Seemed like a good time to bring out some Western shots of Leonard in two of his best westerns, Catlow (1971) as bounty hunter Miller, and the NBC movie, Bonanza: Under Attack (1995) where Leonard played reformed outlaw Frank James who helps the progeny of the Cartwright family fight an unscrupulous Pinkerton detective. I’ve seen Catlow, but never the Bonanza one, hope to find it soon.
The merciless Miller in Catlow (1971)
with Erika Lopez in Catlow (1971)
With Brian Lechner in Bonanza: Under Attack (1995)
Found another one! It’sDrums of Africa (1963), an exciting tale of love and slavery in the darkest continent! that is, A teen dream musical with Frankie Avalon! What I mean to say is, it’s marvelous really a marvelous piece of crap!
Let’s see…A guy goes to Africa in the 1910’s to survey a railroad site for his boss, brings along his boss’s lightweight teen son and goes on safari, employing ‘the best guide in Africa’ and falling for the lovely young missionary woman who works with the guide. Unfortunately, there are greedy slavers loose in the jungle, and his lady love is their main target! Sounds exciting right? Well…
Here’s our hero, David Moore (Lloyd Bochner, right) and teen-sidekick-that-he-didn’t-want-to-bring-along Brian Ferrers (Frankie Avalon) seeking out their guide.
With all this nice manliness on screen, the film inexplicably gives viewers a major beefcake valentine of…Marplon! (Torin Thatcher as Jack Cuortemayn )
(Okay, Sorry about that — I better cleanse your memory palate here…)
Anyway, Marplon spends the rest of the movie proving his virility to the other two guys by insisting on keeping his shirt unbuttoned…
And on the way out of his office, who should come screaming out of the jungle and into the arms of our hero but Zarabeth.(Mariette Hartley as Ruth Knight)
She’s being chased by slavers who find her pure whiteness a perfect target for their evil trade. Zarabeth’s Ruth’s fresh faced beauty has the three men gaga for her and pitching woo. Of course for Frankie, that means–
This was a step down for Hartley’s career. She had recently finished the brilliant Ride the High Country and compared this job to going from president to janitor in two days. Of course she’s virginal and sweet here, and has been too busy in her young life to know love. In one of queasiest moments of dialogue, Marlpon confides in Zarabeth that the only problem with their relationship is that they’re friends. Ugh!
But Zarabeth isn’t into a May-December with Marplon, or a December-May with Frankie, and despite the awesome gorgeousness of Marplon’s man-servant Kasongo (Hari Rhodes)…
…she can’t help but find herself attracted to bland white bread David (no surprise there). But first she has to do an obligatory Dovesoap commercial…
He meets her after she’s squeaky clean, of course, compares trunks with a baby elephant, and she admits that his kiss ‘brought her world alive!” Please. Little does she realize that years later, her lover will change his name to Cecil Colby and die while copulating with Edith Keeler (In her Alexis Karrington years) on Dynasty! But that’s another post…
After much inter-cut animal action from King Soloman’s Mines, the pair live happily ever after in the jungle. Did the railroad come through? Did Marplon ever button his shirt? Did Frankie find Annette? Can’t remember, think I fell asleep… All in all 2 stars our of 5.
Nimoy so often played villains in his varied career, especially when it was his bread and butter, for a good part of two decades before Spock and Paris. But even after his legendary status as the ever-good Spock, he was always happy to play ‘the heavy’, often with charming overtones as seen here in the Columbo episode “A Stitch in Crime” as the evil Dr. Barry Mayfield. And there was Miller, the nasty bounty hunter you rooted for, who lost his life (and clothes) in Catlow, Mustapha Mond in Brave New World, and even as the evil Achmet Khan in the TV movie Marco Polo. (video)– Probably not the most memorable of movies, but I recall a line of his from that character where he was attempting to seduce a young woman “Don’t be afraid to touch me” he said. She was repulsed, of course. (was she crazy??) Most recently, he’s been the evil William Bell of Fringe, at least I think he’s evil, but to be honest, I haven’t been able to watch any of it, it’s too creepy! But kudos to the man for coming out of retirement to play him: “I’m a sucker for a good role!” he joked. Rock on.
Here’s today’s flashback: The 70’s were a busy time for Star Trek people, actors and producers alike. Here’s a bunch of TV Guide listings for non-Trek projects — The Trek people kept their families fed in the drought between cancellation and the first movie. Nimoy was the most active, in Catlow with Yul Brynner, (small but sexy role as ‘Miller’,) TV movie The Missing Are Deadly, (which I don’t remember at all) and his popularity was booming so quickly he even got his own interview special in 1976 on PBS, The Man who Played Spock with Bill Varney. I remember Mom letting me stay up to watch this, it was on at 10, and I recall Varney at one point asking Nimoy to give him a ‘mind-meld’, and Nimoy fondly obliged. Shatner’s movie, The Tenth Level was a fine psychological thriller about how far one would go to inflict pain on a stranger. Both Shatner and Nimoy would appear on Dick Clark’s “The 10,000 Pyramid” Then there were the two movies Gene Roddenberry made, the (unfortunately) failed TV Pilot, Genesis II, and its sequel Planet Earth. Looking back on it, Genesis was the better of the two, and a great adventure story. Of course, fans were still wondering when Star Trek would be revived (see question), and finally below, my sister Kathy (I had 5) went to California in ’76 and saw the new Star Trek wax figures at the Movieland Wax Museum — see her postcard-oh I envied her!
Back on Monday with more memories! Let me know what you think!