LOOK WHAT I FOUND! Joey Skaggs "The Final Curtain"

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Offline Hazzely

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I'm sorry this is going to be long but wow, I advise you to read it!! Specially the last two parts (the red headlines)

All I can say is:           W-O-W!! This man is a genius!!


After your doing to read what's posted under the red hreadlines you will understand what is The "final curtain call" about


Was this his inspiration? What a sweet coincidence! LOVE it

The Final Curtain
May, 2000, New York, New York

Are you prepared for the inevitable?
How do you want to be remembered?
What can you do about it?
The Final Curtain was a satirical concept that depicted the death care industry in an over-the-top and humorous way, hoping to provoking individuals to think about their feelings about life, death and burial in a new light -- before it's personally too late.

To Joey Skaggs, the death care industry is a giant corporate scam, exquisitely successful at commercializing death. Pre-need insurance, embalming services, open coffins, headstones, ground space, religious sanctity, and ancillary products are merchandized to con people into spending money under the premise that this is the right thing to do.

Using calculated public relations and marketing tactics, death care providers have elevated spiritual reverence in the funeral parlor to a high art. Their ploy is to appear to pay appropriate tribute to the dead, making a good show for the mourners. Ultimately, it's a waste of space and resources, and a burden to the natural environment at the financial and emotional expense of their clients.

In 1998, Skaggs put together an international team of volunteer writers, artists, and designers to create The Final Curtain , a Web site purporting to represent a voracious real estate development company, featuring a Disney-like memorial theme park and mall which included a traveling time share program for the deceased.

The Final Curtain catered to creative individuals (visual artists, poets, performers, etc.) who wanted to construct their own iconoclastic, irreverent, and/or humorous monuments, mausoleums, and urns.

Planned to be franchised in major metropolitan cities around the world and open to the public, the parks would be a haven for those who wished to be free of the shackles of the current death-care industry's morbid grip on life's passing.

The Final Curtain memorial theme park concept was so outrageous, yet so plausible, that it was widely reported in newspapers, magazines, on television, radio, and on the Internet. It was immediately accepted by the public as a reality without question. People both embraced and attacked it.

Venture capitalists expressed interest in investing. A corporation threatened legal action for trademark infringement. The States of Colorado and New Jersey threatened investigation into the illegal sales of securities on the Internet. Television and Hollywood movies were proposed. And artists submitted burial concepts hoping to be selected by the company for a free grave site.

Joey Skaggs perpetuated the virtual burial business by setting up a bogus office with a telephone and an answering machine and responding to the barrage of requests for interviews. The fact that he played all the parts of the company's executives, i.e., Michael Varley, Managing Director; Stuart MacLelland, Marketing Director; and Paul Corey, Associate Marketing Director, during interviews, never crossed a single journalist's mind.

When he talked about the artist-designed adventure rides such as the "roller coaster of life and death," or the interactive playgrounds where children could frolic on artists' gravesites, or the shops that sold mausoleum replica key chains and coffee mugs, they all bought it.

Funeral directors who contacted the Final Curtain were all for it. They oozed delight that at last big investment money was helping to merge the death care industry into the entertainment world.

Skaggs always leaves clues in his performances. In this case, his own monument, mounted in the Monument Gallery, under the name of Joseph Sullivan, was a screen animation of Skaggs morphing from flesh to bone, with a worm crawling in one eye and out of his mouth.

Documentation (An expanded list of news coverage can be found in the Company section of The Final Curtain )


Documents and links: http://www.joeyskaggs.com/html/final.html
There you can see legal documents to pull this hoax off and some articles ;D

________________________________________________________________________________

The Final Curtain "a HOAX"









_________________________________________________

DEATH TRICK

Stupid death tricks

How a Web performance artist created a fake chain of theme-park cemeteries and embarrassed 39 newspapers, 19 radio stations, six TV stations, 10 magazines and 20 Web sites.
BY JEFF STARK


This is a great story. And like most great stories, you can sell it in a few words. In this case, three:

1) Cemetery.
2) Theme.
3) Park.

Cemetery Theme Park. Imagine it for a second. Manicured lawns. Perfect flowers. Necro-Disneyland. Six Flags with 21-gun salute. New Orleans -- only cleaner.

A Cemetery Theme Park called the Final Curtain. Because death is boring, and who needs a cortege when you can hire a parade?

But remember this: There is nothing more powerful than a great story. Not even the truth.

