I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t know Bela Lugosi was actually Lt. Lugosi of the Austro-Hungarian Army. He’s just one of many Hollywood legends who served in the military, and on this Memorial Day, I think it’s fitting that we take a look at 20 movie icons that you might not have realized had careers in the Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marines.
A few of these names won’t be all that surprising, but most will make you look twice. Some of them had illustrious careers in horror, others as dancers, still others as directors and producers. Comedy, drama, westerns, war movies (oddly enough), science fiction, and romance – all major genres are represented here. The bond that these men (and one woman) shared was that before (or during) their stellar careers on the silver screen, they strapped on a uniform and reported for duty.
This list concludes our week long Boots on the Ground countdown to Memorial Day. Now go out, have a moment of silence, and then toss a few steaks on the grill.
Flt. Lt. Donald Pleasance, Royal Air Force
Before trying to calm Michael Myers down or escaping from a POW camp in The Great Escape, Donald Pleasance was actually in a German POW camp. He flew in WWII with the 166 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command, and was captured after being shot down. Interestingly, he reportedly produced plays while imprisoned. There’s no word on whether he dealt with a masked psycho killer in real life, though.
Lt. Alan Alda, US Army Reserve
It’s impossible to think of Alan Alda without thinking of “M.A.S.H.” After a decade of being on a show that produced the single largest viewing audience of all time, it’s easy to see why he was a bit typecast. However, he joined the cast of the show with a bit of his own real life experience serving as a gunnery officer in Korea after the Korean War.
Col. Frank Capra, US Army
Before making It’s a Wonderful Life, Capra joined the Army and taught during WWI. He would go on to start building an unbelievable career in film which included You Can’t Take it With You, It Happened One Night, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and even after massive success, he would return for WWII. He used his expertise to create educational films for the War Department (including what some believe is a masterpiece of propaganda filmmaking) with the next entry on the list.
Lt. Col. Dr. Seuss, US Army
If you got a chance to read my write up of The Dark Side of Dr. Seuss (or were fortunate enough to see it yourself) then you already know that Theodor Geisel joined the Army and worked with Capra’s First Motion Picture Unit. There, he made educational cartoons featuring a bumbling private named Snafu and, like Capra, directed propaganda films. So, yes, it’s safe to assume that the Cat in the Hat was anti-Hitler.
HM Bill Cosby, US Navy
The man who gave us advice, made kids say the darndest things, and sold us pudding was also a Navy Hospital Corpsman. He worked with soldiers, marines and airmen severely injured in the Korean War. That’s right everyone. Ghost Dad was in the military.
Humphrey Bogart, US Navy
Not only was Bogart in the Navy, he may owe his entire career to it. The stories are not exactly clear, but several different accounts tell of how the actor was injured doing his duty in such a way that left him with a scar you might recognize and a lisp that developed. Of course, like most things with Bogart, that could all be tall tales, but his military service isn’t.
Airman Chuck Norris, US Air Force
It may or may not be true that, at one time, Chuck Norris was the U.S. Air Force.
Lt. Col. David Niven, British Army
David Niven was terrible at being in the military during peace time. He was insubordinate, got arrested for it, got his guard drunk, and escaped to New York City to send a telegram back home announcing his resignation. Of course, when WWII started, he paused his budding film career to rejoin the Army, took part in the Invasion of Normandy, and eventually won the Legion of Merit – the highest honor the US bestows on foreign servicemen.
Rod Serling, US Army Air Force
The master of science fiction and creator of “The Twilight Zone” was apparently so eager to get to war that he enlisted in the army the day after graduating high school. He’s another example of a talent that was born from serving – citing that his time fighting in WWII (and earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star) made him turn to writing.
Audrey Hepburn, Dutch Resistance
Hepburn wasn’t in the military, so I’m cheating here, but I couldn’t leave her off the list because 1) she raised money for the Dutch Resistance in WWII by performing ballet routines 2) was a volunteer nurse in a Dutch hospital which received many Allied wounded and 3) it was getting a little dude-centric in here.
Sean Connery, Royal Navy
Bond, James Bond was not only in the Navy, but he enlisted when he was 16 years old and spent 3 years of service right after WWII.
Lt. James Doohan, Royal Canadian Army
What you may not know about the Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise is that before he beamed anyone up, he was a complete bad ass. After joining the Army, his first mission was the D-Day invasion of Normandy and was shot six times by a machine gun (and saved by a silver cigarette case). He then trained as a pilot and went on to be called “the craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces.” I have no idea how one earns that nickname, but it’s clear that Doohan’s service was impressive – crazy or not.
