Thursday, September 30, 2010


A few weeks ago, when comedian Robert Schimmel was killed in a car crash, I reflected here that he was the third comic I got to know when I was a publicist for the Tempe Improv that had died, Mitch Hedberg & Richard Jeni being the first two.

Add a fourth: Insult-master Greg Giraldo has passed on at 44 of an overdose, reportedly accidental, of prescription medication.

I spent a couple of days with Giraldo the second or third week I worked at the Improv. He was a fascinating, intelligent conversationalist—quite warm & friendly despite his snarky stage persona—& he was startlingly candid about himself & about other comedians & what I should expect from them. It was very helpful.

In recent years he had become a fixture on the Comedy Central Roasts. He was venomously, toxically nasty, & hilarious. RIP.

RIP likewise to Arthur Penn, director of The Left-Handed Gun, The Miracle Worker, Bonnie and Clyde, Alice's Restaurant & Little Big Man, among other fierce, rule-breaking films.

In honor of Gloria Stuart, who passed on at 100 this week…

Monster-of-the-Week: …let’s recognize one of Monsterdom’s all-time greats, the title character of 1933’s The Invisible Man, whose lady love was played by Stuart...

Scientist Jack Griffin has discovered how to make himself see-thru, but apparently side effects may include turning into a homicidal megalomaniac. If you’ve never seen James Whale’s mischievous film of the H.G. Wells yarn, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of the finest of the Universal horror classics of the '30s, with still-seamless special effects by John Fulton, witty dialogue by Philip Wylie & R.C. Sherriff, & the superbly sinister voice of Claude Rains erupting from under the bandages—it’s hard to forget the moment when he exultantly crows to poor Gloria that “Even the moon is frightened of me, frightened to death!

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