Friday, November 10, 2006

Jack Palance dies at 87

Jack Palance has died. He was with his family at the end. Jack Palance was 87. In the following photo he is pictured in the role of gunslinger Jack Wilson in "Shane", one of the finest Westerns ever made.

Mark in Mexico,, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts,, Jack Palance, pictured here in his first movie role as the gunslinger Jack Wilson in 'Shane', died today at the age of 87.

Three stories about Jack Palance.

Years ago, I was watching the Mike Douglas Show when Palance was the featured guest. Palance said that his nose was squashed during a high school football game by one Bronco Nagurski. He said that when he tried to tackle Nagurski he took a knee in the face and his nose was spread out all over his face. Hence, the gawd-awful schnozz that Palance since made famous. Football fans should be somewhat familiar with the Nagurski name.

When Palance landed the role of gunslinger Jack Wilson in "Shane" (Shane: "I say you're a low-down Yankee liar." Wilson: "Prove it."), it was his first movie role. Palance was a Broadway actor at the time. He had never held a pistol, worn Western clothing or sat on a horse.

He arrived at the start of shooting several weeks before he was scheduled. He drew his costumes and then went to the wrangler (the guy who takes care of the horses.) He asked the wrangler to show him how to saddle and bridle a horse. Then he spent days doing nothing but mounting and dismounting the horse. He then taught himself to ride it. By the time his scenes started shooting, the wrangler reported that he could ride like he was born in the saddle.

If you can recall the movie at all, in the scene where Shane and Wilson first get a look at each other, Palance does the slowest and most sinister dismount of a horse in movie history. His reason for wanting to learn to mount and dismount a horse was specifically for this scene.

The third story is one that I'm sure everyone already has heard. Palance once told an interviewer, "Most of the stuff I do is crap, " and "Most of the directors I've worked with were incompetent."

He will be missed.

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