Saturday, March 12, 2022

Laurel Goodwin Passes On

Laurel Goodwin, who appeared opposite Elvis Presley in the movie Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and played Yeoman J. M. Colt in the first Star Trek  pilot, "The Cage," died on February 25 at age 79.

Laurel Goodwin was born in Wichita, Kansas on August 11 1942. Her family moved to San Diego and then later San Francisco. She was only 7 years old when she began working as a model. She attended Lowell High School in San Francisco and then San Francisco State.

Laurel Goodwin worked as a babysitter for  photographer Kurt Gunther. He circulated photographs of her to Paramount Pictures. The studio signed her to a seven year contract. Miss Goodwin studied acting under character actor Jeff Corey and, when he was not available, Leonard Nimoy.

She made her film debut in Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), playing one of Elvis's love interests. In the Sixties she also appeared in the movies Papa's Delicate Condition (1963), Law of the Lawless (1964), Stage to Thunder Rock (1964), and The Glory Guys (1965). Laurel Goodwin made her television debut in an episode of The Virginian in 1964. She was cast as Yeoman Colt in the initial Star Trek pilot "The Cage," which starred Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. When NBC did not pick Star Trek up, the producers kept her under contract. Unfortunately, when Jeffrey Hunter decided not to go ahead with the series, Laurel Goodwin was let go. A second pilot, starring William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," was made and NBC picked Star Trek up. In the Sixties she also guest starred on the shows Run Buddy Run, Get Smart, The Beverly Hillbillies, Premiere, and Mannix.

In the Seventies she guest starred on the show The Partners. She retired from acting in 1972, but later appeared in the mini-series The Dain Curse. After retiring from acting she went into nursing. She co-produced the movie Stroker Ace (1983) with her husband Walter Wood. She and Mr. Wood were married for 43 years.

While Laurel Goodwin did not have a long career, she was a good actress who played a variety of roles In Girls! Girls! Girls! she was the wholesome wealthy young woman Laurel Dodge who has to compete for Elvis's heart with immature singer Robin Gantner (Stella Stevens). On Get Smart she played The Chief's niece Phoebe, who falls in love with Hymie the Robot and then Max himself. On The Beverly Hillillies she played Stella, a hippie chick who becomes one of Jethro's followers when he was playing Robin Hod in Griffith Park. She could play a variety of roles.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Godspeed Mitchell Ryan

Mitchell Ryan, who played Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows and played the villain in the movie Lethal Weapon (1987), died on March 4 at the age of 88. The cause was congestive heart failure.

Mitchell Ryan was born on January 11 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Korean War he served in the United Sates Navy as part of a special services entertainment unit. He became interested in acting after seeing Warren Oates in a production of Dark of the Moon in Louisville in 1953.

He moved to New York City where he appeared on stage. He made his movie debut in Thunder Road in 1958. He made his television debut in a guest appearance on the TV show Brenner in 1959. The following year he appeared in an episode of Armstrong Circle Theatre. In the Sixties Mitchell Ryan was cast as Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows. He appeared in the show's very first episode in 1966 and continued in the role until the show's 248th episode in 1967. He guest starred on the shows Play of the Week, Way Out, General Hospital, Naked City, The Defenders, Coronet Blue, N.Y. P.D., and The High Chaparral. He appeared in the movie Monte Walsh. He appeared on Broadway in Wait Until Dark and The Sudden & Accidental Re-Education of Horse Johnson.

In the Seventies he played the character of the title on the short-lived TV show Chase, Dan Walling on the nighttime soap Executive Suite, Dr. Blake Simmons on the medical drama Having Babies, and Cooper Hawkins on The Chisholms. He guest starred on the shows O'Hara United States Treasury, The Streets of San Francisco, The Manhunter, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, The Rockford Files, Baretta, The Blue Knight, Most Wanted, and Family. He appeared in the movies My Old Man's Place (1971), The Hunting Party (1971), The Honkers (1972), The Reflection of Fear (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), Magnum Fore (1973), Midway (1976), and Two-Minute Warning (1976). He appeared on Broadway in The Price.

In the Eighties Mitchell Ryan was a regular on the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara. He appeared in the mini-series North and South. Her guest starred on the TV shows King's Crossing, High Performance, Hart to Hart, Hardcastle and McCormick, Hotel, Dallas, Hot Pursuit, Riptide, The A-Team, All My Children, St. Elsewhere, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mission: Impossible, Hardball, Jake and the Fatman, Who's the Boss, and L.A. Law. He appeared in several TV movies throughout the decade. He appeared in the feature films Lethal Weapon (1987) and Winter People (1989). He appeared on Braodway in Medea.

