Dec. 26, 2002, 10:53 a.m. CST
if he had died or had turned evil. The headline seemed ambiguous to me. Anyway, those movies are the kind of thing I used to watch every Saturday afternoon on the Creature Double feature when I was nine or ten years old. Do they still show these on TV anymore?
Dec. 26, 2002, 10:55 a.m. CST
...but remember that for all the mourning, these men lived great lives and will live on in celluloid longer than many of us will be remembered. So maybe the best thing to do is not to grieve, but to celebrate their lives. Rent their flicks, go to a convention, just revel in what it meant to be a geek in the early days. Having grown up with Famous Monsters, and having been introduced to these guys thanks to Forry, these are childhood friends. May they sleep well.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:06 a.m. CST
A shame, a damn shame.... The loss of Mr. Tobey makes it even more infuriating and scandalous that Warner or Turner or whoever the hell it is who owns the rights to The Thing From Another World hasn't yet seen fit to preserve this great film on DVD for its legions of fans. It's one of my pet outrages, one which I had mercifully almost put on the back burner for a while. The tragic passing of Kenneth Tobey has brought it to the forefront again. The Thing From Another World -- on DVD NOW!!!! Doc out.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:32 a.m. CST
by Darth Brooks
His most-enjoyable role, that of the evil deputy (opposite Clark Howat's kindly sherriff) with the naughty pregnant daughter in Billy Jack. Sigh. The world gets a little less talented every day. Thanks, Mr. Tobey.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:50 a.m. CST
I'm having a hard time deciding what's creepier in that photo. The thought that Harry might start licking the hand, the hand, or Harry himself. I may ponder this for days.. perhaps weeks.. quite possibly years.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:54 a.m. CST
Through friends, I had met Ken Tobey's son, a decent young man who spoke well of his dad, as well as eventually meeting the man himself in Sherman Oaks in passing in and out of a resturant with his daughter. He was congenial, but was in a hurry to get somewhere else, so I was left with the usual fanboy gushing, unable to talk of such things as the overlapping dialogue of "The Thing", working with Harrehausen, et al. The loss of a classic indeed.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST
That picture of him holding that hand is very sweet. There's a real sense of joy in that picture. I really don't think anybody should rip on the guy for it or this article, for that matter.
Dec. 26, 2002, 12:12 p.m. CST
Keep watching the skies
Dec. 26, 2002, 12:23 p.m. CST
an elvish ring or something nice article tho
Dec. 26, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST
...that is a very disturbing picture of Harry ...I, too, will be pondering what is more disturbingi n apprearance...the hand or Harry...
Dec. 26, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST
Though I loved watching his b-movie work, I first saw him act in a '50s TV series called 'Whirlybirds', he and his partner owned a helicopter charter company, they flew one of those old bubble-nosed helicopters every week, kinda like a low-rent version of Sky King.
Dec. 26, 2002, 1:12 p.m. CST
by otis von zipper
Strange Invaders is one of those movies that I have so much affection for, that those actors are those characters in my mind. Kenneth Tobey? Oh you mean the guy who runs the motel? Louise Fletcher? Oh you mean the fed. Nancy Allen? Oh you mean the tabloid reporter? R.I.P Mr. Tobey
Dec. 26, 2002, 2:15 p.m. CST
I wonder what he would look like without that beard...
Dec. 26, 2002, 2:22 p.m. CST
Dec. 26, 2002, 2:24 p.m. CST
by Wicked Willow
at my first Fangoria convention-I remember seeing him enter the lobby,with cane in hand(didn't go up to him,thought it would be rude). He gave a great talk,answered plenty of questions and was,over all ,quite a gentleman. It's a shame to hear of his passing but great of Harry to give him a proper memorial(and yes,I did get Mr. Tobey's autograph,R.I.P)
Dec. 26, 2002, 2:35 p.m. CST
Dan Roebuck and I both portrayed "Captain Hendry" in the Halloween show at Bob's house. Mr. Tobey was invited, but was under the weather at the time as was Robert Cornwaithe, but William Self ("Corporal Barnes") did show up and commented how deja-ju the set was him and what a great job the construction crew did. It was an honor to emulate the great Ken Tobey as "Captain Hendry" in that show. A hero that could do no wrong. A hero to all kids and adults alike. I had the fortune to meet Mr. Tobey at the Hollywood Collector's Show and he was a gracious, respectful man who enjoyed the company of his fans and had great stories to tell. If one word could sum up Ken Tobey, it would be: "Hero."