The Final Curtain story may already sound familiar. Maybe you read about it in the Los Angeles Times or the Boston Herald. Perhaps you heard about it on NPR, or a morning show on your local radio station. It's even possible that you saw something about it on a Fox television affiliate.

It doesn't really matter where you actually heard about the Final Curtain. Most of the stories -- dozens of separate pieces -- were pretty much the same. They were all wrong. Deathly wrong.

The Final Curtain, the news organizations reported, was the name of a chain of theme-park cemeteries being built by a New Jersey company called Investors Real Estate Development. The business model was a bit complicated (the Final Curtain was supposedly a private corporation, but some sites would be given away), but the central idea wasn't. The hook: to give artists a chance to design their own grave sites.

In proper forward-thinking art-speak, the Final Curtain Web page called these burials "site-specific works of passage." The company was seeking -- and had accepted -- proposals in anticipation of its first park in New York. Illustrator Nick Gaetano proposed a hot-blue neon sign reading "Nick is Dead." An artist and writer named Julia Solis wanted her body fat to be rendered to fuel an eternal flame. A woman named Kim Markegard had submitted plans for a jukebox and a 10-foot by 10-foot parquet floor so that her friends and family could dance on her grave.

There was more. The Final Curtain would make money by charging guests admission and cleaning up on concessions. There were timeshare plans and vacation packages, galleries and museums, Dante's Grill and the Heaven's Gate Cafe. If it sounds ridiculous, consider a few other cultural realities: "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?", cloned pets, impeachment.

Now, imagine that you're a journalist. You want to cover this story. You can't lose with a story about Cemetery Theme Parks. Your editor is impressed. The jokes write themselves. The headlines alone ...

It's almost too good to be true.

Unfortunately, that was the problem.

The Final Curtain turns out to be an elaborate media hoax cooked up by Joey Skaggs, a 45-year-old trickster in New York who's made a career of fooling the media and calling it art for nearly 35 years. Skaggs has appeared on CNN and "Good Morning America" as a drill sergeant with the Fat Squad, a fake disciplinarian diet program; WABC did an Emmy-nominated investigative segment on his Cat House for Dogs, a place to get your pooch laid.

Skaggs refuses to reveal how much of his own money he spent on his latest prank; he makes a living selling paintings and sculpture and occasionally teaching.

This is a great story.

"The hook, the line and the sinker." These are the three phases of any Skaggs prank. Setting up the Final Curtain took Skaggs more than two years. The reporters who fell for his story spent anywhere from two hours to two days writing their stories.

A prank as long and complicated as the Final Curtain required a lot of legwork. First, Skaggs needed a physical space for the Final Curtain to exist, so he installed a hard phone line at a friend's home in New Jersey. Then he printed stationery and business cards. He collected ideas and artwork from 15 collaborators. He invented personas. Most importantly, he registered http://www.finalcurtain.com and built a deep Web site.

Then he baited the first hook -- more than a year ago -- with a little ad on the back page of the Village Voice and 19 other alternative weeklies. The advertisement read:

DEATH GOT YOU DOWN?

At last an alternative!

http://www.finalcurtain.com

Later, when reporters questioned him -- or, rather, his invented personas -- he would point to those advertisements as evidence that the Final Curtain had not gone up overnight. The fact that Final Curtain was already spending money gave the project an air of legitimacy. The next step was a simple press release. "Until now, the handling of death has been regimented and boring," it explained. "At the Final Curtain we are throwing away all the rules."

The press release was picked up almost immediately on Oct. 7, by Wireless Flash News Service, a daily wire that "provides daily feature and entertainment content to more than 800 broadcast outlets, newspapers and Web sites world wide." The dummy phone in New Jersey started ringing almost immediately. Calls were mostly fielded by "marketing director" Stuart MacLelland or "spokesman" Paul Corey -- personas cooked up by Skaggs. Some reporters didn't even bother to call.

On Oct. 11 the L.A. Times published a column called "Off-Kilter" by Roy Rivenburg. The headline was "Go out with a bang: Cutting-edge tombstones in a theme-park setting." Rivenburg wrote the story straight. He spent about 200 words introducing the idea and cut straight to the grave markers: "A giant Etch-a-Sketch filled with cremated remains mingled with iron particles"; "A massive ant farm tombstone made from a combination of soil and cremated remains"; "a coffin containing a video camera -- so visitors could watch the corpse decay live or via time-lapse recording."

