Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Was looking up this elegantly flat faced man on wikipedia the other day...it's really, really bad to have a lot of free time on your hands, a chain habit with biographies, and wikipedia...
Things I already knew and liked about him:
1)His appearance in Companeros (1966), with the weird relationship with his pet falcon. Also, most perfect theme song ("Vamos a matar, Vamos a matar, COMPANNNEEEEERRRROOOOS....")
2)Appearance in Sudden Fear (1952), my second favorite of the "later Joan Crawford" movies (after Possessed (1947))-- a really great thriller and one of only three movies I can think of off the top of my head in which dictaphone plays a major role (also Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and Double Indemnity (1944)...god, I want a dictaphone).
3) Shane (1953) (obviously). Looks more like a skull than any other villain ever you've seen. Apparently told the casting person he knew how to ride a horse, got the job, showed up to the set, and admitted he very definitely did not know how to ride a horse. I am told this is why his character walks the horse into town, which is somehow creepier?
3) Ripleys Believe it Or Not television show, which used to come on Sci-Fi channel way, way long ago. LOVED IT.
4) Mighty Sparrow's song "Jack Palance"...about overaged prostitutes making their living via drunk Yanqui patronage in his native West Indies.
"Still they walk in bold at night with a face like Jack Palance..."
Thank you, Lord, for Mighty Sparrow.
What I found out from Wikipedia that I got a kick out of:
1) Daughter Brooke Palance married Michael Wilding Jr (son of MW Sr. and Elizabeth Taylor), they have three children together...what a pedigree! I've just gotten to the section of the book-on-cd on Taylor where she married MW and this child is born, coincidence?
2)"Palance's rugged face, which took many beatings in the boxing ring, was disfigured when he bailed out of a burning B-24 Liberator bomber while on a training flight over southern Arizona, where he was a student pilot. Plastic surgeons repaired the damage as best they could, but he was left with a distinctive, somewhat gaunt, look."---> Jeez, Louise!! Jeez. No more talking about his flat face.
3) His real name is Volodymyr Palahniuk... same surname as Chuck. His parents were of Ukranian origin. Say "Volodymyr" outloud twice, it's like blowing into a coke bottle. A name with "gravitas". I like that Palance keeps some traces of his original name in it. Also, that it sounds a little like "paladin", a great, great word. I guess he would've gotten confused with the guy from Have Gun Will Travel, though, as he does not appear very dissimilar from JP in Shane (see above).
4) At his estate sale, you could buy things priced from $5 to $5,000. Devoted estate-sale-ist that I am, that's just too cool. I mean, I honestly would pay $5 for, I dunno, a sock of his. Wouldn't it be great to have a framed Jack Palance sock, unopened package of cotton balls, etc, etc, in your home as a conversation piece? Yes, it would.
God speed, ye olde Jack Palance.