Cast & Crew
Robert Walker Jr.
Following a police raid of their all-night party, four young Miami beach bums set out in search of excitement. The group leader is Taurus, a part-time thief who supports himself by living off bored, wealthy Florida matrons. With him are the 25-year-old Sureshot, who exists on an allowance from his father; Herby, an ineffectual hanger-on; and Sandy, Sureshot's seductive sleeping partner from the previous night. After spotting some small boys playing with toy army weapons, they join in the neighborhood "war games" and chase one of the youngsters into his home. The child's father, former Mafia member Roc Delmonico, who is now a respectable hotel owner, mistakes them for kidnapers and offers himself as victim. The foursome, deciding to play along, take Roc to a fire-gutted mansion, where they plan to hold him for $200,000 ransom; however, Roc's wife, Monica, his business partner Fred, former Mafia associate Sam, and his mother all refuse to pay. Burdened now with a liability, Taurus decides that Roc must be killed to guarantee his silence, but in a burst of anger the kidnap victim seizes Taurus' gun and takes control. Enraged at his treatment by family and friends, Roc demands and receives $3,000,000 in blackmail payments by threatening to expose Monica's adulterous affairs, Fred's fraudulent tax returns, and various Mafia secrets. Wild with excitement, Taurus suggests that he and Roc kill the other three and split the cash, but Roc, aware that the bills are marked, sets fire to the money and walks away from his captors.
Robert Walker Jr.
James Randolph Kuhl
Philip W. Anderson
James D. Buchanan
James D. Buchanan
Film Effects Of Hollywood
Frank R. Pierson
The Happening -
Produced by Columbia Pictures under the working title Mr. Innocent, The Happening underwent the name-change when Spiegel secured the rights to the Supremes' chart-topper of the same name, which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1967. A gifted director with an auteur's aesthetic, Silverstein played Herb Alpert music for his actors to suggest a tempo conducive to wild abandon on the verge of catastrophe. Accustomed to the demands of stage acting, Dunaway found herself liberated by the comparatively experimental nature of picture-making. "I took to movies, and everything about them, like a duck to water," she wrote in her 1995 memoirs Looking for Gatsby. "I was truly in my element." Harder to accustom herself to was her status as "the girl" in a Hollywood film starring such name actors as Quinn, George Maharis, Michael Parks, and even Milton Berle, cast as Quinn's duplicitous business partner. Rather than be offended, and grateful for a chance to play someone other than a dutiful daughter or wife, Dunaway threw herself into the process of becoming a movie siren. "I took my voice down a register, a low husky sound," she recalled in 1995. "I wanted to get to the kind of latent aggression that exists when you know down to your bones that you look terrific."
Returning to her Florida stamping grounds to make her motion picture debut, Dunaway could not help but count The Happening as a win. Billeted at Miami's Palm Bay Club, she enjoyed the attentions of the hair and makeup departments, as well as the company of her costars. By all accounts, everyone got along famously - one storm-off-the-set tantrum by Michael Parks (still in his fledgling period as the next James Dean) notwithstanding. Though Dunaway was cast as Parks' lover, she found more offscreen rapport with fifth-billed Robert Walker, Jr., namesake son of the late actor Robert Walker and actress Jennifer Jones. Rather than engage in the expected backstage affair, the two enjoyed a sibling relationship that endured through the end of principal photography. The Happening was only a modest success for Columbia and did little for the careers of all involved, though for Dunaway was pointed to greater things - costar status opposite Warren Beatty in Arthur Penn's groundbreaking Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and a trio of Academy Award nominations that resulted in a 1977 Best Actress Oscar for her role in Sidney Lumet's Network (1976).
By Richard Harland Smith
Looking for Gatsby: My Life by Faye Dunaway with Betsy Shakey (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Sam Spiegel by Natasha Fraser Cavassoni (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
The Happening -
Eugene Roche (1928-2004)
Born on September 22, 1928, in Boston, Massachusettes, Roche began his career when he was still in High School, doing voice characterization on radio in his native Boston. After he graduated, he served in the Army, then studied drama on the G.I. bill at Emerson College. Concentrating on acting, he found much stage work in San Francisco in the early `50s, then headed for New York in the early `60s and began appearing on televison (Naked City, Route 66) and on Broadway.
It wasn't until he was in his forties did Roche began to get really good parts. His open, friendly face and stocky build made him the ideal choice to play the likable POW, Edgar Derby in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. His role as Edgar who saves an intact porcelain figurine from the ruins of Dresden only to be executed by his German captors for looting, may have been brief, but it was instantly memorable. Fine roles continued to come his way in films throughout the decade, the highlights included: They Might Be Giants (1971), Mr. Ricco (1975), The Late Show (1977), Corvette Summer (a deft comic performance as a high school auto shop teacher who is secretly running a car theft ring), and Foul Play (both 1978).
Yet, it would be on television where Roche would find lasting success. He became a household face when, as Squeaky Clean, he became the spokesman for Ajax household cleaner. Then he struck gold in sitcoms: Archie Bunker's practical joking nemesis, Pinky Peterson on All in the Family (1976-78), the madly romantic attorney, Ronald Mallu on Soap (1978-81), and the lovable landlord Bill Parker on Webster (1984-86).
Roche is survived by his wife, Anntoni; his brother, John; his sister, Clara Hewes; nine children, one of which, a son Eamonn, is a successful working actor; and nine grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Eugene Roche (1928-2004)
TCM Remembers - Jack Kruschen
Jack Kruschen (1922-2002)
He may have not been a household name, yet his career consisted of over seventy-five films, spanned over six decades, and displayed a strong versatility in playing either dramatic or comic roles with equal effectiveness. He was the definitive, "I can't quite remember the name, but I remember the face" character player who enlivened many films with his robust frame, cherubic face and infectious smile. His name was Jack Kruschen, a superb performer who died on April 2, 2002 at the age of 80, leaving behind a strong body of work that was impressive as any character actor of his generation.
