Saturday, November 11, 2023

Wes Studi: Vietnam Veteran

Aside from Will Rogers, Wes Studi may well be the most famous Cherokee actor of all time. He also happens to number among my favourite actors. In addition to being a talented actor and an advocate for Native Americans, he also served in the Vietnam War.

Wes Studi was born on December 17 1947 in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma. He attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, from which he graduated in 1964. He was 17 years old when he enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard. He received basic combat training and advanced individual training at Fort Polk in Louisiana. He had one year remaining with the National Guard when he volunteered for active duty in the United States Army.

He was sent with A Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division to Vietnam, where he served for twelve months. He arrived in Vietnam not long before the beginning of e “Mini-Tet” Offensive, when the Northern Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong attacked Saigon. According to Wes Studi, he did not take part in any of the fighting that took place in and around Saigon. His unit was stationed at a place called the French Fort on one of the rivers of the Mekong delta. He took part in Navy riverside operations and in the Cholon quarter of Saigon.

After his service had ended, Wes Studi began his career as both an actor and an activist. His television debut was in the TV movie The Trial of Standing Bear in 1988. He made his film debut in Powow Highway (1988) the same year. Since then he has become one of the most respected actors in the world, appearing in movies such as Dances with Wolves (1990), Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), and Hostiles (2017) and TV series such as Skinwalkers: The Navajo Mysteries and Reservation Dogs. In 2017 he received an Excellence in the Arts Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America and in 2019 became the first Native American to receive an Oscar when he was given n Academy Honorary Award.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Shield for Murder (1954)

For much of the Golden Age of Hollywood, corrupt police officers were rarely seen on the big screen. Much of the reason for this was probably because in the MPAA Production Code's list of subjects that must be treated with special care were "...titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers." By the late Forties the Production Code had started to weaken, so that dishonest cops began to appear increasingly on screen, particularly in film noir. Among the movies that featured a very corrupt cop was Shield for Murder (1954).

In Shield for Murder the years have taken their toll on police detective Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmond O'Brien). Once a good cop, he has grown jaded and even downright dishonourable. Indeed, in the first few minutes of Shield for Murder, he shoots a bookie in the back and then takes $25,000 from the dead body. Barney's cover story is that he had to shoot the bookie because he had tried to get away. Both his friend Sergeant Mark Brewster (John Agar) and the chief of detectives, Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer) initially believe Barney's story, but as Barney tries to cover his tracks, it becomes obvious to Mark that Barney's behaviour has not been at all above board.

Shield for Murder was based on the 1951 novel of the same name by William P. McGivern. William P. McGivern may be best remembered for the novel The Big Heat, upon which the 1953 film of the same name was based. Mr. McGivern wrote two other novels about corrupt cops, both of which would be adapted as motion pictures: the 1954 novel Rogue Cop, adapted as the 1954 film of the same name, and the 1957 novel Odds Against Tomorrow, adapted as the 1959 movie of the same name.

While Shield for Murder features one of Edmond O'Brien's best performances, he was not producer Aubrey Schenck's first choice for the film. In the April 13 1952 issue of Variety, it was reported that he planned to produce Shield for Murder with Dana Andrews in the lead. The April 22 1954 issue of The Los Angeles Times reported that shooting on Shield for Murder would begin in May and Edmond O'Brien would be the lead and "production advisor." Finally, Edmond O'Brien was announced as the film's co-director with Howard W. Koch.

Shield for Murder would mark the directorial debut for Edmond O'Brien. Edmond O'Brien had long wanted to direct, and over the years there had been a few projects to which his name had been attached. In 1952 it he was announced as the director of a film to be called The Murder, but unfortunately the script wound up being sold to RKO, where it became the movie Angel Face (1953), directed by Otto Preminger. He had hopes of both directing and acting in a film called A Few Flowers for Shiner, based on a story by Richard Llewellyn (author of How Green Was My Valley), but that project fell through and the movie was never made.With Shield for Murder he finally got his chance to direct.

