The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Frank Gorshin Dead at 72

Wow, this is really a piece of my childhood gone. Batman was my first favourite show--yes, I was one of those kids who ran around the neighbourhood with a towel around his neck--and Frank Gorshin's Riddler was always my favourite villain (at least until hormones kicked in and told me to give Julie Newmar's Catwoman another looksee).

For years, all I knew of Gorshin was his turn as the puzzling trickster in green tights, but then I saw clips of him doing his impeccable impressions on Ed Sullivan and elsewhere, and caught him in movies from Invasion of the Saucer Men to 12 Monkeys, and realized what a fine character actor he truly was. He really deserved that Emmy nomination for playing a two-tone alien on Star Trek. Tonight I'll watch him in one of his final roles on CSI: Crime Scene Investigations (directed by Quentin Tarantino, for anyone who cares).

Gorshin had a habit of turning up in the strangest places, whether it was the musical Bells Are Ringing, or Otto Preminger's Skidoo, where his presence was always a welcome surprise. And my favourite bit of trivia about Gorshin is the fact that when he appeared in The George Raft Story--and Raft was one of his many impressions--he played a character named Moxie. How could I not love that?


Brent McKee said...

Let's not forget his guest role on "Star Trek" as Commander Bele in "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield". He was also the voice of Foghorn Leghorn in "Pullets Surprise" and according to Mark Evanier's website he looped dialog for some of the actors he was famous for doing impressions of, but he did such a good job he said "I can't recognize me."

Rob said...

I'll miss that guy - was the best villian ever on TV. I'd kill for his question-mark sportcoat. Julie and Frank together were the ultimate pairing, IMHO. He was way better than any of his co-stars on the Star Trek episode, as well. Loved him in "Man of the Century" - that was a fun movie anyway.


Brooklyn Blowhard said...

I remember him in "Where The Boys Are", with those coke bottle glasses. He was the best Batman villian in my opinion. John Astin? He was no Riddler, he will always be Gomez.
Also, remember that TV show "Copycats"? Frank killed on that.