‘It’s scary to stand up and tell the truth.’
Mike Smith – Hollywood Stuntman https://www.outofshadows.org/
It's better out, than in.
‘It’s scary to stand up and tell the truth.’
Mike Smith – Hollywood Stuntman https://www.outofshadows.org/
Doug McClure was born in 1935 in California. He became an accomplished horse rider in his childhood, which would hold him in good stead for some of his future acting roles. He attended the University of California and did some modelling and commercials before getting a couple of minor and uncredited acting roles in several films.
One of his first screen appearances was in the western The Unforgiven (1960) with Burt Lancaster and Shenandoah (1965) with James Stewart. His first notable acting role around that time was in the T.V detective series Checkmate, which ran for 70 episodes.
In 1962, Doug landed the role of Trampas, the cowhand, in the T.V western series The Virginian, (1962 to 1971) which ran for nine seasons.
He would appear throughout the seventies, in several t.v series and many low budget and made-for-t.v movies. (There’s a full movie on You Tube that he stars in called The Hellhounds of Alaska (1973) which I’m going to take a look at, when I’ve finished writing this)!
Now we’re coming up to my favourite part. It was my love of dinosaurs which brought Doug McClure to my attention.
I remember seeing the monster flick, The Land That Time Forgot‘ in the Easter holidays when I was growing up. I’ve just recently watched it again, twice. (I watch it at least once a year) and I didn’t notice it at the time but there’s a great deal of violence in it, a lot of butt-stroking (striking someone with the butt stoke of a long gun) and a fair amount of punch ups, but no-one really gets hurt, except when they’re being eaten by a dinosaur. This is not your typical children’s movie. It’s set in World War One. When the characters weren’t on the land that time forgot, they were inside a U-boat.
The monster effects are bad, but when you consider that all the dinosaurs were hand puppets, they’re not that bad. You forget about the effects when you’re ten because the characters and the story draw you in, and of course, your own imagination keeps everything authentic.
Keith Barron, who starred alongside him said that Doug was very handy during the fight scenes. He knew exactly where he should be, to meet all the right camera angles and how to throw a punch and make it look real.
Doug originally turned down the lead role in this movie and another actor took his place but Samuel Z. Arkoff of American International Pictures suddenly became co-financers. They would provide the budget and only make the film if McClure was cast. He finally changed his mind and agreed to do the film.
Doug went on to do a string of fantasy/sci-fi adventure movies, including At the Earth’s Core, The People That Time Forgot, Warlords from Atlantis and Humanoids From The Deep.
Doug always seemed to be in B movies, and sometimes, looking through his vast catalogue of film and T.V experiences, he isn’t even credited, or is so low down on the list that you don’t see his name, let alone given top billing. He wasn’t pushy or overly ambitious. He just loved to act. I think that’s a testimony to his modesty and his unprententiousness.
Doug was married five times and has two daughters.
He passed away from lung cancer, at age 59.
I always felt that Doug McClure had that rare acting ability, where he could convey so much without saying a word.
He was under rated, under used, fed to the B movie world.
He played the typical romanticized action movie hero, a no nonsense, use-your-fists type of guy who was always in comforting, re-assurance protector mode. Rough and ready but always a gentleman and always honourable. He gained cult status by being that character in those types of movies.
For me, he will always be synonymous with dinosaur movies and the joy they brought to me, and still bring today.
Lynda Carter was born in Phoenix in 1951. She performed on a Talent Show at the age of five and was a singer in a band at high school and later in a group with her cousins. She was voted ‘Most Talented’ at Arizona State University but dropped out to pursue a career in music. She performed on tour with a band called The Garfin Gathering and won Miss World USA 1972.
She took acting classes in New York at this time and appeared in a number of B movies before getting her big break playing DC comic book heroine, Wonder Woman. The series lasted from 1975 to 1979.
Growing up, Lynda was a memorable and positive role model for me. I thought the costume was awesome. Now, I have mixed feelings about the way she was dressed. She is hardly wearing anything really, it’s a glorified bikini, she’s all boobs and legs. It’s a male fantasy, but it has to be said, it’s also a female fantasy, for women scrabbling for a postive role model. This was really all we had in the seventies. It was a very mysogynstic time. (Who am I kidding? It still is). We can see a woman’s beauty and power and sensuality on one hand, but on the other, these days, we can see that Wonder Woman was obviously objectified (but glad it was shorts rather than a skirt, a tad better) but all I saw as an eight year old girl, was a very positive, intelligent, beautiful, strong and kind character which maybe helped me get through some of my childhood angst, and the whole thing stays true to the DC comic books. And if it did feel very positive, maybe it was.
She wanted to play the part so that other women would relate to her. She said, ‘I want women to want to be me, or be my best friend!” That’s exactly how I felt. I wanted to be her, or be her best friend. So I think she nailed it!
