Those Who Could Not Escape Their Character.

I’m not saying that these actors and actresses never acted in anything else but they ended up trapped in the role that ended up defining them good or bad. This list could have been much longer.

Bob Denver – Gilligan – I just picked Bob because he was the star of the show but a point could be argued that the entire cast of this show was eternally typecast. Bob Denver also played Maynard Krebs (which I loved) on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis but Gilligan wins out.

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Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker – After he auditioned for the title role in 1983 movie Amadeus the director dismissed the idea saying “I don’t want Luke Skywalker in this film.” He has broken a little out of the image by doing voiceovers like the Joker in Batman animated cartoons.

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Carrie Fischer – Princess Leia – Harrison Ford was able to break out more successfully than his other two co-stars in Star Wars. Carrie Fischer acted in a lot of movies but could never shake Princess Leia…she is forever frozen in time in the minds of teenage nerds at the time and now.

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Christopher Reeve – Superman – He is said to have stated that he spent his career trying to “escape the cape.”… When I think of Superman…I do think of Christopher Reeve’s version

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George Reeves – Superman – See Above

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Barbara Eden – Jeannie – She appeared in many TV  movies but nothing topped beautiful Jeannie. Larry Hagman did manage to escape his character in I Dream of Jeannie into another…J.R. Ewing.

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Elizabeth Montgomery – Samantha – Everyone’s favorite witch. Like Eden she did many TV movies…a lot of them really good but is known for Samantha.

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Don Adams – Maxwell Smart -Adams also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales  and Inspector Gadget but was

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Anthony Perkins – Is Norman Bates and there is no arguing that.

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Robert Englund – Freddie Kruger – and I don’t believe he minds at all.

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Ruth Gordon

Probably the most well-known role she played was the character of Maude in Harold and Maude. She is also remembered as Minnie Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby. Ruth Gordon was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table. She was a brilliant writer and actress. She was a stage actress mostly until the 1940s when she started to appear in films. She went back to the stage until the 60s where she started to be in films up to her death.

Ruth was born in 1896 in Wollaston, Massachusetts. She was a very successful writer and actress.

In 1915 she made her Broadway debut in Peter Pan in the role of Nibs. Her performance endeared her to the New York critic Alexander Woollcott, who introduced her to the famous Algonquin Round Table, a group that included George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Alice Duer Miller, Heywood Broun, Dorothy Parker, and Harpo Marx.

Throughout the next three decades, Ruth appeared in several plays by playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, and Booth Tarkington. She enjoyed her greatest stage triumph in a 1936 production of The Country-Wife at London’s Old Vic.

She married screenwriter and director Garson Kanin in 1942. Ruth and Garson collaborated on many plays and screenplays together.

She appeared in a handful of films during the early 1940s, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940), Two-Faced Woman (1941; Greta Garbo’s final film), Edge of Darkness (1942), and Action in the North Atlantic (1943). She then returned to the stage and did not appear in another film for 22 years.

She came back to film in1965 with Inside Daisy Clover ( best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination). She won an Oscar for her supporting role in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and she developed a strong cult following with her offbeat characters in Where’s Poppa (1970) and Harold and Maude (1971). She appeared in many television programs and made-for-TV movies during the 1960s and ’70s and won an Emmy in 1979 for her role on an episode of the popular sitcom Taxi. Gordon and Kanin also collaborated on one more writing project, the TV movie Hardhat and Legs (1980).

Ruth Gordon died on August 28, 1985, and Garson Kanin died on March 13, 1999.

Awards from IMDB

Academy Awards

1969 Winner
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) 

1966 Nominee
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

1953 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Pat and Mike (1952) 
Shared with: Garson Kanin

1951 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Adam’s Rib (1949) 

Shared with: Garson Kanin

1948 Nominee

OscarBest Writing, Original Screenplay
A Double Life (1947)

Shared with: Garson Kanin

https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gordon-ruth-1896-1985

Edna Purviance

When I first started to read about and watch Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the 90s I noticed in most of Chaplin’s early short films this beautiful lady with expressive eyes as his leading lady. Chaplin never found a better leading lady than Edna.

