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?

GL: So, basically, you didn’t have any vices at all?

TC: Oh, yeah – I loved gambling and women. I used to live in Watts and go with black women all the time.

GL: All I have to go on is a list of your pictures and some wild stories I’ve heard around town. For instance, did you once tie up Otto Preminger in his office to get a role?

TC: False.

GL: … throw a snake into a closet where Ray Dennis Steckler was loading a camera, on the shoot of The World’s Greatest Sinner?

TC: Yeah, well, that’s what he claimed.

GL: And there’s this infamous screening of Sinner at Universal, where you stood by the door with a baseball bat and wouldn’t let the executives out.

TC: Naw, that’s one of the stories Cassavetes loved to tell, but we didn’t even screen the picture. We were up there to discuss a project of mine that John was promoting, a TV thing called “A.L.,” which is L.A. in reverse. But, no, I don’t use tactics like that. But my menace was my idea. I said, “When I work, nobody sits down and relaxes.” Cassavetes said it scared Ned Tannen. He and Danny Selznick were the ones who were there at the meeting.

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

Tim shooting AL in LA, 1956

Timothy during the unfinished shoot of his own version of his script A.L., 1956


Quote of the Week

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.

Ray Dennis Steckler, interviewed by Boyd Rice in Re/Search #10: Incredibly Strange Films (V/Search Publications, 1986)

Bayou lobby card

Video of the Week: “Making Sinner” screening in Portland!

We are only three days away from the epic screening of The World’s Greatest Sinner at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon! Also appearing on the bill will be Cinema Justice, the legendary 7-minute outtake from Steve De Jarnatt‘s unreleased short Tarzana (1978), and Romeo Carey‘s work-in-progress documentary, Making Sinner. Here’s a promotional video for Making Sinner that Romeo put together. It features excerpts from a wonderful interview with the late great Ray Dennis Steckler, who shot a great deal of the film (not quite as much as he seems to remember he did, though!).

Romeo and I will both be appearing at the screening, and you don’t want to miss that! I can’t wait to see you there!

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote is yet another that is not by Timothy, but about him:

I had just finished photographing a movie for Timothy Carey called Frenzy, which was later released as The World’s Greatest Sinner. Timothy Carey was in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Killing; he’s the guy who shoots the horse at the race track. And in Paths of Glory he was one of the 3 guys they executed; he played the big guy who smashed cockroaches on a table or something – great scene. Anyway, he met me in New York, then gave me a call and asked if I’d like to shoot a film for him. I laughed (because I had just seen his movie) and said, ‘Well, you’re too big for me to talk back to.’ I mean, he was a monster. I said, ‘What if you don’t like what I say – you’ll crush me like that cockroach.’ He said, ‘You’re right!’… Tim and I got along real well because I was a rebel and he liked that. He and James Dean used to pal around a lot, too. He said James Dean wasn’t from this planet anyway and just got called back early!

Ray Dennis Steckler, interviewed by Boyd Rice in Re/Search #10: Incredibly Strange Films (V/Search Publications, 1986

Pic of the Day: “East of Eden” (1955) revisited

Since today is the anniversary of the death of James Dean in 1955, I thought it fitting that our pic for today be another shot from East of Eden (1955). This one isn’t a candid from the set like the last one, but is actually from the film.

Ray Dennis Steckler once said, “[Tim] and James Dean used to pal around a lot… He said James Dean wasn’t from this planet anyway and just got called back early!” Tim recalled accompanying Dean on one of his notorious “Sunday drives” through the Salinas Valley in his little racing car. Upon their return, Tim declared, “I’m never getting in a car with him again.” And thank God he didn’t.

Video of the Week: “The World’s Greatest Sinner”

It’s time for the Video of the Week! The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) is Tim’s grindhouse magnum opus. He wrote it, produced it, financed it, directed it, starred in it, promoted it, stood outside the theater greeting patrons, sold tickets and popcorn, ushered folks to their seats. The absolute last word in truly independent filmmaking!

Future cult favorite Ray Dennis Steckler shot the film, and young Frank Zappa wrote the music. Would we love to see a nice big fat Criterion release of this film? Heck yes we would! But for now, please buy your copy from Tim’s son Romeo at Absolute Films (I know it says VHS, but you will get a DVD). In fact, please buy everything you can possibly afford from this site – all proceeds go to funding future Carey projects, such as finally getting Tweet’s Ladies of Pasadena released. DO IT NOW!