Tag Archives: Tony Award

R.I.P., “Mr. C.”

Tough week for Baby Boomers with parental surrogates.

A few days after losing Beaver’s Mom we now lose Howard Cunningham, genial hardware store owner and patriarch on the long running series Happy Days. Although never the balanced disciplinarian that Ward Cleaver was, “Mr. C.” had a heart of gold even if his son Richie and that strange guy who lived over the garage tried his patience on a regular basis.

These were television teenagers, after all – I’m still not certain what Richie accomplished to get that letter on his school sweater, and even a half-assed greaser would have kicked Fonzie‘s ass all over the parking lot at Arnold‘s. (And were Potsie and Ralph Malph not nerdy enough as characters that they needed those “please kick my ass” names?)

But Tom Bosley, who passed away today at 83, had that sitcom Dad vibe down just right. Sure, his wife picked on him a lot but he loved her anyway. His kids were annoying but he stood behind them. He saw the good side in people even if they weren’t very adept with showing it themselves. And in what was a far simpler time on television, he was that guy that people took for granted on the show, just as many of us do in real life.

Bosley was an accomplished actor – he won a Tony Award for the lead in Fiorello – and had many TV credits including another show (The  Father Dowling Mysteries) and the recurring role as the sheriff on Murder She Wrote. Unfortunately many will remember him as a late night pitchman for…well, just about anything. Guess when you want to sell something it pays to get a guy people like and trust.

Mr. C., in a nutshell, in the final words in the last episode: “Well, what can I say? Both of our children are married now and they’re starting out to build lives of their own. And I guess when you reach a milestone like this you have to reflect back on, on what you’ve done and, and what you’ve accomplished. Marion and I have not climbed Mount Everest or written a great American novel. But we’ve had the joy of raising two wonderful kids, and watching them and their friends grow up into loving adults. And now, we’re gonna have the pleasure of watching them pass that love on to their children. And I guess no man or woman could ask for anything more. So thank you all for being, part of our family… To happy days.”

R.I.P., Tom Bosley.

 

Happier Days

 

 

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T.G.I.F. – Ten From Arthur Penn

Arthur Penn died earlier this week. Although he wasn’t a prolific film director, his batting average was incredible, and his films were an accurate reflection of the mores and zeitgeist of their times. His most famous epic, Bonnie and Clyde, was not only a cultural phenomenon in the 70s, but the critical and popular success of its tone and style opened the doors for other landmark films that would revolutionize the film industry.

Penn got his start in television, directing live dramas for shows like Playhouse 90, and was also a very successful Broadway director, winning Tony Awards three times in a four-year span. His work included dynamic shows like Clifford Odetts’ Golden Boy and the original productions of Wait Until Dark and The Miracle Worker.

But although he received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, he never took home the statuette for his film work. No matter – his impact was huge. Despite a short filmography, he worked with all of the greatest actors of his time – Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty – and was adept at extracting eclectic performances from them. Ironically, he hated method acting, although he worked often with some of its biggest practicioners.

Arthur was often mistakenly identified as the father of the successful Penn brothers – actors Sean and Christopher and musician Michael; their father Leo was also in the industry but no relation.

So in tribute to Arthur , I give you Ten From Arthur Penn. These are his ten best films – also his first ten films – and I suggest those you haven’t seen go on your “must see” list. And if the independent film era of the 60s and 70s  interests you, I highly suggest you grab a copy of the fascinating documentary Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

01. The Left Handed Gun (1958) – Newman as Billy The Kid, an underrated Western with some great performances.

02. The Miracle Worker (1962) – Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke in the award-winning smash

03. Mickey One (1965) – An underknown classic with Beatty as a nightclub comic fleeing the mob. Sadly not on DVD yet.

04. The Chase (1966) – An amazing cast in an oddball combination of a Southern melodrama and an action film, scripted by Horton Foote and Lillian Hellman.Trainwreck great.

05. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – One of the best films ever made, period.

06. Alice’s Restaurant (1969) – Arlo Guthrie’s song took up an album side and Penn made it into a counterculture classic.

07. Little Big Man (1970) – The oddest history lesson ever and a great anti-Western; Forrest Gump stole the concept.

08. Night Moves (1975) – One of the dozens of reasons that Gene Hackman might just be the best of his generation.

09. The Missouri Breaks (1976) – At this point directors let Brando do what he wanted just to get him in the film; he was rarely odder than this one.

10. Four Friends (1981) – Craig Wasson leads a lesser known cast in one of the better films made about growing up in the turbulent 60s. Written by Steve Tesich, who gave us another coming-of-age classic in Breaking Away.

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