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HOPPER ALERT !!

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klondike

HOPPER ALERT !!

Postby klondike » July 16th, 2007, 2:08 pm

Hey, Guys 'n Gals!
According to the email I just opened from the Mothership, TCM is now offering a snappy new 50th Anniversary edition of:

20 Million Miles to Earth


That's right, Kids, we're talkin' one of the very few starring roles for none other than Classic Cinema College's very own Security Chief: William Hopper, the son of oh-god-here-she-comes-now Hedda, Perry Mason's bodyguard, Bob Mitchum's beer-buddy, the daddy to both the Bad Seed and James Dean's girlfriend . .
:wink:
And in this corner - co-starring at roughly 3.5 tons, sans trunks, it's Y M I R, dynamated by the Fortean expertise of Ray Harryhausen, Cardinal Elite of Stop-Motion FX . . . Ymir - named for a Norse frost giant, cause what else would you call a rampaging, reptilian carnivore from Venus, who's kickin' the crap out of Italy?!
SEE- Ymir bust-up the Colisseum! See him duke it out with a bull elephant (excerpt from RH's journal "pachyderm battle quite satisfying in post edit reel . . must stage one in Mexican circus someday, say 13 years from now . . .") . . . see him pass-up every pizza joint in Rome to continue threatening NATO & Italian troops . .
SEE Astronaut Bill survive Mediterranean splashdown (addled, but G.I. squared-away!); see him woo the babe-a-licious daughter of the post-fascist scientist who's got all the answers; see him pull rank on every other dude in uniform, as he points, shouts orders, avoids unnecessary eye contact, and keeps his hair coolly un-mussed!
From the F/X wizard who brought you Sinbad's buddy, the Cyclops. . from the director who will later invent sci-fi camp on Lost in Space . . from the actor who taught you the consequences of turning your back on a hungry mountain lion . . .
But wait, there's more!
This collector's edition offers you 20MMTE in its original, crisp & twitchy Khruschev-Era B&W, and, on a separate disc, colorized into simmering, vibrant flatness (myself, I'd save that one for a hung-over Sunday morning, as the yolk stares back at ya from the tomato juice).
Thrills . . . chills . . . widescreen romance . . a p.o.'ed giant alien, & cold-war metaphors galore (enhanced with Dolby!) . . take it from me, if you miss this one, you can only blame the face in the mirror!
8)
Would the ol' Sled Dog lie to you?
Last edited by klondike on July 20th, 2007, 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby moira finnie » July 16th, 2007, 4:14 pm

That's right, Kids, we're talkin' one of the very few starring roles for none other than Classic Cinema College's very own Security Chief: William Hopper, the son of oh-god-here-she-comes-now Hedda, Perry Mason's bodyguard, Bob Mitchum's beer-buddy, the daddy to both the Bad Seed and James Dean's girlfriend


Okay, Klondike, I love my Ray Harryhausen movies and Bill Hopper appearances too, but I was struck by your statement that this is "one of the very few starring roles" for William Hopper.

At first I thought "Isn't it the only starring role for Mr. H.? Oh, yeah, unless you count The Deadly Mantis (1957) which I actually prefer. And on that shoot he had to share billing with Craig "Peter Gunn" Stevens and a big bug! At least in 20 Million Miles to Earth I could actually feel sorry for the big lizard. Heck, he didn't ask to come to earth, much less fall off the Colisseum!"

Then I checked William Hopper's credits again and found that you're right: our boy Bill did have a few starring parts in B movies, such as Over the Goal (1937) and Mystery House (1938), with none other than Ann Sheridan. I thought he'd spent his whole career prior to achieving his immortality as Paul Drake in Perry Mason struggling to fade into the wallpaper, avoid the sharp edge of bro' Robert Mitchum's tongue, telling Natalie Wood to cut out the mushy stuff now that she's hit puberty and snagging a slightly soiled dove in Jan Sterling.

