Thursday, July 5, 2012
A FACE IN THE CROWD
Andy Griffith, dead at age 86. R.I.P., dear Andy.
Of course, I loved him as Andy of Mayberry and Matlock but my favorite character Andy Griffith played was Larry "Lonesome Rhodes" in the movie A Face in The Crowd.
I had seen Griffith on the Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen shows, where he performed stand-up comedy or skits. My brother Kenny had seen Griffith's skit What It Was Was Football in the earlier 1950s. Kenny loved that routine, bought the record and would perform the whole routine for us. I also saw Griffith in the teleplay No Time For Sergeants, which he later starred in on Broadway. He also starred on Broadway in the musical Destry Rides Again, which had been a famous movie starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.
I have always said that if I hadn't seen Griffith in A Face In The Crowd, that I would probably never have watched The Andy Griffith Show, Matlock, and his specials. I wanted to see the movie because Patricia Neal was the star and I'd admired her since seeing The Fountainhead. Walter Matthau and Lee Remick also played in the movie.
In the film Griffith played Lonesome Rhodes, a slimy, con-man who was able to become a radio and television commentator with the help of the character Marcia, played by Patricia Neal. Neal played a producer who discovered Rhodes. She nicknamed him "Lonesome Rhodes" and because of his folksy charm he became an overnight star. Lonesome Rhodes eventually went to New York, became an advisor to a Senator wanting to be President. Lonesome Rhodes was brought down because of his lust and greed for money and power and his betrayal of all the people who had helped him in his rise to power. Patricia Neal's character left the microphone open and Lonesome Rhodes' vitriolic attack aimed at the "morons" who watched his show was revealed to all.
When the reprehensible Glenn Beck was still on the air, each time we would see his lies exposed on another network, either Les or I would say, "Lonesome Rhodes lives!"
CLICK HERE to see my favorite ad in the 2008 Presidential campaign which was done by Andy Griffith and Ron Howard.