Friday, February 22, 2008

Ramblings:-->Dr. Loveless -&- Thunderclap Newman

"Now, there's a certain thing
that I learned from Jim...
that he'd always make sure I'd understand.
And that is that there's a certain way
That a man must swim...
If he expects to live off of the fat of the land.
Thunderclap Newman


If you looked up the definition of cool...one of the pictures beside it would be...Michael Dunn.

Or...as I was introduced to him...Dr. Miguelito Loveless. Arch-nemesis of James West and Artemus Gordon in the "Wild Wild West".

When I was much younger, I remember seeing Michael Dunn for the first time...and he blew me away.

Sure...he only stood 3'10", but he commanded the screen. Oozing with confidence and bravado, Dunn stole every scene he was in. And, as mad scientist, Dr. Miguelito Loveless...he created a villain that was really bad. Bad...in the good way.
Michael Dunn appeared in ten Wild, Wild West episodes as Dr. Loveless...and I think I've seen every one. And I bought season 1 & 2 of WWW because of Michael Dunn.
Yea, he was cool.


I also caught him in an episode of Star Trek. ("Plato's Stepchildren" - 1968) He played Alexander on a planet that looked like Greece and everyone ('cept Alexander) had psycho-kinetic powers.
Michael Dunn as Alexander.
Great episode...this time allowing Michael Dunn to show his more sensitive side and frustration at being...different. Yea, he was cool.

That was all I knew about him. But come to find out, Michael Dunn was a respected singer and (with encouragement from actor Roddy McDowell), started up a nightclub act with friend and actress Phoebe Dorin. The act received kudos from Time magazine and The New York Times. Yea, he was cool.
Michael Dunn in "Ship of Fools".
Michael Dunn also received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role as the cynical Karl Glocken in "Ship of Fools".(1965).
Yea, he was cool.


Finally, and I already had this impression about him, Michael Dunn was known as quite the ladies' man as well as one who gave freely toward helping children with dwarfism.

Michael Dunn never used his dwarfism for grabbing the easy...cutesy laugh. Rather, he commanded respect by carrying himself in a smart and charming manner...able to hold court with anyone.

Michael Dunn was the real deal...as cool as any flavor of James Dean you may chose.
He was just 39 when he died.



Definitely...check him out. Good stuff!

Casey

Thunderclap Newman was not a true band in the usual sense of the word. Pete Townshend grabbed a few guys to record some songs by a roadie for The Who.(John 'Speedy' Keen).

He tapped a jazz pianist (Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman)...A 15 year old guitarist (Jimmy McColloch...the same guy who played in McCartney's "Wings"). On bass was
Bijou Drains (a Pete Townshend pseudonym)...and 'Speedy' Keen played the drums and sang.

Almost by accident they made a hit record..."Something In The Air". It went UK #1 for three weeks and the band had no plans what-so-ever of touring.

They finished up an album worth of songs and released "Hollywood Dream" (1970). Lightening was captured in a bottle...And thus...a legend was born. Good stuff!

Thunderclap Newman:-->"Open The Door, Homer"
(Hollywood Dream) (1970) (MUST OWN)

5 comments:

b said...

I never saw Wild Wild West, but he was amazing in Ship of Fools- fantastic movie.

Casey said...

b..."Ship Of Fools" is definitely on my list to rent. I never heard of it until doing a little research.
Your comment has me itching to pick it up.

thelistener said...

Absolutely love Dr. Loveless! There is a new biography out about Michael Dunn, the dwarf who played him. It is titled "The Big Life of a Little Man: Michael Dunn Remembered". You can Google the title to get more information. The book has a bunch of never before seen photos and he was amazing in more ways than just being an actor. I am hoping they will make this book into a movie!

Casey said...

thelistener...Lots of good info. I'm checking the book out right now. Thanks for dropping by!

UnicornPrincess said...

I found out I was actually related to Michael Dunn a few years back and wanted to know more about him from his childhood, to his mysterious death. The Big Life of a Little man had everything I wanted to know! It was truly an amazing book. I don't know how else to put it. This man was truly remarkable. AND an amazing actor :]