Jack Palance. Number One Guy?

From one Jack to another. “It’s movie night and you’re still hangin’ around…” “So many pictures in which you frown…” “From the fifties you could never slow down…” “For awhile…” “Mmm-hmm…” “So you do your westerns and act really mean…” “And you gawk at co-stars and steal the scene…” “It’s like some Fangoria magazine…” “And you smile…” “Mmm-hmm…” “Jack Palance will stare you down tonight!!!” “And show you all his special madness!!!” “Jack Palance will look you eye to eye!!!” “Just a little pause, and you’ll be dying!!!” Entering the world as Volodymyr Palahniuk, he was born in Pennsylvania to Ukrainian immigrants. He worked in the coal mines as a youngster then tried his hand at boxing. As Jack Brazzo, he fought only once to Joe Baksi and lost. He said decades later, “I thought ‘You must be nuts to get your head beat in for $200.’ The theater seemed a lot more appealing.”

Going to Stanford University and quitting to seek theatre opportunities, Jack shortened his last name to Palance when no one could pronounce it. Making it to Broadway in 1947 as a Russian Soldier in The Big Two, his big break arrived as Marlon Brando’s understudy in A Streetcar Named Desire when Jack took over for Brando. Elia Kazan directed Streetcar on stage and cast Palance as a heavy in his film Panic in the Streets (1950). In short succession, Jack co-stars in Halls of Montezuma (1951), returns to Broadway in Darkness at Noon, and shares the screen with Joan Crawford in Sudden Fear (1952). This and his next role in Shane (1953) earned him back to back Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Suddenly the offers flew in. Second Chance (1953), Arrowhead (1953), Flight to Tangier (1953), Man in the Attic (1953), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), The Big Knife (1955), Attack (1956), The Lonely Man (1956), House of Numbers (1957), his Emmy winning turn in Requiem for a Heavyweight.

He flew overseas and worked in Europe. The Man Inside (1958), Ten Seconds to Hell (1959), Beyond All Limits (1959), Austerlitz (1960), The Barbarians (1960), Sword of the Conqueror (1961), The Mongols (1961), The Last Judgment (1961), Barabbas (1961), Night Train to Milan (1962), Warriors Five (1962). Back in America, he did Once a Thief (1965) and The Professionals (1966) and went wherever there was work. Torture Garden (1967), Kill a Dragon (1967), The Mercenary (1968), The Desperados (1969), Che! (1969), Monte Walsh (1970), Companeros (1970), Horsemen (1971), Chato’s Land (1972), Oklahoma Crude (1973), Craze (1974), Welcome to Blood City (1977), The One Man Jury (1978), Angels Revenge (1979), H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come (1979), Cocaine Cowboys (1979), Without Warning (1980), Hank the Slayer (1980), Alone in the Dark (1982), and he hosted Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Post-Ripley’s? Gor (1987), Bagdad Cafe (1987), Young Guns (1988), Outlaw of Gor (1988), Batman (1989), Tango & Cash (1989), won an Oscar for City Slickers (1991), Cops & Robbersons (1994), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994). The man got around and he dazzled or baffled with equal skill. He refused a Bond film, accepted lots of cheapies, and blew in to three MST experiments. Outlaw of Gor, Angels Revenge, and H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come. His quirks and delivery were a boon for the show. He even inspired The Jack Palance Impersonator Kit in Episode 405. Scaramanga or City Slicker?

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Note: So far 3 of Jack Palance’s moves made it to MST3K. Outlaw of Gor (1988), Angels Revenge (1979), and H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come (1979). Included are links to conversations on these in the forum.

Summary

Outlaw (Of Gor) - revisited

622. Angels Revenge (1979)

SPOILER DISCUSSION: Episode 1310, The Shape of Things to Come. (PLEASE NOTE: This thread is NOT the Open Thread Discussion for tonight's livestream premiere)

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The Jack Palance Impersonator Kit from Episode 405.

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Jack Palance Is Scary! From 519.

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Jack Palance wasn’t the ‘number one guy,’ Jack Nicholson was the ‘number one guy.’ Jack Palance called him ‘my number one guy.’

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I know. Batman (1989) is a FAVORITE of mine. He said the line and I’m applying it to him in tribute. I loved his line reading of it so into the essay it went.

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What… can you say… about Jack… Palance? That delivery… is iconic. He’s another actor who elevates everything he’s into something worth watching. A bit more screentime in Shape of Things to Come would definitely have helped.

He made an excellent Dracula in what I think is one of the best adaptations, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (not the hilariously bad Gary Oldman version), but he’s had so many good roles. One of my personal favorites is in Tango and Cash, where he plays a Bond villain who somehow wandered into a buddy cop movie and carries on with his evil monologue while the good guys ignore him. Fantastic!

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Personally, I prefer “I crap bigger than you,” but that’s because it has an MST3K connection and because City Slickers was a good movie. The sequel, though. Woof.

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That would have required him to do more than 4 hours of work on the film.

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Yep. Which is probably why he said no to The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). Too many days on set.

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I know Shane is supposed to be a terrific movie, but it bored me stiff. No question that he’s good in it, but meh. I’m not a huge Western fan to begin with, but I enjoy most of the big name ones.

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From the IMDB. He had quite the life before Hollywood:

Of Ukrainian descent, Palance was born Volodymyr Ivanovich Palahniuk (later taking Walter Jack Palance as his legal name) on February 18, 1919, in Lattimer Mines (Pennsylvania coal country), one of six children born to Anna (nee Gramiak) and Ivan Palahniuk. His father, an anthracite miner, died of black lung disease. Palance worked in the mines in his early years but averted the same fate as his father. Athletics was his ticket out of the mines when he won a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina. He subsequently dropped out to try his hand at professional boxing. Fighting under the name “Jack Brazzo”, he won his first 15 fights, 12 by knockout, before losing a 4th round decision to future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi on December 17, 1940. With the outbreak of World War II, his boxing career ended and his military career began, serving in the Army Air Force as a bomber pilot. Wounded in combat and suffering severe injuries and burns, he received the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He resumed college studies as a journalist at Stanford University and became a sportswriter for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also worked for a radio station until he was bit by the acting bug.

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Well George Stevens isn’t really KNOWN for his westerns. Unless you count Giant (1956). Which I don’t. Shane (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) fall into that Television Inspired Western trope. Lots of interior sets and the feel of the soundstage throughout.

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Jack Palance Wins Best Supporting Actor Oscar for City Slickers (1991). Also features his One-Armed Push-Ups.

Billy Crystal on Jack Palance at the Oscars.

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For some reason this old ad of his always sticks with me.

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Jack Palance Wins Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for City Slickers (1991).

Tango & Cash (1989)? Jack is insanely good as the kingpin mastermind.

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MST3K and Rifftrax: Jack Palance.

Jack Palance - 1984 Lincoln Continental Commercial.

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