Friends, if I could somehow be granted the luxury of a couple of hours with a celebrity that has sadly passed away – it would be a tough choice between Jim Henson, Orson Welles, and Roddy McDowall. My love for the work of all three is deep and has been since an early age – more so with Henson and McDowall of course. Growing up watching the likes of The Muppet Show and Sesame Street made me a lifelong fan of Henson and the art of puppetry – and it was as a teenager that I was bowled over by Citizen Kane, although I was aware of Welles work through radio first thanks to his adaptation of The War of the Worlds and The Shadow. Roddy McDowall was something even more special though – from a very early age thanks to the likes of The Twilight Zone, Batman, Night Gallery, The Poseidon Adventure, Fantasy Island, Fright Night, and naturally the four Planet of the Apes films I grew up highly enamored of the actor. So much so that when I heard of his passing on October 3rd of 1998 – I actually wore a black armband as a sign of mourning. I think one of the reasons I loved Roddy McDowall so much is that he was talented enough to equally play either a good guy or heel – and in interviews he always seemed to be so charming and the perfect gentleman.
By the way, 1987’s Dead of Winter which of course Roddy McDowall was on to discuss is a highly underrated thriller – if you have not had the pleasure of checking it out, try to do so. Now Roddy might possibly be best known for his work in the Planet of the Apes films as well as the TV series – with his roles as Cornelius, Caesar, and then Galen. Roles he most assuredly appeared to be quite fond of and quite a good sport too as is quite evident in this wonderful segment from The Carol Burnett Show from March 16th of 1974. Featuring McDowall and Burnett in a duet in addition to a short film of the three-and-a-half hours it took to get into the makeup!