Friday, May 20, 2005
Frank Gorshin Is Dead (and I don't feel so good myself)...
Yet another of my favorite actors I grew up admiring past away this week.
When I worked at The Nuart and Arclight (two movie theatres in Los Angeles) you would see a great number of celebrities big and small. I've already told the story (which you can find in the archives on the right under "March") of meeting Clu Gulager at The Nuart. Well, truth be told, the ones who I got excited about weren't the ones who were the superstars. Don't get me wrong, it was always interesting to see "The Toms" (Hanks and Cruise, one of the great vaudeville teams of the twenties) or Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman or whoever. But, as co-workers will tell you, I tended to get a little more excited when Robert Culp, or William Shatner, or even William Windom ("Who's that" you say? We haven't got the time, says I.) would show up.
After awhile, my wife Mary and I got an idea we'd like to try to make our own self-financed films. You may insert jokes here. Well, one of my ideas was to do a pilot for an interview show on old character actors. Men and women you would recognize, but probably not remember their names. It was going to be called "You Know The Face..." and would be sort of like an "Inside The Actor's Studio" for the B players. You may now begin taking notes to steal this from me, as we couldn't get this past the initial shooting.
However, the "how" of the shooting was a little interesting. I found out about a convention coming to LA called "Stars Of The Twilight Zone". It would be a gathering of a lot of these people under one roof. It would be a great opportunity to try and steal some footage if we could, and see if any of them would be interested in this project. And, at the very least, I would meet be able to meet a number of actors I really admire.
I won't go into more detail ("Thank God!" you say? Exactly.) but we did manage to get in legitimately and I now have footage of myself stammering through a conversation with William Schallert ("Who?" you say...). We also met William Windom, Anne "Honey West" Francis, Jonathan "Dr. Smith" Harris... and Frank Gorshin.
He was very nice and seemed really keyed up about his (at the time... this was about three years ago) upcoming appearance on Broadway in a one-man show as George Burns. I read some decent reviews for the show and saw a few clips on television, which looked good. After all, he had made his living as an impressionist. But it was cool to see an old guy like him on "E News Daily" and "Entertainment Tonight".
And he was always referred to as "Frank 'The Riddler on tv's Batman' Gorshin".