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Rumble on the Docks (1956)
A Good B Movie from Columbia Pictures
This film is finally available. I got it at Amazon.com as a manufactured on demand. The DVD says digitally remastered and since it is in the widescreen format I believe them. Anyway, it's James Darren's first film and he does admirably carrying the film. He plays Jimmy Smigelski, the leader of a gang, the Diggers. Robert Blake plays his pal Chuck. I liked most of the performances, however, Laurie Carroll as the love interest for Jimmy was weak. I can see why she is basically unknown today. It's too bad they couldn't have gotten someone like Susan Kohner for that role. Anyway, the film is well worth a look if only because of how they managed in the 1950s to do a film about tough street kids in which no one as much as says damn and still managed to be convincing.
The Brothers Rico (1957)
I'm glad this was finally on
I had requested it for almost two years over on TCM's suggest a movie site. It's also being released to DVD as part of a film noir collection due out in November. Being a big fan of James Darren, he was the biggest reason for my interest in this film but it's also a pretty good film. Richard Conte is a good lead with Dianne Foster as his worried wife. Kathryn Grant and James Darren would play a couple a year later in Gunman's Walk also directed by Karlson. James Darren's two scenes as the youngest brother make you wish they had continued casting him in these types of roles, although I like the first two Gidget movies. Anyway Thank you TCM for showing this.
Behind the Waterfall (1995)
Behind the Waterfall
It's kind of a nice, gentle old fashioned movie. I thought Gary Burghoff did a reasonable borough, although it probably wouldn't fool anyone from Galway or Cork. However, it isn't any broader than those in The Quiet Man and some of those actors really were Irish. I could have done without the fake, bushy eyebrows though, but they probably did that so he'd look his age or older (I think he was mid 50s or so at the time) and so people wouldn't say Hey, Radar O'Reilly's playing a Leprechaun. And it was faith based but not advancing one religion over another. My other recommendation is if The Irish Rovers ever need a new member, Gary Burghoff, even though his background isn't necessarily Irish, would make a good one.
Operation Mad Ball (1957)
It has been on Turner Twice
It was on last summer in July and then as part of a tribute to Jack Lemmon in January I think. Recently I have found out that it is due sometime this summer as part of a Jack Lemmon collection of five films. It's in the 50 dollar price range and I don't think it's coming out separately. Anyway, in addition to Jack Lemmon and Mickey Rooney it features several up and coming actors of the 50s. Oh and character actor Arthur O'Connell. The young actors are Kathryn Grant as Jack Lemmon's love interest. Ernie Kovacs in his first film. James Darren - pre Gidget and definitely pre-Time Tunnel, Roger Smith (he married Ann Margaret) and Dick York (Darren on Bewitched.) It's a good movie that should receive more attention. I enjoyed this movie very much.
Renegade: Second Chance (1992)
I thought Tracy Scoggins Was Too Thin
At least in this episode I did. I thought she looked like she had an eating disorder and checked her IMDb page to find out. I figured her for in her twenties, but she's two years older than I am. I think this was on in the early to mid nineties and I'm 53 as I write this so that would have us both mid to late 30s. It makes me feel better as it didn't seem like James Darren's character was chasing after 20 year old women. He probably was mid to late 50s and even with gray hair looks about 5 years younger than he is. Actually I bought this season of the series because of James Darren was in it. I got the Time Tunnel DVDs a couple years ago and it reminded me of how much I liked him back in 1966.
The Time Tunnel (1966)
The Time Tunnel
It gets a ten because James Darren is one of my all time favorites. I will admit that my favorite episodes happened in the first part of the series. Rendezvous with Yesterday has to rank as one of the ten best pilot episodes better. It would be followed up with the series' best episode, The Day the Sky Fell In. James Darren had the right amount of innocence to play Tony Newman, the younger, impulsive, scientist. Robert Colbert was good as his older mentor. (I'll admit in 1966, I didn't appreciate Robert Colbert. I thought he was bland. In retrospect, he's considerably better than I remembered. I do have to admit that the main attraction for me is still James Darren). I liked that there were people back home (Lee Merriwether, Whit Bissel, John Zaremba and for a time Sam Groom) who were trying to get them back. You could identify with the people back home who were trying to get them back. Yes, there were a few too many alien episodes, and a few too many times when they retrieved someone from the past by accident but all and all it was a good effort that should have lasted longer in my humble opinion. Irwin Allen, despite his critics, certainly knew how to entertain. Today's producers could take a page from his book.
The Mechanical Man
I'm one person who likes James Darren enough to get the second half of the second season of this series just to get his episode. James Darren is one of my favorite actors. He underplays his role as Peter Omir beautifully. Also from a female chauvinistic viewpoint if I were going to build an android it would probably look like James Darren who is as good looking now as he was in the 60s. David Hedison, who takes the prominent role in this episode due to Richard Basehart's illness, does well with his lead role. It's also nice to see Gidget's father (Author O'Connell) do battle with Gidget's original boyfriend (James Darren played Moondoggie) in this episode. Irwin Allen should have cast James Darren in some of his movies.
The Irish Rovers (1971)
The Irish Rovers
We got it in the 70s here in Maine. Those boys knew how to entertain. They had Ann Murray on the show in the beginning of her career. She sang Snowbird. It was a good show. Things were simpler back then and more innocent and we could certainly use shows like this again. Where it was a Canadian show I doubt it will ever be on TVland, but it would be a good choice. They did a follow up in the early 80s called Party With the Rovers. Not quite as good but still entertaining. They also did several CBC specials. I used to pick the up off the airwaves, it was snowy but you could get them. The group is still performing but Jim Fergusn died in 1997 and Will Millar left in 1995. I haven't seen them in their new form but I've heard they're as good as they ever were.
T.J. Hooker (1982)
Sign the petition at TJ hooker.com
I'm trying to get everything I can that James Darren was in released to DVD. He was the best actor and the best looking on this show. There are 16 signatures so far on the petition. More are needed. Actually if it wasn't for James Darren, who should have had his own show, I could care less, but he was on it so there you go. He's under rated as an actor because of his looks. This is unfair. He should have been a bigger star. It's not to late. He may be 70 but he's still alive. He's a good singer too. Sign the petition. They do have the five or six minute mini episodes on my space out but this is not good enough. He was very good in Time Tunnel also.