Edna was born in Paradise Valley, Nevada in 1895. In 1900 her parents moved to Lovelock where they ran the Singer Hotel, though they later divorced. Edna was musically inclined and played the piano well. Shortly after her high school graduation, she moved to San Fransisco, took a business course and began work as a secretary.

While searching for a leading lady in 1915 an associate of Chaplin suggested a girl he remembered as a regular at a local San Francisco café. After rejecting several chorus girls, Chaplin arranged a meeting with Purviance, who he was impressed by her beauty and personality but still wasn’t sure she was right. They went to a party and Chaplin claimed he could hypnotize her and she said he could not in front of everyone… she ended up going along with the joke and pretended to be hypnotized and that won Chaplin over.

In real life as in the films, Purviance and Chaplin were romantically involved, and they remained close friends even after their affair was over in 1918. While he entertained serious thoughts of marriage, he also had doubts that he expressed in his 1964 Autobiography. Edna also had her reservations as well.

Chaplin continued to feel not only friendship but responsibility for Purviance, and she drew a small monthly stipend from his film company for the remainder of her life. Edna was his leading lady from 1915-1923.

Purviance eventually married John Squire, a Pan-American Airlines pilot, in 1938. They remained married until his death in 1945. Edna died of throat cancer on January 13, 1958.

A quote from Edna from IMDB

Mr. Chaplin asked me if I would like to act in pictures with him. I laughed at the idea but agreed to try it. I guess he took me because I had nothing to unlearn and he could teach me in his own way. I want to tell you that I suffered untold agonies. Eyes seemed to be everywhere. I was simply frightened to death. But he had unlimited patience in directing me and teaching me.

 

 

 

 

Runnin’ Wild by David Stenn

I got this book in the 90s and just reread it yet again. I’ve gone over Clara Bow earlier but I wanted to add more about this book. It is a well researched interesting book on the great silent movie actress. I have huge respect for Clara Bow as an actress and as a person. She was outspoken in a business where very few women were at that time.

David Stenn separates fact from fiction about Clara. In the book, Hollywood Babylon Kenneth Anger makes many unflattering statements about Clara which Stenn proves were false. Was Clara wild at times? Yes but no wilder than many of the other actresses in the 20s and nothing compared to today…She was just honest about it.

Actress Lina Basquette said: “She wasn’t well liked amongst other women in the film colony. Her social presence was taboo, and it was rather silly because God knows Marion Davies and Mary Pickford had plenty to hide. It’s just that they hid it, and Clara didn’t.” Bow knew the truth. “I’m a curiosity in Hollywood,” she said. “I’m a big freak because I’m myself!”

Her mother suffered from mental illness, Clara once woke with her mother standing over her with a knife saying she was going to kill her. Her father abused her and used her all of his life and may have sexually abused her. She made it against all odds to the top. There was a point in the twenties that she was the biggest female star receiving 45,000 fan letters a month.

Paramount would use her to push lightweight films and hardly ever place her in a great film. Because of this practice, she is only known well for a few films. When silent movies evolved into “talkies” Greta Garbo was given two years to prepare for the change…Clara, who was a bigger star was given a matter of weeks. She would appear on the screen and your eyes would stay with her. She did a few sound pictures and was successful but did not enjoy it as much as the silent films.

She retired and married Rex Bell (a part time cowboy actor) and moved to Nevada in the 1930s to have and raise a couple of children. One of her children, Rex Bell Jr. had this to say about the book.

“A lot of crap biographies have been written about mom, but the one that is accurate is ‘Clara Bow, Runnin’ Wild’ by David Stenn,” Bell said, noting that he first learned his mother was abused as a child from that book that was supported by medical records.

Clara was in the first movie that won an Oscar… Wings … The other movie she is known for is It made in 1927. She was soon known as The IT Girl.

I recommend this book highly. Clara Bow had a hard life growing up in Brooklyn and against all odds turned into one of the biggest stars of the 20s. She was honest to a fault and herself to the end.

Where Clara, Rex, and their children lived…The Walking Box Ranch.

