Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dropping like flies

Thanks to Bill Crider, I have now been made aware of the passing of actor Ricardo Montalban at the age of 88. To quote a wise-old sage who started off each day with a song, “This is gettin’ monopamous!

Honestly, I’m not trying to be flippant about this—but with the earlier news of the passing of Patrick McGoohan, not to mention character greats Steven Gilborn (best-known for playing Ellen Degeneres’ pop on Ellen and teacher Mr. Collins on The Wonder Years), Harry Endo (forensics expert Che Fong on Hawaii Five-O) and Don Galloway (Sgt. Ed Brown on Ironside—I just happened to catch Galloway on a TCM showing of The Big Chill last night), the only conclusion I can come to is that there must be one hell of a casting call being held in the Great Beyond. (By the way, these three notices came courtesy of Toby O’Brien at Inner Toob.)

I once mentioned in a post on the TV series Checkmate (in which an episode featured a superb performance by Montalban as an out-of-work Hollywood stuntman) that it was difficult for me to take Ricardo seriously once he started the Fantasy Island/Chrysler Cordoba phase of his career (I once had a college Spanish teacher rail for an entire period on how Montalban sold out his people by pronouncing “Cordoba” incorrectly). A commenter pointed out (with which I readily agreed) that he was capable of good work, as any viewing of Border Incident (1949) or Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971) will attest. (Yes, we can also include Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [1982]—you can even throw in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! [1988] if you’re so inclined.) Other than Neptune’s Daughter (1949) I’m honestly not all that familiar with Montalban’s early film work, but I plan to rectify this later on with a showing of Right Cross (1950)—a movie that I prophetically decided to record off of TCM this afternoon.

R.I.P. Ricardo…Steven…Harry…and Don. You will all be missed.


Laura said...

I especially enjoy Montalban's 1950 film noir MYSTERY STREET, which is availble on DVD.

Best wishes,

Barry said...

All embedded links to Star Trek II should point here.