Archive for the ‘Movies and tv’ Category

Stirling Silliphant

November 3, 2020

Today’s morning name — a rather poetic one, but his real name: Stirling Silliphant.


Louis Mandylor

October 25, 2020

Observed on the (regrettably short-lived) tv show Martial Law in recent reruns, the hard-working actor Louis Mandylor, playing a Los Angeles police detective Louis Malone, paired with the title character Sammo Law, a Chinese detective and martial artist (played by Sammo Hung). Notable as a prime member of what I’ve called the Acting Corps and also as an exemplar of amiable high masculinity.

Mandylor in a stock p.r. photo:



Tico Tico

October 25, 2020

Yesterday’s morning name, which (in my mind) came unavoidably with the Andrews Sisters’ 1944 version of the song in English (a feature of my childhood), in which tico tico represents the tick tock of a cuckoo clock.

(#1) The Andrews Sisters’ 1944 recording

You can listen to this recording here.

Then it turned out that it has a much more complex history.


Desert island discs

October 20, 2020

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro of 10/19, with yet another variant of the Desert Island cartoon meme:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

The allusion is (ultimately) to the BBC 4 radio program(me) Desert Island Discs.


Flesh Gordon

October 18, 2020

Frank Abate points me to a 10/18 article in the Guardian: “Flesh Gordon? Artwork reveals erotic version that was never made: Draft designs for a planned Nicolas Roeg sci-fi movie in 1979 finally see the light of day” by Dalya Alberge:

(#1) Artwork for the abandoned film depicts Flash Gordon confronting Ming the Merciless on top of the emperor’s royal spaceship. Photograph: StudioCanal / King Features Inc.


Paul Newman rises from the sea

October 18, 2020

On the Hollywood Reporter site in “When Paul Newman Dazzled Venice” by Gregg Kilday on 8/21/12:


Promoting 1963’s “Hud” at the Venice Film Festival, the actor exhibited an effortless masculinity that had Italians swooning.

American stars go to the Venice Film Festival to test their wattage, and in 1963 no star burned brighter than Paul Newman. At age 38, he visited the Lido to show off Hud, Martin Ritt’s drama in which he played a Texas bad boy. Remembers Barbara Steele, then a rising young actress who’d just completed a role in Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, “I don’t know how, but I ended up hanging out with Paul Newman, who was at the peak of his beauty. He was a Greek god, absolutely stunning. He was every Italian’s dream of classical beauty.”

Thing is, Newman rising from the sea here was pretty much the perfect package, from face to crotch, everything in balance, nothing obtrusive. Two themes here: the beautiful character rising from the sea; and the full package of male beauty.



October 15, 2020

Today’s morning name, surely triggered in my mind by a line from the song “Ya Got Trouble” from the musical The Music Man (about kids in pool halls): “They’re … tryin’ out cubebs” (referring to cubeb cigarettes).

Brief background, from NOAD:

noun cubeb: [a] a tropical shrub of the pepper family, which bears pungent berries. Genus Piper, family Piperaceae: several species, including the Asian P. cubeba [b] the dried unripe berries of the cubeb, used medicinally and to flavor cigarettes. [also, not given by NOAD: [c] a cubeb cigarette] ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French cubebe, from Spanish Arabic kubēba, from Arabic kubāba.

Note: most uses of the noun cubeb are M[ass] nouns, but the use for ‘cubeb cigarette’ is C[count], and so pluralizable, as in the quote from The Music Man.


No offense (intended)

October 15, 2020

From the American tv series Emergency! S7 E11 “The Convention” (from 7/3/79), a tv movie following the regular series. Two women end up serving as a paramedic team together — female paramedics were a new thing at the time, only grudgingly accepted, and they were normally paired with a male partner — so a male paramedic tells them the watch commander wouldn’t approve of the women teaming up. One of the women good-naturedly but pointedly snaps back at him:

(1a) How would you like a thick lip, to go with your thick head? No offense.

With the idiomatic tag No offense — a shorter version of No offense intended — literally meaning something like ‘I intend/mean you no offense by saying this’, but almost always conveying something more complex than that.


Boris Kodjoe

October 3, 2020

In the tv series Crossing Jordan, S6 E13 (“Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc”, from 4/18/07), Det. Elliot Chandler (played by Boris Kodjoe) appears on a case and startles the medical examiner’s staff by being extraordinarily handsome — not what you expect in a police detective. And so he is.

He’s 6′ 4″, with broad shoulders and a face of great masculine beauty — see my 3/10/16 posting “Male beauty” — and a lovely smile, so he comes across as a charming hunk. Something to stir straight women and gay men and to strike straight men as either a serious competitor or a fantasy model to identify with.


The Acting Corps: Chris Mulkey

September 30, 2020

Watching Charlie’s Angels S4 E10 “Angels on Skates” (from 11/21/79) this morning — there’s only so much news and commentary I can cope with in a day, so I retreat to lightweight stuff to keep my sanity — I caught a very familiar actor face, looking impossibly young. This turned out to be Chris Mulkey, whose name you might not know, but (if you’re American) whose face wil be extraordinarily familiar, because he’s appeared in an unbelievable number of tv series, and at the age of 72 is still at it.

A premier member of what I’ve called the Acting Corps, reliable, versatile, and hard-working actors who make the whole business work (there’s a Page on this blog on the Acting Corps).

Mulkey as Hank Jennings — Henry “Hank” Jennings, the criminal husband of Norma Jennings, a man who often acted as a henchman for several of Twin Peaks’ more shady citizens, such as Ben Horne and Josie Packard; photo from the Twin Peaks Wiki, from 1990-91