Tag Archives: Eli Wallach

Things I Think About While Listening to Jose Feliciano

16 Mar

It is a good night. We had a great meal with great conversation. Now, Jose Feliciano is on the turntable. The only problem is that it is cold outside. We made it through an entire Winter, and it had decided to get cold in the middle of March. It seems that Spring has not yet sprung.

Heck, Jose is singing “California Dreamin'” and is talking about a Winter’s day. I know how he feels. This is no time to be sitting in the house wearing a hoodie. Yet, that is what I am doing. I am also thinking that it is time for a stream of consciousness.

Let us start with Jose himself. He sings the theme to a terrible Western that could have been great. Mackenna’s Gold stars Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif and a bunch of other big stars.

It is about the search for gold. It is also about Julie Newmar swimming nude. According to movie lore, she was supposed to wear something in the scene, but she shocked everyone by doing it for real.

By the way, the theme sung by Jose Feliciano is “Old Turkey Buzzard.”

For those not up on their 1960s television, Julie Newmar plays Catwoman on Batman, the campy version that stars Adam West. A lot of cool people play villains on that show. Burgess Meredith plays the Penguin. Eli Wallach plays Mr. Freeze. Why do I mention those two? They are also in Mackenna’s Gold.

Did I mention that it is a terrible Western that could have been great? The real problems are the special effects. Man, they look terrible, and I imagine that they looked terrible when it first came out. They should have gone natural like Julie does in the skinny dipping scene.

Jose also sang the theme song for Chico and the Man, a 1970s television show about a cranky old man and a Chicano man in his 20s. It stars Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze. It also stars Scatman Crothers.

Scatman appears in a ton of movies and television shows, but Friday Foster is one of my favorites. It stars the fantastic Pam Grier, but it also had Eartha Kitt. Does anyone know what other role features Eartha Kit? She plays Catwoman on the the campy 1960s Batman.

Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt play the same character on the same television show. Lee Meriwether also plays that character in that version of the Caped Crusader, but that is another story for another time. We could let Barnaby Jones work his way through that mystery.

The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed

23 Jan

In 1960, audiences went to the theaters and watched The Magnificent Seven, a Western that stars Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and a lot of other great actors. However, the leader of the Seven and the most memorable character is Chris, the black-clad gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.magnificent-seven

It was an iconic role and a memorable character for anyone who loves Westerns, but it could not be known that this character would live on in different incarnations and different genres. There have been many characters that have graced the screen in multiple films, but it is possible that none of them have a journey similar to this one.

The 1960s had sequels. There was James Bond movies, Derek Flint movies (starring Coburn) and Matt Helm movies. However, there were not many Western sequels. Well, Yul Brynner as Chris showed up in Return of the Magnificent Seven, which came out in 1966.

More “Magnificent Seven” movies were made, but Brynner abandoned the role. At least, people thought he abandoned the role. In 1973, he donned the black hat in Westworld, a movie about a futuristic theme-park where people can play out their fantasies with robots. This time, the gunslinger is not the hero. He is a robot in the middle of a robot overthrow. As people are killed across the park, Brynner chases Richard Benjamin, the last surviving human. Once again, he is the most memorable character.

Westworld was a hit, and it begat another film. Futureworld came out in in 1976, and the gunslinger came back to life. I may be wrong, but that could mean that Chris the Gunslinger is the only character to appear in two different pairs of sequels.

I started thinking about this because the character has made a return. The other night, we watched the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven. This one stars Denzel Washington as the man in black who brings together a collection of tough guys to help out the citizens of a farming town. His name is not Chris, but it is the same character.denzel-magnificent

However, that is not the only time 2016 brought the gunslinger to new audiences. Westworld is an HBO show inspired by the old movie. In this one, Ed Harris plays a gunslinger in a black hat. However, he is human. He is not the character. In an homage to Yul Brynner, the gunslinger is seen standing in an old underground lab. Apparently, he has been taken offline.westworld

That may be true of the robot, but I am not sure it is true about the character. After all, how many characters have spanned the world of movies and television for 57 years? It looks like this gunslinger cannot be killed.