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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Goodbye Chuck

The curtain has come down on another great film icon. Charlton Heston has shuffled off this mortal plane yesterday. I will always remeber Chuck Heston as Taylor from the "The Planet of Apes" movies. That's where I first saw him as kid, when WABC Channel 7 would run all the "Apes" movies during "Planet of the Apes" week on the 4:30 Movie that ran from Monday through Friday. Planet of the Apea was so epic it had to run in two parts. People who grew up in tristate area in the 1970's know what I'm talking about. Apes Week was huge event. There was no cable or VCRs at the time you have to remember. The 4:30 Movie was usually pretty boring featuring Gidget movies or other stuff no self-respecting 8-year-old would watch. But every once in awhile, it would be Vicent Price Week (his Edgar Allen Poe movies) or Monster Week (all Godzilla al the time), but the best by far was "Apes Week." What 8-year-old can resist a movie with talking apes with machine guns I ask? "Planet of the Apes" even has Heston's best movie quote ever: "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!" Classic. "Soylent Green is people!" is close second. Chuck Heston was the man, he was the Omega Man (recently remade as the not nearly as fun "I am Legend" with the not nearly as cool Will Smith stepping into Heston's role).

Mr. Surly doesn't just appreciate Chuck Heston for his fun science fiction pictures though. He's made so many good movies like El Cid and Touch of Evil. Kid Various and I a few years ago had great time watching Touch of Evil unspool at a revival house in New York City. Greatest opening tracking shot ever.

Heston was an amazing 84 years old, had a great career, and by all accounts a great life. My only regret for him is that he didn't get to beat Michael Moore repeatly about the head for badgering him like a lunatic in "Bowling for Columbine" about his his support of gun rights and leadership of the National Rifle Association. Heston once said anti-gun nuts like Moore could take his gun from him just as soon as they pry it gun from his cold, dead hands. Chuck kept his word. I hope he has a gun buried with him just to spite Moore.


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