She married her agent, Ron Samuels in 1977 and during the late seventies, she went back to her first love, which was music, and recorded an album called Portrait.
Unhappy in her marriage, Lynda began drinking heavily. In 1982, she left her home, leaving her husband a note. She sought a divorce, but she says she has no animosity towards him and wishes him well.
A few years later she met and married Washington, D.C. Attorney Robert A. Altman and had two children, Jessica and Jamie. She also sought help with her drinking and has been sober now for around 22 years. In 2016, she said, ‘After 18 years of recovery, I live every day with immense gratitude. I am forever thankful for my family and friends who stood by me and encouraged me… and for those who helped me heal.’ She emphasizes the importance of family support in addiction issues.
In 1993, just when Lynda thought she had it all, a perfect husband and two wonderful children, her husband was accused of bank fraud and their world imploded. A huge court case ensued. Lynda implies that those two and a half years, when they were clearing his name, were the worst of her life. Eventually, his name was cleared and they could finally get on with their lives.
After Wonder Woman, Lynda appeared in several musical T.V specials and a crime drama series called Partners In Crime in 1984. Then in the 1990’s, she appeared in several television movies and in the comedy/horror film, The Creature in The Sunny Side Up Trailer Park 2004, playing a has-been beauty queen. In 2005, she appeared in the remake of The Dukes Of Hazard and Disney movie ‘Sky High’ and guested in the vampire film ‘Slayer’ and the T.V series ‘Smallville.’
She has also done many voice overs, mostly for the video game, The Elder Scrolls.
She played ‘Mama Morton’ in the West End production of Chicago.
In 2007, she toured America with a one woman cabaret show, ‘An Evening with Lynda Carter.‘
In June 2009 and 2011, respectively, she released her second and third albums, a mix of jazz, country and pop. In 2015, she wrote and recorded five songs for the video game Fallout 4. In 2018, she released her fourth album, a bluesy record, where she duets two songs with her daughter Jessica.
Lynda was inadvertently, part of the Me too movement. In 2018, she spoke about being violated by a famous person, back in the day, but wouldn’t name names or describe incidents. She said the person was in the justice system at the time and was being held accountable for his crimes. She did say, however, that she thought every single woman in the Bill Cosby case was telling the truth.
In 2016, Lynda received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gracie Awards.
On April 3, 2018, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce proudly honored Carter with the 2,632nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
‘You don’t need to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were five.’
What do you want out of life? What is success? The answer’s are much clearer once you are told life’s just about over. The simple, loving, caring things then score heavily, and the greed, selfishness and ego become millstones.’
Roy Castle was born 31st August 1932, in Holmfirth, near Huddersfield. His mum had always wanted to go into show business and saw Roy as her second chance by proxy. At the age of three, he was singing in concerts. When he was twelve, he toured with a variety group, and at one venue, was paid in marmite sandwhiches. At fourteen, he did regular bookings at The Queen’s Theatre, Cleveleys, near Blackpool.
Impressed by Frank Sinatra, Roy became a ballad singer. He joined a musical trio, playing trumpet and high hat cymbal with the Ramble Band Wagon.
He got his own five minute solo spot with Jimmy Clitheroe and two spots with Jimmy James playing the Singing Skunk Trapper for eleven weeks.
He worked on the same bill as Dickie Valentine and was offered a seven minute solo and a four minute duet with Dickie in a show called ‘Saturday Spectacular.’
After that, doors began to open and he was offered a spot in a two week variety bill at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in the West End. Soon he was mixing with the cream of the British entertainment industry of the time, including Eartha Kitt, Pat Boone, Harry Seacombe, Bruce Forsyth, Max Bygraves and Norman Wisdom.
His impressions of Elvis’s three chord trick along with gyrating hips, made the Duke of Edinburgh laugh out loud. He said that this was the moment which catapulted him to the big time. He was asked to do an encore, to The Queen, The Duke and the audience. He was besieged by journalists afterwards, and by Eartha Kitt, who planted a kiss on his cheek.
He was booked for another T.V series and revue show, also for a summer season with Tommy Cooper and panto with Harry Seacombe. He got an invitation to go to New York and guest on the Garry Moore Show, ‘playing trumpet with a little bit of comedy.’ He was to appear on the show forty two times.
Back home, Eric Morecambe, set him up on a date with a young lady called Fiona, who was to become his wife. He began his family. First up, a son called Daniel, with Eric Morecambe as godfather.
He spend the next few years, booked up with dates, either in England, or the U.S.A, from nightclubs near Sheffield, to nine weeks on Broadway starring in Pickwick.
