IN THE NEWS

In The News, the title of short little updates on current events between Saturday morning cartoons (remember those?) on CBS and hosted by Christopher Glenn in the late 1970s, was an interesting addition to the animated line-up. It’s now become a regular feature for yours truly as I troll the internet for interesting possible subject matter regarding Lee Marvin. 

  Granted, I’ve been able to maintain this blog for several years based mainly on the exclusive info I garnered researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, and it’s been fascinating to do so. However, every now and again, I run out of ideas and do indeed, troll the ‘net, only discover tidbits I was not aware of previously. 

Example: I came across an article on the Psychology Today website in which the learned author deals with the question, can someone really be scared to death? He answers the query (minus a plethora of medical jargon) and adds a favorite tale of his in which he goes into great detail. The article can be read here as I was impressed with how much the episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “The Grave” influenced author Troy Rondinone, Ph.D. even though it aired way back in 1961.

Conny Miller (Lee Marvin) considers the bet made by Steinhart (Lee Van Cleef) with a Bowie knife.

Conny Miller confronted by Pinto Sykes sister Ione (Ellen Willard) in “The Grave.”

 



Starring Lee Marvin (natch!) and a terrific supporting cast, the old west version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” obviously still resonates with some folks, despite the weak denouement. 


It’s still a wonderfully erie and well-produced episode despite the ending and is worth re-viewing every time it airs.
By the way, the images from the episode seen here are from author Steve Rubin’s wonderful book, The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia, which I highly recommend.

Also in the news, and surprisingly so, is an article in last month’s Chicago Magazine website citing “M Squad” as the best show ever aired about the famed Windy City, which can be read here

Lee Marvin as Lt. Frank Ballinger in front of a Chicago map on M SQUAD.


   And speaking of Chicago, another Op-Ed article in the news, this time in the Chicago Tribune’s site, makes the same pronouncement regarding several films that came out this year not really being able to be as good as Marvin’s earlier efforts, among others.



For a man who’s been dead more than three decades, it’s quite heartening to see that he’s still very much with us…..in the news. 

* Dwayne Epstein

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JOHN MITCHUM ON LEE MARVIN

John Mitchum, veteran character actor of countless films and TV shows, was also the younger brother of the legendary Robert Mitchum. He once wrote a book in the late 1980s about his life and experiences in Hollywood that’s overflowing with anecdotes and sometimes bawdy tales.

Paperback cover of John Mitchum’s memoir, THEM ORNERY MITCHUM BOYS.

I discovered the book, titled Them Ornery Mitchum Boys after my book, Lee Marvin: Point Blank, had already been published. It concerned me at first as I had always been a fan of his “Big Brother Bob,” and thought there may be something therein I may have missed out on for my research. Luckily, I had interviewed John Mitchum during a visit to the Lone Pine Film Festival and was able to get some wonderful quotes from the man at the time.
Since that time, I purchased a copy of the book on Ebay and was happy to discover it was also signed by the author!

Signature of John Mitchum.

That said, I was able to enjoy reading the tales of John and “Big Brother Bob” without trepidation that I had missed out on any important talking points John may have included, since he did indeed work with Lee Marvin on M Squad and also Point Your Wagon.  By the way, if you want to see some of “Big Brother Bob’s” best work, check out his astounding trilogy of films fro the early 70s: The Yakuza (produced by my agent, the late Mike Hamilburg) The Friends of Eddie Coyle & Farewell My Lovely. if they don’t make you a fan of his world-weary cynicism, then nothing will.
Anyway, below is the section of tales John wrote about Lee that includes thoughts on Jean Seberg, Ty Cabeen, and more. Enjoy…
– Dwayne Epstein

John Mitchum’s take on working with Lee Marvin.

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BURT REYNOLDS (R.I.P.) REMEMEBERED LEE MARVIN

Burt Reynolds, who passed away this week at the age of 82, will of course be sadly missed for the movie icon that he was, especially in the 1970s. His charm and wit were also on full display as a frequent talk show guest, making a career out of self-effacingly making fun of his career.
In researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Burt Reynolds knew and liked Lee Marvin. He tells a great anecdote in his 1994 autobiography concerning one of his very first professional acting jobs. In a 1959 episode of M Squad he played a young, troubled student battling some bullies at a trade school.

Lee Marvin (back to camera) as Lt. Frank Ballinger tried to get troubled trade school student Burt Reynolds to testify against school bully, Tom Laughlin.

His nemesis in the episode was none other than Tom “Billy Jack” Laughlin, playing his role like an ersatz James Dean. The casting made sense as Reynolds was often compared facially to a young Marlon Brando, so the two most famous juvenile delinquents of the 1950s appeared to square off against each other.

The cover of Burt Reynolds’ 1994 autobiography.

Reynolds wrote that he was late to the set the first day as he misunderstood the call sheet time he was supposed to show up. Despite his remorse, the assistant director chewed out the young actor in front of the cast and crew.

Lee Marvin puts the heat on the ‘late’ Burt Reynolds in M SQUAD.

A hung-over Lee Marvin came out of his trailer angrily asking what all the noise was about. When the A.D. told Marvin that Reynolds was late, Marvin angrily shouted, “So was I! What’s the big deal? Now shut up and let’s get to work!” Reynolds praised Marvin no end for helping to salvage his fledgling career.

A decade later Burt Reynolds wrote a second memoir, focusing mostly on the fascinating people he met and knew throughout his career aptly entitled But Enough About Me. He and co-author Jon Winokur dedicate an entire chapter to Marvin, apparently cribbing much information from another source that blog readers may be aware of…ahem….How do I know? Because a large portion of his Marvin biographical material was rather exclusively based on MY research. One need only see the way he incorporates Marvin’s war record and more to see the source. Don’t take my word for it, though. If you’ve read Reynolds’ book, read Lee Marvin Point Blank and then see for yourself.

Burt Reynolds’ 2015 memoir, published 2 years after Lee Marvin Point Blank.

In any event, he ends that chapter on Marvin with a rather poignant personal anecdote all his own that says much about both men. (pp. 89-90)

“Just before Deliverance was released, I went to a screening at Warner Brothers with Lee Marvin, who took me aside and gave me some unsolicited advice: ‘Don’t let’em fuck you up, pardner! You’re gonna be a under a microscope and it’s gonna change your life forever.’
‘I sure hope so,’ I said.
Lee grabbed me by the lapels. ‘No, listen to me! It’s gonna change everything and you’ve got to be careful. Don’t let’em fuck you up!’
‘I won’t,’ I said.
‘Goddamn it! You’re not listening!’
And I wasn’t.
I had no idea.”

Rest in Peace, Mr. Reynolds. Like all greats, we shall not see your like again.
-Dwayne Epstein.

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