It’s time to take another look at Lou Terpe, the grabby yet cowardly torpedo of Finger Man (1955), directed by Harold D. Schuster. Here he enjoys a drink with his boss, Dutch Becker (Forrest Tucker) and one of Becker’s B-girls, Gladys Baker (Peggie Castle).
Ms. Castle was one of the more memorable B-movie bombshells of the 1950s, both in feature films and on television. My MSTie pals will recognize her as intrepid girl reporter Audrey Aimes from Bert I. Gordon‘s Beginning of the End (1957) (starring another of Timothy’s future co-stars, Peter Graves). Sadly, she fell victim to alcoholism and died in 1973 at the age 45 of cirrhosis of the liver.
Another one from the archives! This is Timothy and Peter Graves‘ big fight scene at the end of Bayou (1957), aka Poor White Trash, directed by Harold Daniels. The entire film has been building up to this, and it’s worth the wait.
“Somewhere around there I was kicked out of six films in a row. Then I did BAYOU and they wanted me to play the heavy, so I went down to Louisiana and played a Cajun, Ulysses. ‘What I want I gonna get and no dirty Yonkee from swell country is gonna take it away from me!’ Peter Graves takes away my woman and we have a big fight scene in the cemetery and I fall on an axe.” Carey’s Cajun bully was memorable (other characters refer to him as a shark and a snake), but his standout bit was doing an incredible uninhibited dance to accordion music. He hops in the air, does rubberleg moves, caresses himself and scratches like he has fleas, while a storm brews. The Ulysses dance is so good that it’s edited in several times. BAYOU was made at about the same time as Roger Corman‘s SWAMP WOMAN. Both featured Corman regulars Jonathan Haze and Ed Nelson. BAYOU was directed by Harold Daniels who had co-directed the famous roadshow hit, THE PRINCE OF PEACE with William Beaudine.
Carey was certainly attracting the right kinds of people with such skewed antics. In 1956, Stanley Kubrick gave Carey the role of racist horse-killer Nikki Arane in The Killing and the court-martialled French private Ferol in Paths Of Glory (1957). They remain two of the most powerful, sinister and haunted performances in all of Kubrick’s films.
Yet, it’s once we stray off the path of conventional film-making and into the murky world of the B-movie that Carey’s true genius reveals itself. Alongside junk cinema king Peter Graves, Tim Carey appeared in Harold Daniels‘ Poor White Trash (1961) [ed. note: originally released as Bayou in 1957] as Ulysses, a mean-eyed Cajun loon. The film’s highlights include Carey performing the most disturbing inbred zydeco dance ever committed to celluloid, then attacking Graves with a very big axe. […]
Edit – 30 September 2002
We received this additional info on Carey from his second cousin once removed. Thanks Susan!
“My Dad remembers playing with Tim in Brooklyn as a kid… he said he was a funny guy way before he headed to California… used to go out in the street with a flute and play it while directing traffic. They also used to mess around with a dumbwaiter hoisting each other up and down.”
Our video for this week is the Gunsmoke episode “The Gentleman,” which first aired back on June 7, 1958. Timothy is Tiller Evans, the abusive suitor of saloon girl Boni Damon, played by Virginia Baker, who was married to (but separated from) Jack Palance at the time.
It’s frightening to watch Tim go from sweet to vicious in the space of about five seconds. It’s also rather irritating to see Marshal Dillon and Chester blame Boni for her predicament, rather than just say “Wow, that Tiller Evans is a jerk, he shouldn’t be hitting her like that. Let’s get him!” I know, it was the Fifties. Tim could now say that he was punched out on-screen by both Peter Graves andJames Arness. How many actors can say that?
We wrap up the work week with another look at Bert, affable owner of Bert’s Diner and creator of Lt. Columbo’s (Peter Falk) favorite chili. The Columbo episode “Dead Weight,” first airing on October 27, 1971, was Bert’s second and final appearance in the series. Timothy himself appeared on the show one more time, in “Fade In to Murder” (10.10.76).
Directing “Dead Weight” was Jack Smight, an old friend and college chum of Tim’s Bayou (1957) co-star Peter Graves. He became a successful television and feature film director, helming such notable films as Harper (1966), The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968) (both with Paul Newman), and The Illustrated Man (1969) with Rod Steiger.
Watching Timothy having a crazy good time in a little tiny boat is wonderful, but watching the fellows in the background is even more fun. They are clearly enjoying the spectacle of this nutty guy from Hollywood going off the rails.
STECKLER: So I went to Long Beach to shoot this movie [The World’s Greatest Sinner] with 200 extras smashing up the Coliseum; it was wild, and we did some crazy things. (If you ever get to see the movie, you’ll see.) But it was not a great movie by any means. Timothy Carey had some great ideas but he lacked technique; he didn’t know how to put them together. But it was good experience, because I met other people and worked in the business from that point on.
He got the money from Mike Ripps, who had made Poor White Trash. Very successful film! Mike took a movie that nobody wanted, added 3 minutes of a girl running through a swamp semi-nude, and called it Poor White Trash. Three weeks later he released it and the theaters were packed! It just goes to show that if you have an idea, you can still pull it off.
BOYD: What was the movie originally called?
STECKLER: The Bayou [sic]. The leading actor was Peter Graves from Mission Impossible; Carey was in it, too. After Ripps renamed it Poor White Trash, for years it was like the Deep Throat of horror movies [ed. note: It’s not a horror movie, though…]! So Tim got the money to make his one and only movie – never could put another one together after that.
It’s two-for-the-price-of-one day here at the blog! Today we’re posting some promotional material from Bayou (1957), “presenting Tim Carey”. The first is a still featuring Tim facing down Peter Graves, while Lita Milan glares up at Tim (hope the poor girl didn’t get a crick in her neck). I hadn’t seen this one before; you can’t see Tim’s face too well, but he’s obviously meant to look menacing and all. The second is a Spanish-language version of the film’s poster. The title translates to The Goddess of the Swamp.
It’s time for yet another look at Bayou (aka Poor White Trash) (1957), directed by Harold Daniels and starring Peter Graves, Lita Milan, “and presenting Tim Carey” (as the movie poster says)! Ulysses and his sidekick Bos (Jonathan Haze) are talking about the impending storm and something crazy Ulysses saw during the last storm, if I’m not mistaken.
Timothy always did well when paired with slighter-statured actors to play off of Mutt-and-Jeff style, and Haze was one of the best. He endeared himself to legions of cult film fans everywhere as the hapless Seymour of Roger Corman‘s The Little Shop of Horrors (1960); he and Corman made many a film together. In his later years he became the head of a company that produced commercials.