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Celebrating Kirk Douglas

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.

lonely-are-brave-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.

burt-and-kirk-ok-corral

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.

douglas-final-countdown

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.

20161129_213926

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.

Eddie Macon’s Run

The Man From Snowy River

The Racers

A Gunfight

Inherit The Wind

Appearing on Letterman and The Johnny Cash Show

Strangers When We Meet

Man Without a Star

A Lovely Way To Die

Tough Guys

The Posters of Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster

The List of Adrian Messenger

The Big Trees

The Devil’s Disciple

The Final Countdown

The Bad and the Beautiful

Posse

Champion

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.

kirk-and-jean

17 Comments »

  1. Mike, I just signed up for your newsletter and was wondering did you ever do a review of one of Douglas’ top roles, “Detective Story”? As you probably know, it won four Oscars and co-starred with Eleanor Parker and got her an Oscar nod for her subordinate role to his? The industry said at the time that he should have gotten an Oscar as well.

  2. Cool, Mike! I had to look it up, but the last new movie of his I saw at the theater – which is strangely enough the most recent movie of his I’ve seen – is ‘The Man from Snowy River’ back in 1982. As for a favorite, I’d go with ‘Lonely Are the Brave’ (I was going to say ‘Out of the Past’, but he’s not really the lead in that one). Looking forward to your upcoming Douglas posts!

  3. Great tribute! Kirk Douglas definitely deserves to be celebrated – he has given us an impressive filmography.

    Also, I love that your son told people he was named after Kirk Douglas. I suspect he’s a sharp cookie, like his father. 😉

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