Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Clips from Comedy Break

Comedy Break starred Mack Dryden, Jamie Alcroft, Kevin Pollak, Jan Hooks and Marla Frumkin

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Voice: Charles Simpson

Way back in 1990...20 years ago!.... an actor named Charles Simpson starred opposite actress Susannah Doyle in a 5-part, 15-minute each part radio drama, Breathing Underwater, by Bryony Lavery.

A wreck diver, Sennon Penenome,(Doyle) travels to a place called Northant at the behest of Professor Simon Murray (Simpson) to help him excavate a 16th century ship called the Elizabeth Mary. Because of the name, "Sennon", Murray doesn't realize his diver is a woman until she shows up at the boat with her gear. His first words are, "You won't do," which annoys Sennon. After a trial dive, Sennon decides she doesn't want to dive for him, and he decides he doesn't want her to dive for him. They tell each other simultaneously, which leads to a rather amusing scene.

Sennon can't get another dive job - and Murray can't get another diver. Worse, one of his academic rivals has found a ship of his own, and is excavating it (with the help of the diving Swedes, Knut and Sven Tollman, or as Sennon calls them, the root vegetables whom she taught how to dive.)

Desperate, Murray goes back to Sennon, who is still in Porthant, and asks her to dive for him. Sennon agrees.

Sennon is consumed with angst on the next dive, and indeed, subsequent dives, because her mother, a promiscuous woman (who isn't really sure who Sennon's father is) has told her that he drowned out in Porthant Bay, and Sennon suspects that it was a man called Renowndon, who's great, great, great, great grandfather died on the ship Murray wants her to hep excavate.

Finally, they both dive on the wreck, both angry with each other (there'd been a kiss, which Sennon had quickly regretted). They get separated. Murray surfaces (from 200 feet, in 10 minutes), tells the boat pilot to give him another tank, and goes back down. They finally find each other, and surface. They're all happy and kissy kissy at this point (although each thinks they have saved the other).

Sennon calls her mother and demands to know who her father really was, and is told that it isn't any of the men on the island, but some Greek sailor she met. Sennon then invites Murray out in a dinghy, and they have sex, and all is well.

So, the ending is rather corny, and the technical diving (as wreck diving is called when it is below 150 - 200 feet) is extremely suspect.

But, it was fun. And I liked Charles Simpson's portrayal of Simon Murray. Some of his exchanges with Sennon -- and Susannah Doyle's Sennon is a very "in your face" kind of girl - are great with their timing.

Now, I actually first heard this about four years or so ago, on BBC Radio 7. I did a cursory check for Charles Simpson at that time...but didn't really follow up on it. All I found was that he didn't have much of a presence on the IMDb.

After an absence of a year or so, I've started listening to it again, and redoubled my search to find more on Simpson. Finally found 2 things he's been in that my local library had. In each one, he just has a tiny role.

The screencaps below are from Touching Evil, starring Robson Green, a police drama in which Simpson plays the Coroner, Max. He's got three scenes.

I always wonder, when an actor whom I like doesn't seem to have had a big career, why that is. Of course in England, you can't really tell. He may spend most of his time acting on stage. And while American actors are covered pretty well in the IMDB, I'm not so sure British actors are. There may be more roles than the Imdb shows.

He's done a lot of radio, though...unfortunately only a couple of which are aired on BBC 7... Breathing Underwater (by Bryony Lavery) and Agatha Christie's Sad Cypress.

[Edited as of May 21, 2011. Charles Simpson hasn't been acting for the last 8 or so years because he has his own company, Garnett & Simpson, in which he and his colleagues provide communication coaching to businesspeople in the financial and legal sectors. Coo-el!]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Steve Ihnat a hit on Gunsmoke: My Father's Guitar

I have a counter on my Steve Ihnat website, which tells me how many people visit the site and where they are from.

Usually there are only a handful every day, but today, the hits really jumped up.

I can only assume it's because these people were watching Gunsmoke today on the Western channel, saw Ihnat in the episode "My Father's Guitar" (as the villain opposite a young Beau Bridges) and wanted to know more about him. (Oh...and then he was on The Virginian today as well, in "Ned." Interesting coincidence that he'd be in two Westerns on the same day.

