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.

Pic of the Day: “What’s the Matter with Helen?” revisited

Our pic for today (you know about clicking for embiggening, right?) revisits the great Curtis Harrington‘s What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971), starring Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as two friends with a tragic past trying to get back on their feet in Depression-era Hollywood. Tim has a small but memorable role as a scruffy tramp depending on the kindness of Reynolds and her rich suitor Dennis Weaver.

Harrington was a fascinating character on the Hollywood scene. He began his career in association with the notorious Kenneth Anger, starting an independent film distribution company with him in the late 1940’s and appearing in Anger’s amazing short film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954). He went on to direct such cult classics as Night Tide (1961), Queen of Blood (1966), Games (1967), How Awful About Allan (1970), Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972) (which you can find on a double DVD with Helen), The Dead Don’t Die (1975), Ruby (1977) and Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978). He directed Timothy again in the Baretta episode “Set Up City” (1975). He retained a lifelong interest in magic and mysticism. A Harrington biography would be most welcome; it’s long overdue.