Saturday, 2 September 2017

Godspeed Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson, the actor who played Lt. Drumm on Perry Mason, District Attorney Glenn Wagner on Bus Stop, Police Chief George Utermeyer on Dan August, and Oscar Goldman on the shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, as well as appeared in movies from Scaramouche (1952) to Seven Days in May (1964), died on August 31 2017 at the age of 91.

Richard Anderson was born on August 8 1926 in Long Branch, New Jersey. His family later moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he appeared in high school plays. During World War II he served in the United States Army. Following his stint in the Army Mr. Anderson studied acting at the Actors Laboratory in Los Angeles. He eventually started appearing in summer stock productions and on radio shows such as Suspense.

Richard Anderson made his film debut in the Mexican film La perla in 1947. From the late Forties into the Fifties he appeared in several films, including the classics Scaramouche (1952) and Forbidden Planet (1956). He also appeared in such movies as The Vanishing Westerner (1950), The Magnificent Yankee (1950), Rich, Young and Pretty (1951), Across the Wide Missouri (1951), I Love Melvin (1953), Give a Girl a Break (1953), The Student Prince (1954), Hit the Deck (1955), The Buster Keaton Story (1957), The Long, Hot Summer (1958), and The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960). He made his television debut in 1950 as a regular on the TV series Mama Rosa. As the Fifties progressed he began appearing more frequently on television and less frequently in films. He had a recurring role on Zorro. He guest starred on such shows as Captain Midnight, The Millionaire, Playhouse 90, Schlitz Playhouse, Zane Grey Theatre, Wagon Train, Law of the Plainsman, The Untouchables, Thriller, and Wanted: Dead or Alive.

In the Sixties Richard Anderson had both regular and recurring roles on several shows. He was one of the stars of the TV show Bus Stop and he played Lt. Steve Drumm on Perry Mason. He played Police Chief Utermeyer on Dan August. He had recurring roles on the shows The Lieutenant and 12 O' Clock High. He also made frequent guest appearances throughout the decade on such shows as The Rifleman, The Virginian, Dr. Kildare, Combat!, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Death Valley Days, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Run for Your Life, The Green Hornet, Mission: Impossible, The Fugitive, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, Mannix, The Big Valley, Daniel Boone, Land of the Giants, The Mod Squad, and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Colour. He appeared in such movies as A Gathering of Eagles (1963), Johnny Cool (1963), Seven Days in May (1964), Kitten with a Whip (1964), Seconds (1966), Ride to Hangman's Tree (1967), and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).

In the Seventies Richard Anderson appeared as Oscar Goldman, the  head of the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) on both the TV shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. He reprised his role as Chief Utermeyer in a series of Dan August TV movies that aired in 1980. He appeared in the mini-series Pearl. He guest stared on such shows as Alias Smith and Jones, Columbo, Longstreet, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, The F.B.I., The New Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Ironside, and The Love Boat. He also appeared in the TV movie The Night Strangler (the sequel to the TV movie The Night Stalker that preceded the regular series Kolchak: The Night Stalker). He appeared in the films The Honkers (1972), Play It As It Lays (1972), Black Eye (1974), and Never Give Up (1978).

In the Eighties Richard Anderson was a regular on the short-lived TV series Cover Up. He had a recurring role on Dynasty. He reprised his role as Oscar Goldman in the TV movies The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman and Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. He guest starred on such shows as Charlie's Angels; Nero Wolfe; Knight Rider; The Fall Guy; Fantasy Island; The A-Team; Hardcastle and McCormick; Simon & Simon; and Murder, She Wrote.

In the Nineties Richard Anderson appeared in the films The Player (1992), Gettysburg (1993), and The Glass Shield (1994). He reprised his role as Oscar Goldman in the TV movie Bionic Ever After?. He was the narrator on the syndicated TV series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and made a guest appearance on the show.

Richard Anderson was an extremely prolific actor. In the Fifties and Sixties he appeared in a number of movies and guest starred on a number of TV shows, often while he had regular or recurring roles on shows.  If Richard Anderson was very much in demand throughout his career, it was perhaps because he was a very good actor. Throughout his career he played a large number of authority figures, including police officers, lawyers, military officers, and politicians. He even played historical figures from time to time, including Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1987 mini-series Hoover vs. The Kennedys: The Second Civil War and General George G. Meade in Gettysburg. While he often played authority figures, he was quite capable of playing other roles as well. In fact, he played villains in his many appearances on TV Westerns, including a criminal plotting to pirate the Cartwright's steamboat on Bonanza. He was also the villain of the TV movie The Night Stalker. Richard Anderson's appearance and impressive voice made him perfect for roles ranging from cops to bad guys. What is more, he had the talent to make any role he played convincing.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Tobe Hooper R.I.P.

Tobe  Hooper, who directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1975) and the television mini-series Salem's Lot, died on August 26 2017 at the age of 74.

Tobe Hooper was born on January 25 1943 in Austin, Texas. He broke into film making by directing documentaries. In 1964 he wrote and directed his first narrative film, the short "The Heisters". His first feature film, Eggshells, was released in 1969. It was in 1974 that Texas Chain Saw Massacre was released. The film was made for only $300,000, but made $30.8 million at the box office. It proved extremely influential as one of the earliest slasher films. Mr. Hooper followed it with Eaten Alive (1976). He was the original director on The Dark (1979), but was replaced by John "Bud" Carlos. He directed the television mini-series Salem's Lot.

In the Eighties Mr. Hooper directed the films The Funhouse (1981), Poltergeist (1982), Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), and Spontaneous Combustion (1990). He also worked in television during the decade. He directed episodes of the shows Amazing Stories, The Equalizer, and Freddie's Nightmares.

In the Nineties Tobe Hooper did a good deal of work in television. He directed episodes of the shows Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories, Tales from the Crypt, Nowhere Man, Dark Skies, Perversions of Science, Prey, and The Others. He directed one of the segments of the TV movie Body Bags and the TV movies The Apartment Complex. He directed the films Night Terrors (1993) and The Mangler (1995).

From the Naughts into the Teens he directed the movies Toolbox Murders (2004), Mortuary (2005/), Destiny Express Redux (2009), and Djinn (2013). He directed episodes of the TV shows Night Visions, Taken, and Masters of Horror.

Tobe Hooper was certainly a master when it came to delivering frightening movies. The success of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was due in a large part because it was a very scary movie and in part because it was more graphic than most horror films up to that time. It would certainly prove to be an influence on the cycle of slasher movies that took place during the late Seventies and early Eighties. Even his work in television could be scary. Salem's Lot remains one of the more frightening mini-series aired on television, and he directed many frightening individual episodes of shows. While he had the occasional misfire, Tobe Hooper was ultimately a director who was very talented at scaring people.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

TCM Classic Film Festival Dates Announced for 2018

Yesterday Turner Classic Movies announced the dates for next year's TCM Classic Film Festival. It will be held from April 26 to April 28 2018. Passes are set to go on sale in November. The theme this year is "Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen". According to TCM's press release, it will celebrate "the representation of the written word on the silver screen."

For more information visit the official TCM Classic Film Festival site here.