Rivenburg was one of the writers who didn't call anyone at Final Curtain, although he did exchange an email or two. He was skittish enough about the concept to write a sort of disclaimer into his copy: "Although much of it sounds tongue-in-cheek, Final Curtain officials insist the proposal is real." Those Final Curtain officials, of course, were Skaggs.

Amazingly enough, two days later Skaggs received a letter from an attorney representing Uncle Milton Industries Inc., the maker of Uncle Milton's Ant Farms. The letter was also sent to Rivenburg at the Times. Turns out that "Ant Farm" is a registered trademark. "We believe that you and Final Curtain meant an 'ant vivarium' or an 'ant habitat' to describe the concept. 'Ant Farm' is not a descriptive phrase but is an incontestable trademark that identifies Uncle Milton Industries."

Skaggs had a new line. He fired off another press dispatch about Final Curtain and the Uncle Milton letter. Now he had something far better than a silly idea: a controversy. The only thing the press likes more than a gimmick is a controversy.

"Sometimes you have to nurse things along," said Skaggs last week from his studio. "Controversy is a smokescreen. This is what politicians do to us all the time. They take you away from important issues by creating stupid issues. Then the media focuses on the stupid issues and you never question the premise."

From that point, the Final Curtain took on a life of its own. All Skaggs had to do was sit back and watch the press clippings pile up. On Oct. 22, Rivenburg at the L.A. Times kicked off the coverage with yet another column that made fun of Uncle Milton for going after Final Curtain. By this point, the site was drawing tens of thousands of hits per day, according to Skaggs.

By mid May, 39 newspapers in Europe and the States, some of which ran AP stories that originated with a story in the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, at least 19 radio stations, 10 magazines, 20 Web sites and six television stations that had all fallen for his hoax. "It was a snowflake into a snowball into an avalanche," Skaggs says.

Two European TV crews inquired about shooting documentaries. A student at the University of Chicago asked to use Final Curtain as the basis of her graduate thesis. And then there were the online businesses and Web rings, which were only slightly more plausible than the Final Curtain. One site, selling itself as "the No. 1-visited cremation site online" offered advertising banner space. A letter from the founder of NetKin, which sells "virtual memorials," invited Final Curtain to become an "associate" site and place "Netkin Memorials" on its site. Final Curtain would take in a chunk of blood money from anyone who bought a memorial. Progressive-minded infidels from Funeral Industry made a few calls, too.

Then a pair of state agencies became intrigued.

In December, New Jersey and Colorado sent letters to the Final Curtain demanding that the site produce financial information or quit soliciting online. A Colorado officer refused to comment on the case, which is apparently ongoing. New Jersey did not return phone calls. Skaggs dismissed both with a polite letter pointing out that he wasn't soliciting any money.

A few months later, he sent out another press release, explaining that the whole thing was a hoax.

As a breed, journalists don't particularly like making mistakes. They like being bamboozled even less. Upon being informed of Skaggs' hoax, some grudgingly admit they were taken.

"I am aware of him and of the tradition of this sort of stunt," says Boston Herald writer Joel Brown, who wrote about Final Curtain in his column "The Web Browser" in October. "Usually they don't seem to be as dedicated. My bullshit detector didn't go off on this one."

Though Brown detected something rotten -- he inserted the following caveat into his story: "In the back of your mind, you have to wonder if the whole thing is just some sort of art-weasel prank, but the New Jersey outfit seems for real." Still, he never made contact with Final Curtain. Nor did he check anything about the organization other than its Web site. He copped to his mistake in his last column.

"We're embarrassed and disappointed," says Mother Jones staffer Alastair Paulin, who wrote a short item about Final Curtain. "This was a really sophisticated prank with a lot of people involved. The fact checker here actually spoke to the same artist [I interviewed]. It makes it tough, even if it smells funny."

So what's the point? Well, Skaggs calls it art. He claims to have a social message. From his press release: "To Joey Skaggs, the death-care industry is a giant corporate scam, exquisitely successful at commercializing death ... Ultimately, it's a waste of space and resources, and a burden to the natural environment at the financial and emotional expense of their clients."

Skaggs' pranks are a bit more graceful than his explanations.

To complete this story, let's incorporate some of Skaggs' words, a few quotes from the journalists who took the bait and a few other proverbs for a more suitable ending.

1. There's a sucker born every minute.

2. "The line between truth and falsehood has become blurred online." -- Village Voice freelancer Jeff Howe.

