This week we’re pleased to bring you another of Timothy’s lesser-seen films in its entirety. It’s the “teenage On the Waterfront,” Rumble on the Docks (1956), directed by Fred F. Sears. Tim has one of his best supporting roles as Frank Mangus, lackadaisical torpedo to waterfront boss Joe Brindo (Michael Granger).
D’OH! I was so busy yesterday I never got around to posting our regular Wednesday video. My apologies! So, to attempt to make up for my negligence, today you’re getting not one but two videos!
Let’s start off with the one I should have posted last week but it hadn’t quite been put up on YouTube yet. It’s a clip from the newly released on DVD Revolt in the Big House (1958). Timothy is featured prominently, and it includes the great moment when he starts making out with his new machine gun.
Our second video ties in with the first. It’s an interview with Robert Blake, from an appearance on the Tavis Smiley show from December of 2011. Blake talks briefly about the handful of films he made in that very studio in the late 1950s, including Revolt and Rumble on the Docks (1956), and mentions an amusing moment he shared with Timothy at about the 2 minute mark. I can’t seem to get the video to embed, so here’s the URL.
We kick off the week with another look at the premiere Baretta episode, “He’ll Never See Daylight”, directed by Bernard L. Kowalski. It was first broadcast on January 17, 1975. Fashion plate gangster Matty Trifon shows up for his butt-kicking by Baretta (Robert Blake).
This is the only one of Timothy’s four appearances on Baretta that is officially available on DVD. Here’s hoping the powers-that-be see fit to release the series in its entirety sometime soon.
To give [Robert] Blake his due, he was one of the few people who would allow me to hire my favorite bogeyman, Timothy Carey, and so again I had the pleasure of working with this incorrigible madman. This time, Timothy got a bit too out of control and actually hurt a fellow actor in a scene where he was beating him up. He also did a number of improvisational riffs on his dialogue that I found utterly fascinating but which may not have been appreciated by the producers. As usual with Timothy, the network insisted on cutting many of these bits of eccentric behavior that made him such a unique and refreshing presence on the screen. How the network executives hated the unconventional and the unexpected, and how equally they loved their comfortable little groove of mediocrity!
– Curtis Harrington, writing about the Baretta episode “Set Up City” (1975), from Nice Guys Don’t Work In Hollywood: The Adventures of an Aesthete in the Movie Business (Drag City Incorporated, 2013)
Today’s pic is an original promotional still from Rumble on the Docks (1956), directed by Fred F. Sears. It still bears the original studio stamp and a typed notation glued to it on the back. The note reads “RACKETEER’S HENCHMAN BEATEN – Tim Carey, trigger man for crooked union boss, is found beaten and brought to latter’s headquarters in a scene from Columbia’s ‘Rumble on the Docks,’ produced by Sam Katzman.”
Tim is being propped up by James Darren and Robert Blake, the latter his future co-star in Revolt in the Big House (1958) and four Baretta episodes in the ’70s. Darren enjoyed a successful career as a teen heartthrob and singing sensation in the ’50s and ’60s, then found his niche on television in The Time Tunnel and many other series. Trekkies will remember him as the holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine on several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the late 1990s.
Our pic of the day takes another look at the Grecophile drug lord known as, appropriately enough, El Greco, from the Baretta episode “That Sister Ain’t No Cousin”. It was first broadcast on January 19, 1977. He has just been taken down by Baretta (Robert Blake) in a nun outfit. It’s a long story.
Also appearing here as one of El Greco’s henchmen is Judd Omen, so funny as Mickey, Pee-wee Herman‘s convict pal in Tim Burton‘s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985). Don’t mess with him, he cuts “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law” labels off of mattresses! He’s got a really bad temper!
PENNY BLOOD: How did you manage to direct a peculiar talent like Timothy Carey in What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971) and in “Set Up City,” a 1975 episode of Baretta?
HARRINGTON: I’m in that little club that includes Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes: directors who admired Timothy Carey for his uniqueness. The thing about Timothy was that he was as eccentric offscreen as on. That eccentricity is what we all loved, but it was not entirely controllable. Producers did not like to work with Timothy because he never did two takes the same way. The only way I got him on “Set Up City” was because the star of the show, Bobby Blake, gave his approval. But I adored Timothy Carey and was very happy to have him play a tramp in What’s the Matter with Helen? and a criminal in “Set Up City.” He was very inventive. He would ad-lib extra lines. Some of them were so funny that I would burst out laughing in the middle of a take. Of course, my laugh was on the soundtrack so we’d have to do another take, which was kind of embarrassing.
There’s a scene in “Set Up City” where Timothy roughs up a used car salesman. Timothy was a bit out of control because he really hurt the other actor who later sued through the Screen Actors’ Guild. When I first met Timothy, I was terrified of him. I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever work with him. But he knew who I was. One day I ran into him on the Fox lot and he hugged me and said: “Oh Curtis, you are the greatest, man! You’re the best!” I realized that he really liked me and I had nothing to fear. (Laughs) So I took him into my heart.
Today’s pic takes another look at Matty Trifon, the glove-wearing, chicken-loving mobster of “He’ll Never See Daylight,” the inaugural episode of Baretta that first aired on January 17, 1975. Matty is in a somber mood as takes a phone call from his boss Frank Cassell (Joseph Mascolo) to discuss that pest Baretta (Robert Blake).
Television legend Bernard L. Kowalski directed this episode. He also directed Timothy in the Rawhide episode “The Book” (1.8.1965), the Gunsmoke episode “Quaker Girl” (12.10.1966), the Columbo episode “Fade In to Murder” (10.10.1976), and the TV movie Nightside (1980). I’m guessing he had a few tales to tell about working with Tim! I wish I could have had a chance to talk to him before he passed away in 2007.
Today we take another look at Rumble on the Docks (1956), one of director Fred F. Sears‘ drive-in classics of the 1950s. Here we see torpedo Frank Mangus making time with the honeys at a shindig thrown by his boss. I’m not sure who the lucky extra is.
This enjoyable flick marked the first of Timothy’s six appearances with Robert Blake over the years. They would go on to co-star in Revolt in the Big House (1958) and in four episodes of Baretta in the ’70s. As much as I would dearly love to ask Blake about his experiences working with Tim, something tells me that he would be a very difficult interview these days.
Our pic today is a lobby card from R.G. Springsteen‘s Revolt in the Big House (1958), the entertaining low-budget prison drama starring Gene Evans, Robert Blake and third-billed Timothy. Here we see the gang plotting said revolt in the prison greenhouse.
Of all the memorabilia for Tim’s films, items for Revolt seem to be the most ubiquitous and readily available. A casual search on eBay will always turn up stills and lobby cards from this film. Given that, it’s strange that I’ve yet to run across a trailer. I’m guessing there’s one out there somewhere.