You Can’t Take It With You 1938

I first watched this movie in the 90’s and I still watch it from time to time. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur had great chemistry on screen. The following year they would be in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”…another great movie. Capra wanted Jean Arthur in It’s a Wonderful Life but she was committed to a Broadway show.

This movie is about a rich man named Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart) who is working reluctantly for his ruthless banker dad. He falls in love with his stenographer Alice (Jean Arthur). The father doesn’t really care but his mother is outraged that he would love someone beneath him. This part of the story you have seen before but it’s when the great Lionel Barrymore who plays Alice’s grandfather Martin Vanderhof enters the movie gets going.

Martin and his family do exactly what they want, his daughter Penny received a typewriter in the mail by mistake and thinks she is a novelist, Alice’s sister dances everytime music is played and a basement full of unemployed older gentlemen who like to invent things…especially firecrackers… It’s a crazy household but they live life and are not bothered by a thing.

This is the opposite of the Kirby family who is uptight, overwhelmed and disgusted by this family…except Tony of course.

The movie is full of off the wall humor and Alice’s family is great. Anyone that comes to the house wants to stay…and sometimes does. The grandfather goes out and finds one person (Mr. Poppins) who invents things but works at a terrible job and Martin invites him to live at the house with his family to be…”a lily of the field” and quit his dreadful job.

Here are some quotes from the meeting

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: How would you like to come over to our house and work on your gadgets?

Poppins: Your house? Well I don’t know, thank you.

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Oh go on, you’ll love it. Everybody at over at our place does just what he wants to do.

Poppins: Really?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Mmm-hmmmm.

Poppins: That must be wonderful. But how would I live?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same way we do.

Poppins: The same way? Well, who takes care of you?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same One that takes care of the lilies of the field, Mr. Poppins, except that we toil a little, spin a little, have a barrel of fun. If you want to, come on over and become a lily too.

This is a screwball comedy and a good one. Lionel Barrymore is magnificent in this. Just a few years later he would play mean Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

This movie was directed by Frank Capra. Some critics in his day called him “Capra-corn” because of the optimism he showed for the everyday man. I think he was a great director. This is one of his best movies.

It’s a very good movie…any movie with Jimmy Stewart can’t be bad. The comedy holds up today. After the movie, you will want to be a lily of the field.

This movie is based off a play written by the great George Kauffman and Moss Hart.

Logan’s Run

1970’s futuristic sci-fi movie. That’s all it takes for me to watch.

Sometime in the 23rd century… the survivors of war, overpopulation, and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There’s just one catch: Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of Carousel.

And so begins this movie from 1976.

A future society living in a dome and everything is run by a computer. Everyone is under 30 because when you turn 30 you are killed in the Carousel ceremony. Logan and Jessica try to escape and after nearly being killed, they find an old man outside the dome who tells them how life used to be many years ago. it’s a bit more complicated than that but a good sci-fi movie to watch.

The Cast is Micheal York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne (Voice only), Peter Ustinov and a brief appearance by Farrah Fawcett.

Peter Ustinov is great in this movie as the old man… He keeps this movie grounded and he is my favorite character in the movie.

I like the special effects for its time period. You can tell it was made in the disco era and this was pre-Star Wars. Some of the set looks huge and they mix them with miniatures. I wish I could have a room like Logan’s.

Jenny Agutter is beautiful in this movie and there is a small appearance by Farrah Fawcett.

I’m very surprised that there hasn’t been a remake since everything else has been remade to death.

Roger Ebert’s review in 1976

“Logan’s Run” is a vast, silly extravaganza that delivers a certain amount of fun, once it stops taking itself seriously. That happens about an hour into the film, but even the first half isn’t bad if you’re a fan (as I am) of special effects and cities of the future and ray guns and monorails whizzing overhead. The movie was made on a very large budget – the figure $9 million has been whispered about Hollywood – and it looks it. “2001” it’s not, but it has class. The plot is fairly routine stuff, by science-fiction standards; It seems to be a cross between Arthur C. Clarke’s “The City and the Stars” and elements of “Planet of the Apes” (1968). It’s about another one of those monolithic, self-perpetuating domed cities we’re all scheduled to start living in 300 or 400 years hence. 

