I say “Part 1” because I know myself too well to operate for one minute under the delusion that all the actors I know and love will fit in one blog post or that I will ever shut up about them. That aside, let us move on.
Eric Fleming. Eric Fleming is the quintessential leading man to me. He’s got presence, he’s got looks, and he was once in a movie about vampires in the wild west. How anybody could go through the upbringing he had and not turn out screwed up all to heck is either a miracle or a testament to his character. Maybe both.
Robert Fuller. I could probably fill up several tomes with why I love Robert Fuller. Some of them are: good-looking, is a cowboy and magnificent actor, can dance, was Jess Harper in Laramie, is apparently terrified of spiders, and lives in the same dang town my mother buys her mule’s feed in. He and Tom Cruise have forever ruined the entertainment industry for me by doing their own stunts, and doing them so well I now expect every actor to follow suit and am inevitably disappointed when they don’t.
Vic Morrow. We’ve talked about Vic Morrow before, but I’ll do it again. He’s spectacular in most things he’s in, but particularly Blackboard Jungle, Posse From Hell (which, as a bonus, is an Audie Murphy movie), and The Glass House, in which he makes my skin crawl. If you haven’t seen him as Sergeant Saunders in Combat! yet, then why on Earth not? Get out of here and go watch an episode. Preferably not The Gantlet.
Clint Eastwood. My introduction to this man was a rocky one, as I witnessed five minutes of The Beguiled and was horrified for a solid week afterwards. Naturally I was wary of seeing anything else he was in, but I gave Rawhide a chance and my life is better for it. Even if I don’t enjoy most of his films, I’ll always have Rowdy.
Richard Dean Anderson. Few people can boast to being both MacGyver and Jack O’Neill. Even fewer people can boast to looking good in a mullet. With that exceptionally unique sense of dry humor, RDA will always be one of my favorites. Get a load of him in MacGyver and Stargate SG-1 and see if I’m wrong.
Audie Murphy. Even if this guy hadn’t gotten propelled into Hollywood stardom by James Cagney (another of my favorite actors), I’d still be fascinated by him. He’s from Texas, is the most decorated soldier of WW2, and co-wrote a Dean Martin hit. But he did, so now I can enjoy films like The Guns of Fort Petticoat, Ride Clear of Diablo, To Hell and Back, and the exceptional psychological western No Name on the Bullet.
Burt Lancaster. This fellow was a highly versatile actor. Whether it’s gritty noirs or lighthearted comedies, he gave his all and possibly powered several developing countries with that smile of his while doing it. Some good films of his are Come Back, Little Sheba (no matter what anyone says), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Flame and the Arrow, and my personal favorite, The Hallelujah Trail with its unholy theme song that will get in your head and stay there for weeks. If you’re off to listen to it now because you’ve never heard it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Robert Stack. The voice (that voice!), the face, the fact that he’s Eliot Ness, the blinding smile he probably pawned off of Kirk Douglas at some point. Those are a few reasons to like this guy. Another is that he seems to keep getting stuck in movies with Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone. It must be a gift. The Last Voyage, Great Day in the Morning, Conquest of Cochise, and especially The High and the Mighty are some of my favorite works of his, not to mention the TV series The Untouchables.
Humphrey Bogart. Whether it’s hard-bitten anti-heros or skeezy villains, he can do them all. Who would dare look better in a snap-brim fedora and trench coat than our Bogie? (Sorry, Columbo.) The one thing he can’t do is Irish accents. Oh, and whatever Beat the Devil was. Sabrina, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and essentially any gangster movie in which he dies a horrible, inevitable death are some good flicks of his.
To sum up, I’ve got a list a mile long, and these are just a few of the names on it. I could go on for ages about every single one of them, and eventually I probably will, but this’ll have to do for now. We all have things to do, and sitting here listening to me ramble on about classic actors is not one of them.