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Whether they are character actors (current or classic) or potential leads who became familiar faces with unrecognized or perhaps vaguely familiar names, Supporting TV Cast! attempts to draw them from the opening and closing credits - and from the back of your mind - into focus and recognition.
It's not about an era; it's about a timeless category of artists.
I want this treasury to be refreshing and I want to increase the depth of field by using things the actors have told me in interviews (whenever possible) or including things a colleague or relative of an actor has told me.
Since you are here you are probably a film and/or TV buff (perhaps you are in the buff at this moment - I wouldn't know) and a kind of historian. Yet, in the many times you've turned on the TV and seen, let's say Barbara Baxley or - in more recent years - Peter Jason, it's unlikely you've said, "Oh, it's Barbara Baxley," or "Oh, there's Peter Jason." It's more likely your mind has registered something vague like, "Oh, it's her," or "I've seen that guy before." (Maybe not. Maybe you know exactly who these two are. But if you can NAME all of the hundreds of familiar actors I currently have catalogued - a repository that is steadily growing - then you are beyond superfan or historian. You are an artificial intelligence!) But when you see them you probably feel comforted because you know you have seen them so many times before. And because you know - without giving it a single, conscious thought - that you can count on them for a good, solid, entertaining performance. They are an inconspicuous but reliable part of the collective American experience. That is what Supporting TV Cast! is about.
There is virtually no such thing as a "television actor" or a "television actress." Actors act...usually whenever and wherever they can...on stage and on screens of any size and location. So Supporting TV Cast! - while rooted in the comfort of some of the unnamed or the-name-escapes-me faces we've been inviting into our homes via guest appearances on television shows for years - is, by default, about under-acknowledged actors from movies as well.
INSPIRATIONS: The playwright Robert Patrick, who titled his racy memoirs Film Moi or Narcissus in the Dark, is an inherent devotee of film history and an exceptionally informed movie fan. Yet, when I mentioned the prolific Edward Binns to Robert a few years ago, he said, "Gee, I thought I knew so many but I don't know that one." It is impossible that a film buff of Patrick's devotion has not seen Binns perform multiple times. That reinforced for me the fact that even experts don't retain the memory of everyone and the actor whose name and face come as second-nature to one aficionado of film and TV may be obscure to another.
The second inspiration came when my neighbor walked into my living room one New Year's Eve and encountered Claude Akins' face filling the TV screen during a Twilight Zone marathon. The neighbor, who is 20 years or so my junior, not particularly a classic TV fan, and whom I would have thought to be too young to have any awareness of Claude Akins, spontaneously blurted out the oft used phrase, "Oh, that guy!" So the beat does go on. The actors and actresses of Supporting TV Cast! are almost in our genes. ~FW
|Many thanks for the help from Aveleyman.|
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