Two questions though, Mr. Klondike. Have you ever seen any of these B movies he starred in? Where would you place The Deadly Mantis on your Hoppermeter?
Curiously,
Moira

Image
Bill Hopper seeking answers from father and daughter about the drift of his career in "20 Million Miles to Earth" (1957). That's Joan Taylor as the "babe-a-licious daughter of the post-fascist scientist (Frank Puglia) who's got all the answers"

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Can't tell a post by it's title

Postby Moraldo Rubini » July 16th, 2007, 8:17 pm

I just loved trying to guess what this post would be about before I entered. A release of the Dave Fleischer animated feature Hoppity Goes to Town? A tidbit about Dick Van Dyke in What a Way to Go!, when he plays a rags-to-riches merchant who hits it big with the motto "Hop, Hop, Hop to Hoppers!"? A morsel about Beginning of the End, the post-nuclear-testing apocolyptic tale with giant grasshoppers taking over Earth?

Ah yes, William Hopper. I'd forgotten he was in 20 Million Miles to Earth. The real star is the ever-growing creature plucked from sea. The Venusian rising from the sea, to the land of Botticelli. It's said this was filmed in Italy primarily because Mr. Harryhausen wanted an Italian vacation. But how could he enjoy a vacation when he had to move his models one frame at a time? This flick somehow captured my attention as a youth. It seemed to have more panache than the other overgrown-monsters-running-amok movies. Thanks for the update, Klondike.

klondike

Postby klondike » July 17th, 2007, 8:00 pm

Quote: > "Okay, Klondike, I love my Ray Harryhausen movies and Bill Hopper appearances too, but I was struck by your statement that this is "one of the very few starring roles" for William Hopper.

At first I thought "Isn't it the only starring role for Mr. H.? Oh, yeah, unless you count The Deadly Mantis (1957) which I actually prefer. And on that shoot he had to share billing with Craig "Peter Gunn" Stevens and a big bug! At least in 20 Million Miles to Earth I could actually feel sorry for the big lizard. Heck, he didn't ask to come to earth, much less fall off the Colisseum!"

Then I checked William Hopper's credits again and found that you're right: our boy Bill did have a few starring parts in B movies, such as Over the Goal (1937) and Mystery House (1938), with none other than Ann Sheridan. I thought he'd spent his whole career prior to achieving his immortality as Paul Drake in Perry Mason struggling to fade into the wallpaper, avoid the sharp edge of bro' Robert Mitchum's tongue, telling Natalie Wood to cut out the mushy stuff now that she's hit puberty and snagging a slightly soiled dove in Jan Sterling.

Two questions though, Mr. Klondike. Have you ever seen any of these B movies he starred in? Where would you place The Deadly Mantis on your Hoppermeter?
Curiously,
Moira" <

Actually, my dear Dean Finnie, Deadly Mantis, and Gore Vidal's Myra Breckenridge, are the only 2 of WH's 14 credited performances that I haven't seen.
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that the latter of those two is a matter of deliberate avoidance on my part!
Compared to that one, Cuban Rebel Girls and Trog just don't seem all that bad, as farewell roles go!

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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » July 17th, 2007, 8:39 pm

Hopper Alert?????
Whaddya mean "Hopper Alert"?????

Here I was all excited thinking that I was going to find this thread full of images like this -

Image

<wink>
(I do miss the "Sunny Side Of The Street" intro...)

kjk
(...who has seen Myra Breckenridge and would never tell anyone NOT to see it. The idea of Rex Reed surgically transformed into Raquel Welch is too outrageous to ignore.)
Last edited by Kyle In Hollywood on July 18th, 2007, 11:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » July 17th, 2007, 8:54 pm

Image

Another...

