Today marks the anniversaries of the passing of some very talented people.
When Alfred Hitchcock released PSYCHO (1960), he said it was going to be unlike any movie ever seen. One way that it was indeed different was that out of nowhere, the STAR’s character in the film was KILLED less than halfway through! As Marion Crane, Janet Leigh achieved immortality with ‘the scream heard ’round the world’ when Norman Bates’ ‘Mother’ stabs her repeatedly in the shower in one of, if not the most famous of, murder scenes in film history. The scene has been ‘borrowed’ by other films, and outright parodied in other films, such as Mel Brooks’ Hitchcock homage HIGH ANXIETY, with ink trickling down the drain as opposed to blood. Prince Sirki finished the job Norman started today, October 3, 2004.
Our next honoree is not easy to sum up. He was that rare star who was an accomplished actor as a child star at MGM in the 30’s & 40’s & re-surged with a new-found fame some 20-30 years afterwards for a part behind a latex face. As a lad, Roddy McDowell was the star of such family fare films as LASSIE COME HOME & MY FRIEND FLICKA. He gained high praise for his performance as the sickly lad, Huw, in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. As he got older, he also worked in theatre, even portraying Mordred in the original Broadway Cast of Camelot. He found renewed worldwide fame when he portrayed the ape archaeologist Cornelius in the classic Planet of the Apes series of films. He went so far as to play Cornelius’ son Caesar in the final two films of the franchise. He also played the ape, Galen, in the short-lived TV series spawned from the movie franchise. Yet another generation of imagi-movie fans delighted in his performance as Peter Vincent, ‘the great vampire hunter’ in the original FRIGHT NIGHT and its sequel. Believe it or not, he even had a connection to The Lord of the Rings. He provided the voice of Samwise Gamgee in the Rankin Bass animated production of THE RETURN OF THE KING. Still more? He played the Bookworm in several appearances as the special guest villain on the 1960’s classic BATMAN TV show. Sadly, Prince Sirki called in Mr. McDowell’s library card on this date in 1998.