Kruschen was born on March 20, 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The son of a watchmaker who later set up shop in Hollywood, he was performing in an operetta at Hollywood high school when a talent scout for CBS radio discovered him. Kruschen was soon doing voice characterizations on popular network programs such as Dragnet, The Danny Thomas Show and Sam Spade. With his gift for dialects (he was most adept at playing ethnic types like Greeks, Yiddish or Italians - a skill finely honed in his radio days), Kruschen was a natural for the movies and soon made his film debut with a small role in the Betty Hutton comedy Red, Hot and Blue (1949).
Kruschen's early career is peppered with a variety of roles like a comical gangster in both Abbott & Costello Go to Mars (1953) and Money from Home (1953) starring Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin; a hard-nosed police detective in Confidence Girl (1952) and Julie (1956), an underrated Doris Day thriller; or doomed victims to alien prey in Sci-fi cult classics: the 1953 version of War of the Worlds (fans remember him as Salvatore, one of the first earthlings to be killed by the invading Martians) and The Angry Red Planet (1959). The roles offered steady work, but not much critical recognition. All that changed when Billy Wilder cast him in the key role as Jack Lemmon's bemused but caring neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss in The Apartment (1960). As the man who observes the steady stream of women in and out of Lemmon's apartment and the one who saves Shirley MacLaine from a drug overdose, Kruschen offered a wonderful performance - viewing his neighbor's proceedings with a jaundiced eye, yet never letting his disdain overtake his humor and humanity. He was justly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
From this point on, Kruschen was seldom out of work, appearing in over 40 films (including a terrific dramatic turn in the original Cape Fear (1962) as Dave Grafton, a corrupt southern bigot) and nearly 60 guest roles on television for the next two decades. Kruschen would later find fame toward the end of his career when he was cast as Papa Papadapolis in the hit sitcom Webster (1985-1987) and would show pleasant variations of the "kindly old codger" throughout the remainder of his career - like his final role in the romantic comedy 'Til There Was You (1997). His death in April this year may have gone largely unnoticed by the movie-going public, but for those of us who treasure the art of the character player, Kruschen's passing was a loss that is fortunately compensated by his strong body of work that will be enjoyed for fans of the late show for many years to come.
By Michael T. Toole
SIGNE HASSO, 1910-2002
Actress Signe Hasso died June 7th at the age of 91. She was best-known for starring in A Double Life (1947) but played numerous Europeans in films during the 1940s. Hasso was born on August 15, 1910 in Stockholm, Sweden and began acting on stage at the age of 13. Ten years later made her first film appearance as Signe Larsson. She was married in 1936 and adopted the last name of her husband, cinematographer and later director Harry Hasso. After a dozen Swedish films, Hasso moved to Hollywood in 1940 where her first screen appearance was an uncredited role in Journey for Margaret (1942). A brief stint at RKO didn't lead to any more promising film parts so Hasso concentrated on her stage career in New York City. Eventually, her film career became more active, thanks to a quick succession of roles, most notably in Fred Zinnemann's The Seventh Cross (1944), Douglas Sirk's A Scandal in Paris (1946) and Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street (1945). However it was her portrayal of Ronald Colman's wife in the Oscar-favorite A Double Life that solidified her fame. But as Hasso continued to act on the stage and TV, her film work began to taper off. She appeared in high-profile thrillers like Crisis (1950), several made-for-TV movies, a few European productions and even the cult murder mystery, Bert Gordon's Picture Mommy Dead (1966). In 1972, the king of Sweden decorated Hasso for her work. Her final appearance was in a 2001 documentary about Greta Garbo.
HERMAN COHEN, 1927-2002
One of the key producers of B-movies, Herman Cohen, died June 2nd at the age of 76. Like most producers, his name wasn't generally known outside the industry or the realms of film buffs but most people never forget the titles of his films: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and the not-quite-immortal Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). Cohen was a Detroit native, born August 27, 1927. He entered the film business in the smallest possible way, as a 12-year-old janitor, often accepting passes for his family and friends instead of wages. Cohen served in the Marine Corps (several articles incorrectly say the Army) before becoming a publicist at Columbia Pictures. By 1951 he was working as a producer's assistant on low-budget independent films, mostly for Realart Pictures run by another Detroit native Jack Broder. Soon Cohen was producing his own movies, including Westerns and mysteries, until hitting big with the famous I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Starring a then-unknown Michael Landon (under personal contract to Cohen who later tore it up so Landon could appear in Bonanza), the film was made for $100,000 but in just a few months grossed over $2 million. Cohen didn't hestitate to turn out I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula by Thanksgiving of that same year and before long had made several films that continued to earn money for years to come. (One TCM writer remembers Horrors of the Black Museum turning up in a small Alabama town in the early 70s, over a decade after its initial release. The film is scheduled for a DVD release with a Cohen commentary from VCI Entertainment.) Cohen also made several films in England including The Headless Ghost (1959) and the cult favorite Konga (1961) where Cohen even paid RKO $25,000 for the rights to use the title King Kong in publicity for his own film. Cohen's later movies included a spaghetti Western and Joan Crawford's final acting role Trog (1970). In the 1980s Cohen ran a company, Cobra Media, that distributed some films and licensed material such as Teenage Werewolf to Landon for use in one of his Highway to Heaven episodes.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - Jack Kruschen
Copyrighted at 101 min. Location scenes filmed in Miami. Working titles: Mister Innocent and It's What's Happening.
Released in United States 1967
Faye Dunaway makes her screen debut.
Released in United States 1967