Clint Eastwood, US Army
Like many men his age after WWII, Eastwood was drafted into the Army. Luckily for him, it was a major turning point in his life. He taught life-saving at Fort Ord where he encountered several film stars who convinced him to move to Los Angeles and become an actor. It was Chuck Hill, a man stationed at Fort Ord with Eastwood that would later introduce him to contacts at Universal.
Don Knotts, US Army
So you might have heard that Don Knotts was a hard ass drill sergeant in the marines, but that’s just an urban legend. In truth, Knotts was drafted into the Army in 1943, but he never fought. Instead, the military saw fit to use his special talents by having him entertain troops throughout the Pacific.
Lt. Alec Guinness, Royal Navy
There was no way I’d include someone from “Star Trek” without including someone from Star Wars. I couldn’t afford the fines. Fortunately, Obi-Wan himself was an officer in the Royal Navy during WWII. Before becoming obsessed with building a bridge on the river Kwai and becoming a Jedi Master, he commanded a vessel which took part in the invasion Sicily and Elba island.
Jack Palance, US Army Air Force
Modern audiences remember him as Curly but film fans know him as the scariest-looking villain to ever grace a Western. Unfortunately, that iconic, rugged look came from a tragic crash Palance was involved in while training with a B-24 Liberator. He was discharged in 1944, and would later head out to try his luck in show business. Luckily, he’d already changed his name from Vladamir Palahniuk to Jack Palance years before which undoubtedly helped his casting chances.
Michael Caine, British Army
After a giant career, Michael Caine has burst back into the mainstream spotlight helping out Batman, but before all of that, he served from 1952-1954, seeing active duty in Korea with the Royal Fusiliers.
Lt. Kirk Douglas, US Navy
The man who would later appear in Kubrick’s anti-war Paths of Glory (and, of course, The Final Countdown) was in the Navy during WWII. Douglas was with an anti-submarine patrol in the Pacific but was injured in 1944 and subsequently discharged. Of course, almost immediately after, he caught a big break in his acting career that would make him one of the best known stars of that generation.
Lt. Gene Kelly, US Navy
It’s hard to imagine the all-singing, all-dancing Gene Kelly storming the beaches of Normandy, which is good, because he didn’t. However, he did serve his country proudly by joining the Navy and writing/directing several documentaries while based in Washington, DC.
Cpl. Mel Brooks, US Army
This is the most surprising name on the list. Mel Brooks is the consummate comedian, a man who has made millions laugh with some of the funniest films ever made. But before writing “Springtime for Hitler,” he was in the Army during WWII. He joined up at 17 and was set to work defusing landmines. Later, he would fight in the famous Battle of the Bulge.
Editor’s Note: There are a ton of movie stars and directors who served in the military (including even more who served their home countries while building a career in Hollywood). For a fairly extensive list, go here. And be sure to celebrate war films by reading our Boots on the Ground entries.
Archive for the ‘PHOTOS’ Category
A Subterranean Mansion. Let that sink into your mind. Subterranean. Mansion. With a water slide that goes from the master bedroom to a swimming pool with waterfalls. The best three million dollars you could ever spend. And that’s not all:
Probably the most daring & innovative house ever built – ‘The Subterranean Mansion’. Entrance hall, cloakroom/WC, lounge, dining room, breakfast kitchen, utility room, laundry room, master bedroom with en suite bathroom, dressing room & shute to pool, 2 further bedroom suites, swimming pool, central Jacuzzi with atrium above, gym, bar area, changing room with shower & WC, plant room, garage, in all approximately 4,300 sq ft. Gardens, approximately 0.3 of an acre.
There is little doubt that Iron Man 2 is going to be one of the most successful films of 2010. Between all the posters, clips, trailers, the awesome new website and all the fantastic toys being released in association with the film, Iron Man 2 really has no choice but to be a gigantic success. Heck, even the tie-commercials for the film are hilariously awesome to watch.
The good folks over at Hot Toys are at it again with their highly (and I do mean HIGHLY) detailed figurine of Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke (The Expendables). The last figure they released was War Machine and the artistry involved in the piece was stunning. They do not seem to have let up on the precise detail for Whiplash. You can check out some pictures of the figurine below.
I’m curious to find out if this will be the only costume we’ll see Whiplash wearing, or does director Jon Favreau have something else in mind? The trailers seem to indicate that Ivan Vanko becomes incarcerated after his initial confrontation with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and then is later seen helping Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) build his robot army. Rumors of an appearance of the Crimson Dynamo have been floating around since last year but there has been no confirmation one way or the other.