Fiona had two more children and Roy starred in his one and only ‘Carry On Film’, ‘Carry On Up the Kyber‘
He took bookings on cruise ships, and after another child, Fiona battled with post natal depression. Roy was working away so much, which led to problems within the marriage. He developed a drinking problem and the couple were close to splitting up but they became Christians and they found that their marriage was also saved.
Roy said, ‘I have met people who say, ‘I’ve been too wicked, too stupid. God would never accept me. Wrong.’
‘A genuine desire to turn away from evil and selfishness, and all the other garbage on offer, is accepted with open arms.’
Fiona and Roy got back on track and harmony returned to the family. He battled the booze for a while but was finally able to give it up. He said, ‘I can now identify with all the other people who found themselves struggling with addiction and sympathize with anyone going through the trauma of drying out.’
His career meanwhile went from strength to strength. He was on Blue Peter regulary and claims to be the only person on a live show, to have been bitten by Shep, during the performance.
At that time, Alan Russell was looking for a presenter for a new show for Children’s T.V. Someone who was a jack of all trades and didn’t mind looking a fool. He instantly turned to Roy. His words, not mine!
In 1972, the first ever Guinness Book of Records aired. Roy experienced many strange record breakers in this series, including someone singing in a bath in Times Square for hours on end, to cherry spitting championships. He broke several records on his own show, including one at Blackpool Tower.
Daniel, his eldest son, suffered a serious fall off a cliff when he was fifteen, and fell into a coma. Roy prayed with his church fervently and held night vigils. Daniel came out of his coma and made a full recovery. What Roy hadn’t known beforehand, was that a huge Christian gathering called Greenbelt, sixteen thousand in all, had prayed for Daniel.
Roy appeared in a play at the Shaftesbury Theatre in a play called ‘Big Bad Mouse’, replacing Eric Sykes, while also doing panto and summer season at the Palladium. He also replaced Michael Crawford, taking over the lead in ‘Billy’ at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Then onto starring in a musical called Mr. Polly in 1977. Roy also performed in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at the Palladium, alongside Tommy Steele, notching up 896 performances over two years.
In January 1992, Roy started to get terrible migraines and felt like he was suffocating. He was given a brain scan. After a battery of tests, he saw a radiologist and had a chest x ray. The doctor asked him if he smoked. ‘Never,’ Roy replied, but he had worked most of his life, in a lot of very smoky atmospheres. Then the doctor muttered, ‘Big in America now, passive smoking.’ After a bronchoscopy, it was revealed there were extremely virulent cancer cells known as oat cells in his lungs. The doctor concluded that he had a classic example of what was known as passive smoking, an inhalation of other people’s smoke.
When he wasn’t ill from the chemotherapy, Roy kept doing charity work, and in June 1992, he was voted ‘Man Of The Year’ receiving an award from the institute of entertainment and Arts Management for ‘Outstanding Service to the Entertainment Industry’. Also, there was an award from ASH and the British Heart Foundation for his ‘Outstanding Achievement in the Campaign Against Smoking’
The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation were holding their ‘People of the Year Award’ and Roy was a nominee but he had a bit of a dilemma. Baroness Thatcher would be at the event and she had signed with Philip Morris, the tobacco magnates, for which she would receive a great deal of money. Roy didn’t want to meet her, in his current circumstances, and he thought a confrontation would be selfish and spoil the event, so when it came time to meet and greet with the former Prime Minister, he ducked out of the line and lost himself in the crowd.
The headlines the next day screamed, ‘Roy Castle Snubs Margaret Thatcher’
He received an OBE from the Queen the following February.
He was baptized on Sunday 20th March, under duress! He said he didn’t like rituals just to please other people and felt that he and God ‘had a perfectly good understanding without making a public display’, but the baptism turned out to be ‘beautifully simple’.
And just to reiterate, because it’s important, ‘What do you want out of life? What is success? The answer’s are much clearer once you are told life’s just about over. The simple, loving, caring things then score heavily, and the greed, selfishness and ego become millstones.’
Roy had an amazing sense of humour and was self depreciating. He said, ‘They say that when you’re dying, your life flashes by in front of your eyes. I’ve had to rewind mine three times. I feel I’m taking longer to die then James Cagney on the cathedral steps.’
Roy didn’t live long enough to see his autobiography published.
In January 1994, Roy lent his name to an appeal to raise funds for the world’s first centre of Excellence to research lung cancer. His widow, Fiona, took up where he left off, in order that future generations should not suffer the effects of this terrible disease. She said his final words on the BBC TV programme ‘Fighting Back’ will continue to ring in her ears. ‘Don’t whine-laugh!’
‘JUST shy, sounds like nothing serious, doesn’t it?’
‘After all, the computer doesn’t burn out, look down on you, or try to have sex with you.’
–HyperNormalisation – Adam Curtis.
Or does it?
‘I’m vertical and I’m breathing. What could be cooler?’
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