Friday, November 25, 2016

Godspeed John Carson

John Carson, who starred in the Sixties TV series The Troubleshooters, guest starred on such shows as The Avengers, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Saint, and Department S, and appeared in such films as The Plague of Zombies (1966) and Kronos (1974), died on November 5 2016 at the age of 89.

John Carson was born on February 28 1927 in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His parents were British subjects. His father worked on various  tea and rubber plantations. Mr. Carson was educated in Australia. He returned to the United Kingdom to fulfil his national service as an artillery officer in an anti-aircraft unit in 1944-45. Afterwards he worked as a pianist's page turner at Covent Garden, and he studied law at Queen’s College in Oxford. He then moved to New Zealand where he performed in amateur theatre. Before long he got professional work in radio shows. He joined the New Zealand Players.

John Carson returned to the United Kingdom in the Fifties. He had made his film debut in Teheran in 1946. He made his television debut episodes of Boston Blackie in 1952. In the Fifties he appeared in such films as Quentin Durward (1955), Ramsbottom Rides Again (1956), Intent to Kill (1958), and The Lady Is a Square (1959).  He starred in the TV series Emergency-Ward 10 in 1959. He guest starred on such shows as Sword of Freedom, Ivanhoe, William Tell, The Invisible Man, Armchair Theatre, BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, Formula for Danger, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

In the Sixties John Carson starred in the mini-series Oliver Twist. He starred on the shows It's Dark Outside, Hereward the Wake, The Troubleshooters, and Dombey and Son. He guest starred on such shows as The Pursuers, Out of This World, Man of the World, Suspense, Ghost Squad, First Night, Maigret, The Protectors, The Avengers, Court Martial, The Baron, Public Eye, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Saint, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, and Department S. He appeared in the films Seven Keys (1961), Locker 69 (1962), Guns of Darkness (1962), Master Spy (1963), Accidental Death (1963), The Set Up (1963), Smokescreen (1964), Act of Murder (1964), The Night Caller (1965), The Plague of the Zombies (1966), The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970).

In the Seventies Mr. Carson starred in the mini-series Emma and Kidnapped. He guest starred on such shows as Paul Temple, Out of the Unknown, Love Story, The Adventures of Black Beauty, Thriller, Dixon of Dock Green, The New Avengers, Raffles, The Famous Five, The Professionals, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, Tales of the Unexpected, and Hammer House of Horror. He appeared in the films Male Bait (1971) and Kronos (1974).

In the Eighties John Carson starred in the programmes Frost in May and Shaka Zulu. He guest starred on Sunday Night Thriller, Cribb, King's Royal, Doctor Who, and Screen One. He appeared in the films Skating on Thin Uys (1985), An African Dream (1987), City of Blood (1987), Tenth of a Second (1987), Survivor (1987), Diamonds High (1988), and Schweitzer (1990).

In the Nineties he appeared in such films as My Daughter's Keeper (1991), The Sheltering Desert (1991), Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target (1998), and I Dreamed of Africa (2000). He appeared on the mini-series Death in the Family and Rhodes. He guest starred on the shows Maigret, The Adventures of Sinbad, and CI5: The New Professionals. In the Naughts and Teens he guest starred on Agatha Christie's Poirot, Doctors, Silent Witness, and Midsomer Murders. He appeared in the films Build (2004), Courts mais GAY: Tome 11 (2006), The Deal (2008), and Picture Perfect (2013). His last appearance was in the straight to video documentary Amicus: Vault of Horrors.

John Carson had an aristocratic mien that allowed him to play a wide variety of characters, from nobility to eccentrics to outright villains. What is more, he had the talent to play nearly anything. While he rarely played the lead character, his characters were often much more interesting than any given lead. He certainly played more than his share of bad guys. In The Plague of the Zombies he was the corrupt Squire Clive Hamilton, who had picked up a very unique skill set after living in Haiti for several years. In The Avengers episode "Dial a Deadly Number" he played the rather sinister back room boy Fitch, who is obsessed with clocks and murder. Of course, Mr. Carson played his share of good guys as well. In Kronos he played the good hearted and slightly eccentric, but ill-fated Dr. Marcus. Often the characters he played were neither good nor evil, but somewhere in between. In Taste the Blood of Dracula he played an English gentleman looking for cheap thrills. Unfortunately he crosses Dracula in the process. John Carson was an extremely talented actor who could play a wide variety of roles. What is more, he never gave a bad performance, regardless of the material.

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