When you consider that the unarmored Whiplash is really no match for Iron Man’s Mark IV armor, it would stand to reason that he needs some actual armor of his own for protection. Add the fact that Vanko will ultimately be working with Hammer to create unmanned armor drones – well it doesn’t take a psychic to see where all this could be heading.
Here is a gallery of Whiplash Figurine images for you to look at, followed by a description of the figurine:
Hot Toys is proud to present the 1/6th scale Whiplash Limited Edition Collectible Figurine from the Iron Man 2 movie. The movie-accurate Whiplash collectible is highly detailed and specially crafted based on the image of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in the movie, highlighting the newly sculpted head, muscular upper body, patterned tattoos, light-up functions, highly detailed accessories and weapons.
The 1/6th scale Whiplash Limited Edition Collectible Figurine specially features:
– Authentic and detailed fully realized likeness of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in the movie Iron Man 2
– Newly developed head sculpt with real-like facial expression, wrinkles and beard
– Multi-layered stereoscopic hair sculpture with grey highlight on dark brown hair
– Newly developed upper muscular body and arms
– Highly detailed patterned tattoos on neck, upper body, arms, palms and fingers
– Approximately 30 cm tall
– Over 30 points of articulations
– Two (2) pairs of interchangeable palms
+ One (1) pair for holding metal-like whips
+ One (1) pair of fists
– LED chest light (white light, battery operated, battery included)
– Metal-like electricity generator with light-up function at the back
– Each piece of head sculpt is specially hand-painted
– Brown-colored jumpsuit with burning effect and holes
– Hydraulic exoskeleton with brown-colored leather-like harness
– Brown-colored leather-like belt with accessories
– One (1) pair of brown-colored buckled boots
– Necklace with cross-shaped pendant
– Figure base with Whiplash nameplate and movie logo
– One (1) pair of metal-like whips with real-like flashes and wires
You can view the full gallery of pictures HERE.
What are your thoughts on the Whiplash figurine from Iron Man 2 and do you think this is his only costume? Or could we possibly seem don a new and improved armor by the end of the film?
Iron Man 2 opens in theaters everywhere May 7th, 2010.
Follow me on Twitter @Walwus
Source: Hot Toys
Abandoned Places | We humans are explorers by nature. The quest for discovery, both old and new, is part of what separates us from rest of the animal kingdom. Since the world we live in has been largely mapped and plotted, we urban adventurers turn our sights toward the relics of old and the ruins of the recent past. If you find beauty in urban decay, in the crumbling and abandoned places of yesteryear, you’ll want to read on. Here are 10 of the most amazing, beautiful and creepy abandoned places in the modern world.
Abandoned Submarine Base, Ukraine
In a bay on the northern shores of the Black Sea, the Soviet army maintained an elaborate submarine base throughout much of the Cold War. Now a museum, this abandoned submarine base in the town of Balaklava, Ukraine is often explored by locals and tourists alike. During the war, Soviet submarines were constructed elsewhere, transported to this base by rail, then deployed into the Black Sea and beyond for covert underwater operations. The tunnels of the submarine base reached far and deep into the mountain above, providing enough room for many submarines and their crew up through the end of the Cold War. [images via russos]
Abandoned Submarine Base Gallery
The Ruins of Detroit by Marchand and Meffre
In the United States, few cities have felt the burn of urban decay more than Detroit. To capture its slow fade into history, photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre explored some of Detroit’s dying landmarks for their photo series The Ruins of Detroit. As the industrial revolution came to a close and race riots crippled a once bustling city, many buildings throughout Detroit fell into disrepair and eventual abandonment. Today, visitors to Detroit can experience two sides of the city– the revitalized, re-invested downtown area, and the high-rises and industrial complexes which crumble around it.
Ruins of Detroit Gallery
Beelitz Military Hospital, Berlin
It is rare that a ruin like this should decay so gracefully and without the marks of vandalism. The Beelitz Military Hospital in Berlin is in great condition for a ruin, perhaps for the history it represents. In 1916, a young Lance Corporal in the German army recuperated here after taking a bullet in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. That injured soldier was none other than Adolph Hitler. Walking these empty halls and cavernous rooms may not recall memories of that fearsome dictator, but a calm and unobstructed view into Germany’s often difficult history.
Beelitz Military Hospital Gallery
City Hall Subway Station, NYC
Under the busy streets of New York City rests a perfectly preserved monument to that city’s transportation history. The City Hall Subway Station was first constructed over 100 years ago, a part of New York’s earliest underground transport network. It was shut down in 1945, where it lay dormant and untouched until a one night public exhibition on the station’s centennial. NYCSubway.org and photographer Fred Guenther have documented this event with a great collection of photos, showing this amazing abandoned place in all its pristine, untouched glory.