3. "We're a service industry. We're no different than any other industry." Jay Roberts, Lowe Funeral Home, Burlington, N.C.

4. Don't believe everything you read. ---> LOL! Wasn't this what they wrote also at FL today? Michael's tomb vandalised . And this is what Michael always said also! ;D

5. "It's hard for satire to stay ahead of what's already a bizarre culture. But that makes satire all the more important." -- Skaggs.

6. There is a difference between a prank and a scam. A scammer only wants to rip people off. A prankster wants to make them laugh.

7. Ant Farm is a registered trademark of Uncle Milton Industries, Inc., of Westlake Village, Calif.

8. "Media hoaxing has a bright, promising future. All we can hope is that the hoaxers are smarter than the media." -- Jeff Howe.

9. "No matter how lightweight the story, or how archly it was written, we were presenting it as real." -- Alastair Paulin.

10. No one can resist a good story.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 06:41:22 PM by Hazzely »
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Offline Hazzely

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double post
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring and your heart be filled always with the joys of simple things. May your essence claim the freshness of the new laid morning dew. All of this...and more...
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Offline Hazzely

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This is it! The ultimate "final curtain" ...

This video is a summary of what I posted before:

[youtube:3vcingt8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb939Mkgs64&feature=related[/youtube:3vcingt8]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring and your heart be filled always with the joys of simple things. May your essence claim the freshness of the new laid morning dew. All of this...and more...
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Offline Hazzely

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@CC

www.thefinalcurtain.com
Creation Date   11-aug-2001 (8 years and 11 months ago)
Updated Date   31-mar-2008 (2 years and 3 months ago)
Expiration Date   11-aug-2013 (in 3 years)
Domain registration data
Registrant:    Juno Field

About Juno Field: http://www.junofieldimages.com/#                 (I don't know if this is the real registrant but well..)

Registry    NL - Amsterdam - P.O. Box 10096 - RIPE Network Coordination Centre
Network    GB - HEART-INTERNET - Heart Internet Network, Heart Internet Network via Node4 AS - 2 Castle Quay, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham. NG7 1FW
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 09:51:51 AM by Hazzely »
May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring and your heart be filled always with the joys of simple things. May your essence claim the freshness of the new laid morning dew. All of this...and more...
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Offline Hazzely

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Yes this is the same person:

http://www.junofieldimages.com/

Registry    NL - Amsterdam - P.O. Box 10096 - RIPE Network Coordination Centre    
Network    GB - HEART-INTERNET - Heart Internet Network, Heart Internet Network via Node4 AS - 2 Castle Quay, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham. NG7 1FW

Creation Date   14-feb-2007 (3 years and 5 months ago)
Updated Date   30-jan-2010 (5 months and 15 days ago)
Expiration Date   14-feb-2011 (in 7 months and 4 days)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring and your heart be filled always with the joys of simple things. May your essence claim the freshness of the new laid morning dew. All of this...and more...
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Offline Hazzely

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Quote from: "Gema"
After refreshing my mind reading again about The Final Courtain  :lol:  I guess many of us have been interfering with the piece by being nosy and debunking autopsies, news and photos  :lol: looks like, we, somehow, "phuck it up"


I remember someone asked Skaggs about this hoax and he said that MJ is dead and he has nothing to do with any hoax :?

Why would he know anything about Michael's hoax? I think he's smart enough to pull this off by his own. He was just inspired (probably) by Skaggs, but that doesn't mean he has to be in
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring and your heart be filled always with the joys of simple things. May your essence claim the freshness of the new laid morning dew. All of this...and more...
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Offline Hazzely

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Quote from: "CC"
THANKS HAZZELY!
IS STRANGE THAT THIS SITE IS COMING SOON ALMOST 9 YEARS LATER, DON´T YOU THINK?
COULD THIS BE THE TIME OF PLANNING THIS HOAX?
I´M LOST NOW... :roll:

But we don't know if this site ( wwww.thefinalcurtain.com )is related to Michael's HOAX ;/
I don't think so though
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Hazzely

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Quote from: "CC"
Quote from: "Hazzely"
Quote from: "CC"
THANKS HAZZELY!
IS STRANGE THAT THIS SITE IS COMING SOON ALMOST 9 YEARS LATER, DON´T YOU THINK?
COULD THIS BE THE TIME OF PLANNING THIS HOAX?
I´M LOST NOW... :roll:

But we don't know if this site ( wwww.thefinalcurtain.com )is related to Michael's HOAX ;/
I don't think so though

YES, WE DON´T KNOW... BUT THE BOWLER HAT AND THE CEMENTERY PICTURE BEHIND :?  LOOKS LIKE THRILLER! I THINK WHE BAM WILL COME WHEN THE MEDIA TAKE NOTICE OF ALL THIS, THAT WILL BE THE BAM! AND EVENTUALLY MJ WILL RETURN... THE BAM! WILL BE THE SOUND OF MASSIVE JAW DROPPING AROUND THE WORLD!

