It’s almost here…… December 9th 2016 when Issur Danielovitch Demsky will cut the cake on his 100th birthday. The world of course knows Issur as the cleft chinned Hollywood Icon, Kirk Douglas.
As a boy of the late seventies and eighties, movies became my passion and with it the tough guy actors who populated the Sunday afternoon matinee and Friday night late shows. Douglas ranks very near the top if I were to create a list of actors that I quickly began to seek out in the television guide. Not surprisingly, his on screen pal, Burt Lancaster is another star player that is an all time favorite as well.
Oddly enough, Kirk Douglas is the only actor of any note that my own Father actually met. Apparently it was back in the 60’s sometime and though it didn’t amount to much more than a handshake, that was a hugely exciting story to the imagination of a growing boy. Here I am years later naming my own son Kirk and frequently threatening to get him a surgically implanted cleft chin. Introducing my two sons to the classic Hollywood icons when they were small, I recall the day a lady asked my boy who he was named after and he promptly replied, “Kirk Douglas.” A sure fire way to get his Dad smiling.
The fact that Douglas was appearing in various movies that interested me as a kid watching westerns and such with my own Dad beside me on the couch and knowing he was still actively making films on a regular basis like The Final Countdown and Tough Guys was exciting and when they hit theater screens, you’d find me there on opening night. He was also turning to the TV movie like many stars of his era, so on occasion I’d catch him in titles like Amos or Draw on network TV.
Collecting movie memorabilia was logically the next step and provided it was affordable, that meant most anything I would come across with Kirk Douglas on it was worth spending my allowance on. This still continues today and I have a number of Kirk’s posters and lobby cards in my collection. I even saw The Villain at the theater.
When deciding to start this project known as “Mike’s Take on the Movies” Kirk Douglas films quickly became one of the more featured topics here over the past three years. For the next few nights leading up to Kirk’s centennial birthday, I’m going to add more of his titles to my list of “takes” so please take the time to have a look and either rediscover them with me or better yet for those who may not be overly familiar with them or Kirk, seek them out and enjoy them for yourselves.
Here are a list of the Douglas films and topics I’ve previously featured here so far. Please have a look.
Do I have a favorite Kirk Douglas movie? Only if pressured to pick one and if that were the case I think I’d have to go with the epic Spartacus. It isn’t the action scenes or Kirk the tough guy that gets me in this film, it’s the love story of Douglas and Jean Simmons. Melts even this wanna be tough guys heart.