The site certainlly does spike whenever one of his guest-shots is on, which unfortunately is not often enough. These days that's all you ever see him in, his Westerns from Gunsmoke, and now that they're showing it, The Virginian.

I wish they'd syndicate Mannix and Mission Impossible - there was some acting! Of course they are available on DVD.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To Dream the Impossible Dream, by Brian Stokes Mitchell

John Cullum sings From Molasses to Rum from 1776

Begins with the lead up to the song.

and a few other favorites:

Momma, Look Sharp

Is Anybody There?

Western theme songs


Have Gun Will TRavel

Johnny Yuma

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Square or the Beanpole

There are two main physiques for men. Beanpole and square. I like square - for example, William Shatner (in his prime, of course!) Others like beanpole - Leonard Nimoy.

The Big Bang Theory debuted in 2007. Although I am a sf geek, I didn't want to watch it, because of the premise I had read, 4 "geeky" - i.e. highly intellgent guys, and one dumb blonde. I found that stereotyopical and kind of offensive.

Well, a couple of days ago I was doing some kind of surfing at YouTube, and for some reason one of the responses was a Big Bang Theory video. [I say "for some reason" because, to tell the truth, even though it's only been a couple of days, I can't actually remember specifically how I found the show - I'm assuming I must have found it during a YouTube search for something else.) I watched it on a whim, enjoyed it, and so started watching more of the vids, before eventually going out and buying the DVDs for the 1st and 2nd seasons.

Jim Parsons as the asexual, Asperger-syndrome possessing, egocentric theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper steals the show and is my favorite character, for all that I don't find him physically attractive in that way. (He's a tall beanpole, and losing his hair.) The shorter, more squarely bit Johnny Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstetter is more my cup of tea.

But it is certainly all in the eye of the beholder. Take for example the actor D.J. Qualls, who has a guest-starring role in "The Loobenfield Decay." Now, in real life the guy might be incredibly sweet, but physically, he is just not preposessing at all. He's skinner than Parsons, with pipestem arms. So much so that I looked at his outfit, the cut off sleeves, and thought to myself, my god why did the warddrobe person allow allow you to wear a shirt without looooooong sleeves?

But I check the message boards for this actor, and there's actually a woman (well, presumably it was a woman) on there who says, "I like super skinny guys. I think he's hot!"

And it just goes to show, to each his own.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Steve Ihnat Was a Nice Guy

Well, after an almost three month absence from posting my thoughts on actors, I decided I should get back to posting on this blog. Unfortunately I haven't had time to do any more work on my Ihnat tribute site ( ... I have several more videos of is work and if I ever get time to do screencaps I will, but "the real world" has been intruding for several months, and it doesn't look as if it's going to stop intruding anytime soon, and so I just don't have the time or the energy.

Anyway, had an email chat yesterday with someone - an actor - who had known Ihnat slightly.

It's been over 30 years since Steve Ihnat died, and so of course memories of him are rather dim (except in those who actually knew him very well, like his wife Sally Ihnat-Marshall or Gary Clarke, of course).

I've talked/emailed with a couple of other people who knew him only casually, and they all state categorically that he was "a nice guy." When I press them for specifics, they can never remember any (well, it's been thirty years), but they just have that general impression. Such it was with this guy yesterday.

I'm assuming that if Ihnat never said "Hi," always ignored others and wanted concessions made for him by directors, other actores, etc., i.e. "had a big head," etc., they would have been left with the impression that he was a jerk.

So he must always have been pleasant, easy-going guy whom it was nice to be around!

So obviously it's just an inference on my part, to try to deduce what the "real" Steve Ihnat was like, but it's nice to think that he was, in real life, "a nice guy."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Was Jason Alexander channeling William Shatner on Criminal Minds?

I've just discovered a TV show called Criminal Minds, and have been watching it for the last few days (It's shown on several channels throoughout the day, if you get Satellite). I don't really care for it, I'm just watching it because I've seen every NCIS and Law and Order ep out there, and so wanted to watch something new while I did my writing work....

