Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Chase for Steve Ihnat

This blog will feature my thoughts about various of my favorite actors and their roles.

At the moment I'm working on Steve Ihnat.

It's a bittersweet project, as I've said a few times over at my other blog, DAily Space. He was only 37 years old when he died, in 1972... I'm 11 years older than he ever got to be... Each time I watch one of his roles I can't help but think... another three years and he'll be dead, another year and he'll be dead...

Sad!

Although he's got a lot of fans to this day..he doesn't have as many as he should have. If "The Inheritors" had been a Twilight Zone episode instead of an The Outer Limits episode, potential new fans could see it three or four times a year - when the SF channel does its marathons on various holidays. Instead, I dont think most people have ever had a chance to see it on regular TV...they'll only see it if they actually seek it out for some reason...

He never had a series of his own... even if he'd only had one for a year, so that his talents could have been on display on DVD now (although that's problematic, as there are dozens of pretty good TV shows from the 60s that have never seen a decent release, as for example Then Came Bronson.)

Well, anyway, I've been having fun tracking down a lot of his episodes. Got 3 Virginians today from a grey marketer...and the DVD doesn't work so that's very annoying. Also got a batch of artcles written about him from the person who does my Newspaper Archive Research - that was nice in a sense, but depressing also because one of them was written just after his death, and told of how he was in Cannes working on deals to sell his independent film Do Not Throw Cushions in the Ring. He'd had high hopes for it, and then, just like that, he was gone.

In addition, earlier today, TCM showed The Chase (1966), starring Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall. I knew that Steve had a non-speaking part in this, and that he was supposed to beat up Marlon Brando in one scene, and then be beaten to a pulp by Brando in the final scene.

And he was! It looks like it was all Brando/Ihnat, too, no stuntmen used.

I had the sound down for the entire movie - it wasn't the kind of movie that I'd ever have watched if there weren't actors in it I liked. Richard Bradford was in it, and apparently it was his beating up of Brando (in conjunction with Ihnat) that won him the role in the British series Man in a Suitcase (a show that I saw many, many years ago in a Lobatse, Botswana hotel...and wouldn't mind seeing again.. but that's a topic for a different blog entry!)

Anyway, Steve first shows up at about the hour mark, and true to what I'd read, he doesn't have any dialog, which is odd because he's placed in a couple of situations where he could have some. And yet he is given no lines. I suppose the producers wanted to give him exposure, without having to pay him what they'd have to pay an actor who had lines.

But, according to an article I read (which I'll share on my tribute website to him in due course), it was his performance in this movie that led him to be signed to a 7 year movie contract, although he never did manage to get a starring role out of it. But of course it probably led directly to him having the pull to do his own feature film, The Honkers, in 1972, which he co-wrote and directed, but sadly, did not give himself a part in.

1 comment:

amadeusrabbit said...

Hi Caroline:

The website looks great !

There's some good info on Ihnat on newspaperarchive.com including multiple articles on the Ed Asner tribute and an article on his tour of duty in Korea.

Lisa