Quote of the Week

One day on my first Dragnet, I stepped outside the soundstage to have a cigarette with Jack [Webb] and Ben Alexander. As we were standing there, we heard a commotion and looked toward the front gate of the Disney lot, and through a chain-link fence we could see a couple of studio guards chasing a tall guy in our direction. The guy came flying over the fence and landed on our side of it and grabbed a-hold of Jack’s lapels and pushed him up against the wall, babbling, ‘You gotta use me on the show! You gotta use me on the show!’ It was frightening! Turns out it was a madman of an actor named Timothy Carey. With a crazy look on his face, he demanded that Webb let him appear on Dragnet and Webb, obviously hoping to calm him down and get him to let go, said, ‘Yeah, sure, you’re in the show, when do ya want to start??’ Jack assured Carey that he would be in a Dragnet, and that quieted him down; the guards arrived at that point and took him away.

Timothy Carey might have been a great Dragnet villain but he scared the shit out of us. He was nuts! Carey was an actor who would do anything to get a role; I once heard that he went into the Columbia Studios office of the producer of the motion picture The Caine Mutiny, pulled a gun on him and said, ‘You gonna give me a part in this show?’ When you have that burning desire to be an actor and be on the screen, some people will do whatever it takes.

Paul Picerni, from Steps to Stardom: The Autobiography of Paul Picerni by Paul Picerni with Tom Weaver (BearManor Media, 2007)

Flight to Hong Kong

Timothy with Rory Calhoun in the only film he and Picerni did together (no scenes together though), Flight to Hong Kong (1956)

Pic of the Day: “The Boy and the Pirates” British lobby card

Our final entry for Memorabilia Week is a British lobby card/still for Bert I. Gordon‘s The Boy and the Pirates (1960). I have three of these, which are identical to the U.S. publicity stills, except for the text and the fact that they are tinted blue. Which is pretty cool, actually.

The Boy and the Pirates British lobby card/still

Young Charles Herbert, shown here being menaced by mean pirate Morgan, had vivid memories of working with Tim. “He, on that movie, probably scared me more than the Colossus of New York!” he told Tom Weaver in an interview for Classic Images in 2006. “But he was a nice man, and he always tried to make you feel, ‘I’m not really crazy,’ and you would say, ‘Okay.’ And then he would walk away and you’d go, ‘He’s CRAZY!’ He was a scary man… It was just his eyes—those eyes! He’d look at me and I would run behind my mother. And I had to catch up to her, because she was tryin’ to find somebody else to hide behind! His eyes, and the way he talked—all the time, he just seemed ANGRY, and out of control. But after a while, it didn’t bother me. He wasn’t somebody who was different off-screen—he was crazy on- AND off-screen.”

Quote of the Week

CH: Do you know who Timothy Carey is? He, on that movie [The Boy and the Pirates (1960)], probably scared me more than the Colossus of New York [laughs]! But he was a nice man, and he always tried to make you feel, “I’m not really crazy,” and you would say, “Okay.” And then he would walk away and you’d go, “He’s CRAZY!” He was a scary man.

CI: For instance?

CH: It was just his eyes—those eyes! He’d look at me and I would run behind my mother. And I had to catch up to her, because she was tryin’ to find somebody else to hide behind [laughs]! His eyes, and the way he talked—all the time, he just seemed ANGRY, and out of control. But after a while, it didn’t bother me. He wasn’t somebody who was different off-screen—he was crazy on- AND off-screen.

Charles Herbert, “So You Wanna Be a Kid Actor…? “Not I!” said The Fly Co-star,” Classic Images, May 2006; interview by Tom Weaver