People wear the regulation futurist leotards and miniskirts, and glide around enormous interior spaces that look like modern buildings in Texas (these scenes were shot on location in modern buildings in Texas). They don’t seem to eat anything, although they drink stuff that’s apparently nutritious, and when they feel like sex they just plug themselves into a cross between a teleporter and a computer dating service and materialize in each other’s bedrooms. 

The only catch in this idyllic existence is that nobody’s allowed to live more than 30 years. On the appointed last day, they ascend heavenward in a “carousel” that incinerates them while their friends applaud. In theory, if you get to the top of the carousel without being zapped, you can continue to live. But there are no old people in the city . . . 

Our hero is Logan, played by Michael York with a certain intelligence (meditate on how some of his dialog would sound coming from anyone else and you’ll see what I mean). He’s a “sandman,” assigned to intercept “runners” who attempt to escape their society. Most people start to run just as they’re approaching their 30th birthdays – Logan’s world is just like ours. One day, after being double-crossed by the computer-mind of the city, Logan runs, too. And the beautiful Jessica (Jenny Agutter) runs with him. 

It’s here that the movie gets to be fun. Logan and Jessica float through an irrigation system, are trapped on an elevator, get into fights with other sandmen (during which we reflect that everyone’s death rays are terribly inefficient), walk through an ice tunnel populated by Roscoe Lee Brown playing a computerized Tin Man and finally emerge into a largely abandoned Washington, DC. This flight is not unaccompanied by laughter on our part. The audience seemed to laugh a lot, indeed, but it was mostly tolerant laughter. Maybe the moviemakers themselves even knew some scenes would be funny, as when, Jessica and Logan, dripping wet in the ice tunnel, get out of their wet clothes and into some dry animal skins and then immediately, inexplicably, put their wet clothes back on again. There are the obligatory shots of the man and woman confronting the brave new world with their arms about each other, and then a truly marvelous confrontation with the lone survivor of Washington (played by Peter Ustinov with a twinkle in his eye and, I swear, in his voice, his beard and his toes as well). After a knockdown fight borrowed from old Westerns, the movie’s ending is unabashed cornball utopian. But “Logan’s Run” has wit enough to work on such a level; even while we’re chuckling at such an audacious use of cliche, we’re having fun.

 

 

MatchGame 73-79

I’m not big into game shows but this one was my favorite. When I was at my grandmothers I would watch Match Game. This was the one I looked forward to. The questions were written for the dirty minded… you could see what the celebrities wanted to write down but they had to stay somewhat clean. Dick DeBartolo from Mad Magazine wrote most of the questions so it had that humor.

Mary liked to pour gravy over John’s ______

It was fun for the celebrities and from the documentries I’ve seen they would film 12 episodes over a weekend and drinks would be flowing at lunch and dinner. The styrofoam cups you would see them drinking from  would sometimes be vodka instead of water on air.

The regulars I remember were Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson (until he left for his own show). The others that would be on the show occasionally were Betty White, Fannie Flagg, Joyce Bulifant, Nipsey Russell, Marcia Wallace, Patti Deutsch and more.

Sometimes the celeberties would have so much fun that I would feel sorry for the contestant trying to win money when the celebrities would write joke answers. Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly would usually be serious on the answers.

So many women would pick Dawson because he was the best player and because they wanted to kiss him if they won…or lost really…That was a glimpse to his future game show.

Gene Rayburn was the host and he would hold everything together barely. It really did seem Rayburn was having a great time.

I remember Richard Dawson’s last week on the show. He wore dark glasses and would not smile. He seemed bored (he had started to do Family Feud by this time) and serious. Turns out that he wanted off the show but they would not let him…After that final show of him being sullen and not smiling…he was gone.

The game was also changed because of Dawson. In the last round more times than not he was picked…well he was good… The producers changed the rules and  made people spin a wheel to see which celeb they would get in the final round.

They would push the censors as far as they could for the 1970s…I watch it whenever I can…