Quote of the Week

We are back! As today is the 57th anniversary of the death of James Dean, I thought this quote of Timothy’s from his article “The Highways of Heaven,” appearing in the September 1957 issue of Movie Stars Parade magazine, was rather appropriate. We pray that Dean continues to rest in peace.

One of the most interesting – and prophetic things – I did with Jimmy was ride with him in his MG. I had no idea of what was in store for me the first time Jimmy asked me.

“Crazy, man,” I took him up on his invitation. It turned out a lot crazier than I’d bargained for.

You can go and go on the roads in Mendocino. I thought we’d take a nice drive along the countryside, and maybe see a few chicks, but he said, “You don’t want to drive along those country roads. Let’s take those hills.”

So he went up, up and up. The higher he drove, the more of a charge he seemed to get out of it. I sat there with my legs hanging over the side of the car. We started chewing the fat, and I noticed that the more we talked the harder he stepped on the gas. Once he felt the speed, he couldn’t let up. There was a wild gleam in his eyes.

I began to feel uncomfortable.

“Whaddya want to go so fast for?” I demanded.

“I get my charges out of it,” Jimmy shot back.

He wasn’t lying. He did get his kicks from going over those bumpy, twisting roads at breakneck speed. I kept thinking to myself, “This guy likes to jump out of windows every once in a while – just to show the world he has guts.”

Pretty soon I turned chicken, and didn’t care if Jimmy knew it.

“You want to wrap this car around the pole!” I yelled. “But do it while I’m not in it.”

I was trying to be cool, but Jimmy wasn’t scared. He didn’t care what he did with his car. He didn’t care what chances he was taking with his life.

On one ride, we came so close to ramming into a pole, I almost turned green from the scare.

“We all could have died in that car,” I chewed him out when the ride was over. “You’re a fool, kid.”

“What’s the difference?” he countered. “You don’t want to live forever.”

Then he fell silent a minute, and said a strange thing.

“Well,” he observed flatly, “my mother’s dead.”

“Good,” I deliberately needled him, “that’s a great way to see your mother.”

We rode other times and had other narrow escapes. Jimmy always drove the same way, except once when I spotted a State Trooper and warned he’d get a ticket. He waited until the cop was gone, and then he was off like a shot. To me, these were like roller coaster rides. Not only the speed had a kind of fascination, but watching Jimmy’s characteristics when he’d pour it on. He told me once he would like to take a jeep and ride it on the sand. He really believed he was going into a strange jungle, that maybe something would happen to him, but he didn’t seem to care.

“I never did like highways,” he said. “I like to take the back alleys and the rough roads.”

I reminded him this was a great way to get dead in a hurry, but he only seemed pleased at my apprehension.

“So what,” he scoffed. “There are roads in heaven. I’ll keep on riding.”

He put his hands in his pockets, hunched his shoulders, and blinked at the sun.

“When I die,” he said with a sense of exhilaration, “I want to die with excitement. I don’t want to die in bed.”

I guess he got his wish.

I also hope he got another wish – that he found those highways in heaven.

Quote of the Week

So should Carey’s film legacy really be taken seriously? Absolutely. A man of a thousand tics and tricks, Carey could do more in a minute to make his characters leap off the screen than any supporting actor in movie history. Some have claimed he was too over-the-top and hammy, including a number of the directors and actors he worked with (and often alienated). But in retrospect there is not much doubt that he improved virtually every film in which he appeared – sometimes greatly so – and often the ones where you dare not blink for fear you’ll miss him.

Carl Steward, “Timothy Carey: Noir’s Wildest Card”, Noir City Annual #2: The Best of the 2009 Noir City Sentinel (Film Noir Foundation, 2010)

Quote of the Week

“I did a snake scene at a personal appearance in Hartford, Conn., and had trouble getting a girl to help. I mean, I didn’t want to get my mother for it… My mother wants me to be a priest.

– From My New York by Mel Heimer, Simpson’s Leader-Times, January 18, 1958

Timothy and his mother, Ida Agoglia Carey, from the work-in-progress documentary available at Absolute Films

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!


Today is Timothy’s 83rd birthday anniversary. Here I am visiting his grave last September.

Visiting Tim.

Today seems like the perfect day to make a very special announcement. Many of you know that I’m working on a book about Tim. I have lots of people to thank for helping me get started and for lending their support and encouragement, but it’s been basically a solitary effort. Well, today I am happy to announce that I have partnered up with Timothy’s son Romeo Carey to help produce Tim’s official, authorized biography. Several other folks are involved as well, and this promises to be an epic undertaking. Stay tuned to this blog for reports on the book’s progress! And keep your eye on the Absolute Films website for a major update!

Happy birthday, Timothy. I hope we will do you proud.

“First crack out of the box, I’ve gotta tell you something about myself. I’m the guy who had the assignment of beating Jimmy Dean to a pulp in East of Eden. But you couldn’t begin to dig why Jimmy Dean and I hit it off the way we did unless you were zeroed in on me. I’m a big sort of lummox with a head of black hair, a wild gleam in my eyes, an innate scorn for convention, an innate appreciation for women, an ambition to be a great actor that burns my insides, contempt for clothes and contempt for what other people think. In other words, if you mark me down for an extrovert, an odd-ball, you’re in the right neighborhood.”

– “The Highways of Heaven,” Movie Stars Parade magazine, September 1957 (as told to Bill Tusher)

Quote of the Week

“Everything was fine until I got to Parris Island, then I didn’t like the Marine Corps. Oh, I could tell you things about the Marine Corps, boy. I’m not kidding. I called my mother and I said ‘I wanna get out of here!’ I didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t what I believed it was going to be. I knew it wasn’t going to be a tea party, but… They beat me from pillar to post, you know, called me ‘big stupe,’ kept on shooting me in the arm with this thing. The drill instructor said ‘Look, I’m just as good as Jesus Christ.’ He was tough, this guy. They had a rifle range, you know, and I could never get into the right position. You had to kneel down and put your fanny on your heel. I just couldn’t do that too good. And the drill instructor said, ‘I want this big stupe to fall over a locker box tonight!’ Every recruit has a locker box. If you fall over it, everybody can beat you up. So they came and beat me up that night. I ended up in the hospital. I tried to protect my knees, and they hit me over the knees with a baseball bat. And that was the Marine Corps.”

– Tim talking about his experience at Marine boot camp at age 15 (he had absconded with his late older brother’s birth certificate), from the work-in-progress documentary available at Absolute Films

Quote of the Week

Instigating a new feature here at the blog: the Quote of the Week. Tim imparted a lot of wisdom in his various interviews and writings over the years, so I thought I should share some of them with you. And as Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, reflection and inspiration, I’ve chosen it as the day the quote will appear. May it provide you with much food for thought in the week ahead.

This one is relevant to me right now, as I will soon be appearing as an extra in a play for the first time in many years.

“If you wanna be a good actor, go to the zoo and watch the rhino – look at the way he moves.  Watch the weasel, every part involves a new body pattern.”

– Uno Mas magazine, “The Wonderful Horrible Life of Timothy Carey,” by Alex de Laszlo (1996)