Dec. 26, 2002, 3:06 p.m. CST
Couldn't agree with Uncapie more. I too met Mr. Tobey in Hollywood. He was still a sweet guy, though a little confused by all the hub-bub. His daughter was there with him, looking out for him. She seemed genuinely surprised, maybe even a little freaked out, by all the praise and attention her dad received from people who weren't even born when his films were in theaters. How do you rationally explain to someone how very significant these half-decade old films about monsters are to you? How do you tell them that these are a significant part of your childhood, your bond with your own father, or that they provided a strong and timeless image of manhood and responsibility that didn't seem to get a lot of screen time in the 1970s. I met the man whose greatest film (The Thing) is truly one of THE greatest films ever made, and I couldn't explain it. All I could do was give him $50 for some autographs and offer to buy him lunch. It wasn't enough. It could never be enough to say thanks. Would Captain Hendry cry? I don't know, but I think I will. God keep you, Mr. Tobey.
Dec. 26, 2002, 4:03 p.m. CST
You sound like a bunch of miserable assholes.
Dec. 26, 2002, 4:29 p.m. CST
After reading the article, I remember Kenneth Tobey in some of the films shown Saturday afternoons on the creature double feature. When I was young I thoroughly enjoyed those films. Now in my early 30's, I could watch a scene or two from one of those films for nostalgia's sake, but it doesn't hold the same joy or sense of wonder that I would have when I was 9. Some of the Kenneth Tobey films that were mentioned gave many kids an enjoyable 90 minutes of tv on a Saturday afternoon.
Dec. 26, 2002, 4:44 p.m. CST
Like Mike Mercury, my introduction to Tobey was many episodes of "Whirlybirds" when I was a kid. Long before I ever saw him in a monster movie he was a familiar face.
Dec. 26, 2002, 7:20 p.m. CST
then what the fuck are you doing hanging around AICN, you fucking nimrod? you are the worst kind of too-cool dipshit - someone who thinks culture (pop, highbrow or any kind) started with their first artistic experience. guess what, runt? there's decades and decades of this shit, and it all plays a part in everything we all dig today. if you're one of these tools who believes nothing cool existed before 1977 (or is that too ancient for you, fetus?), then you are missing out on some truly seminal pop/geek material. here's an idea: go watch some more rob cohen movies and convince yourself you're into something cutting-edge and original, fuckwad. oh, and lara means? without wishing to sound misogynistic and crass? get off the rag, bitch. to everyone else: happy holidays! to kenneth tobey: RIP, sir, and thanks for the memories.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:03 p.m. CST
by Big Dumb Ape
I don't mean to jump on you and call you any names like others might choose to, but I will say this: clearly you're both MISSING the point here. The people who tend to hang out at web sites like AICN are self-professed "film geeks." And yes, to a certain degree that means we sometimes get excited by the tiniest of film minutia. But even if you aren't THAT much into film, the bottom line is that film has a HISTORY to it, like any other artistic field or industry. As both Rolling Stone and Tommy5Tone noted in their replies to you if your concept of film only begins with when you were born or first got into movies, then you're simply a casual fan and you know what -- that's fine. But I would hope you'd understand that whatever movies you love today OWE themselves to paths that were blazed by genre films of yesteryear. As Rolling Stone pointed out, today's audience takes for granted CGI dinosaurs when there was a time when seeing a Harryhausen creation or ANY sort of "good" monster was a cause for celebration. In some ways (and this is my one criticism of several people who visit sites like AICN) today's audiences or fans take too much for granted. Instead of celebrating something good, everyone just wants to tear down at movies...play armchair quarterback and brag about how they could have done so much better when the truth is they're probably lacking in any ambition TO get off their fat asses and try to make a movie themselves. So if you can't understand "why" people celebrate movies by Harryhausen or Willis O'Brien or Roger Corman or why we feel a saddened loss by the passing of genre stars like Kenneth Tobey and John Agar et all, then you need to broaden your horizons on film history more and learn to RESPECT what can before...and maybe then you'll even garner a newfound love and appreciation for the films of today that you do choose to see.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:05 p.m. CST
The list is so very long. His movies were one of the defining influences on me in my youth in coming to understand and appreciate fantastic cinema. The Thing, whirlybirds, and especiailly the giant octupus movie. How I loved the giant octupus! If only it had won and destroyed San Franciso, we would have been spared to much . . . That's a joke people. Anyway, Kenneth RIP. You were the Harrison Ford of your day, and you will be right up there with George Pal in my book of heroes.
