Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Who in the world was Arthur Batanides?

During my travels, this time, I happened upon a weird little DVD that has 4 cheesy creature-features on it -- The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955), The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes (1958), War Gods of the Deep (1965), and At the Earth's Core (1976). I used to love this stuff, watching cut-down versions during Saturday afternoons and midnights, on my grandmother's old black and white console TV. Some of those Saturday matinees were actually quality films -- like The World, the Flesh and the Devil, (1959) which actually dealt with race relations and the suggestion of a black man being with a blond woman after the end of the world.

But this led me to remember one of those afternoon films that really creeped me out...and affected me in ways I wasn't expecting -- The Leech Woman (1960). About an aging woman whose husband is seeking the fountain of youth in Africa...but apparently the only way she can stay young is by draining men of their blood. And one man she chooses to kill is a shady character she picks up in a bar -- played by Arthur Batanides. Whose face I saw a lot on TV after that. Here's his imdb bio --

Stocky, general purpose actor, a prolific face on the small screen during the 1960's and 1970's. Became enamored with acting after performing stand-up routines in front of fellow GIs in Europe, during World War II. Educated in dramatic art at the Actors Lab in Los Angeles, followed by extensive stage experience. Recently noted as "Mr. Kirkland" in several installments of the "Police Academy" franchise. Remembered by older viewers, chiefly as the ill-fated U.S.S. Enterprise geologist, "Lieutenant D'Amato", who died badly (cellular disruption) in the Star Trek (1966) episode, Star Trek: That Which Survives(1969); one of dictator Clemente's (Peter Falk) henchmen in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode, The Twilight Zone: The Mirror (1961); and the Mongol leader "Batu" in The Time Tunnel (1966) episode, The Time Tunnel: Attack of the Barbarians (1967). Regularly played heavies in shows like I Spy (1965) and Mission: Impossible (1966), or spoofed them as KAOS agent in Get Smart (1965). Retired from acting in 1989.

The Leech Woman was actually almost good, and it had Grant Williams in it, the guy who wore some tight shorts in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). But Arthur intrigued me most because he was a bastard who deserved his fate but at the same time I didn't want it to happen to him...because though I didn't know it at the time, I was crushing on him. And it seems like every guy I've gotten lost in, since, is a variation of him.

I was 13 years old...and it took me years to understand...but I already had my type worked out, and it's stuck with me, ever since.

No comments: