Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

Slim Pickens and ‘Strangelove’

Posted by Max Lalanne on June 29, 2012

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Well, I’ve been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones. You sure you got today’s codes?

Let’s face it, there wasn’t one single actor in 1964’s “Dr. Strangelove” that single-handedly made Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Cold War satire – my favorite film of all time – what it is, it was all of them. And the uber-smart script and Kubrick’s flawless execution, yeah, but let’s stick to the point. As much as I admire Peter Sellers tackling three roles in one film, I was as blown away with George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, and Slim Pickens – who was born today in 1919, hence the point of this post. (You didn’t think I would take any random excuse to just write something about “Dr. Strangelove,” now, did you?)

To celebrate Picken’s birthday, hit the jump for a behind-the-scenes photo (and two more bonus ones) that gives us some hint of how Kubrick shot one of the monumentally famous scenes that “Dr. Strangelove” has contributed to cinema, when Pickens rides astride the nuclear bomb, waving his cowboy hat and yelling cowboyish things, as he drops to Russian soil and the end of the world as we know it. And as always, it’s fascinating to note that the iconic role of Major T.J “King” Kong wouldn’t even have been played by Pickens, had Sellers not sprained his ankle working in the tight cockpit set and not been able to play his fourth role.

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