Anyway, so I'm watching Criminal Minds and it's an episode called "Masterpiece" from 2008 and it guest-stars Jason Alexander (George Costanza from Seinfeld) as the serial-killing villain, Professor Rothschild. He's still short and stout, but he's got a magnificent mane of white hair, in the Charlton Heston as Moses wig, and he speaks in a very low, calm voice. ANd frankly, he does an excellent job. Very impressive.

But in the denoument scene, I couldn't help being reminded of Star Trek, and in particular "Whom Gods Destroy". Perhaps my perception was influenced by the fact that, although I haven't really bothered to seek out Alexander in anything else he's been in except Seinfeld, I do know that he is a fan of William Shatner's and can do imitations of him, and there was one Seinfeld episode where they're talking about The Wrath of Kahn, and Costanza actually raises his face to the heavens and shouts out Kahn! as Kirk did in that movie.

So I'm watching Alexander in the big denoument scene, with his gestures and his emphasis on words, and it did seem to me that he was doing an extremely toned down version of a Shatner as Kirk impersonation.

What he was also doing was walking around and around a stationary David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), and that reminded me of the scene from Star Trek's "Whom Gods Destroy" in which Kirk is circling Garth, trying to talk some sanity into Steve Ihnat's insane starfleet captain.

So that was kind of fun.

And the Criminal Minds team saves the five kidnapped people at the end, so it had a happy ending in that regard as well...

So all in all, not a show I'll be watching much, but I might check out Jason Alexander in other dramatic roles - should he be doing any! - just to see if this channeling of Kirk is a habit...or perhaps just my imagination.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fess Parker in Daniel Boone episode: The Perilous Journey

I had wanted to upload Fess Parker's brief - but hilarious - cameo in Them! in which he plays a pilot who saw a giant ant flying in the sky. No one believes him so they put him in an insane asylum, where FBI agent James Arness comes to interview him.

Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I can't do it, so I'm sharing a few clips from the one Daniel Boone episode of his that I have, Perilous Journey (because of course Steve Ihnat guest-stars as one of the villains.)

The Daniel Boone TV series is on DVD now, and although it is no longer "in print", used copies cam still be purchased.

My favorite scene. Take that, Tyler!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Richard Boone and Steve Ihnat in Kona Coast (1968)

This is the final come-uppance scene for the hero (Richard Boone as Sam Moran) and the villain (Steve Ihnat as Kryder). Steve is responsible for the death of a young woman, and Moran intends to have revenge.

I know it's foolish to rail against the action of a TV show made 40 years ago (or indeed, of any TV show, since of course by definition it's on film and can't be fixed!) but I must say it's always annoying when the villain acts really stupidly, which is the only reason why they end up getting captured or killed in the end.

It happened to Steve Ihnat in The Blue Light, when he runs away from Robert Goulet even though he's got a perfectly serviceable knife, and it happens here, when instead of plunking Richard Boone with his spear gun, he tries to run away....only to be cut off by Boone and... well - you'll see.

I love Ihnat's vocal delivery in this, somewhat reminiscent of his vocal inflections in Mannix: Endgame... but how he could let Boone sneak up on him.... silly!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

FBI: The Escape

With Steve Ihnat and Ann Baxter, along with that Efrem Zimbalist jr. guy

Steve Ihnat in The Highest Fall of All

Steve has a supporting role in this episode of the anthology series Chrysler Theater, which starred Stuart Whitman as an actor/stuntman obsessed on performing the greatest stunt of his career. Steve plays his friend and sidekick.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mission Impossible: Steve Ihnat in "Amnesiac"

Well...part 1 of Steve Ihnat's appearances in this episode. The IMForce tries to find out where Steve has hidden a stolen substance called "trevanium." Paris (Leonard Nimoy) plays his accomplish whom Steve had shot and left for dead...who now has returned (with a new face, obviously - plastic surgery) but who can't remember anything. Anthony Zerbe plays Steve's superior who is lookng for the trevanium. The woman whom Steve is so attracted to is a member of the IMForce.

I call this Part 4....