Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another reminder that the Sixties was the best decade for television actors

Not the best decade of television. There is no best decade. Each one had something it did best, but the Sixties saw a uniquely talented generation of young actors. Duvall, Coburn, Reynolds, Falk, Dern, Cassavetes, Landau, and dozens of others. Every generation has produced talented actors but never in such prolific numbers.

METV just aired a great example, the Twilight Zone episode "The Grave" written and directed by the gifted Montgomery Pittman and featuring Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Lee Van Cleef and the criminally underrated James Best. It's an old story, but beautifully told. The structure is tight and the characters are sharply drawn and everyone shines.

Of course, most Sixties television was several notches below the Twilight Zone, but even the weakest shows would often offer the unexpected pleasure of a Bruce Dern or a Rip Torn having infectious fun chewing through the scenery.