Shield for Murder (1954) premiered in New York City on August 27 1954, and was released the following month. It did very well at the box office. In the book It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition by Tom Weaver, producer Aubrey Schrenck said of Shield for Murder, "That money grossed a lot  of money, you wouldn't believe how much; on television it made a fortune." Shield for Murder also received its share of positive reviews. In The New York Times The reviewer wrote of the film, "The story is intelligent and unstrained; qualities too rarely seen in films of this genre. There is little or no padding (a major achievement) and, although the direction sometimes smacks of haste, talent is definitely indicated." According to the biography Edmond O'Brien: Everyman of Film Noir by Derek Sculthorpe, not every critic thought so highly of Shield for Murder, with some having problems with the film's story.

One person who was not a fan of Shield for Murder was Lloyd T. Binford, the notorious Chairman of the Memphis Board of Censors. The film was banned from theatres in Memphis, Tennessee. The Memphis Board of Censors' Chairman stated Shield for Murder was banned because "it appears to be a burlesque of the police department." In his letters to United Artists, Binford wrote, "It is a shady picture reflecting on the police department with apparently one half of the actors dumbells and the other half crooks; with most of the women of questionable character. There were no uniforms on any of the police force or officers." In response United Artist said that there were two women in the film, one a girl in a bar and the other the detective's ladylike fiance. They also pointed out that the police officers' lack of uniforms would seem to be explained by the fact that they are detectives, plainclothesmen.

Edmond O'Brien is one of the names most associated with film noir, having appeared in such films as The Killers (1946), D.O.A. (1949), and The Hitch-Hiker (1953), among other noirs. Despite this, Shield for Murder is not particularly well-known, even if it isn't exactly obscure either. There is every reason it should be better known, as it numbers among Mr. O'Brien's best films. Shield for Murder was strong stuff for 1954, and it remains intense to this day. Indeed, it is in the first few minutes of the film that Barney Nolan murders the bookmaker, setting the film's plot in motion. Never before and never again would Edmond O'Brien play a character quite as disturbing as  Barney Nolan. He delivers a brutal beating to private detectives. At one point he even slaps his girlfriend. Worst of all, he kills with little in the way of remorse.

The supporting cast delivers performances as fine as that of Edmond O'Brien. John Agar is convincing as Barney's best friend and partner, Mark Brewster, who comes to realize that Barney has lost any sense of decency. Marla English delivers a fine performance as Barney's girlfriend in what is quite possibly the most difficult role in the film. The rest of the cast also does well, from Carolyn Jones in a small part as a woman in a bar to Herb Butterfield as reporter Cabot, the first person to doubt Barney's story about the bookie's death.

Shield for Murder is not often seen on television, but fortunately it is available on DVD and is available on YouTube. It is a tough-minded film noir that has lost very little of its ability to shock even today. Although it might not be as well known as such classics as Double Indemnity (1944) or Out of the Past (1947), it is very much one of those essential movies that any film noir fan should make a point to see.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The 60th Anniversary of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

If someone wanted an example of epic comedy, they could do no better than the movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). The movie had a huge cast, to the point that it holds the record for the largest number of speaking parts in a film, with over 50 major parts and over 300 minor parts. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World also featured more big names in comedy than any other film, ranging from Silent movie star Buster Keaton to currently popular comedian Jonathan Winters. Even its running time was epic. The original cut ran 202 minutes, which was trimmed down to 192 minutes for its premiere. The theatrical release still clocked in at over 2 hours, running 161 minutes. Regardless of its length, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World proved to be a success, and has been popular ever since. It was sixty years ago today, on November 7, 1963, that It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World premiered in Los Angeles.

