‘Mad Dog’ Marvin, not a nickname usually associated with Oscar-winner Lee Marvin, but he did once utilize it in a sketch on a Bob Hope Special costarring Barbara Eden. The special is either from 1968 or 1970, not quite sure. Either way, he was already well established in the media but was not above such silly and broadly played doings as he had on occasion in such films as Donovan’s Reef (1963) and Cat Ballou (1965).
As with many of Hope’s sketches, they’re extremely dated in the humor but the fun is in watching big names stars deliver the goods, and Marvin delivers in spades. Of course, Barbara Eden is sexy and cute but it’s Marvin who steals the show, especially with his entrance. The effect he has on Hope is hilarious.
Other celebrities were quite willing to make fun of their image, such as Paul Simon dressed like a turkey and singing “Still Crazy After All These Years” on a Thanksgiving episode of Saturday Night Live” back in the the 1970s. Then there’s the infamous bunny suit worn by John Wayne for Easter on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in.”
In researching and writing Lee Marvin Point Blank, I was constantly surprised and impressed with the actor’s willingness to do anything and have fun doing it. It’s what made the work a labor of love. For example, when I discovered that because he enjoyed watching “The Flip Wilson Show,” he asked his agent Meyer Mishkin to get him a guest spot on the show and so he did. It was just before going on stage with the show that he got the surprise of a lifetime that I wrote about in the book.
When all is said and done, one must watch the sketch below to truly appreciate what I’ve been talking about. I can’t picture such Marvin costars as John Wayne or Charles Bronson selling it like Marvin himself does. Oh, and the waiter in the sketch doing the bad Italian accent? Singer Robert Goulet!
Watch and enjoy at the link below….
– Dwayne Epstein