Today we take another look at the Baretta episode “Set Up City”, directed by Curtis Harrington. It first aired on October 29, 1975. Grumpy jewel thief Joe Dineen inspects the swag from his latest heist.
Sure would be nice if the powers-that-be could get around to finally releasing subsequent seasons of Baretta on DVD (the first season is the only one commercially available). Then Timothy could get rid of that silly SUN TV logo that keeps showing up on his clothes.
Very sad to hear of the death yesterday of Larry D. Mann, age 91. He was the Canadian character actor perhaps best known as the voice of Yukon Cornelius in the television Christmas classic Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). He received a memorable manhandling from Timothy as T-Bone, the unfortunate used car salesman, in the Baretta episode “Set Up City” (10.29.75).
“There’s a scene in ‘Set Up City’ where Timothy roughs up a used car salesman,” the episode’s director, Curtis Harrington, told Penny Blood magazine. “Timothy was a bit out of control because he really hurt the other actor who later sued through the Screen Actors’ Guild.” I have no doubt that it was a case of Tim not knowing his own strength and not meaning any deliberate harm. We wish Mann peaceful rest and thank him for letting us know that “Bumbles bounce!”
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)
Our pic of the day is another one from the Curtis Harrington-directed Baretta episode “Set Up City.” It was first broadcast on October 29, 1975. Ill-tempered jewel thief Joe Dineen shows his displeasure with explosives expert Jake Hatch (Charles Durning) threatening to blow them all to smithereens, while a nervous Larry Block looks on.
Block was a familiar character actor in films and on television since the early 1970s. He also did frequent stage work and wrote poetry. Unfortunately he passed away last October.
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.
EDITOR’S NOTE 09/22/13: Another one bites the dust. Sorry, folks.
This week’s video is the Baretta episode “Set Up City,” directed by Curtis Harrington and first airing on October 29, 1975. Timothy is at his grumpy, glowering best as jewel thief Joe Dineen. This is one of my favorite Carey performances; I predict it will become one of yours too, if it isn’t already!
This is the perfect opportunity to announce the formation of The Timothy Carey Experience channel at YouTube! I will be gathering up every video pertaining to Tim that’s already on YouTube that I can find. I hope to also add my own videos of my book-writing adventures. Please feel free to subscribe, tell your friends, etc.!