Saturday, January 03, 2009
Camera Obscura: R.I.P. Beverly Garland; Goodbye 2008
Beverly Garland died December 5th at age 82, and though her name may not be listed among Hollywood's greatest, for me she was and is. Her work spanned more than 50 years and she was a constant player on television from it's early days of popularity and into the 21st century.
Her career was a part of just about every series on television in the 1960s and 1970s. And she made some iconic characters - a fierce gun-blazing sheriff in "Gunslinger", the new wife and mom on the last few seasons of "My Three Sons", and her image is forever a part of sci-fi history in this poster for 1957 movie "Not of This Earth."
The framing of her in that poster - caught mid-scream - all wild eyes and terrified hands, makes an incredible impression. The poster is probably better than the movie, though it must be said her acting in this and other Roger Corman low-budget movies was always top-notch. And she had to go onscreen against some truly cheesy monsters, but always brought some class to such movies.
Her image is also a part of the poster for "It Conquered The World", but the poster above it the real masterpiece here.
I do not want to be all morbid and focus on the deaths of the famous in 2008, but truly some very influential performers moved on - George Carlin, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Bettie Page, Eartha Kitt, Sidney Pollack, Issac Hayes to name just a few.
Still those like Garland deserve a moment too -- such as Majel Barrett, the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. She had just completed the voice-over work as the main computer in the new Trek movie, and of course, she was the original computer voice in the original show. In fact, she was the only actress to be in every single incarnation of the TV series, even the short-lived cartoon version.
Also there was the passing of Sam Bottoms. His character Lance Johnson, famous surfer, in "Apocalypse Now" gave rise to the line "Charlie don't surf!!"
One of the creators for some of the most memorable monsters ever made for the movies, Stan Winston, also left us back in the summer of 2008. A make-up and special effects genius, his designs and work reach from "Friday the 13th" to "Alien" and "Predator", "Terminator" (all of them!) to "Batman", "Jurassic Park", "Iron Man" and on and on the list goes. And if he did not make the effects you see, then it is very likely one of his students made it.
Here's a huge video compilation of just some of his work. A brief history is here. And this link has a wide sample of his work as well. and a list of just 7 his most notable achievements.
Winston was a real wizard of Hollywood movie magic, and a pioneer of design. Many of his most recent creations will be revealed in 2009 in his work for movies like "G.I. Joe", Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," the new "Terminator" movie and many other titles. His work will be around for a long, long time.