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Category Archives: Salutes

If you are like me, you first took notice of Hank Patterson as Fred Ziffel, the owner of Arnold the Pig in the TV series, Green Acres. By the time Mr. Patterson took this role he was almost completely deaf. However, the producers were so impressed by his performance that they allowed a dialog coach to sit off camera and tap his leg with a yardstick to cue him for his lines.

If you don’t remember Hank Patterson from Green Acres, you have certainly seen him in one of his slew of TV performances, including a continuing role in Gunsmoke as Hank Miller the stableman. Or perhaps you remember him from one of his appearances in The Twilight Zone, including one of my favorites, “Kick the Can.”

But here at Exclamation Mark, we remember Hank Patterson for his appearances in a spattering of B movie greats. His most prominent role was probably in 1955’s Tarantula with John Agar and Mara Corday. Patterson played Josh (see image above), the nosy hotel clerk who listened in on Dr. Hasting’s telephone conversations. In 1958, Hank made an appearance in another giant spider flick, Earth vs The Spider. He portrayed Hugo, the high school janitor who let the teenagers into the gymnasium where the over-sized spider was supposed to be dead. Of course rock and roll music rejuvenated the beast and Hugo met a grisly end.

Hank Patterson’s roles in these B science fiction/horror pictures were never significant, but he always added a dash of spice, or a slice of reality. In Monster on the Campus (1958) he played the kindly night watchman; in Beginning of the End (1957), Hank is the father who describes his last visit with his daughter before her entire town was demolished by giant grasshoppers; and in The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Mr. Patterson is the drunk who utters the line, “Not another drop! Not another drop as long as I live,” when he sees the 60 foot giant.

When he started out, Hank Patterson had aspirations of becoming a serious musician. However, he ended up playing piano in vaudeville shows until he worked his way to California where, fortunately for us, he made his way into the movies and television. Perhaps Hank is not the biggest name in B movie science fiction and horror, but his presence always adds a touch of cantankerous charm.

References:

Hank Patterson at IMDb.

IMDb filmography.

Hank Patterson’s Biography at MSN Movies.

Mara Corday’s Wikipedia entry describes her as a “a showgirl, model, actress, Playboy Playmate and a 1950s cult figure,” however, readers of this blog will primarily remember her as the curvy love interest in the genre classics, Tarantula, The Black Scorpion, and The Giant Claw. Mara left the entertainment business to raise a family with her husband, Richard Long.  From Wikipedia:

Wanting a career in films, Mara Corday came to Hollywood while still in her teens and found work as a showgirl at the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. Her physical beauty brought jobs as a photographer’s model that led to a bit part as a showgirl in the 1951 film Two Tickets to Broadway. She signed on as a Universal International Pictures (UI) contract player where she met actor Clint Eastwood with whom she would remain lifelong friends. With UI, Corday was given small roles in various B-movies and television series. In 1954 on the set of Playgirl she met actor Richard Long. Following the death of Long’s wife, the two began dating and married in 1957.

Her roles were small until 1955 when she was cast opposite John Agar in Tarantula, a Sci-Fi B-movie that proved a modest success. She had another successful co-starring role in that genre (The Black Scorpion) as well as in a number of Western films. Respected film critic Leonard Maltin said that Mara Corday had “more acting ability than she was permitted to exhibit.”

Mara Corday appeared as a pinup girl in numerous men’s magazines during the 1950s and was the Playmate of the October 1958 issue of Playboy, together with famous model and showgirl Pat Sheehan. In 1956, she had a recurring role in the ABC television series Combat Sergeant. From 1959 to early 1961, Corday worked exclusively doing guest spots on various television series. She then gave up her career to devote her time to raising a family. During her seventeen-year marriage to Richard Long she had three children.

A few years after her husband’s passing in 1974, Corday’s friend Clint Eastwood offered her a chance to return to filmmaking with a role in his 1977 film The Gauntlet. She acted with him again in Sudden Impact (1983), Pink Cadillac (1989), and in her last film, 1990s The Rookie.

I’ve always thought it touching that after Clint Eastwood played a supporting role in her movie, Tarantula, he remembered her to play supporting roles in his films.

Read more about Ms. Corday at IMDb.

IMDb Filmography.

Mara Corday at Playboy Online.

Mara Corday Official Site.

Even if Nestor Paiva only played in Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature, as the lovable, and sometimes tough, Captain Lucas (pictured above), he would have secured a warm spot in my heart as a beloved genre actor. That he also had significant roles in other 1950s science fiction/horror classics such as Tarantula and The Mole People, as well as later camp classics like They Saved Hitler’s Brain and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, makes him all the more legendary. That’s not even mentioning all of his television work in such series as The Addams Family, Bonanza, and The Andy Griffith Show.

IMDb mini-biography:

Veteran character actor Nestor Paiva had one of those nondescript ethnic mugs and a natural gift for dialects that allowed him to play practically any type of foreigner. Born in Fresno, California, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and developed an interest in performing while hooking up with college theatrics. Making his debut in a production of “Antigone,” he played in a Los Angeles production of “The Drunkard” for 11 years, finally leaving the show as his workload grew in number and importance in the mid-40s. Film buffs remember him as the main villain, “The Scorpion” in the wartime classic serial “Don Winslow And The Caost Guard” (1943). In hundreds of film and TV roles from 1938-67 and in an overall career that spanned 40 years, the bald, dark and bulky Paiva played everything from Spaniards, Greeks, Russians and Portuguese to Italians, Indians, Arabs and even African-Americans (the latter on radio). Some were shifty, others excitable, many quite hilarious…and many of them undeserving and small. He died in 1966.

Some Trivia:

His wife Maxine was once Howard Hughes’ secretary. They married in 1941 and had two children: Joseph Caetano (born 1944) and Caetana Yvette (born 1947).

In 1965 he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and, despite extensive surgery that led to the removal most of his stomach, his condition deteriorated and he died the following year.

Parents Francisco Caetano Paiva and Marianna Luiza Freitas were Portuguese immigrants. Nestor was the tenth of twelve children — half of them dying in infancy. His parents owned a grocery store in Fresno.

Initially planned on becoming a teacher and enrolled at the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution.

Look through images of Nestor Paiva’s films and television appearances here.

IMDb Filmography

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