In It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, convict Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) crashes his car on California State Route 74. Several people rush to investigate the crash, including dentist Melville Crump (Sid Caesar) and his wife Monica (Edie Adams); Ding Bell (Mickey Rooney) and Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett), two friends travelling to Las Vegas; Lennie Pike (Jonathan Winters), a furniture mover; and J. Russell Finch (Milton Berle), a businessman who has his wife Emmeline (Dorothy Provine) and his mother-in-law Mrs. Marcus (Ethel Merman) with him. With his dying breath, Smiler tells this group of a stash of $350,000 he buried in Santa Rosita State Park under "a big W." The group then begins a mad dash to reach Santa Rosita State Park to retrieve the money. Along the way, others join in the search for the money. This brings the group of treasure hunters to the attention of  Santa Rosita Police Captain T. G. Culpepper (Spencer Tracy), who had been investigating the Smiler Grogan case.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World originated with screenwriter William Rose, an American expatriate living in the United Kingdom. He had written the screenplays for the movie Genevieve (1953), which dealt with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, and the classic caper comedy The Ladykillers (1955). He had an idea for a film, which he initially called So Many Thieves, which centred on a chase through Scotland. While he had written several successful films for Ealing Studios in the Fifties, by the early Sixties he found it difficult to find work. He then went to California and pitched So Many Thieves to producer and director Stanley Kramer, along with four other ideas. At the time Stanley Kramer was best known for his various "message" films, including The Defiant Ones (1959), Inherit the Wind (1960), and Judgement at Nuremberg (1961). Nonetheless, Stanley Kramer agreed to direct the movie. In fact, his goal became to make "...a comedy to end all comedies."

The title of the film would also change as William Rose and Stanley Kramer worked on the project. Initially called Something a Little Less Serious, it was then titled Where, But in America? and then One Damn Thing After Another. At last, it received the title It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The plot of the film was also moved from Scotland to the United States.

Of course, to make a comedy to end all comedies, Stanley Kramer would need a cast of comic legends. Various actors were considered for lead roles. In the October 30 1962 issue of Daily Variety it was reported that Jack Benny had turned down the role of Captain Culpepper as filming would conflict with production of his weekly television show, although he did consent to a cameo. According to an article in the January 27 1962 issue of The Los Angeles Times, Carol Channing was cast to play opposite Sid Caesar, a role ultimately played by Edie Adams in the film. Both Martha Raye and Cara Williams were considered for roles, but neither ultimately appeared in the movie. Stan Laurel was offered the cameo of a man driving through the desert, but he turned it down as he did not want to work without his late partner Oliver Hardy, who had died in 1957. The role then went to Jack Benny. According to the the August 20 1962 issue of Daily Variety, Frank Faylen had accepted a role in the film, but had to back out due to conflicts with production of his show Dobie Gillis.

Befitting the epic it was intended to be, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was shot using a wide-screen process. It was filmed in  Ultra Panavision 70 and shown in Cinerama. In fact, it was promoted as the first movie to be made in "one-projector" Cinerama. Originally, Cinerama required three different cameras and the reels would be shown using three projectors. The movie was filmed on location throughout a wide part of California. The start of film was shot on California State Route 74, near Palm Desert, in the extreme southern part of the sate. A good portion of the film was shot in Long Beach, including the exterior of the Santa Rosita Police Department, a hardware store, the Harbor Pontoon Bridge, and various other parts of the city through which the chase proceeded. Airport terminal scenes were shot at  Rancho Conejo Airport in Newbury Park, California, which is no longer open. Both  Sonoma County Airport and the Palm Springs International Airport were used for various airplane scenes. The fictional Santa Rosita Park was actually Portuguese Point in Palo Verdes, California. A set was constructed there for the movie, complete with flowers, shrubbery, and the palm trees forming "the big W." Filming began on April 16 1962 and ended on December 6 1962.

