Thursday, August 2, 2012
ON THE GOOD SHIP HOLLYWOOD: JOHN AGAR
There are actors who never quite attain the top rank of Hollywood stars yet become familiar due to the many roles they play over the years or the fact that they appear in certain beloved, or at least, popular movies or cult films. The late John Agar certainly fits into that category, because of the westerns he appeared in [for some movie fans] or the science fiction/monster movies he starred in [for others]. To B movie lovers Agar is probably best-known for Tarantula, The Revenge of the Creature, and the zesty Brain from Planet Arous, in which he delivered a lively performance, among others. Agar also had featured roles in "A" productions directed by the likes of John Ford and Raoul Walsh (Along the Great Divide). Agar basically fell into acting [his family had been in the meat-packing business] because of people he met when he was married to Shirley Temple. [He was 22 when he started dating her at 15!] Agar was apparently never able to have any kind of relationship with the daughter that resulted from this union, which ended in divorce, but he did adopt two sons with his second wife, Loretta. [His great-aunt Edna was the lead character in Greer Garson's Blossoms in the Dust, and the foundation she began helped with these adoptions.] Agar developed a serious drinking problem and his occasional falls off the wagon got him fired from jobs both in and out of show business. Agar made out better than most supporting players/"B" movie stars in that he did develop a fan following that existed up until his old age instead of being forgotten. This is hardly an in-depth autobiography, but it does touch all the major bases and makes a good read. NOTE: The Kindle edition of this book is now on sale at a bargain rate at amazon.com until the end of August 2012.
Verdict: From planet Earth, not Arous. ***.