned, “How much do you want?” But Roos didn’t like it, so he went to work and influenced Coppola against me.

One guy, a little guy, was sitting there watching everything. A young kid with a camera, but he wasn’t filming. He just sat there with a mean, kind of  miserly . . . I could tell he was afraid by the lines on his face. Like he needed two inches of Chinese tonic. It was Martin Scorsese, somebody said.

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

Quote of the Week

GL: Are you generally known around the industry as a farter?

TC: Yeah, well, there are two responses, pro and con. Some take it as a joke, and others call me gross. I met a producer – Roderick Taylor, who did some sci-fi movies at Universal and was a former rock ‘n’ roll celebrity or something – and I did a strong report in front of him and his co-producer. And I have a really loud intestine, see. You know what they did? Ran out of the studio! It was incredible. Sometimes even John [Cassavetes] would be sort of embarrassed, like this one time when I let out two big, double-barreled blasts in his office at the Burbank studio. “Shhh, Tim!” And his face turned all red, because of the secretaries there, and it was – I dunno – just byootiful to look at him.

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

Quote of the Week

“I play an atheist who gets people’s attention by playing music. I graduated from a rock and roller to a politician. Then he ran for president with God written on his cuffs. I played the part of God Hilliard. I had this cult. We shot at this cathedral in San Gabriel. I was living there by now. The end scene I take the communion from the church and take it home. I hold it up in one hand and hold a pin in the other and I say, ‘If you’re really a god, show me if there’s something mightier than man.’ Then I start stabbing it and nothing happens. The wafer breaks and I start laughing, ‘Nothing but a piece of bread! Mother you’re dead forever!’, and walk outside and then all of a sudden blood starts dripping out fast downstairs. Out the house and I’m scared, but go back into the room and this light hits me. We shot it in black and white, but at that point we change to color. And I yell, ‘Oh my god’, and get thrown up against the wall and it cuts now to the wafer and the credits come on. I’ve been trying to  locate the negative of the film for years. Mike Murphy and his wife Cheryl are trying to run it down.”

– Timothy on The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962), Psychotronic Video magazine #6, Summer 1990; interview by Michael Murphy and Johnny Legend, research by Michael J. Weldon

Happy Easter, everybody!

(photo from “Cracked Actor,” Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004)

Babylon Boozer?

OK, let’s get this one out of the way. It was recently brought to my attention that Timothy appears in Kenneth Anger‘s notorious book, Hollywood Babylon II (1984), in the chapter entitled “Babylon Boozers.” I admit that Anger’s first Babylon book was an old guilty pleasure of mine, but I had not seen the second one. I acquired the book, checked out the chapter in question, and indeed, this photograph appears.

Here we see Tim in his well-known publicity still from Unwed Mother (1958), with the caption declaring that he was one of the “thirsty thespians.” It’s worth noting that this chapter is comprised of captioned photographs only. There is absolutely no anecdotal evidence presented to back up Anger’s insinuations about anyone in this chapter, not just Timothy.

Two quotations of Tim’s need to be noted at this point. From the Film Comment interview by Grover Lewis, 1992:

GL: “No offense, Tim, but did you ever drink a lot or use drugs?”

TC: “No, I’m a teetotaler. I never even smoked. People were always offering me grass or cocaine. I got my own cocaine – my own personality. I AM COCAINE. What do I need that stuff for?”

And from Timothy’s own article “The Highways of Heaven,” written in 1957, in which he talks about how he got to know James Dean during the filming of East of Eden in the spring of 1954:

He would have beer and smoke cigarettes, and he would get a great kick out of me ordering 7-Up.

“How do you like that?” he laughed the first time I did it. “You look like you can do anything – like you’d drink rubbing alcohol.”

“I don’t need any synthetics for my kicks, Jimmy,” I told him.

“You have something there,” he nodded.

Kenneth Anger is indeed a gifted filmmaker, but his hatred of the city and the industry that birthed him and ultimately rejected him is obvious, and legendary. Everything in the Babylon books needs to be taken with a humongous grain of salt. For a truly eye-opening experience, I highly recommend Anger: The Unauthorized Biography by the late Bill Landis.

Quote of the Week

“He [John Cassavetes] was such a genius, such a creative guy. But he was so real, and he had time for everybody. He also put up most of the money for a TV pilot I did, Tweet’s Ladies of Pasadena. The character Tweet Twig looked like a canary who was run over by a lawnmower – shredded Tweet, a village-idiot guy who always gums up everything. Every episode was going to show Tweet on a new job because he got fired from the last one. The little old ladies were the kind who knit and garden. Everybody loved the combination except the network people who could help me, and they just walked out. I shot thousands and thousands of feet of film, and I spent all of Cassavetes’s money, all of my own money. I kept working on it up until about 1981 or ’82, and it was like life, you know. We slip, we bleed. Cassavetes taught me that. The truth is, I never really cared about conventional success. I was probably fired more than any other actor in Hollywood.”

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

Quote of the Week

“It’s amazing how people get so afraid and weak. I was up for a big part in Bonnie and Clyde, but Arthur Penn took one look at me and almost fainted in my arms. He’d heard that I’d gotten into a punch-out with Elia Kazan on East of Eden. Which wasn’t true. But because of the garbled story and Penn’s weakness, I didn’t get the part. The same with Stephen Frears years later on The Grifters – weakness. The same with Harvey Keitel’s weakness on Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino brought me in to read. He’d done a terrific script with my name on the top – inspiration by Timothy Carey. Harvey Keitel didn’t want me on the show. He was afraid – I could tell when I walked in. He had the right to say yea or nay to any actor. Larry Tierney got the part. Larry’s a good friend of mine, and he called me up later and kind of apologized.”

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

Quote of the Week

GL: “No offense, Tim, but did you ever drink a lot or use drugs?”

TC: “No, I’m a teetotaler. I never even smoked. People were always offering me grass or cocaine. I got my own cocaine – my own personality. I AM COCAINE. What do I need that stuff for?”

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

Quote of the Week

Hey everyone, I’ve been away and I apologize! I am right now in New York City on a super-secret mission from God. The weather has been wicked hot and I’ve been conserving my energy. But from now on, I’m back on track!  Here is Tim’s wisdom for the week:

(on being asked if there is anything he would have done differently)

“[Long pause.] I wouldn’t conceal my farts. I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve always wanted to do things my own way. Same with the play I’ve been writing for some years now, The Insect Trainer. I know it’s not gonna make it. Somebody else said that, too… But that’s the kind of thing I like – something that reaches out.”

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