Friday, October 18, 2013

Vito Scotti, Mike Mazurki and David Cassidy's First Wife

I had included Vito Scotti in his appearance in #17, Case of the Missing Monkee.  But I saw him on tv the other night, and I had to look him up again.

His IMDB resume is huge, active from 1949 to 2006.  Which is especially impressive, since he died in 1996.  (Born 1918)

He was Italian, but benefitted from Hollywood's lack of cultural sensitivity and played a variety of roles including Mexican, Russian, Japanese or just plain "creepy villain" accent from the land of evil evildoers.  He was on everything from Adam-12 to Zorro!  Batman to the Brady Bunch!  Gunsmoke to Golden Girls!  And yes, he has enough shows to keep the alliterative jokes coming.

Dr. Boris Balinkoff (vaguely of the Russian persuasion of bad guys) lived on a creepy island in the Pacific and tried to rescue The Castaways from the Isle of Gilligan on "The Friendly Physician" (Season 2, Episode 29).  He made the dog meow like a cat, etc.  The sets and props were probably shared (even though it was CBS, not Screen Gems.  Does anyone know the particulars here?)  He appeared in 4 episodes total, 2 as Boris and 2 as a Japanese soldier or sailor.

Mike Mazurki (1907-1990) has an equally impressive IMDB resume, active from 1934 to 1990. His most famous movies are the film noir, "Murder My Sweet" (1944, with Dick Powell, former singer turned heavy tough guy), "Dick Tracy" (1945), "Night and the City"(1950) , and Nightmare Alley (1947, about carnivals!). He was a big guy (6'5") and a wrestler, born in the Ukraine.  He was discovered by Josef Von Sternberg.  Best of all, he was the guy who punches Rod Stewart in the video for "Infatuation" (which is filmed in b&w, like film noir in a 80's LA apartment complex where Rod is your cool stalker in leather).  Wiki reports that Mike had met more famous people on that film shoot than any other in his career, which seem rather inconceivable since on Season 2, Episode 29, he is in a body-swapping lab with everyone on Gilligan's Island at the same time and even switches bodies with Ginger!

To go even further afield, the woman that Rod is Infatuated with is none other than Kay Lenz.  The Emmy-winning actress started as a kid on Andy Griffith, was in American Graffiti.   And was the first wife of  . . . David Cassidy. They lasted from 1977 to 1982.  (Post Partridge Family)

Of course, DC is the guy who is known to Monkee fans as the guy who blew off the 2013 Convention because he "had to catch a plane".  We didn't really want his autograph anyway.

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