Saturday, November 20, 2010

Michael Callan and the Utter Coolness Thereof

Photo scanned by Kate-Gabrielle of Classic Film Scans
Michael Callan is really-- JUST COOL. He's wonderful in dramatic parts (he had surly J.D.s down so well! ;-D), BRILLIANT in comedy, he danced stupendously (he originated the role of Riff in West Side Story on Broadway), and he's a stinkin' icon for mind-smushing entertainment of the 60's!

I love him.

I also think Michael Callan is far too under-appreciated. Of the many "teen star" types of the 60's, Michael was quite unique, in fact, I wouldn't even categorize him in that "teen star"/Frankie Avalon type (even though Frankie is also awesome, of course, haha). Michael was (I say "was" in terms of his film career, he is still very much alive and well) very interesting in that, although he CLEARLY belonged to the 60's, he also possessed this almost 30's screwball, nonchalant charm. (I hope the preceding sentence made SOME sense! ;-D)

Of course that nonchalant charm could occasionally be silenced, like for instance, whenever he decided to randomly beat up Alan Ladd. ;-D

Michael Callan and his gang of "punks" mugging Alan Ladd in 13 West Street
Oh my gosh! The trailer for 13 West Street is just TOO hilarious not to share!

ANYWAY, back to the utter coolness that is Michael Callan. Another unique piece of Michael, was his background. He was a Broadway dancer and musical star, yet his first film was They Came to Cordura. A western. In fact, he hardly ever starred in films which revolved around his dancing ability. It simply melded into and become part of "him" as an actor. Of course even though he may not be playing a dancer, he definitely dances a lot in his films (random dances that in are always in movies-- he just makes them seem brilliant!).

An exception to that not playing a dancer, but still being a dancer rule comes from Gidget Goes Hawaiian. Where he does in fact play a dancer. My favorite scene. The Mambo. Wowzie Kazam.

Something particularly Michael Callanish that one notices after watching a few of his films (or watching Gidget Goes Hawaiian approximately 63, 426 times ;-D) is the restlessness he is always displaying onscreen. He's literally slightly hopping up and down on one leg-- ALMOST CONSTANTLY! His characters are always moving, always thinking-ahead. Which is probably why he so often played the charming, but irresponsible/rakish/untrustworthy guy. AKA: The perfect role for Michael Callan.

His "absolutely useless" Clay Boone in Cat Ballou
In fact, he got a whole TV show, created for the sole purpose of allowing Michael Callan to swagger around for 30 minutes every week doing absolutely nothing...but smiling. Briliant.

You can watch a whole episode of Occasional Wife here (I PROMISE it's hilarious):

Michael's real-life marriage to his Occasional Wife costar, Patricia Harty. (Also scanned by Kate-Gabrielle)

Basically, what I'm trying to tell you with this post is that Michael Callan is brilliant. And you should definitely check out some of his films. Because he IS necessary viewing for all so-called students of Mind-Smushing Entertainment. That is all.

(Not really. I just end paragraphs with "That is all", because it sounds cool.)

I actually made a tribute to Michael Callan using clips from a bunch of his different movies and a couple television appearances. (And if you are by any chance one of the few people who watched this originally last week when I posted it on Twitter: this is a revised version-- with the glitches taken out and some clips added, removed, or changed.)

Michael with Jane Fonda on the set of Cat Ballou
Official Michael Callan recommends from The Millie:

  • Cat Ballou - OF COURSE! It's probably his most famous role. AND IT'S SO MUCH FUN!
  • Gidget Goes Hawaiian - I mustache this movie. Which is odd considering I can't STAND the two lead actors (James Darren and Deborah Walley), but Michael (and Carl Reiner....and Joby Baker) makes up for that by being awesome.
  • Mysterious Island - Too cool for school! Michael gets to battle giant crabs, and dodo birds, and bees AND float around in a hot air balloon. WHAT?! Yeah.
  • Bon Voyage! - Yeah, Deborah Walley shows up again. BUT IT'S PARIS. AND MICHAEL DANCES. AND TOMMY KIRK HAS A FAKE MUSTACHE. 
  • The Cat and the Canary - He's the "American" cousin. He's cool.
Okay, basically, I'm just going to name every Michael Callan film ever yeah. Just know that you can watch anything Michael Callan at any time and KNOW that's it's going to be awesome. THAT is the basic life principle you should be taking away from this post! ;-D

Dancing in Gidget Goes Hawaiian



kate gabrielle said...

