Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Burgess Meredith Remembrance Day!


I feel terrible. A remembrance holiday I created and I almost forgot the dang thing.

When I first announced this holiday, I mentioned it was going to be Mr. Meredith's 100th birthday.

I had gotten his birthdate from his IMDB entry, but after looking at a few more sites, I think he was born in 1908, not 1907, so this is actually his 99th birthday (I'm shocked, SHOCKED at a factual error on the IMDB).

What is there to say about the man? I first saw him as the Penguin on reruns of the old Adam West Batman TV show. How many of you reading this can instantly hear his wonderful Penguin laugh?

Jon Stewart has incorporated it into his frequent impressions of Dick Cheney.



Then I saw him as Mickey in the Rocky films:



A couple years later I saw a performance that really moved me -- Henry Bemis in The Twilight Zone episode ,"Time Enough At Last". In a documentary I watched about Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone, a talking head mentioned that Serling protagonists are often people with fatal character flaws, that in the end get their comeuppance. But for Henry Bemis, when he breaks his glasses and says, "It's not fair -- It's not fair", it really *isn't* fair - he really didn't deserve the fate given to him.

It's one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.



Please join me in remembering Burgess Meredith.

Happy Burgess Meredith Remembrance Day!

20 comments:

Randal Graves said...

How many of you reading this can instantly hear his wonderful Penguin laugh?

Count me among those.

"You're gonna crap thunder, Splotch!"

Splotchy said...

Cut me, randal g!

Dr. Zaius said...

Burgess Meredith rocks!

dguzman said...

Count me in too. Loved him!

Women. Weaken. Legs!

Cowboy the Cat said...

I can't believe you didn't mention his performance for the ages alongside cinema juggernauts Harry Hamlin, and Ursula Andress.

Cowboy the Cat said...

In Clash of the Titans... (stupid touch-pad).

Distributorcap said...

my burgess meredith story...

when i was going to the Univ of Southern California back in 1981 (way back....) my uncle (well an uncle by marriage --- my mother's sister's husband's brother -- got it) was some (well still is since he aint dead) big shot music writer in LA (Marcus Welby, East of Eden, Star Trek IV, Beneath the Planet of Apes, Sybil to name drop a bit) would always invite me to dinner.

So for break the fast Yom Kippur one year he invited Burgess... so Burgie and I ate matzoh ball soup, lox and gefilte fish together.

Dale said...

That's my favourite Twilight Zone episode too but I have to say, I could never warm up to Mr. Meredith.

Johnny Yen said...

He was wonderful. He was "George" in the first movie version of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." And just when he should have been resting on his laurels and coasting, he was brilliant in "Grumpy Old Men." His bit about bacon was one of my favorite movies moments ever.

BeckEye said...

I could actually cry. I already told you that Burgess was my fake adopted grandfather. I love him.

He was actually in 4 Twilight Zone episodes: "Time Enough at Last," "Mr. Dingle, The Strong," "The Obsolete Man," and "Printer's Devil." Yeah, I'm a TZ geek - sue me. "Time Enough at Last" is obviously a classic but I've always had major issues with it because Henry's fate is NOT fair. The guy got pushed around all his life and then he finally got some piece and quiet, just to get screwed again. TZ episodes usually give its characters their "just desserts," not the total and complete shaft, so it's kind of an odd one.

I like all 4 of his TZs, but I've always liked "Printer's Devil" the best. It was one of the hour-long ones. Burgess played the devil, who offered to help a failing newspaper owner in exchange for his soul. It's really kind of funny, and Burgess's devil has a lot of the same mannerisms as the Penguin.

BeckEye said...

Distributorcap had lunch with my fake adopted grandfather!?!? It's not fair!

BeckEye said...

dinner, even

BeckEye said...

I'll stop commenting now.

Splotchy said...

dr z and g, thanks for celebrating with me!

CTC, I actually forgot he was in Clash Of The Titans. Now I remember. My memory of Harryhausen effects kind of overwhelms my memory of a lot of the actors in it. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

dc, very nice!

dale, did you have trouble with his acting style or something about his personality?

jy, I still haven't seen the original Of Mice And Men, though I saw the one with Sinise/Malkovich. I caught part of Grumpy Old Men, and he's the only thing I remember about it.

beckeye, you are now my go-to person for all things TZ! I don't believe I have seen any of those other TZ episodes you mention. By the way, I corrected the title of the episode I talk about in my post. Thanks for not pointing the error out ;). And just so you know, there are people who have adopted more than one actor, and Mr. Meredith is still available.

Randal Graves said...

dcap, that's great!

Shit, how could I forget Clash of the Titans! The damn thing's sitting on my shelf! Forgive me, Penguin.

Dale said...

His style, something about the way he looked, I'm not sure exactly.

FranIAm said...

Holy crap- I almost forgot all about this.

Having just turned 50 that is understandable...

Anyway, when I was much younger, like when I was turning 4, in 1961, I had a great celebrity brush with greatness starring BURGESS MEREDITH!


However, I must save this for my own blog, greedy blogger that I am.

FranIAm said...

The deed is done.

iSplotchy in 08!!

BeckEye said...

I don't think I noticed that you had the episode title wrong!

I'm making it official. I'm adopting Burgess. Joey Pants will still be my adopted actor, and Burgess will be my adopted grandfather, who happens to be an actor.

Splotchy said...

franiam, as you know, you rock.

beckeye, it's now official. Congratulations!