Quote of the Week

Timothy Agoglia Carey lived and died an underground legend.

The heavy-lidded, conspicuously tall actor crafted one of the most disjointed, overlooked and under-appreciated film careers in cinema history.

He was a man who refused to compromise, didn’t check his spelling, and never, ever listened to a goddamn word anybody said to him.

He wrote, produced and directed a play called THE INSECT TRAINER, which revolved around the power and the importance of farting.

He brought John Cassavetes over to his house, put him in a dog attack suit and let three rottweilers jump on him, while yelling words of encouragement from the next room, “It’s not you they hate, it’s the suit!”

Richard Widmark beat him up on the set of 1956’s THE LAST WAGON. Not to be outdone, in 1961 Carey was kicked in the ribs by Karl Malden and stabbed with a pen by Marlon Brando during the making of ONE-EYED JACKS.

He was one of the few actors Stanley Kubrick ever trusted to improvise a scene.

He faked his own kidnapping and ransom note during the filming of PATHS OF GLORY, just to get some press.

He led a life of strange brilliance. Carey’s passion for life blazed a trail of wide-eyed wonder that has been followed by such contemporary icons as Crispin Glover and Andy Kaufman.

Through all of this, and much, much more, he always remained true to the world he most definitely helped create and flourish: the underground.

– Sam McAbee, “Timothy Carey: Saint of the Underground”; Cashiers du Cinemart #12 (2001)

Paths of Glory lobby card

 

Video of the Week: “Paths of Glory”

Our video for this week is from Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory (1957). It’s the scene in which the doomed prisoners (Ralph Meeker, Joe Turkel, and Timothy) ruminate over their fate. They have just rejected their last meal, fearing it may have been poisoned.

An unfortunate cockroach also meets his fate. I’ve always suspected that Tim’s play The Insect Trainer was inspired, at least in part, by his desire to make amends to the cockroach.

 

 

Quote of the Week: A Note from Tim

This is a note written by Timothy to a fan in England by the name of Paul. It’s undated, but as he mentions he’s preparing a production of The Insect Trainer, I’m guessing it was written near the end of his life. There was another note to Paul and an autographed photo from The World’s Greatest Sinner also up for auction on eBay, but I got outbid on those. I can find no information on the English friend of his he mentions.

Dear Paul!

Excuse the delay. I’m preparing an original play, “Insect Trainer”. Hope to meet you someday. I had a friend from England. He was an actor/writer named Tony Rome [Rowe?]. But he went to the Happy Hunting Grounds. I miss him. Perhaps you could be an ade [aide] to me some day. Thanks.

Tim Carey

Note to Paul

Last public appearance, Nuart Theatre in LA, 1994His last public appearance, the Nuart Theatre, Los Angeles, 1994

Quote of the Week

Timothy Agoglia Carey is directing a play in Hollywood this month about death by farting [The Insect Trainer]. He’s been acting in films since 1951, was in classics with Brando and Dean, worked several times each for Kubrick and Cassavetes, was in the exploitation classic POOR WHITE TRASH [aka Bayou pre-exploitation] and made a movie that would be a cult classic if only people could see it – WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER. In various books, the 6’4″, now 65 year old [sic – he was actually 61 at the time of this interview] Carey has been called “a heavy eyed character actor, often a loathsome villain”, “totally without attractive characteristics, repulsive looking”, and “the least lovable actor since Rondo Hatton“. He’s also considered a great actor and his fans in the business include Jack Nicholson, Peter Falk and Brando. Here, often in his own words, is the Timothy Carey story.

Psychotronic Video magazine #6, Summer 1990; interview by Michael Murphy and Johnny Legend, research by Michael J. Weldon

Timothy with Michael Murphy, 1989

Timothy with Michael Murphy, 1989

Quote of the Week

THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER (1963)

Music like the worst nightmare the Cramps ever had.

Timothy Carey – the charismatically malevolent “heavy” of The Killing, The Wild One, Paths of Glory, and East of Eden – single-handedly made this film between 1960 and 1963 in and around the town of El Monte, outside Los Angeles. Its plot centers on forty-year-old Clarence, who quits his job at an insurance company so that he can don the mantle of a rock star and run for public office as God. Carey’s portrayal of a rock star in a gold suit backed by a ragtag Mexican band is so fantastically bizarre that it puts Salvador Dali (Carey’s idol) to shame. During his main performance, which is sour and atonal, Carey falls to his knees and screams, “Please! Please! Please!” (Without ever having seen or heard of James Brown!)

The World’s Greatest Sinner isn’t a music movie per se, but its soundtrack stands out. For the background music, Carey hired a young, unproven local odd-ball, Frank Zappa, to compose a full orchestral score. Their association was short-lived, however. Appearing on the Steve Allen show playing a bicycle, Zappa made disparaging remarks about the film that earned Carey’s lifelong enmity.  (Still, they both made cameo appearances in the MonkeesHead.) Although this crude but uniquely imaginative undertaking was ignored by major distributors when it first came out, history has heaped kudos on The World’s Greatest Sinner – and on Carey for his bravery, wit, and vision. Fans, take note: Still alive, Carey makes occasional film and TV appearances. He also pops up at showings of his films at revival houses around L.A. In early 1991, he was completing a stage play, The Insect Trainer, about a postal worker killed by a fart.

Art Fein, from Hollywood Rock: A Guide to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Movies by Marshall Crenshaw (HarperPerennial, 1994)

The World's Greatest Sinner

Video of the Week: “Paths of Glory”

This week it’s short and sweet. We feature Timothy’s classic line from Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957). Also appearing are Ralph Meeker and Joseph Turkel.

I honestly believe that Tim’s play The Insect Trainer was, at least in part, his attempt to make amends to the cockroach.

Video of the Week: “The Insect Trainer”

Our video this week is a small glimpse into Timothy’s play The Insect Trainer, which he had originally conceived as a novel. He was working on bringing it to the stage at the time of his death in 1994. As usual, it just leaves you wanting more.

You can purchase The Insect Trainer DVD over at Absolute Films. It features Tim with the cast in rehearsal, and scenes from the actual production that was staged after his death, with his son Romeo in the lead role. So what’s the choice, my friends: fart in a crowd, or die alone in a corner? Live long, live healthy, and let thy arse make wind!