Well The Final Curtain was also about burials, cemeteries, death .. It may point to thriller but I don't think so. I think it just bring back what in 2000 the site was about..
But what I don't get is.. why "coming soon"? What are they planning to do with this site again? Lol
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Hazzely

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Quote from: "PrettyYoungTeletubby"
Just came across this sentence in the Taraborelli book again. I sometimes feel all answers to the hoax are in there...well anyway here is what he wrote bout The Final Curtain: (the context: 1984, MJ has been "forced" to sign for the Victory tour but doesn't like the idea. HE wants to rename it The Final Curtain)

"When Michael got back to Los Angeles, he met with Joseph, Katherine, his brothers and Don King to tell them what he had decided about the tour. "I want to rename it" he said. "I don't like Victory Tour. I want to call it The Final Curtain"
"None of the brothers liked that name at all", Marlon recalled. "Our parents didn't like it either. Michael was making it sound like a funeral, like someone had died. But we weren't dying"

p. 289, the magic and the madness, reedition of 2009

But Skaggs's hoax was in 2000  :?  and according to that Michael wanted to use that name in the 80s.
I'm so lost now..
Still maybe Skaggs was an inspiration for him anyway

Look what I have found... we know Michael loved noir films (Smooth criminal in TII is just another proof of that)

I searched for "Final curtain meaning" (maybe it had some specific symbolism) and i got:

Nightfall (1957): The final curtain call for classic noir film

PLOT:
The film tells of commercial artist James Vanning (Aldo Ray) and his friend, Dr. Edward Gurston (Frank Albertson). They are on a hunting and fishing trip in Wyoming. They stop to help two men with car problems. The two men, John (Brian Keith) and Red (Rudy Bond), are bank robbers, fleeing with the loot and don't plan on leaving any witnesses. They murder Gurston using Vanning's hunting rifle, but through luck Vanning survives. He's knocked out cold but still alive. He awakens to discover the stolen money, left behind by mistake, and runs with it from the returning hoods. He gets away but loses the bag in the blizzard that hits Wyoming.

Now a more detailed explanation & review:



“This is what they call the point of no return my friend.”

Nightfall is a work of striking juxtapositions and tones that by picture end, come off like a wonderfully disarming person—you’re charmed, even a bit disturbed, but you’re not sure what to make of it all. It opens at night, in the neon lit, Los Angeles jungle shimmering with welcoming Hollywood haunts like Miceli’s, Firefly and Musso and Frank and ends within the blinding white snow of the more foreboding Wyoming Wilderness. It pits an older doctor and his much younger, artist friend against two thugs, one an over-eager, violence-lusting psychopath and the other a casual, smarter killer whose relaxed approach borders on the likable. It features a chic fashion show with a modern looking Anne Bancroft as a “mannequin” followed by a cuddly rural bus ride during which the lovers express their romantic feelings after waking up to (decidedly non chic) whiskers. There’s cruel violence committed against good Samaritans mixed with quippy one liners and a surprising amount of dark humor. And did I mention Anne Bancroft falls in love with Aldo Ray? They seem mismatched, but then, perfect together—and their moments are exceptionally romantic. In short, Nightfall is a trip. But a great trip, and a noteworthy addition to noir innovator Jacques Tourneur’s oeuvre (which includes, among other splendid pictures, the horror/noir classics Cat People and I Walked With a Zombie and his key noir, Out of the Past).

Adapted by Stirling Silliphant from hard boiled writer David Goodis's 1947 novel and brilliantly shot by Burnett Guffey (who also shot Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece In a Lonely Place and Arthur Penn’s ingenious Bonnie and Clyde),the picture is considered by some, a minor film noir, something that’s always baffled me. Made in the later cycle of the genre (released in 1957), the picture skillfully weaves a convoluted story, harsh violence, existential angst, naturalistic acting and sweet romanticism without ever feeling forced. And as stated earlier—it’s very funny—something Tourneur always intended. And though the theme song seems a bit overheated (Al Hibbler crooning “Nightfall…and you!”—a tune that really ought to grace a Ross Hunter production) even that works when looking at the film in its entirety. Akin to the startling laughs spiking the movie, it echoes Tourneur’s own sly sense of humor.