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:12 p.m. CST
by Big Dumb Ape
...Picking up on my response to both TomHardy and DocPleasure, if neither of you has sat and actually watched the Kenneth Tobey version of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD than I feel sorry for you. Simply because you're missing out on one of the greatest genre films EVER and even just flat out one of the best movies you'll ever see. As Harry pointed out, it even deserves a spot in film history for truly defining the whole "Men trapped alone must now defend themselves against an enemy" type of film we've all come to love. The truth is the Kenneth Tobey version of THE THING holds up beautifully. In fact, it's STILL a better film -- in terms of flat out direction, writing, acting, staging, tension, etc. -- than most movies you'll see today. It's truly a genre film worth the overused monicker CLASSIC. So if you guys haven't checked it out, do it soon and let your mind revel is a truly great film experience. Rest in Peace, Mr. Tobey...speaking on behalf of more film fans than it seems you ever comprehended by the time of your passing, you effected our film geek lives as much as any supposed "A-list" actor out there. Your movies will live on as a reminder of the heroic quality you brought to your film characters, though their charisma owes everything to the person you clearly were in real life. Rest in peace and enjoy Heaven. Just don't open that door to lab! If you do, remember to duck fast! (Is that a great moment in THE THING or what?)
Dec. 26, 2002, 11:29 p.m. CST
Most of the people here who make fun of Harry are just jealous. Face it, he is living a film geek's dream and most of us would love to switch jobs. Personally, I am getting up at 6:30 this morning, taking the bus to work where I bang at a computer all day and then at 5:30 my second job at a video store starts and my day ends at 9:30pm. Yeah, I would cut off my left nut to have Harry' job. But I won't slag a film geek for his appearance or because he has a difference of opinion. I say do your thing Harry and fuck the haters.
Dec. 27, 2002, 1:44 a.m. CST
As much as I love The Clash and The Ramones, and not to suggest for a moment that you don't have a point (perhaps you do), but the fact is AICN *IS* a movie site, and when I think of Joe Strummer, I don't think of movies. The fact that he's appeared in some does not make him an actor. For those of us who knew his work, Kenneth Tobey DID change culture--Film culture. "The Thing," "It Conquered the World," and "Davy Crockett" may not be haute culture, but they certainly changed the face of entertainment as much as any Clash or Ramones album ever did. Maybe "The Thing" isn't "Citizen Kane", but then "Rockaway Beach" ain't "Sergeant Pepper," either.
Dec. 27, 2002, 3:06 a.m. CST
AICN is a movie site, not a music site, ergo, it stands to reason that people are going to discuss film and movie related events. While Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone were great in their own respects as songwriters and musicians, even part-time actors, they did not do the body of work that Mr. Tobey did on the screen. Joey Ramone and Joe Strummer may have changed music, but Ken Tobey's acting inspired every little boy(Maybe even an adult or two.) who saw "The Thing" to do right. Be a team leader, listen to your crew for good ideas, use your head, think, protect those who can't protect themselves, deal with adversity, defeat the monster and get the girl at the end. If you say you're a movie fan with all the various films you named, then a little respect for Mr. Tobey's wide body of work would go a long way.
Dec. 27, 2002, 4:34 a.m. CST
...secondly, docpleasure, i apologise for my somewhat strident tone in my earlier post. sucking on a bar of soap for the last hour or so has cured of my potty-mouth tendencies but i stand by my original position - that the B-movies of decades past have plenty of reach and influence today, and that they're plenty entertaining in their own right. maybe they take us back to a more innocent time (when men were men, women were dames and there was none of this trying to understand our alien visitors or monstrous prehistoric forebears - just another chance to blow 'em to hell!), maybe they're not as cynical as today's amped-up marketing machines (and yes, i know B-movie barons were in it for a buck as much as the next guy, but there's a quaint charm to their hucksterism, if you ask me), maybe they have reservoirs of meaning and symbolism underneath their cheap-ass thrills and spills. anyway, my apologies for the way i expressed myself but the gist remains the same - i dig a good B-grade '50s monster movie, i'm thinking a lot of other visitors to AICN do as well and when you stride in gettin' all uppity about it, it puts a match to a fuse. and one other thing: yes, strummer and ramone both made their contributions to the world of movies but they were mainly known as musos. this is primarily a movie site. you can figure out the rest. peace out - i'm gonna go get high and watch 'the beast from 20,000 fathoms' (or is it '50,000 fathoms'? damn, shouldn't have blazed up so early!).