In the Nineties Mr. Ryan played Greg's father on the TV sitcom Dharma & Greg. He was a regular on the show 2000 Malibu Road. He guest starred on the shows He guest starred on the show The Golden Girls; Hunter; Matlock; Civil Wars; Mann & Machine; The Young Riders; Reasonable Doubts; NYPD Blue; Walker, Texas Ranger; Renegade; One West Waikiki; The Single Guy; Murder, She Wrote; Silk Stalkings; Champs; Wings; Dark Skies; Spy Game; and The Practice. He appeared in the movies Aces: Iron Eagle III (1992), The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them (1992), Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), Blue Sky (1994), Speechless (1994), Judge Dredd (1995), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Ed (1996), The Devil's Own (1997), Liar Liar (1997), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), and Making Contact (1999).

In the Naughts he continued to appear on Dharma & Greg. He guest starred on The West Wing and The Drew Carey Show. He was a guest voice on the animated series Justice League. He appeared in the movie Love for Rent (2005). Last year he appeared on the streaming series Smartphone Theatre.

Mitchell Ryan was a remarkable actor. He could be suitably menacing as Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows, but then be hilarious as the boozy, eccentric Edward Montgomery on Dharma & Greg. He could be a base villain as General McAllister in Lethal Weapon, but he could play a hero like Captain Chase Reddick on the TV show Chase. He was as adept as comedy as he was drama. Over the years he played everything from medical doctors to servicemen to priests, and he played all of them well.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

My Birthday

Today is my birthday and I must say it is a bittersweet one. On the one hand I have enjoyed today for the most part. On the other hand, my birthday has been coloured by three deaths in my life this week. The first I have already written about on this blog. Paddy Lee was loved by the classic film and classic TV blogger community and I know I can speak for all of us when I saw we will miss her. The second was an old pal from the late, lamented social network Google+. Chris Kim was an expatriate Missourian, so he could relate to many of my references to the state. He also had a great, if twisted, sense of humour, much as I do. Politically we agreed on just about everything (like me, he was a progressive). Chris was extremely proud of his nieces and he had reason to be. They are all accomplished, young women. The third person to die was my cousin Bernita. Bernita was my Aunt Annie's daughter. I really didn't know Bernita very well, as she moved to Wichita when I was really young (maybe before I was born). Still, she was kin and it is sad to know she is gone.

Vanessa Marquez in Twenty Bucks (1993)
Of course, as usual I am thinking of my dearest friend Vanessa Marquez on this day. She always wished me, "Happy birthday," and always figured out a special way to do it. I still miss her so terribly it hurts. I watched her movie Twenty Bucks (1993) today as a means of spending the day with her. Tonight I will watch Stand and Deliver (1988), which celebrates its 34th anniversary tomorrow. It was released the day after my 25th birthday.

I hope I don't sound too downbeat here, as I don't feel that way. As I said earlier, I have enjoyed most of today. I have received several birthday greetings online and offline. My friends and siblings have made sure that today has been special for me. Particularly when one has experienced loss it is easy to forget about the good things in life, and there are many good things. It might seem odd, but its on my birthday as well as at Christmastime that I often think about the movie It's Wonderful Life (1946). To me the ultimate message of that film is Clarence's note to George in the copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer he gave him: "Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends." I think that is something important for all of us to remember.

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Late Great Paddy Lee, Caftan Woman

It was this afternoon on Twitter that I received the sad news that my friend Paddy Lee had died today. I am not sure how long we had known each other, but she was a long time blogger like myself. She ran the blog Caftan Woman. If the blog sounds familiar, it is because she participated in just about every blogathon I held and often commented on this blog. In addition to being a prolific blogger, she also read many blogs. It was not unusual for Paddy to comment on a post when no one else had. She also participated in many blogathons over the years.

In addition to blogging, Paddy was also active on Twitter. She often tweeted about classic film and classic television and interacted with several fellow classic film and classic television fans. Paddy was a huge fan of Westerns going all the way back to the Silent Era. As might be expected, she was a fan of the television Westerns of the Fifties as well. In fact, I think she may well have been the biggest fan of Maverick I ever knew. She wrote several posts on the show. In fact, her final post, from a few days ago, was on the Maverick episode "The Savage Hills." Paddy's tastes were diverse. She was as comfortable with an old Hollywood musical like 42nd Street (1933) as she was an episode of Perry Mason. Her tastes were similar to mine, so I knew a movie was good if Paddy liked it.

Paddy suffered from kidney disease for many years and last year she even had a kidney transplant. She had been off Twitter since February due to issues with her health. For all the problems with her health Paddy had, she always maintained a sunny disposition. She was always eager to compliment her friends and always the first to say a kind word when one needed it. She was one of the most supportive people I have ever known. To put it in simply, Paddy was a real pal.

This evening I know that many in the classic film and the classic TV community are mourning Paddy's passing. She enriched all of our lives with her positivity and her enthusiasm for classic movies and classic TV shows. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we will miss her terribly. My deepest condolences go out to her family and many friends.