The story is structured much like Out of the Past, with our hero (who's not guilty, unlike Mitchum), Rayburn Vanning (Ray) relating his complicated story to a woman. Only in this instance, the lovely lady, Marie Gardner (Bancroft), is a bit confused. Pulling a damsel in distress act for the benefit of two thugs waiting to jump Ray (she thought they were police officers after a wanted man), she sets up the poor lug. Vanning is then accosted by Red (Rudy Bond) and John (Brian Keith) and taken to a deserted oil derrick (an unsettling yet weirdly amusing scene) where he’s set to be tortured. They want to know where that money’s hidden, something Vanning continually states he doesn’t know. Vanning escapes, finds his way to Marie’s apartment and gives her the skinny. Or rather, the thick skinny. He explains the convoluted predicament that’s left him understandably paranoid. While on a pleasant camping trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with best friend Dr. Edward Gurston (Frank Albertson) in which the two men will hunt, and in a more uncomfortable moment, near the sticky subject of Doc’s much younger wife (whom we learn later has a thing for Vanning and sent him letters saying so). The conversation is cut short when a car crashes off an embankment and two shady characters (Red and John), emerge. Doc fixes John’s arm but they soon realize they're unlucky witnesses (the men just robbed a bank). Almost shockingly, Doc is shot dead and Vanning is left injured. The crooks blaze off, only, they make an enormous mistake—they grab the doctor’s bag instead of their own bag of money. Vanning is able to rise from his injury, hide the dough and take off. Moving from town to town under suspicion that he killed Doc, Vanning ends up in Los Angeles, where he’s being tailed by insurance investigator Ben Fraser (James Gregory) who confesses to his wife that Vanning just doesn’t seem the type.

And as played by Aldo Ray—he doesn’t seem the type. One of the more striking aspects to Nightfall is its casting, and the barrel-chested, thick necked Ray, who was a natural born actor (watch his first and largely unschooled leading role in George Cukor’s The Marrying Kind and you’ll see how immediately gifted the man was. Also in Anthony Mann’s brilliant Men in War). Ray is the perfect good guy in-over-his- head. With his raspy voice, yet boyish appeal (he looked like he literally walked off a football field, which is why Cukor made him take ballet before The Marrying Kind) Ray always exuded a different kind of mystery than say, Mitchum or Ryan or Widmark—men who rarely appeared “normal.” Ray, an ex Frogman who fought in Iwo Jima, was a brawny man’s man certainly, but he always looked to be hiding a secret. That inside he had the soul of a poet or artist—a man of depth beyond his tough exterior. And so, appropriately, in Nightfall, he’s an artist.

 
Brian Keith is another standout and like Ray, an actor I always wished was my father (and not merely for the TV show Family Affair). He’s so agreeable here—and his delivery manages to be both distracted and pithy rather than rat-a-tat. When he humorously claims that Red’s homicidal kicks stem from his lack of childhood play (“When Red was a kid they didn’t have enough playgrounds. He’s sort of an adult delinquent.”) he’s both revelatory and teasing. And his banter towards Red is cleverly berating: “The top of your head never closed up when you were a kid. Neither did your mouth.” Cracking wise with Red, the two spar like men who are ready to kill each other, but also who are simply getting on each other’s nerves (preceding some of Tarantino’s talky criminals). But talking aside, deadlier fates await them including a fatal gunshot and death by snowplow.

And wild, almost ridiculous fate was something Tourneur excelled at, not surprisingly. Based on the bizarre treatment at the hands of his filmmaker father, Tourneur developed a dark sense of the absurd. As written in John Wakemen’s “World Film Directors Vol. 1 1890-1946,”Tourneur believed that the childhood he endured—one of “grotesque punishment” lied at the root of his cinematic obsessions. Relating that he was sent to a poor school and teased unmercifully for his square suspenders, Tourneur claimed: “I think this is what prompted me to introduce comic touches into the dramatic moments of my films…Mixing fear and the ridiculous can be very exciting.”

Indeed. As Red can’t wait to torture a terrified Vanning, he sinisterly and bizarrely sings: “The tougher they are the more fun they are tra-la.”
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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