Friday, October 29, 2010

James MacArthur


I was very sad to hear yesterday of the death of James MacArthur. He had appeared in Disney's Swiss Family Robinson, one of the loveliest of that studio's live-action films, but of course he will be best remembered as Detective Danny Williams on TV's long-running Hawaii Five-0. Coincidentally, I have been avidly watching the DVD boxed sets of that great series just recently over the last few months, and I truly believe it is one of the best of the crime dramas from that terrific era of television. The character of Danny Williams was always such a sturdy and reliable second-in-command to Detective Steve McGarrett, and James MacArthur played the role with such a quiet dignity that he imbued the character with real integrity.

It's hard for me to watch so many actors, singers, and various performers from my cherished entertainment of the past being lost each year. The 1960's and 1970's were a special time for me, and so many of my favourite performers were at the peak of their popularity in that era. In my opinion, television was at its absolute best back then - nothing today appeals to me, I'm afraid. Out of pure curiosity, I watched most of the pilot episode of that new updated Hawaii Five-0 series that just debuted a few weeks ago, and I thought it was typical contemporary crap. Yes, I know it's meant to appeal to the MTV generation as evidenced by its youthful cast with their casual attire and unshaven mugs, but it is hardly a worthy successor to the original series. I'm just starting into watching season two of the original Hawaii Five-0 and I long for when TV featured lavish colour, jazzy music scores, and admirable and appealing actors like Jack Lord and James MacArthur. We'll miss you, Danno...

11 comments:

Tom said...

I love the illustration! Great job.

Steven Hartley said...

Same, your illustrations are great! Although I've not heard of James MacArthur, but I think it's sad when anybody dies.

Oh, I've started posting my "Alice in Wonderland" mosaics.

heatherroseryan said...

Excellent caricature! Can you do Jack Lord?

Pete Emslie said...

Hi Heather,
Since I've been watching the DVD sets of Hawaii Five-0, I've been wanting to do a caricature of the original cast: McGarrett, Danno, Chin Ho and Kono. I'll see what I can do!

Tony DiStefano said...

I really like these type of finished pieces Pete where you lay color over your pencil line.Thats why the Disney Xrox pitures where my favorite. There is a great feel to it.

Pete Emslie said...

Thanks, Tony, although I must confess I finished this caricature up like this in order to post it up quickly so it would be timely to his passing. Normally I like to do an inked version before colouring.

I'm with you on the Disney xerox films - they're my favourites too. There's such an energy to their pencil art, especially when it's allowed to be slightly sketchy rather than too clean a line. I'll always love "The Jungle Book" best, but I also have a soft spot for "The Aristocats" and "Robin Hood", neither of which gets any critical acclaim, but aesthetically they appeal to me a lot. Same goes for all of Disney's Ludwig Von Drake animation on the Sunday night show!

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Never watched Hawaii Five-O but I have had the pleasure of watching Jack Lord as Felix Leiter in Dr. No.

Lord was by far the best Leiter. He's the only who ever had any presence in the role. He never reprised the role because EON refused to pay him a higher salary. At least that's what I heard but given EON's history of penny-pinching, it's not unlikely.

Pete Emslie said...

Hey Ricardo,

Did anybody ever play Felix Leiter twice? It seems like there was always a different actor popping up in the role with each film in the series! I'll have to consult IMDb out of curiosity...

Ricardo Cantoral said...

David Hedison played Leiter in Live and Let Die and Licence To Kill. He was the only actor to play Felix twice until Jeffrey Wright who appeared in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

There really hasn't been a "loyal" portrayal of the character. In Fleming's books he was straw haired texan.

J. Moreau said...

I miss McGarrett's squealing tires on the new series. Loved your tribute to James. I would have loved to see him do a cameo this time around.

sussman said...

awesome! feels a bit like a different style!