California has drawn people from all over the place for centuries, rather it be the music/movie industry of today in Hollywood, or the pioneering spirit of the Miner 49’s of the 18th century or even people driven to the Spanish Mission that comprised LA before that!
In this case I thought that I would mention the intense draw to Hollywood to become an artist, that is felt by people all over the world these days…
For all of us aspiring filmmakers, I am sure that like me you have all heard the stories about the guy or the girl who came to Hollywood to act in films, and ended up… Not! Or maybe you are the lucky one who knows some one who did make it in the industry, or maybe you made it yourself (This is not a cautionary tale folks, if your dream is to become a filmmaker of any variety and you want to come to Hollywood to achieve this goal, I say go for it! Achieve that goal! My hopes go out to you.)
Those are just a few of the categories that I would say ultimately end up getting drawn to Hollywood… There is another one though, a category that I would say is probably the least known/remembered yet is one of the more prestigious of the categories that ultimately end up being drawn to the Hollywood Glitterati.
What is this category you might be asking yourself, well simply put, it is those who already in some way had the fame and glory the comes from their respective field, yet has either made a temporary or permanent switch to being an actor…
A few examples of this is former football player Howie Long who I personally liked his work in the movie Broken Arrow (1996), he made a permanent transfer out of foot ball in to the big screen. Another one being Musician Marvin Gaye who all though he did stay in the music industry, did make a great exploitation movie called Chrome And Hot Leather (1971), another example would be former President Ronald Reagan who before becoming President Of The United States actually did have a pretty solid career as as an actor having worked with some of the greats like Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes and Angie Dickson in 1964s The Killers as well as others!
With that said, I thought that I would mention a few of these more rare people that you might not think of having had made the transfer ever, or have forgotten had ever been else where. With that said, the first one that I thought that I would mention here is Sting…
Rather you are an older person or a younger person, everyone knows Sting as the internationally successful singer that he is. A man who has made such classic albums as Ten Summoner’s Tales (A personal favorite of mine), Soul Cages (Another favorite), and Sacred love, along with many others… He has also helped out on such soundtracks for movies and TV as Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) and the TV show Numb3rs, along with many others…
But did you know that with such an epically prestigious career as a musical super star, that Sting has had time to also create for himself a pretty decent acting career? That’s right folks, Sting has actually been acting in various projects for over 30 years in such projects as Quadrophenia (1979) and Brimstone & Treacle (1982). But the one that I feel is the most memorable of his work as an actor, and which is the same one that I got introduced to Sting the actor with, is the movie Dune (1984):
For more information on the movie Dune. Please enjoy this trailer:
The next person that I thought that I would mention is the legendary master of written horror, Stephen King…
Anyone who is everyone has heard about Stephen King or one of his books (I mean Stephen King truly is to the literary world, what Alfred Hitchcock is to the movie industry!)
With that said, unless you are a tried and true fan of Kings, and or have done extensive research on Mr. King, then you might find it interesting to know that there is another similarity that Mr. King has enjoyed on several occasions that Mr. Hitchcock has also enjoyed. What is this similarity?
Well one thing that Hitchcock did like to do, was to have a small cameo in the films that he directed (not much really more then an extra role) He has done this in tons of his movies, such as Psycho in which if you look hard enough you can see him out side of the building that Marion Crane (Played by: Janet Leigh) worked in.
Like Mr. Hitchcock, Stephen King has also enjoyed the occasional guest appearances in the movies that have been adapted for his books. He has played roles in such films as Creepshow (1982) a series of short films in which one of them he plays Jordy Verill a slightly retarded farmer who after finding something in his field begins to slowly change in to something else entirely! Another classic King movie that Stephen King had a role in was as ‘The Minister’ in Pet Sematary (1989) with Dale Midkiff (Time Trax), Fred Gwynne (The Munsters) and Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation).
With that said though, my favorite performance of his, for the movie that I think is the bar none best of the films that were from his books is The Stand (1994).
For more information on The Stand, check out this trailer for the movie…
The last person that I thought that I would mention is former LA Laker, Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
This guy is an interesting one, when I was a kid, I got in to watching basket ball in the late 80s and got in to playing it a few years later when I was about 12, and carried that interest all through Junior High and High School (Until I had a major injury that ended my basket ball playing days.)
Now you might be wondering why I am divulging this little slice of personal history, well honestly there were 2 Basket Ball players that cemented my life long interest in the game, both on and off the court. These players were Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar (two players that are legends in their own rights…)
Now Kareem is an interesting character because I first found him out as a Basket Ball player in the late 80s and then re-discovered him again in the early 90s through his acting career in the 80! Confused enough yet?
Well what I mean by that is that Kareem Abdul-Jabar started his acting career, while he was in his prime as a Basket Ball player in an episode of Mannix in 1971 and has carried his career to the present.
The 80s though is the time period in his career that I thought I would mention though and the reason for that is because that was when he did a lot of his more funny work in such projects as playing Mr. Wilkes on the classic TV Sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. And as the Djinn in the Horror TV series Tales From The Dark Side.
But the piece that he did that I thought I would mention here, a movie that I still think is hilarious even after 30 years… A movie that I still think is completely awesome, Airplane (1980)
Written and Directed by: David Zucker (H.U.D), Jerry Zuccker (The Naked Gun 33 1/3) and Jim Abrahams (Scary Movie 4) and starring Robert Hays (Super Hero Movie), Julie Haggerty (Family Guy) and Leslie Niellson (The Waterman Movie)
This movie I feel kind of helped define a level of Slap stick comedy, that was both enjoyable to watch and entertaining that in some small way I do believe helped to shape that genre of comedy through out the 80s and most of the 90s, and which I still believe holds up pretty spectacularly despite the absence of the toilet humor that has marked most of the slap stick comedies of the last 10 years!
For more information on Airplane, please enjoy this trailer for the movie:
Anyway, I’m not saying that any of these other interests are in anyway inferior to Filmmaking. If your interests are to become a Musician, Politician, Athlete, Doctor or to join some other industry, then I say good luck and more power to you!
I just found this concept to be rather fascinating, and I hope you guys have found this piece as interesting to read as I have enjoyed writing it.