Friday 5 December 2008

i've been enjoying the old reruns of Maverick on Foxtel, and I seem to have gotten in early enough to catch some of season 1 from 1957. I was two when these things first aired. I loved the cowboy shows as a kid, but managed to miss this one except in an occasional repeat. It would have been my favourite, though probably would have a bit over my head for a few years. Anyway, Callum is passing through the room, catches a glimpse of James Garner as Bret Maverick and says "Hey! Wouldn't he make a good Spirit!". (Cal is currently working his way through Will Eisner's complete run of the Spirit.) Coincidentally, Eisner himself thought Garner would have been perfect in the role. He originally, in the '40s, had Cary Grant in mind, but by the '60s Grant would have been too old, so the 30 year old Garner he saw as perfect.
Of course it's all academic now as Garner is himself too old, but discussing the issue would at least leave an impression of just what the character should be like on screen, relevant as Farnk Miller's version will be coming to our screens very soon. Thus In 2002 at the Will Eisner symposium on the graphic novel in Florida, at which I was a guest, I was having breakfast with Will himself and he confirmed his liking for Garner as a theoretical Spirit. In 2006 I was having a beer with Frank Miller in San Diego and I brought the subject up. I may be wrong but I got the impression that Frank was dismissive of the choice.
Garner has great presence and has to be watched on screen, but here are a couple of stills of him as Bret Maverick

Here is Eisner's Spirit:

And here's the second Maverick photo with a mask drawn on the face:

This remark on the wikipedia page linked above,
"Garner as Bret usually wore a black cowboy hat, often changing its placement on his head from one scene to the next,"
reminds me of the expressive ways that Eisner would use the Spirit's hat, changing it from sombre to resilient to comedic to jaunty, etc. etc. from panel to panel.

update as i just realised the release of the movie is closer than I thought:
Spirit stars at abandoned warehouse (13 hours ago)
The stars of comic book film adaptation The Spirit have appeared at an abandoned warehouse. Rather than a Leicester Square premiere, Samuel L Jackson, Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johannson graced the red carpet at the Old Post Office in central London, ahead of the film's world premiere in New York next week.

Andre Rieu earlier in Melbourne:

Saccharine touches make Rieu mildly nauseating

Alongside "light" classical and popular 19th century Viennese dance music, a Rieu performance typically features staging, costumes and coiffures based on romanticised stereotypes of 19th century Vienna, with saccharine Disney studio touches and kilometres of taffeta thrown in for good effect. Add in sing-along, clap-along, whistle-along audience participation, pantomime jokes, sensory overload (large screens, ice skaters, dancers, horses) and the production values of variety television, and you have The Wiggles for grown-ups.
(thanks to Louise for the link)

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Blogger Faff said...

never heard of this Rieu fella but he sounds like the bastard offspring of Liberace and Mantovani. I've so far managed to resist subjecting myself to any videos because the general descriptions sound like a better recipe for nightmares than Welsh rarebit.

5 December 2008 at 04:04:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Dutch. Andre Rieu is Dutch. I emigrated.
Germans have the word 'schmaltz', but I happily coopt it.

5 December 2008 at 04:35:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best summed up by Shaun Micallef presenting Andre Rieu's festival of perfectly dreadful music
(The traler starts at 0:53)

5 December 2008 at 18:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

arf. that's funny

5 December 2008 at 19:02:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Maestro,

Agree with you completely about Garner and the Spirit. He's got a casual charm that few, if any, modern actors possess. Even in The Notebook, you can feel his presence...

I wonder just how appealing FM's version will really be to 2008 audiences. Not expecting much.

Hope you and the Wifey of your bosom are doing well...


7 December 2008 at 13:58:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That picture looks a lot like Jimmy Joe Meeker to me.

Frank Miller's: Will Eisner's: The Spirit.... will make Cat woman look like Citizen Kane.

It looks as entertaining as warm arse.

19 December 2008 at 07:47:00 GMT-5  

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