City Hall Subway Station Gallery
Ryugyung Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea
The Ryugyung Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea is one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural failures. Initially designed as a beacon of progress and power for this misunderstood peninsula nation, the Ryugyung Hotel was unable to sustain construction when the North Korean government simply ran out of money. Ground was broken in 1987, construction was halted in 1992, and the pyramid-style spire sat dormant and empty for sixteen years. Not a window or an interior fixture graced this skeleton of concrete and metal, it stood only as a reminder what could-have-been for Pyongyang, but instead resulted in failure. Fortunately, the Ryugyung hotel may not be abandoned much longer, as construction resumed in 2008 and the building now has windows and a nearly-completed exterior. Due to the secrecy of the North Korean government, however, it is hard to say if the updates are merely cosmetic or reach further inside this lonely building.
Ryugyung Hotel Gallery
Priyapt, Ukraine – Chernobyl Ground Zero
It’s difficult to find a greater metaphor for the rise and fall of the Soviet Union than Priyapt, Ukraine. In a span of sixteen years, the population of Priyapt grew from zero to 50,000 and back down to zero, following the greatest nuclear power disaster in human history. Priyapt was billed as an atomic city, built into the forests south of Kiev in 1970 to house the families of workers at the Chernobyl nuclear facility. After the the Chernobyl failure, the city was abandoned, where it lays empty and closely guarded by police. The only heartbeat remaining in the city of Priyapt is the rustly click measured by visiting Geiger counters. (if you’d like to see more beyond the gallery below, there are plenty of compelling images on flickr, especially those by Pedro Moura Pinheiro)
Priyapt, Ukraine Gallery
Abandoned Beach Resort City, Varosha, Cyprus
Decades ago, Varosha (Famagusta) on the island of Cyprus was the top resort destination in the eastern Mediterranean. In 1974, the Turkish intervention in Cyprus brought the area under Turkish control, where it remains off limits to modern Cypriots. While the seaside resort buildings remain mostly in tact, the streets and beaches of Varosha remain empty, save for a single Turkish-only resort along the coast. We saw many amazing abandoned structures in our research, but we never expected to see a completely abandoned beach resort.
Abandoned Beach Resort City Gallery
Abandoned Water Park, Russia
A massive, indoor water park was planned for the children of Russia, one towering many stories high with a myriad of rides within. Yet before this park could be completed, the developer went belly up and couldn’t afford its completion. The structure was to house many pools, water slides and other water-based fun, and appeared to be just months away from completion. The now abandoned water park houses only concrete, metal, graffiti and the curiosity of freelance “urban archaeologists”.
Abandoned Water Park Gallery
Abandoned Cathedral, Gary, Indiana
Much like the city of Detroit, Gary, Indiana has been hard hit by the fall of the industrial revolution. While many of its massive industrial factories still operate, hope in the area is very hard to find. Perhaps representative of this lack of faith is this amazing abandoned cathedral. While this church is now empty, its beauty remains. The arched, cathedral ceiling, the grand architecture of the exterior and the religious iconography carved within might suggest that man has turned their back on religion here, but the opposite is not necessarily the case. (these images come courtesy of the community at opacity.us, one of the best places for exploring abandoned structures across the entire internet)
Abandoned Cathedral Gallery
Abandoned British Sea Forts
During the Second World War, the British Royal Navy constructed a series of sea forts for an advanced line of defense against inbound air raids and potential sea invasions from the Axis powers. The Maunsell Sea Forts still stand today, silent and abandoned a few meters above the North Sea. One, however, remains inhabited, now a nation of its own referred to as the Principality of Sealand. These sea forts are a favorite of maritime explorers, a lonely collection of stilted fortresses not far off the coast of eastern England. [see more photos of the Maunsell Sea Forts by slimmer jimmer]
Abandoned British Sea Forts Gallery
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We hope you enjoyed this collection of abandoned places from the world’s recent history. If you’ve ever explored an abandoned place and wish to share your story, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. In the mean time, thanks for reading, be sure to share this with your friends, and check out these other features on TheCoolist that we’re sure you’ll enjoy.
Paramount has released new images from their upcoming summer films Iron Man 2 (May 7th), Shrek Forever After (May 21st), The Last Airbender (July 2nd)
Click on an image to see it in high resolution.
Iron Man 2
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel Super Hero “Iron Man,” reuniting director Jon Favreau and Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. In “Iron Man 2,” the world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the armored Super Hero Iron Man. Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces.
The Last Airbender
Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of this destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world.