Monday, 29 November 2010

The Rule Of Three Strikes Again...

Welcome to the show folks...

I originally planned to take American Thanksgiving day off, because it's usually a slow time for the sort of news I rant and rave about, but then I got sick, and have been wallowing in my own misery since. I'm not fully recovered but I'm well enough to take on the sad duty that fallen on me this evening.

I'm talking about that all encompassing rule of threes where celebrities die in packs of three within a few days of each other, and it's happened again.


Became the queen of Hammer Films in the early 1970s, giving new meaning to the term femme
fatale, but she was also a holocaust survivor, an escapee from communist East Germany, and a writer.

I remember first seeing her when I caught her first Hammer movie
The Vampire Lovers on a pirated pay-TV signal when I was 13. I believe my reaction at the time was "Wow!" However, she was more than just a sex symbol, proving herself a talented actress capable of breathing life in her sometimes undead characters, and the movies she starred in.

She was also the first celebrity I ever communicated with on line. I sort of bumped into her cybernetically back during the glory days of MySpace, and exchanged some polite pleasantries. Very gracious, and classy to fans and, according to reports, colleagues alike.


Spent the first couple of decades of his career playing straight dramatic parts, then at the age of 54 reinventing his image and career as a comedic performer.

He grew up, the son of a Mountie in Western Canada, studied drama, worked in movies like Forbidden Planet, and ended up doing the guest-star rounds in television, playing police detectives, district attorneys, and doctors. No one really considered a comedian.

Then came the film
Airplane. It was a wild surrealist comedy, that the filmmakers populated with mostly straight dramatic actors from television. The casting was a joke in itself, presenting these people who usually played somber, sober authority figures acting crazy.

Nielsen and the Airplane crew then went on to do
Police Squad, that tried to bring that surrealistic style to television. The show died on the small screen, but went to big-screen heaven with the Naked Gun movie trilogy.

Nielsen was reborn as the king of goofball comedy and a box office star, and even though he had been elevated to the 'A-List,' and had an output that outstripped stars that were decades younger, he still kept working in smaller projects in his native Canada, knowing that his name could help a filmmaker get his film or TV show made.

He will always be remembered as a funny, talented and versatile actor, and will be greatly missed.


I will confess, I used to resent Irvin Kershner. Not for anything he did, but because his most famous film,
The Empire Strikes Back, was such a downer.

Spoiler alert for those who have lived in a
cave for the last 30 years, the film ended with Han Solo frozen in carbonite, Luke Skywalker getting his hand cut off and finding out his Daddy's an armor plated half-robot sociopath, and the rebellion's on the run after being chased off the froze backwater they had called home.

Now I can appreciate Kershner's courage. He knew the film was going to be hard going for the audience, being the second downbeat part of a trilogy, and fans of the first film would be hyper critical since he was not George Lucas, but he still put together a finely crafted adventure film. He burned real calories making that film the best he could, and give it the dramatic weight it needed when any someone who treated the project as just a hired gun would have just piled on the special effects.

All three made their own unique contributions to popular culture, and all three will be missed.

1 comment:

  1. Dirty McDigus sez:

    Nielsen and Kershner will be missed.
    They both gave me great works and I stack that director above the rest who worked on Star Wars for he was the only good one who actually made a movie instead of an amateur hour show or tv drama crap~

    The Naked Gun and Airplane! still remain the finest form of comedy that ever graced the bijou since I was born and Nielsen lead the charge in both~