Robert Loggia 1930 – 2015

Well this is not how I wanted to end “Timothy in Color Week,” I can assure you. Robert Loggia, character actor and tough guy extraordinaire, passed away today at the age of 85. He and Timothy only made one film together, the drive-in classic Speedtrap (1977). To mark his passing, let’s share not only a pic from that film but a video clip as well.

Speedtrap

From Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) to The Sopranos (2004), Loggia marked whatever project he found himself in with the indelible stamp of his personality. He will truly be missed.

Quote of the Week

Modern hipsters didn’t invent the cult actor. Oh, we might all feel really cool raving about icons like Christopher Walken or newcomers like Michael Shannon. There’s still a long history of weirdo artists infiltrating our movie theaters and living rooms. Just consider the epic strangeness of Timothy Carey. He maintained a perfectly normal career as a character actor right through the 1980s. In fact, Carey would’ve managed one more great role if he’d passed Quentin Tarantino’s audition to play the crime boss in 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino cast veteran oddball actor Lawrence Tierney instead. The director dedicated Reservoir Dogs to a list of idols that included Carey, though. That was nice–especially since Carey would pass away in 1994.

But why would Tarantino dedicate his first feature to a guy who’d shown up in mainstream TV shows like Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, and CHiPs? That’s because Carey was far more than a character actor. He was a beatnik visionary and a true wild man. The young actor first made a name for himself by stealing a scene from Marlon Brando in the pioneering biker epic The Wild One. Carey didn’t even get billing, but the hulking actor with the basso voice was soon being used as a heavy by all kinds of directors. He gave one of his most compelling performances as a crazed Cajun in 1957’s Bayou, where he contributed to a sleazy atmosphere that kept the movie playing the drive-in circuit well into the ’70s.

Stanley Kubrick cast Carey in memorable roles for both The Killing and Paths of Glory, and a lot of other directors–including John Cassavetes–loved Carey’s knack for crazed improvisation. That was the kind of Hollywood connection that got Carey playing parts in three episodes of Columbo. Other directors, however, couldn’t tolerate Carey’s maniacal Method acting.

Carey did a lot to sabotage his own career, too. He turned down roles in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II–and walked off the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. That’s three less classics in Carey’s weird filmography, but he found time to appear in Chesty Anderson, U.S. Navy and the Joe Don Baker epic Speedtrap. To be fair, Chesty Anderson gave Carey the freedom to let loose with one of his more amazing performances.

Carey also wrote and directed himself to an amazing role in 1962’s The World’s Greatest Sinner–which was pretty much forgotten for most of Carey’s career. Originally, the film’s legend was kept alive by some musical contributions from Frank Zappa. Then Sinner began to build a bigger reputation as Carey’s own careening genius built his own cult. It’s an amazing film, and was recently restored and is now available to the masses. There’s no other movie like it.

Speedtrap

Pic of the Day: “Speedtrap” revisited

Today’s pic takes another look at Earl Bellamy‘s drive-in crash-em-up Speedtrap (1977). Henchman Loomis is busy making a drug drop-off at the airport. You could still do that in the Seventies.

Speedtrap

What really makes this picture is the little girl in the foreground. “Look Mom, I’m in a movie! And look at this weird guy in the Hawaiian shirt!”

Video of the Week: “Bayou”

Well folks, looks like all of the Videos of the Week from now on are “from the archives,” as I’ve simply run out of new videos of Timothy to post. Here’s the first one I ever posted, and it’s one of the best. Tim’s Cajun brute Ulysses from Bayou (1957) has a chat with Jean Tithe (Eugene Sonfield) while his henchman Bos (Jonathan Haze) takes a nap. You may need subtitles.

As the video suggests, get your copy of Bayou at j4hi.com! They also have Speedtrap (1977) and Revolt in the Big House (1958)!

Pic of the Day: “Speedtrap” revisited

For mindless summer drive-in fare, you could hardly do better than Earl Bellamy‘s Speedtrap (1977). Here Larry Loomis, Italian gangster (??), has been sucker-punched by private eye Pete Novick (Joe Don Baker) and is none too happy about it.

Speedtrap

Baker, from Groesbeck, Texas, has been a solid presence in films and on television for nearly fifty years. He hit the big time with Phil Karlson‘s Walking Tall (1973). Rough-and-tumble good guys like cops, cowboys and g-men are his specialty. He previously appeared with Timothy in John Flynn‘s The Outfit (1973).

Video of the Week: “Speedtrap”

This week’s video showcases Timothy’s best scene from Earl “No Strain” Bellamy‘s Speedtrap (1977). He first appears, quite memorably, at about the 4:26 mark.

Also featuring Joe Don Baker, Robert Loggia, Tyne Daly, Lana Wood, and Richard Jaeckel. Tim, Baker and Jaeckel were also in John Flynn‘s The Outfit (1973).

Pic of the Day: “Speedtrap” revisited

Today we celebrate a birthday and mourn a passing. Firstly, we want to wish a happy 84th birthday anniversary to the great Robert Loggia! He made his film debut with Paul Newman in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) and hasn’t looked back since. He and Timothy only made one film together, the drive-in classic Speedtrap (1977). It’s a shame they didn’t get a chance to work together more often; they certainly made a great on-screen pair of bad guys.

Speedtrap

And lastly, we say goodbye to the founding genius of Something Weird Video, Mike Vraney. He died yesterday at the age of 56, after a long battle with lung cancer. His love of and enthusiasm for the weird, the strange, and the forgotten films of the fringe/underground/exploitation era cannot be matched. When we say that he will truly be missed, it is not a trite cliche but a bitter reality. We send our most heart-felt condolences and love to Mike’s family, friends and loved ones.