So, Cap, what do you do all day now that you're retired?...
I hear this a lot. One of the things I do is watch old movies, which I’ve always liked to do. I watch these movies while using Google like crazy to learn more about some of the lesser characters who pop up all the time.
A while back I came across the actor Hank Worden. He’s one of those guys that few can identify but everyone can recall seeing in a bunch of old movies, mostly westerns.
I was struck by some interesting connections which came about because of looking up Worden.
I liked the fact that he got his start in acting after rooming with Tex Ritter, one of my favorite cowboy singer/actors. I just watched “High Noon” a few days ago.
I also liked the fact that the eulogy at Worden’s 1992 funeral was delivered by his fellow Western actor Pat Buttram. When I worked for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, I met Pat Buttram when he did a benefit performance for one of our charities. He told two jokes I still recall, more than 30 years later. He talked about working as Gene Autry’s sidekick for many years. He mentioned Gene’s latest marriage. He said that Gene was married to a lovely lady for five decades and then married another lovely lady when his first wife died………“So Gene is married to his second “ten” and I’m still paying alimony to two ‘three’s’ and a ‘four’”. Buttram also mentioned that when he first met the Sheriff, he had been presented with a miniature Sheriff’s badge, which he kept pinned to the inside of his jacket. He related that he was stopped for speeding by the Highway Patrol and figured he could use his miniature badge to get out of the ticket……..“But when the officer told me what I could do with that badge, I was glad the Sheriff hadn’t given me a plaque”.
For several years, Worden’s roommate was actor Jim Beaver, who is a regular (as the criminal who changed his identity and became a crooked Sheriff) on one of my favorite TV series—JUSTIFIED. This show is based upon characters created by the great Elmore Leonard, one of the few fiction writers I have ever enjoyed. Leonard has written a ton of books which have been turned into great movies. My favorites are “Hombre”; “Get Shorty”; “Be Cool”; “Mr. Majestyk; “Valdez is Coming”; “Jackie Brown”; “52 Pick-up”; “The Tall T”; “Joe Kidd”; “Three-ten to Yuma”; and “Stick”. Nobody draws characters like Leonard. Nobody beats him for dialogue. I also love two of his rules about writing: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it” and “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip”.
Jim Beaver’s second wife was Cecily Adams, the daughter of Don Adams, the comedic star of “Get Smart”, one of my favorite comedy series.
Beaver is also a highly regarded screen writer and wrote a book about the actor John Garfield and has spent many years researching a book on the life of George Reeves (“Superman”). I loved the “Superman” series and also like the fact that Reeves had an un-credited role as a Notre Dame Football Player in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American”.
So…………..to answer your question, that’s one of the things I do with my time.