Now, if only I could find "Office At Night" on this hard drive.

kjk
(The rest of you can go back to talking about that other Hopper now.)
Kyle In Hollywood

klondike

Postby klondike » July 17th, 2007, 9:02 pm

Thanks, Kyle.
I, too, love the works of Edward Hopper.
I remember in particular a print of his of a red-brick, Midwest commercial block, lovingly bourgeois little storefronts, slumbering all sunwashed, which had been used for a header illustration for Benet's evocative "American Names" in a poetry anthology.
The combo was so lyric, it still lives in the eye of my mind.
Thanks, again, for blowing the dust off that signpost of the heart.
Last edited by klondike on July 18th, 2007, 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby moira finnie » July 18th, 2007, 6:17 am

Kyle,
Here's "Office at Night". You just know that the books aren't balancing that night!:
Image
If you're around Boston this summer, you might want to stop by the Museum of Fine Arts, which is hosting one of the biggest Edward Hopper exhibits ever! Though Ed evoked urban scapes like few others, he was also a true New Englander whose evocative paintings of light, sky, houses, lighthouses and the coast spoke volumes as well! Here's a link to that exhibit and below is one of my favorite movie-related Hopper paintings of a pensive usherette:
Image

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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » July 20th, 2007, 12:50 am

Moira-
Thanks for posting "Office At Night". The painting was recently loaned out to a museum in NYC and the NYTimes wrote a piece analyzing the painting. In the commentary, it discussed just which figure in the painting has the "power" in the depicted relationship. And whether the painting depicted the end of a long day or the beginning of a long night.

Too bad that the article is now only accessible for a fee as I'd like to read it again myself.

But there is a current article about a Hopper "movie" painting titled "The Sheridan Theater" which is a new one on me. It is on display at a museum in Newark.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/10/nyreg ... 5f&ei=5070

Image

Also, here is the NYTimes review of the Boston Fine Arts Exhibition -
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/04/arts/ ... c2&ei=5070

When in college, there was an exhibit of Hopper watercolors (I think they were watercolors) of his seaside/coastal works at the Mpls. Institute Of Arts. I wasn't cultured enough then to appreciate it. Would love to see them all again.

Kyle
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Postby benwhowell » July 20th, 2007, 11:54 am

One of my favorites is "House By The Railroad."
Image
My imagination runs wild with scenarios of what is (or was) going on in that majestic, spooky mansion...watching the trains go by. Actually, it is one of my "dream houses."
And we can't forget "Chop Suey."
Image
The woman in the green sweater (?) either has good etiquette (no elbows on the table) or she's bracing herself for a shocking confession.

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Postby Dewey1960 » July 20th, 2007, 3:47 pm

Poor William Hopper; he seems to have been bounced out of this conversation--kind of like the story of his life, I guess!

In accordance with Klondike's assessment of (William) Hopper's career, I would cite the dream double bill of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and THE BAD SEED to be the apex of ultra-Hopperism!

klondike

Postby klondike » July 20th, 2007, 4:41 pm

Fear not, Dewey, old chum, I got the 4-1-1 on our white-haired man o' mystery: 8)
(Just don't tell Mongo about this; last thing I need is an archival drive-by!) :(


> William Hopper (January 26, 1915 – March 6, 1970) was an American actor. He is probably best-remembered for playing Paul Drake on TV's Perry Mason.

Hopper was born William DeWolf Hopper, Jr. in New York, New York, the only child of actor/matinee idol DeWolf Hopper (1858 - 1935) and actress/gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (nee "Elda Furry"[1]) (1885-1966).

His debut motion picture appearance was as a baby in his father's 1916 silent movie Sunshine Dad. His mother divorced his elderly father in 1924, and she and Billy eventually moved to Hollywood.

He began his acting career as a teenager, working in summer stock in Ogunquit, Maine. He went from there to Broadway, where he appeared in two plays, Order Please and Romeo and Juliet (both 1934).

In 1936, he played the small role as a photographer in the movie The King Steps Out starring Grace Moore and Franchot Tone at Columbia. He only portrayed the leading man in two films, Public Wedding with Jane Wyman and Over the Goal (both 1937).

He also enjoyed significant roles alongside Ann Sheridan in The Footloose Heiress (1937) and Mystery House (1938).

After that he had roles that include playing a sergeant in the Western Stagecoach (1939) starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne; a New York Reporter in Knute Rockne, All American (1940) starring Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Crisp; a reporter in the post-Hollywood Production Code version of The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, with Gladys George, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet; and a reporter in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) starring James Cagney, with Walter Huston.

Hopper appeared in numerous movies, mostly uncredited or using the name DeWolf Hopper in the early years.

In the mid- to late 1930s Hopper would, on occasion, visit nightclubs with film actress Isabel Jewell. He married actress Jane Gilbert (née Kies, sister of the better-known Margaret Lindsay) in 1940, with whom he had one daughter, Joan (b. 1942).

The couple divorced in the early 1960s, and, shortly thereafter, he married his second wife, Jeanette J. Hopper and whose son, Gordon P. Williams, became Hopper's stepson.

He enlisted as a frogman in the Navy in 1942, and won a Bronze Star for bravery (as a Navy frogman/underwater demolitions commando) and heroic action during operations in the Pacific. [Purportedly, his hair color prior to those exploits was dark blonde!]

He was discharged in 1945 when the war was over, but chose not to return to the movie industry. Instead, he became a car salesman in Hollywood for eight years.

In the mid-1950s, Hopper resumed his acting career with his role as Roy in The High and the Mighty (1954) starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, and Robert Stack.

Other appearances include his role as the father of Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) with James Dean, Robert Mitchum's brother in Track of the Cat (1954), and as Col. Kenneth Penmark in The Bad Seed (1956) starring Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack.


William Hopper as Paul Drake in Perry MasonHis crowning achievement was his regular role as private investigator Paul Drake on the classic lawyer TV series Perry Mason (1957 - 1966) with Raymond Burr as Mason and Barbara Hale as secretary Della Street.

Hopper was originally cast in the role as Mason with Burr as Drake, but the roles were switched before shooting began.[citation needed]

In 1959, Hopper was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series for his role as Paul Drake.

His guest appearances on TV include Gunsmoke, Studio 57, The Millionaire, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, and On Trial.

He made two movie appearances during his years on Perry Mason, but retired after the show was canceled in 1966. He made one final movie appearance playing a judge, Frederic D. Cannon, in Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge (1970) starring Mae West, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, George Raft, Timothy Dalton, and Raquel Welch.

He was hospitalized on February 14, 1970, after a stroke at his home in Yucca Valley, and was transferred to the hospital in Palm Springs when pneumonia developed.

William Hopper died of pneumonia, aged 55, in Palm Springs. He is interred in Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California.

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Postby mongoII » July 20th, 2007, 7:28 pm

Klondike, that is indeed an outstanding profile of William Hopper, an actor that I admired.
With a couple of decent roles and with his good looks he should have hit it bigger in tinseltown.
I have a picture of him on the town with Isabel Jewell and they made a nifty couple.
I would imagine that it was difficult for him at times being Hedda Hopper's son, since she tended to stir things up a bit in Hollywood.
The kicker is that the tall reserved gent died much too young.

klondike

Postby klondike » July 20th, 2007, 9:42 pm

Thanks, Mongo; coming from the Great Khan of Cinema Bio's, those are kind words, indeed. By the way, could you share with us that photo you mentioned? Sounds like a rare one to me!
Yeah, Bill was quite the quandary, though I'm sure he'd chuckle at that observation, and insist "No, I'm just a regular guy."
All in all, I'd bet he derived more long-term satisfaction from road-tripping with Bob Mitchum, or motorcycling with Vic McLaglen, or taking his stepson boating, than from any of the benchmarks in his acting resume.
An interesting point of contrast to his mellow soft-spokeness: if you wish to see just how much sudden physicality the man could muster, track down an episode from the first season of Perry Mason called "The Case of the Terrified Typist" and check out the last ten or twelve minutes.
P.I. Paul Drake tracks an underworld kidnapper to his canyon hideout, and k.o.'s the armed & burly goon with a blitz of combat-style judo; it was over pretty quick, but it was memorable for its credibility, and I'm sure that stunt-actor got a bonus for getting so thoroughly manhandled.
Well, Bill may not be bringing anything new to our silver screens or "little blue rooms", but we have a few gems to cherish, and hey . . . ya know . . .
He is on-duty as Security Chief most days over on the CCC campus; look for him on his lunch break down in the Motor Pool -
he'll be the one leaning just inside the main bay, with a frosty cerveza in one big mitt and a boyish grin on his face.


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