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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Once Upon a Texas Train

I watched an old movie the other day.. It was a western, with lots of actors I knew, it was called:
Now, I know many don't like westerns.. and many others don't bother to watch older movies, but this one got me to thinking, and wondering what it was about watching these older actors that made me enjoy the movie? Was it because there were so many I recognized in it? (a rarity to be sure, films made now can't afford more then one or two "known" actors.) Was it because of nostalgia, remembering them in other movies? Was it because I was just so glad to see them still working and enjoying their talents? Was it because i became afraid I would never see them in another movie? I've always enjoyed the stories attached to older actors... even before I got old myself.. I wonder why?
Then I began to wonder about who would write a movie specifically for "older" actors? So I looked up this movie and the writer...
written by Burt Kennedy 1922-2001

Richard Widmark 1914- . Harry Carey Jr 1921-

Willie Nelson 1933- . Chuck Conners 1921-1992 .Kevin McCarthy 1914-

Hank Worden 1901-1992 . Stuart Whitman 1926- .Red West 1936-

Ken Curtis 1916-1991 . A.Dickinson 1931- .Gene Evans 1922-1998

Dub Taylor 1907-1994 . Jack Elam 1918-2003 . Royal Dano 1922-1994
Hmm, the writer was born in 1922, so he was around the age of many of the actors. I wondered if this held true to other movies with "older actors" in them so I did some searching.. this is what I found..

Cocoon written by: David Saperstein b.1937
How To Make an American Quilt written by: whitney Otto (1995-novel no age given to the author)
The Whales of August written by: David Berry b.1943
Batteries Not Included written by: Mick Garris b.1951
A Family Thing written by: Billy Bob Thornton b.1955
Fried Green Tomatoes written by: Fannie Flagg b.1944
Driving Miss Daisy written by: Alfred Uhry b.1936
Nobody's Fool written by: Richard Russo (novel 1949)
It would seem that indeed, the authors of movies (and books) about "older people" were older their self.
So I wondered even more. Is this because only the older writers know what it's like to be old, or feel old? Is it because they don't want to see the talent of the actors disappear just because of age? I wonder what prompts them to write stories for and about the aging person? If the story was written specifically to be a movie, was it written because these aging actors don't get the sort of money the actors of today get?
Of course once written, if it's made into a movie a young casting person, most likely, wouldn't have the faintest idea who to cast in the movie! I can see a 25 yr old casting director now... "Richard Widmark? Who's he?" (gimme a break!)
Naturally, the money aspect got me angry.. it always does. The fact that today's "big actors" get 20 million or more for one movie! (that goes over into sports figures too.. just can't see anyone worth that much money no matter how talented they are movies or otherwise..sorry.) Even if they only get 1/2 of that money because of taxes and such.. interest alone on a few million would let anyone live a long life of ease.
It makes me wonder... will movies still be made using the elderly actors when the actors are the ones that make millions of dollars per movie? Will the generations to come be able to see them "one last time?" ..and here's a fact too.. will they recognize the quality of character actors in their generation that we had in the older generation??? I am not sure they will.. we of the "old" generation had the most fantastic character actors around! Of course there's always the fact that the studios don't produce the amount of movies they did "back then" too.. so less chance of really getting to recognize the faces of todays character actors. That's sad to me. I found that in old movies.. the character actors became as important as the leading actors. But.. that's just me.
I guess seeing Once Upon A Texas Train just made me sad to know the younger generations are going to miss out on movies like this one and like the ones I listed. (all great movies)
Cha! one more thought just came to mind.. with all the "facial fixes" going around Hollywood now a days.. no one will even look the part! Believe it or not... that's sad too!


Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

One of the GOOD things about the old Studio System was that all these great character actors were under contract just as the 'stars' were. So, these people could count on steady work in many films a year...That, of course, doesn't exist anymore and hasn't existed for a long long time. There are studios, yes...but Actors are not under contract...The Tom Cruise "deal" is an individual thing with a "business entity" and in this case the 'star' kind of called the shots....Paramount was happy to have him attached to the studio---a business, not a system...BUT, as we have just witnessed those days may be over, too! I mean the days of the HUGE upfront percentage going to the 'star' and his/her production company...
The "studio System" may have been bad in a lot of ways, but it had it's very very good side, too. Actors/Talent were proteced from scandels, most of the time...and actors were sort of groomed by the studios...A different time, indeed!

Sorry to have gone on so, Pat...Hope it's okay.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

It worries me that people think movies made in 1988 are old. Eek.

I do love the cast of character actors!

3:16 PM  

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