Given the number of stunts in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it should come as no surprise that around thirty-nine stuntmen were hired for the film and it actually had an action budget of $252,000. The stunt supervisor on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was Carey Loftin, whose career as a stuntman went back to the Thirties. He had worked on such films as House of Dracula (1945), Raw Deal (1948), Mighty Joe Young (1949), and Thunder Road (1958). He later served as a stunt coordinator on such films as Point Blank (1967), Bullitt (1968), and Vanishing Point (1971).

The animated opening credits for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World were designed by the legendary Saul Bass. He was already known for designing titles for several movies, among them Carmen Jones (1954), North by Northwest (1959), Ocean's 11 (1960), and West Side Story (1961). At a little over four minutes, it was the longest credits sequence he ever designed. The animation was directed by William T Hurtz, who had previously worked for UPA and Jay Ward Productions. Among the animators who worked on the credits was Bill Melendez, who would soon become famous for the "Charlie Brown" specials.

The movie's score was composed by Ernest Gold, who had also composed the scores of Stanley Kramer's movies On the Beach (1959), Inherit the Wind (1960), and Judgement at Nurembert (1961). Ernest Gold's theme for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World had lyrics composed by Mack David. The vocal version of the theme served as the entrance music for the movie. Ernest Gold's score was not the only original music to be heard in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The film had a cross-promotion deal with both Baskin-Robbins and The Shirelles, whose song "31 Flavors" can be heard on a radio in one scene. The Shirelles also covered the theme to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Both their cover of the theme and "31 Flavors" appeared on their album The Shirelles-Sing Their Songs in the Movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World premiered at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles on November 7 1963. The premiere was extra-special as it was also the opening of the Cinerama Dome, making It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World the first movie ever shown at the theatre. The Cinerama Dome was the first new movie theatre built in Hollywood in 33 years.

While it is now regarded as a classic, reviews for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World were mixed upon its initial release. Bosley Crowther gave the film a positive review, writing, "They have put them together in a story that has eruptive energy and speed; and they have got a bunch of actors to perform it with the fervor of demented geniuses." His only real problems with the movie were that " runs too long" and "There is simply too much wild confusion, too much repetition of similar things." Variety also gave It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World a good review, noting, "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad picture. Being a picture of extravagant proportions, even its few flaws are king-sized, but the plusses far outweigh the minuses." Richard L. Coe in his review in The Washington Post was more modest in his review of the film, writing, "Yes, it is furious, fast and funny and it is also vast, vulgar and vexatious because Kramer has not given us one sympathetic character and because it is shown in Cinerama." Philip K. Scheuer's review in The Los Angeles Times tended to be largely negative. He wrote the movie "...really bugged me..." and called it "...a savage morality play in the guise of comedy."

While critics may have disagreed over It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, audiences appeared to be united in their love for the film going by its box office. The movie grossed $46,332,858 domestically and $60,000,000 worldwide. Ultimately, it was the 3rd highest grossing film of 1963, after Cleopatra and How the West was Won. Unfortunately, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World cost so much to make that it only made a profit of $1.25 million.

As a result of the enduring popularity of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it would be shown on all three broadcast networks in the Seventies. It made its broadcast network debut on NBC Saturday Night at the Movies on October 28 1972. It aired again on NBC Saturday Night at the Movies on March 9 1974. After being shown on NBC, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World aired on CBS. The Tiffany Network aired the movie on New Year's Eve, December 31 1976 on The CBS Friday Night Movie. CBS showed it again on The CBS Tuesday Night Movie on May 16 1978. Finally, ABC aired It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on July 16 1979, the last time it was shown on a broadcast network. After being shown on all three broadcast networks, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World began airing on HBO in October 1980 and was also shown on such cable channels as WTBS. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World also proved popular on Canadian television. In fact, it became something of a New Year's Eve tradition. CTV aired the film every year on New Year's Eve from the late Seventies into the Eighties.

