Written by / 1/12/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

TWO TRIBUTES: JUNE FAIRCHILD & DICK BAKALYAN

BEGINNING WITH A TRIBUTE TO THE LOVELY CULT STARLET JUNE FAIRCHILD
There are actresses and actors who had more than potential, because potential can be a four-letter word in show business, assuming that whatever they did wasn't enough, or they almost reached or fulfilled the expected criteria compared to the more successful or revered people around them... But even in small roles, June Fairchild went beyond natural beauty. 
In PRETTY MAIDS
There was something very intriguing about her cool attitude, wry humor, swift pizzazz and energetic style – her spontaneous persona practically burst through the screen, including a gust of delicious laughter in PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW and the iconic part she's mostly known for...
CHEECH & CHONG'S UP IN SMOKE took the world by storm during a time when the hippie drug culture was being replaced by a good and bad thing – punk rock and disco...

June’s frantic “Ajax Lady” represents a kind of old school "hang-around chick" that would do anything for a buzz, including snorting whatever was in powder form: an intrepid Wile E. Coyote of cokeheads leading to an incredible face-contorting bit equaling any famous physical comedian. And the girl she protected from Stacy Keach’s formidable cop, Cheryl Smith, had that same kind of cinematic “potential,” but that’s for another post, another time.
In DIRTY O'NEIL
The reason for this tribute is a sad one. Last night at 10:00pm, 2-17-2015, the lovely lady named June Fairchild was taken from us after a bout with Cancer, which, according to friends, she fought with strength, courage and dignity. Her best friend and "ditto sister," Dawna Sodders, posted on Facebook that June knew she was ready to go, and to not feel bad and tell everyone “goodbye.” And for her real friends it’s a goodbye, but for movie fans this can also serve as an introduction to an actress who might have slipped under the radar.
Cheryl Smith & June in UP IN SMOKE
So we’ll quickly venture into some of June's work starting with Lewis Teague’s comedy DIRTY O’NEIL, available to stream on Netflix, where June plays one of the first of many girls that Officer O’Neil, played by the late Morgan Paull, "arrests politely." June's promiscuous hitchhiker catapults this drive-in exploitation, while on the other side of the spectrum she’s the Last Babe Standing in the classic cult film PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW, available on Warner Archives DVD, produced by Gene Roddenberry and starring Rock Hudson as a teacher "picking off" a selected handful of adoring female students. Using a tape recorder, June’s “Sonny Swangle” is the charming killer's Waterloo. With the film’s young male hero, Sonny rides into the sunset during the last frame. Talk about saving the best for last!
In DETROIT 9000
In DETROIT 9000, one of Quentin Tarantino’s other favorite movies besides MAIDS... and part of his very own Signature Collection DVD Series... June plays a high-class party girl dodging the advances of one old creep while warming up to hip coot Alex Rocco. She made several appearances in THE MONKEES television show and their movie HEAD, written by an unknown struggling actor Jack Nicholson, later directing DRIVE HE SAID that featured June as a cheerleader who, in Henry Jaglom's drama class, provides a silly taste of what would later be her cinematic swan song performance in UP IN SMOKE.
Her work as a Gazzarri Girl; an extremely important connection to the band THREE DOG NIGHT; and a few other roles including WHERE ANGELS GO TROUBLE FOLLOWS is all out there on the Net, but let’s close with a wonderful cameo in the underrated yet highly appreciated heist flick, THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. June, unlike Catherine Bach’s more uptight vixen, bares all yet not without a sweet and vulnerable touch of class and wisdom that shone through her eclectic performances that, while relatively sparse, always lit up the screen. Her life may have ended but her unique presence is eternal: For as long as there are movies, June Fairchild will be right there with us.
Richard Bakalyan
RICHARD BAKALYAN: And onto another cult actor tribute: while June worked for Jack in his film DRIVE, HE SAID, one particular actor worked "against" him in CHINATOWN: And as film buffs, you all know character-actor Richard Bakalyan, and you’ve seen Richard Bakalyan… Sure you do, and of course you have… To name just a few of many projects, ranging from motion pictures to television, Richard, also known as Dick, played muggy villains in a handful of old school live action Disney flicks, and remained active from the early fifties well into the millennial era...
But perhaps his most remembered performance is as Detective Loach from the classic 1974 gumshoe odyssey, CHINATOWN, written by Robert Towne, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Burt Young, Diane Ladd, Joe Mantell, Bruce Glover, Perry Lopez and Richard, whose character didn’t have a nice thing to say to Nicholson’s Jake Gittes, a Private Eye during the 1930’s, mixed-up in a case involving land, water, and eventually, incest.
The Nafarious Loach right on target
The gruff and snarky Loach is extremely important in CHINATOWN for one good reason – he’s an excellent shot during the jarring climax, which was, according to Towne’s original first draft screenplay, supposed to end with Dunaway’s Evelyn Mulwray killing her subtle-sinister land baron father Noah Cross, played by John Huston, and not being able to explain to police exactly why she did it – but director Polanski felt it was a weak way to close the curtain…
So instead, the new draft finale gave Loach, who, throughout the film, hangs around Perry Lopez’s lawman in charge, Escobar, formerly Gittes' partner in the mysterious titular Chinatown, where things come to a crashing halt when, after Evelyn shoots her father in the arm and roars off, Loach takes aim and fires at the vehicle, which has already reached the end of the crowded street. Unfortunately for our vulnerable ingenue, Loach is a deadeye marksman like no other in the crime genre... And at the very, very end only minutes after the lethal blast, Jake's assistant says, "It's Chinatown, Jake." A term that has become pop culture iconic, basically meaning, "You shouldn't have poked your nose in where it didn't belong in the first place.
Lee de Broux on Dick Bakalyan
Also the lesson of all things Film Noir, which CHINATOWN has epitomized in the “modern era” known as Neo Noir. And Dick Bakalyan will be remembered for that great performance, and for taking a long shot and succeeding: fitting both the character and an eclectic fifty-four year career in show business.

"Good heart... Great humor," wrote actor Lee de Broux, who played the cop, credited as Policeman, goading Jake with a literal snub of the nose on the hillside, mocking the Private Eye's injured snout following a scene in which Loach, Escobar and the policeman meet Jake at the home of a slain hooker... who was hired to get the ball rolling in the first place. "Underrated actor," finishes Le Broux about Richard Bakalyan. An understatement.
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