Dec. 27, 2002, 6:56 a.m. CST
by newkie brown
I just watched The Thing From Another World again before Christmas. My very favourite of all the 50's creature features, and no small part of that was down to Kenneth Tobey's natural easy charm. You'll be sadly missed, Kenneth.
Dec. 28, 2002, 1:52 a.m. CST
Sorry to hear about Kenneth Tobey's demise. Does anyone recall that he had a small role in one of my all time favorite movies, "Twelve O'Clock High"? He played the MP at the main gate of the post, who gets his ass chewed out by Gregory "Colonel Savage" Peck for not saluting him? :) I have just one question about the movie "The Thing from another World". How in the hell did Margaret Sheridan get TOP billing over Ken in that film??? She must have..."known"...someone, like the Producer or Director of the film. She played a secretary for God sake. She just HAD to..."know"...someone in charge. :) :) What do ya thonk? :) :)
Dec. 28, 2002, 6:34 p.m. CST
Kenneth Tobey was a class act. He and his cool-headed crew were all that stood between the Earth and utter chaos in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. Talk about a stalwart hero! But he could also play mean,low-down SOBs as he did in BILLY JACK.
Dec. 29, 2002, 2:54 p.m. CST
Hi all. Sorry for the delay in writing. For some reason my account was banned (although I can't understand why? Did I say something so offensive when asking my original question that it warranted being banned? If so, I apologize, but I don't know what i said that was bannable). I really want to clarify something here. The general responses to me so far seem to have been that I must be someone who doesn't appreciate film, or that I don't appreciate the history or technical accomplishments of these specific movies. I just want to explain, nothing could be further from the truth. First, I love a lot of movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, well before when I was born. I'm not sure why people jumped to conclusions and assumed that I must just not like anything made before I was born. And also, I FULLY appreciate the technical achievements of these early pioneers, and I have a lot of respect for what they were able to accomplish. What confuses me though is that so many people seemed to be jumping down my throat, assuming that I'm just some illiterate person who can't appreciate older films, but that really isn't the case. As I said, I appreciate the technical merits immensey. What I was asking about though was the acting and writing of these movies. This is all that I don't really "get" about why people described some of these old movies as fantastic. And I was hoping someone could explain it to me, what he appeal is of the writing and acting? Because as much as I appreciate the technical aspects of these movies, I can't overlook that the writing and acting didn't seem to be particularly good...and I am comparing this to other movies of the time and today. But again.....it seems like people wanted to attack me and question my appreciation of older film, and make assumptions that I was questioning the technical merits, which I don't think I was. I think the special effects work and the models and stop motion animation, etc. that they accomplished were absolutely incredible. So I will ask my original question again. What is it about the actual acting and writing that people seem to be praising when describing these films as fantastic and full of imagination? Or is it the case that people are solely praising the technical achievements of these movies, and by imagination what is being referred to is the special effects work, the visual work, etc.? I guess what confused me here was that I was getting the impression that people were praising the movies a whole, including the writing and acting. If that isn't the case, then I understand a lot more. But if people are also praising the writing and acting of these movies, I am hoping someone could honestly explain it to me. I would hope that someone could answer this question to me straight without resorting to attacking me and saying that I just don't appreciate the history of film, which simply isn't the case. I appreciate what was accomplished technically, but I am hoping someone can help explain to me what, if anything, there is to appreciate about the writing and acting of these movies.
Dec. 29, 2002, 3 p.m. CST
I guess perhaps my question about the acting and writing might be seen as insensitive, since this is after all a tribute to a Tobey himself. To clarify, I'm not knocking Tobey. My question is more general, and honestly more about the writing than the acting. Clearly the style of acting in these movies is supposed to be sort of "over the top", as it fits the general style. So my question is really ultimately about the writing, since I think the acting is more understandable. Clearly the people behind the technical side of this were full of imagination and accomplished some incredible things. But are people also praising the actual stories behind these movies, or is that being overlooked? Because that is the part that fundamentally I don't get, because the actual stories seem to be poorly written, with cliched dialogue and plot elements, etc.
Dec. 29, 2002, 7:49 p.m. CST
Post ... deleted ... saying thoughtful ... intelligent things ... now gets one ... banned! AICN ... becoming ... USA! Argh! Shade, I now understand your pain. But now, it's time for me to try and get back into the geek community. I'll see you all at The Two Towers TB! That kind of pandering should get me past the velvet rope again. Harry's arms are so tiny. He looks like a t-rex. It's kind of endearing.