As might be expected, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has seen multiple releases on home media. A 1991 VHS and LaserDisc release ran 183 minutes, using elements that had been stored in a Los Angeles warehouse. According to film preservationist Robert A. Harris in a 2002 interview with Home Theater Forum, this version included footage not meant to ever be shown in any version and thus did not represent the original roadshow version of the film. Robert A. Harris later restored It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to as close to the original roadshow cut as possible. This version was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 21 2014.

Prior to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Stanley Kramer was best known for his often weighty "message" films. He had tackled such subjects as  racism (The Defiant Ones), nuclear war (On the Beach), and Nazism (Judgement at Nuremerg). On the surface, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World would appear to depart from Mr. Kramer's earlier oeuvre. That having been said, it does not take a very close examination of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to realize that the movie deals with the dangers of greed. After all, it centres on a group of ordinary people who, upon learning of a buried treasure, leave a path of destruction across a good section of California. In this respect, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World fits in perfectly with Stanley Kramer's heavy dramas. It just happens to be much less serious in tone.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World would have a lasting influence. The film's success would lead to other epic comedies in the Sixties, including Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines; Or, How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours and 11 Minutes (1965), The Great Race (1965), The Loved One (1965), Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon (1967), and Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969).  It would also lead to other comedies featuring large ensemble casts searching for treasure, including Scavenger Hunt (1979), Million Dollar Mystery (1987), and Rat Race (2001).

Perhaps the most lasting impact of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is that, through its continued popularity, it has introduced generations to many comedy greats. For many Gen Xers, Millennials, and Zoomers, the movie might well be the first time they ever saw such legends as Eddie Anderson, Sid Caesar, Buster Keaton, Phil Silvers, and yet others. Many may have sought out other movies starring these greats of comedy, so that ultimately they may well become classic movie buffs.

Even with the many epic comedies that have been made since It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it still stands as a singular achievement. It featured more comedy legends than any other movie before or since. It also proved to be somewhat of a pioneering film, insofar as it was one of the earliest comedies to feature extensive stunts and several action sequences. Since then comedies from The Blues Brothers (1980) to Rat Race (2001) have featured impressive stunts and a good deal of action. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World might not have been the first epic comedy, but it was certainly the one that put the genre on the map.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Burt Young, Joan Evans, and Matthew Perry Pass On

October saw the deaths of several beloved actors, so many that it has been difficult to keep up. Each one of these performers deserves their own eulogy, but I really do not want my blog to be dominated by posts on celebrity deaths. For that reason, I am addressing each one of these actors in a single post.

Burt Young died on October 8 2023 at the age of 83. He was perhaps best known for playing Rocky's best friend and brother-in-law Paulie in the "Rocky" movies. He also appeared in the movies Chinatown (1974)  and Once Upon a Time in America (1984).

Burt Young was born Gerald DeLouise on April 30 1940 in New York City. He grew up in Queens. From 1957 to 1959 he served in the United States Marine Corps. While in the Marine Corps he boxed, winning 32 out of 34 bouts. After his service continued as a boxer. He worked as a  carpet cleaner, salesman, and installer while studying acting at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg.

Burt Young made his television debut in an episode of the soap opera The Doctors in 1969. He made his movie debut in Carnival of Blood in 1970. During his career he appeared in such films as The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971), Cinderella Liberty (1973), Chinatown (1974), Rocky (1976), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), and Betsy's Wedding (1990). His last appearance in a film during his lifetime was The Final Code (2021). On television she starred on the sitcom Roomies and the mini-series Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride and The Last Don. He guest starred on such shows as M*A*S*H, Little House on the Prairie, Baretta, The Rockford Files, Miami Vice, The Equalizer, Tales from the Crypt, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Sopranos, and Kevin Can Wait.

