Sunday, April 27, 2014


Mickey Rooney died earlier this month, at the age of 93. Best (and most mistakenly) remembered as the way-too-energetic Andy Hardy goofball always trying to put on musicals in his dad's barn (this at a time when he was the most popular movie star in the world), Rooney was something beyond that as well: he was one of the best and most subtle character actors of classical Hollywood.

This revealed itself, of course, when he stopped being popular, in all those B-grade noirs and TV appearances he did after the war and into the 1960s.

One of his best: Each man trying to outrun his past, by returning to it: David Janssen at his warmest and most intimate; and a middle-aged Rooney, very special. "This'll Kill You" from January 18, 1966. TV noir at its best, directed by Alex March. (With the young and luscious Nita Talbot.)

And, as himself, an appearance on the smartest and classiest show of its time, from May of '57.