Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Dance Party: Walken On Wood

The big news this week wasn't the complete failure of the Super Committee, nor the controversy over retailers creeping into Thanksgiving by opening stores on the holiday.  Nope, the big news was, of course, the reopening of the Natalie Wood case.
As everybody knows, Wood tumbled (or was pushed) from a boat into the water off Catalina in 1981, and was later found dead.  The incident was deemed an accident, though several times over the years, the captain of the boat raised questions.  The folks onboard had been drinking, and arguing, and the fact that Wood's husband Robert Wagner did not alert authorities to his wife's absence for a while, has always led to suspicion (plus the fact that RJ's first call wasn't to the authorities, but to his lawyer).  When the LAPD reopened the case this week, based on the captain's claims, I cracked that the truth would finally come out:  it wasn't Natalie Wood who fell into the water that night, it was Marni Nixon. 

(Hey, it got some laughs with my Facebook crowd).

The star of this week's Dance Party was in the middle of shooting a film with Natalie (Brainstorm, released in 1983, was almost derailed by her death) and was also onboard that night;  he retained a lawyer this week to protect his interests.

Nobody is surprised, these days, when Christopher Walken breaks out into song and dance, but for many years, he was known strictly as an intense, often creepy, character actor.  His performance as a steelworker involved in the Vietnam war in The Deer Hunter brought him to national attention, and won him the Oscar.  For years since then, his roles were usually moody, brooding, and sinister. 

But he started his career as a musical theatre performer, and there are now lots of clips out there of his dancing abilities.  He has often been seen hoofing on Saturday Night Live, as well as in several music videos of note, and in 2007, he brought a low-keyed charm opposite the over-the-top drag performance of John Travolta in Hairspray. 

Here's a clip from that oddball Steve Martin musical, Pennies From Heaven (this film has appeared on the Dance Party before, when character actor Jay Garner died).  Even dancing (and lip syncing), Walken comes off as pretty sinister here (appropriately, he's playing a pimp). 

BTW, Natalie Wood appeared in this Dance Party a while back, when her Gypsy costar Karl Malden died.  Let's hope Christopher Walken was not misbehavin' with Natalie Wood on that boat.