Burt Young may always be remembered best for playing tough guys, but he could play other sorts of roles as well. In Roomies he played a former Marine drill sergeant who becomes friends with his 14 year old boy genius room mate, the two helping each other navigate college. In the M*A*S*H episode "L.I.P." he played Lt. Willis, a by-the-book C.I.D. officer investigating the application of the unit's corporals to marry a Korean woman. Of course, he did play many tough guy roles. In Chinatown he played Curly, who does not take his wife's infidelity at all well. Of course, in the "Rocky" movies Paulie is both an alcoholic and a cynic who nonetheless cares for Rocky and Rocky's sister. Burt Young was a very talented actor who consistently gave good performances.

Joan Evans died on October 21 2023 at the age of 89. She appeared in such movies as On the Loose (1951) and It Grows on Trees (1952).

Joan Evans was born Joan Eunson on July 18 1934 in New York City. Her father was author Dale Eunson. Her mother was screenwriter Katharine Albert. She was named for actress Joan Crawford, who was her godmother.

Joan Evans was only 14 when she appeared in her first film, playing the title role in Roseanna McCoy. She appeared in such movies as On the Loose (1951), Skirts Ahoy! (1952), It Grows on Trees (1952), A Strange Adventure (1956), and The Walking Target (1960). On television she guest starred on the shows General Electric Theatre, Climax!, The Millionaire, Cheyenne, 77 Sunset Strip, Wagon Train, Zorro, Tales of Wells Fargo and Laramie. In the early Sixties she retired from acting to care for her family. She was later an editor at Hollywood Studio Magazine and taught at  the Carden Academy in Van Nuys.

Joan Evans played a variety of roles in her career. In her movie debut as Roseanna McCoy she played a young member of the McCoy clan involved in a forbidden romance with a Hatfield. In Skirts Ahoy! she played a Midwestern girl-next-door who had been dumped by her boyfriend and, as a result, joined the WAVES. In the Laramie episode "The Killer Legend" she played the wife of an ex-convict who maintained his innocence. Joan Evans's acting career was not terribly long, but she left behind several good performances.

Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing on all ten seasons of Friends, died on October 28 2023 at the age of 54.

Matthew Perry was born on August 19 1969 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His father was John Bennett Perry who starred in the TV shows 240-Robert and Falcon Crest. His mother was Canadian journalist Suzanne Marie. His parents divorced not long after he was born, and he was raised by his mother in Ottawa, Ontario. He was 15 years old when he moved to Los Angeles to live with his father.

Matthew Perry made his television debut in 1979 when he had a guest appearance on 240-Robert. He studied acting at  The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. While in high school he studied improv at L.A. Connection. Prior to Friends, he starred in the short-lived shows Second ChanceSydney and.Home Free. He guest starred on such shows as Charles in Charge, Silver Spoons, The Tracy Ullman Show, Highway to Heaven. Growing Pains and Beverly Hills 90120. It was in 1994 that he began a ten year stint playing Chandler Bing on the sitcom Friends. He would be nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy in 2002 for the role.

Following Friends, Matthew Perry starred on the shows Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, Go On, and The Odd Couple. He guest starred on such shows as The Simpsons, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Scrubs, and The Good Wife. He also appeared in movies, including She's Out of Control (1989), Fools Rush In (1997), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), and 17 Again (2009). Matthew Perry created the show Mr. Sunshine and developed the show The Odd Couple for television.

I think it is safe to say Matthew Perry will always be best remembered as the sardonic Chandler Bing on Friends, and it is with good reason. While I think Friends declined in quality in its later seasons, Matthew Perry was always good as Chandler. Of course, it must be kept in mind he also played many other roles. On Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip he played Matt Able, a former writer who takes over the production of the fictional sketch comedy show Studio 60. On The West Wing he played Joe Quincy, a Republican lawyer who became Associate White House Counsel for President Bartlett (Martin Sheen). In The Whole Nine Yards, Matthew Perry played Oz Oseransky, a dentist who realizes his neighbour is a contract killer. Matthew Perry could play drama and comedy equally well, although he had a real gift comedy. His timing was perfect and he could deliver a line better than anyone else. He made any show or movie better with his performances.