Saturday, November 11, 2006


Jack Palance (and that's PAL-ance, bub!) died yesterday at his home in California at the age of 87. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 'City Slickers' in the early nineties, but is remembered now more for the one-handed pushups he did onstage as he accepted the award.

Probably his most memorable role is that of the killer in "Shane", and the enduring image from that is of him gunning down Elisha Cook Jr. He received his second Oscar nomination for that movie and his first came as Joan Crawford's stalker/husband in "Sudden Fear".

Every obituary I've seen for Mr. Palance seems to only focus on his career in the movies. At best, they mention his hosting duties for 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not'.

But he played an important role in the early days of television when he starred as "Mountain McClintock in the TV version of Rod Serling's 'Requiem For A Heavyweight'. This was one of those TV productions, along with 'Marty', 'Patterns', and 'Twelve Angry Men' which proved that TV could stand right up there with the movies in creating great, instant classics. In fact, all of these productions went on to be adapted into movies.

Palance could arguably be said to have been the ultimate Count Dracula (Bram Stoker style) for Television. And his Edward Hyde, in another Dan Cutris production, was also memorable. (Although it definitely erased any memories on my part of his counterpart, Dr. Henry Jekyll.)

He also played one of the few variations of the Ebenezer Scrooge character that I've seen which actually worked. His Ebenezer lived in an Old West setting and followed the basic story but with the appropriate twists to fit the motif.

According to a poster at, Jerry Lewis asked Palance to appear in his Muscular Dystrophy telethon one year as the personification of the disease; to urge viewers to give, or else he would show up to visit them or somebody they love.

I can just imagine kids all over the country emptying their parents' wallets and rainy day money jars just to make sure they send in enough money to keep him away!

Jack Palance had a unique look, a memorably hoarse whisper of a voice, and an imposing presence that won't ever be forgotten.

Believe it.... or not.....

"Ripley's Believe It or Not!" (1982) TV Series .... Himself (Host) (1982-1986)
"Bronk" (1975) TV Series .... Lt. Alex Bronkov (1975-1976)
"The Greatest Show on Earth" (1963) TV Series .... Johnny Slate (1963-1964)

Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics (1994) (TV) .... Dr. Jeremy Wheaton (segment "Where the Dead Are")
Ripley's Believe It or Not! (1981) .... Himself - Host
Bronk (1975) (TV) .... Det. Lt. Alex 'Bronk' Bronkov

Back When We Were Grownups (2004) (TV) .... Paul 'Poppy' Davitch
Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End (1999) (TV) .... John Witting
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1997) (TV) .... Bob
Ebenezer (1997) (TV) .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Keep the Change (1992) (TV) .... Overstreet
Evil Stalks This House (1981) (TV) .... Stokes
The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story (1980) (TV) .... Whitey Robinson
The Ivory Ape (1980) (TV) .... Marc Kazarian
The Godchild (1974) (TV) .... Rourke

Living with the Dead (2002) (TV) .... Allan Van Praagh
Dracula (1973/I) (TV) .... Count Dracula
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968) (TV) .... Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde

Buffalo Girls (1995) (TV) .... Bartle Bone
The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979) (TV) .... Will Smith
The Hatfields and the McCoys (1975) (TV) .... Devil Anse Hatfield
"NET Playhouse"
- Trail of Tears (1971) TV Episode .... President Jackson

Alice Through the Looking Glass (1966) (TV) .... Jabberwock

"Night Visions"
- Bitter Harvest (2001) TV Episode .... Jake Jennings
"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"
- Planet of the Slave Girls (1979) TV Episode .... Kaleel
"The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour"
- Episode dated 10 October 1973 (1973) TV Episode .... Svengarlic
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
- The Concrete Overcoat Affair: Part 2 (1966) TV Episode .... Louis Strago
- The Concrete Overcoat Affair: Part 1 (1966) TV Episode .... Louis Strago
"Run for Your Life"
- I Am the Late Diana Hays (1966) TV Episode .... Julian Hays
- The Many Colors of Courage (1965) TV Episode .... Harvey Bell
"Frontier Justice" .... Dan Morgan (2 episodes, 1958-1961)
- Lariat (1961) TV Episode .... Dan Morgan
- Lariat (1958) TV Episode .... Dan Morgan
"Playhouse 90"
- The Death of Manolete (1957) TV Episode .... Manolete
- The Last Tycoon (1957) TV Episode .... Monroe Stahr
- Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) TV Episode .... Harlan 'Mountain' McClintock
"Zane Grey Theater" .... Dan Morgan (1 episode, 1956)
- The Lariat (1956) TV Episode .... Dan Morgan
[I'm not sure if this is just the first broadcast of the role later to be found in the show 'Frontier Justice'.]
"Suspense" (2 episodes, 1953)
- Cagliostro and the Chess Player (1953) TV Episode
- The Kiss-Off (1953) TV Episode
"The Motorola Television Hour"
- Brandenburg Gate (1953) TV Episode .... Scott Malone/Kurt Bauman
"The Web" (1 episode, 1953)
- The Last Chance (1953) TV Episode
"Danger" (1 episode, 1953)
- Said the Spider to the Fly (1953) TV Episode
"The Gulf Playhouse" (1 episode, 1952)
- Necktie Party (1952) TV Episode
"Studio One" (2 episodes, 1951-1952)
- Little Man, Big World (1952) TV Episode
- The King in Yellow (1951) TV Episode (as Walter Palance)
"Curtain Call" (1 episode, 1952)
- Azaya (1952) TV Episode
"Lights Out" (1 episode, 1950)
- The Man Who Couldn't Remember (1950) TV Episode

"Dame Edna's Hollywood" .... Himself (1 episode, 1991)
- Episode #1.1 (1991) TV Episode .... Himself
"Ripley's Believe It or Not!" (1982) TV Series .... Himself (Host) (1982-1986)
"The Porter Wagoner Show" (1 episode, 1970)
- Episode #1.312 (1970) TV Episode (performer: "The Green, Green Grass of Home", "Blackjack County Chains")

Why did I include that appearance? PALANCE SINGS!


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