Saturday, November 11, 2006
R.I.P. Jack Palance
Jack Palance's death holds a special meaning to me. Palance is the only actor to have ever given me a nightmare.
Palance made his career as a bad guy. In a career that spanned 50 years (1954-2004), his most memorable roles were either bad guys (Shane), or good guys with a VERY dark side (City Slickers).
But Palance's role which will always be engraved in my mind was Dracula. Maybe it was because I was only 8 years old when I saw it, and had a nightmare that very night. Regardless, he built a home in my subconscious which meant fear to me.
Ironically, when I saw Palance in Batman many years later, I found him scarier as mob boss Carl Grissom than Jack Nicholson's Joker. Subjectively, I always felt it was miscasting to have Palance play a secondary bad guy to Nicholson. Sure, Nicholson is a better actor, and has done some wonderful bad guys over the years, even better than Palance. But Palance just SCARES me.
I recognize it is completely irrational for me to feel this way. But the 8 year old boy in me who ran screaming from a vampire doesn't think of it as irrational.
Rest in peace Mr. Palance. You have my respect...and my fear.