Saturday, February 23, 2008

John Ericson

I didn't check, but I'd guess that it's easy to find online appreciations of the lovely Anne Francis, who starred on the Honey West TV series, among many other things.

I would like to take a brief moment to make note of the talents of her co-star, John Ericson, who played Honey's partner, Sam Bolt.

Admittedly, my first reaction to him was to see him as kind a low-rent Marlon Brando. He has something of a resemblence physically, although he was probably more traditionally handsome. He also seems to have adopted many of the same mannerisms, whether on purpose or coincidence I don't know.

But where he excels is once the show hits a groove, just shortly in, and he's allowed to use more of his comedic ability. I suspect that if he hadn't been as good looking as he was, he'd have gotten even more chances to dress in ridiculous costumes and do funny voices, but he was quite good when he did.

On the surface he plays the exact kind of unnecessary character I hate on old shows. I've read a lot of detective novels and they never seem to need a sidekick in those, but put 'em on TV, especially if they're a woman and suddenly they need somebody saving their butt week after week. And yet he brings a such an affable charm to the role that I can't help getting suckered into every aspect of his formula.

Oddly, I also think his lack of sexual chemistry with Anne Francis works. I don't know where it comes from, the actors or directors or what, but I can't help getting the impression we were supposed to take them as a potential couple at the beginning, they were hoping to have a kind of wacky chemistry that the audience would root for to hook up one day, even as we knew they couldn't. But instead they have more of a sibling chemistry. No, better than that! It's enough separated from feelings of them being siblings that the bits of flirtation and suggestion between them aren't creepy. Just entertaining.

As is the show as a whole.


Ed Hardy, Jr. said...

"You're under arrest, sugar."

Marty McKee said...

The world's first online appreciation of John Ericson. Maybe I oughta dig out my DVD of HUSTLER SQUAD...

Neil Sarver said...

Yes, I was going for something like that. He seems like someone less likely to be appreciated, looks aside, his charms are not necessarily appreciated at first glance, but I feel worthy of some appreciation.

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