Peter Gunn

All posts tagged Peter Gunn

Va-Va-Villainess: Mara Corday

Published May 23, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Mara Corday (1954)

“A disgusting turn of events, Mr. Gunn. You’ve wasted everybody’s evening. It’s going to cost you!” – Emily (Mara Corday)

Keep Smiling, the 26th episode of Peter Gunn, the suave jazz flecked detective series created by Blake Edwards, has to be one of the hippest half hours of television ever produced. Directed by the legendary Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Incredible Shrinking Man), this episode accentuates its coolness most fully at the story’s midpoint. As acclaimed drummer Shelly Manne manipulates the skins on stage, Gunn (Craig Stevens) puts the hooks into Mara Corday’s sexy serial blackmailer while an eager whistleblower (played by The Addams Family’s Jackie Coogan) looks on.

Mara TarantulaCorday, of course, efficiently and naturally played a series of valiant heroines in such science fiction-horror pictures as The Giant Claw, The Black Scorpion and (the Arnold directed) Tarantula. Here, she obviously relishes being the bad girl, biting into her lines with acidic menace. It’s a tart performance that radiates with a calm evil, proving that Corday was a step above many of the other model-actresses who played similar roles in that same period of time.

The 90-year-old Corday, who parlayed her longtime friendship with Clint Eastwood into roles in several of his films, is still active at http://maracorday.com/. Those wishing to indulge in the full ecstasies of her presence can find Keep Smiling on Amazon Prime, as well.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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mara

Va-Va-Villainess: Hope Emerson

Published April 4, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Hope Emerson Caged

Her work as cruel prison matron Evelyn Harper in the historic WIP effort Caged earned the distinctive Hope Emerson an Academy Award nomination and a place in history for creating one of the most odiferous presences ever committed to celluloid. Immortalized on the track Miss Pamela and Miss Sparky Discuss Stuffed Bras and some of their early gym experiences on the 1969 (Frank Zappa produced) GTOS’ album Permanent Damage, Emerson actually manipulated her unusual height and malleable face to great effect in a variety of roles.

Besides her grand efforts tormenting Caged‘s Eleanor Parker, Emerson effectively backed up everyone from Edward G. Robinson to Greer Garson to Bob Hope. One of her final roles, though, brought out an acidic maternal quality and gave her great recognition among jazz buffs and beat swingers. Hope Peter Gunn

As the gruff, but loving Mother on Blake Edwards music drenched series Peter Gunn, Emerson did some of her most sensitive work. Beaming with matriarchal pride, Emerson affectionately interacted with Craig Stevens and Lola Albright, the performers who played the titular, danger ridden private eye and his teasing chanteuse girlfriend. Utilizing her impressive 6’2” frame, this veteran performer rounded out her affectionate antics here with a take no guff attitude. Thus, only the series’ roughest thugs dared to mess with her…and usually from a distance and with the help of explosives when they did!

Dying at the far too young age of 62 from liver disease, those who appreciate fine performances know that Emerson has definitely left behind a memorable legacy of characters.  Her striking signature style refuses to fade quietly into the mists of time.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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hope-emerson stare

Va-Va-Villainess: Margarita Cordova

Published March 1, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Margarita Main

Peter Gunn, the ultra cool private eye series created by Blake Edwards, definitely featured its share of shady ladies over its 3 often irresistible seasons (1958-1961). Of course, all of these women radiated spunk and beauty. But the most dynamic of those varied and capable performers has to be Margarita Cordova who, over the course of two episodes, skillfully danced, sang and played guitar along with the other expected prerequisites of her acting assignments. Margarita Dance

Granted, her last appearance in the show’s Cry Love, Cry Murder offering found her in more valiant territory, portraying a character that exposes the schemes of family member with a firm yet tear stained heart.

Her first runaround with Craig Stevens’ unflappable Gunn was a bit more insidious, though. As Elena, the mistress of a two timing scoundrel in the Mask of Murder offering, Cordova willing delivers the series’ titular hero to death’s door. Gunn, naturally, survives…as the alert Elena slinks off to presumably charm other suckers. Cordova fills this determined schemer with a strong survivor’s instinct mixed with a sly bit of seductive minx, providing for a most memorable villainess with plenty of (the above mentioned) va-va-voom to spare.

Margarita Mission ImpossibleDecades later, Cordova found her biggest fame as a regular on two NBC soap operas. As the matriarchal Rosa Andrade on Santa Barbara, she provided a noble sternness. She was given even more creative freedom, though, as Sunset Beach’s truly memorable Carmen Torres. Vengefully opposing the romantic union of her beloved (former priest) son with his brother’s ex-fiancée, Cordova took the mother in law from hell act to deliciously glorious heights.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Margarita Mail