Wasn’t Born to Follow: RIP Peter Fonda


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It’s ironic that on this, the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, one of our biggest counter-culture icons has passed away. When I saw Peter Fonda had died at age 79, my first reaction was, “Gee, I didn’t know he was that old” (while sitting in an audience waiting for a concert by 72 -year-old Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame!). But we don’t really think of our pop culture heroes as ever aging, do we? I mean, c’mon… how could EASY RIDER’s Wyatt (aka Captain America) possibly be 79??

Be that as it may, Peter Fonda was born into Hollywood royalty February 23. 1940. Henry Fonda was already a star before Peter arrived, thanks to classics like YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, JEZEBEL, YOUNG MR. LINCOLN, DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK, and THE GRAPES OF WRATH (released a month before Peter’s birth). Henry has often been described as cold and aloof, not…

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Peter Fonda, Rest In Peace


Peter Fonda has died from complications due to lung cancer.  He was 79 years old.

As an actor, Peter Fonda never got as much respect as the rest of this family.  Unlike his sister or his father, he never won an Academy Award, though he was nominated for two of them (one for writing Easy Rider and another for starring in Ulee’s Gold).  During the late 80s and the 90s, he was better known for being Bridget Fonda’s father than for the majority of the films that he appeared in during that time.  While the rest of his family was appearing in prestige pictures and working with directors like Fred Zinnemann, Sidney Lumet, William Wyler, Francis Ford Coppola, and Quentin Tarantino, Peter Fonda spent most of his career appearing in B-movies.  But today, many of those B-movies are more fondly remembered than the big films that he missed out on.

Peter Fonda made his film debut in 1963, playing the romantic lead in Tammy and the Doctor.  Fonda hated the film and often called it Tammy and the Schmuckface.  After that less-than-stellar beginning, Peter went on to find his groove as a lifelong member of the Hollywood counterculture.  In the classic biker film, The Wild Angels, he played Heavenly Blues and let the world know that all he wanted to do was “get loaded and have a good time.”  In The Trip, he played a disillusioned television director whose world is turned upside down by acid.

And then there was Easy Rider.  In this seminal independent film from 1969, Peter played Wyatt, a.k.a. Captain America.  Wyatt was the biker and drug smuggler who went “searching for America and couldn’t find it.”  This was Peter Fonda’s most famous role.  Along with acting in the film, he also produced it and co-wrote it.  (He was also responsible for keeping Dennis Hopper under control.  Or, at least as under control as anyone could keep Dennis Hopper in 1969.)  The role made Peter Fonda a symbol of rebellion, an American icon riding across the desert with the American Flag literally on his back.  Today, we still debate what Wyatt meant when he said, “We blew it.”  Peter Fonda, himself, later said that he was delivering the line as himself and not as Wyatt because he was convinced that Easy Rider would be a career-ending flop.

In the 70s and 80s, Fonda continued to play rebels.  His subsequent films were never as successful as Easy Rider, though many of them are still entertaining.  Peter made his directorial debut in 1971, with The Hired Hand, an elegiac and thoughtful Western in which Peter co-starred with another cult icon, Warren Oates.  Years later, Fonda would be among the many celebrities who made a cameo appearance in The Cannonball Run.  Of course, Peter played a biker and he got to fight Jackie Chan.

In the 90s, Peter Fonda played a lot of old hippies in many forgettable films.  However, in that decade, he also gave two of his best performances.  In The Limey, Fonda played the music producer who Terrence Stamp holds responsible for the death of his daughter.  And, in Ulee’s Gold, Fonda played a cantankerous bee keeper who finds himself taking care of his two granddaughters.  It was a role that many could imagine having once been played by Henry Fonda.  For Ulee’s Gold, Peter was nominated for an Oscar.  He lost to his co-star from Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson.

Peter Fonda continued to work up until his death.  With his passing, America loses another screen icon and a man who epitomized an era.  Rest in Peace.

Scenes That I Love: The “Tears In The Rain” monologue from Blade Runner (RIP, Rutger Hauer)


I just read that Rutger Hauer passed away on July 19th.  He was 75 years old.

Though Hauer played many great roles, most people will always think of him as the replicant Roy Batty in 1982’s Blade Runner.  One of Hauer’s most memorable scenes in that film was his final monologue.  Reportedly, Hauer himself came up with this monologue on the spot, feeling that the lines in the original script didn’t do justice to either the story or his character.

Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer.  He was one of the greats.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Rest in Peace, David Hedison


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking. David Hedison (1927-2019) was a working actor for over 70 years, starring on stage, screen, and TV. Though he played in virtually every genre, Hedison is perhaps best known for his work in some classic science-fiction, as well as portraying CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films. Word as hit the internet he passed away July 18 at the age of 93, and in his honor, we present 4 Shots from the Films of David Hedison. Job well done, sir!

The Fly (1958, D: Kurt Neumann)

The Lost World (1960, D: Irwin Allen)

The Cat Creature (TV-Movie 1973, D: Curtis Harrington)

Live and Let Die (1973. D: Guy Hamilton)

And for good measure, here’s David Hedison as Commander Crane in the sci-fi TV series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-68)

  RIP David Hedison (1927-2019)

RIP Pumpsie Green


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Most people these days think of Boston (and the Northeast as a whole) as a modern Athens, the standard bearer for progressive, liberal thinking. But it wasn’t always so. The City of Boston in the 1950’s and 60’s was a hotbed of racial tensions, with frequent rioting over such issues as forced busing and integration. While Jackie Robinson was the first black player to break the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947, the Boston Red Sox (owned by avowed racist Tom Yawkey) didn’t add a player of color until 1959. That player’s name was Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

Green was born October 27, 1933 in the small town of Boley, Oklahoma. As a youth, he excelled at sports, as did his brother Cornell, who wound up playing 13 seasons as a Defensive Back for the Dallas Cowboys. After playing college ball at Contra Costa, Pumpsie turned pro in 1954, and…

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4 Shots From 4 Films: Rest in Peace, Sylvia Miles (1924-2019)


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking. Character actress Sylvia Miles passed away today at age 94. Though never a household name, movie lovers knew they were in for a treat whenever Sylvia appeared onscreen, as did her peers, nominating her twice for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In her honor, we present 4 shots from the films of Sylvia Miles.

Midnight Cowboy (1969; D; John Schlesinger)

Andy Warhol’s Heat (1972; D: Paul Morrissey)

Farewell, My Lovely (1975; D: Dick Richards)

The Funhouse (1981; D: Tobe Hooper)

Make ‘Em Laugh: RIP Tim Conway


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If comedy is a gift, then Tim Conway was America’s Santa Claus, delivering bags full of laughter directly into our homes for over fifty years. The cherubic Conway, who died May 14 at age 85, was mainly known for his television work, but also starred in films, on stage, and in the home video field, making him a true Renaissance Man of Comedy.

Tim and Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson

Young Tim got his start in his hometown of Cleveland, not exactly a hotbed of humor (with apologies to Jim Backus, Kaye Ballard, and British transplant Bob Hope ), writing and appearing in skits with local TV personality Ernie Anderson during breaks in a morning movie show. Anderson himself would later gain fame as a horror host (Cleveland’s Ghoulardi) and  a network announcer, ‘The Voice of ABC’ (“Tonight on The Loooo-ve Boat….”).

Comic actress Rose Marie, on a cross-country tour promoting THE…

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