Fantastically amazing post, Millie!!! It just kind of dawned on me, wouldn't it be OUT OF THIS WORLD AWESOME if somehow Michael Callan was just browsing the internet one day, and decided to google himself (or perhaps he is signed up for google alerts?) and found your post and commented on it, and said THANK YOU MILLIE! :D AHHH!!

Gah I just thought that would be pretty amazing!! :D And possible!!

Anyway, I'm definitely going to watch more of his movies after this, and when you get The Occasional Wife on dvd I want to borrow!

And your video is beyond stupendous!! :D

Millie said...

Haha. I am SURE Michael Callan is signed up for google alerts of himself! ;-D


Do you have any connections?! ;-D

YAAAAY! I'm so glad.

And yes. I am buying that the moment I have any money (which may not be a while, knowing me. ;-D)

AWWW! Thank you!

Thank you soooo much for your comment! They ALWAYS make my day! :-D

Niamhy said...

He played Riff on Broadway?! HE MUST BE AWESOME!

I'm so going to buy all the Gidget movies and watch them over one weekend. Though this may be an issue considering I have absolutely 'nought' money. (This sentence actually doesn't make any sense. I don't even think 'nought' is a word. Alas, I shall use it anyway.)

Michael Callan is one of those people who is just cool without even trying. And that's saying something, considering I haven't seen any of his movies (I think). His coolness radiates from his photos.

That is all. ;-P

Millie said...

HE IS AWESOME. The only reason he missed out on the film version, was because he already had a contract with Columbia.

COOL! Except, I would encourage you NOT to watch Gidget Goes to Rome. IT'S HORRIBLY DEPRESSING AND HORRIBLE. And Gidget's annoying.

But, the first and second are serious classics. Sandy is of course the BEST Gidget, but I do love GGH too!

Haha! I think "nought" is a word?! Or is it "naught"?! NO IDEA.

EXACTLY! EXACTLY! Niamhy's been learning. ;-D

Excellent use of your final sentence. ;-D

Anonymous said...

You wrote about Michael Callan while I was watching GGH. That is really too awesome. And because you wrote such a crazy amazing post, I will have absolutely nothing brilliant left to say if I attempt to write on his wonderfulness.

I fully and proudly admit to being a student of Mind-Smushing Entertainment. I also attempting to tutor a certain friend in mind-smushiness. I may steal her tomorrow, tie her to a chair, and make her watch Gidget & GGH.

I MUST SEE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND AND BON VOYAGE! Occasional Wife also sounds ridiculously cool.

MC is even better in GGH than Cat Ballou, if that's actually possible. And I liked James Darren slightly better in GGH than in Gidget. BUT, MC is brilliant and awesome. There are no words to describe the awesomeness.

Basic life principle duly noted and appreciated.

Niamhy said...

Well, I have a soft spot for Russ Tamblyn, so I'm okay about the fact he didn't get the film role!

Thanks for your advice-I'll skip GGTR!

Naturally she is! She's bloomin' Sandra Dee!

I could have sworn it was a word! It's confused me now!

He's a bit like Sean Connery and Roger Moore that way! Haha!

Why, thank you. I try! ;-P

Millie said...

Emm: Haaha! Thanks! :-D

BUT REACH DEEP INSIDE YOURSELF! Think about his brilliance. The words will come. ;-P

*Sigh* I love you! Because you adhere to the Mind-Smushing law. AND you make others adhere to it!


Occasional Wife IS ridiculously cool! I can't wait until I can scrape together enough cash to buy a bootleg copy off of someone! ;-D

I get that. I personally, could never decide between Eddie Horner and Clay Boone...although I think I might sorta declare Clay the winner (because he's "absolutely useless" and loves being so! Haha!)

Good work team! ;-D


Oh TOTALLY! I adore Russ Tamblyn. I think he was the best Riff for that movie! I mean seriously, I cried when he died (to put this in perspective: I hardly ever cry during films/I could have cared less when the Romeo character died)! I almost STOPPED the movie when he died.


Yeah. I saw it two years ago, and still refuse to ever watch it again.

Haha! I love it!

Well, personally, I wouldn't ask me. I still think "educationalness" is a word! ;-D

A non-accented cool person. Yes. ;-D

Haha! Thanks for the comment!

Java Bean Rush said...

I guess you like Michael Callan, huh? :)

First noticed him in Gidget Goes Hawaiian. Knew nothing of him except he must of been quite something for them to spend a whole un-related-to-the-storyline number on him. He's quite light on his feet and lovely to watch.

From there, began to research him. Really cool guy.

He's featured in an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show as Rhoda's boyfriend in Season 1 Episode 23 - "Smokey the Bear Wants You."

kate gabrielle said...



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