Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Blast From The Past for February 5th: Ty Hardin
Thanks to some of my friends and many readers of FH, I am now officially over my previously held prejudices surrounding old movies, black and white films in particular. I cannot believe the times I wasted ignoring some of the most incredible films, and actors, I have been enjoying the last couple of years. Given my love of classic Circus films the highlight of TCM's January salute to Joan Crawford was last weeks airing of 1967's Berserk.
Monica Rivers is the owner and ringmaster of a traveling circus, and she'll stop at nothing to draw bigger audiences. When a series of mysterious murders begins to occur and some of her performers die gruesomely, her profits soar!
Sounds good doesn't it? With Joan Crawford as Monica and my introduction to actor Ty Hardin as the handsome and muscular young man Monica hires to save the show, I was all in. Berserk, which also featured Diana Dors and Michael Gough, certainly wasn't the best Crawford film TCM aired during January, but it also wasn't her worst. The film earned points for it's title alone.
I hadn't heard of Ty Hardin before (so close to a great porn name) but I certainly ran him through the regular search engines after the viewing. Crawford was the movie's star, and Ty was there to provide the younger eye candy. Quite a sharp contrast to today when it is women who usually provide the eye candy for the older male stars. Ty seems a clear predecessor to male himbos of today such as Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner and Matthew McConaughey before his career transformation. In the film to look pretty, take their shirts off and stand back and let the other actors worry about emoting.
It is not that Ty, who is still alive and kicking living in New York, was not a good actor, it was more his face, blonde hair and hard body were geared towards female fans at that time and felt enough to satisfy audiences of his films. You only need to check out his wardrobe (see below) in 1962's The Chapman Report to know what I mean.
Sadly my goggling also turned up some questionable work in the 70's with a fanatical right winged group, but given the actor was born in the 30's, raised in Texas and served in the Korean war, I will cut him some slack. That was also almost 40 years ago, so I will simply hope he has evolved and continue to seek out films where his amazing chest is on display.
The Chapman Report