Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Political Zero







The presidential sweepstakes this year is anything but dull. To add a little extra "oomph" to things here's Zero Mostel in a photo essay posing as a politician. These are from the 1965 book 'ZERO by MOSTEL', with photos by Max Waldman.

10 comments:

The Jerk said...

zero mostel may have had one of the best comb-overs of all time.

Will Finn said...

Zero Mostel started appearing on TV variety shows when I was a real little kid and I expected him to act like Jackie Gleason. Apart from being light on their feet for such heavy set men, tho, they had almost nothing in common: Gleason seemed to always lend some physical charm to his image to take the edge off--Zero played to the edge and beyond! He went out of his way to look as grotesque as he could and he seemed to revel in it. Also, Gleason usually played someone dumber than himself, but Zero tended to play to the top of his own intelligence--he could barely pass for innocent, let alone naive. He really seems like a human cartoon to me.

I like both actors by the way, and it's too bad Zero Mostel didn't leave a longer film legacy. He was blacklisted in the 1950's; unfortunately he lost a lot of his prime years there.

Weirdo said...

I love Zero Mostel's work. he could be hilariously funny like in "The Producers" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" or dramatic like in that film he did with Jack Palance where they're carriers of the black plague in New Orleans. Does anyone know the name of that film?

Pete Emslie said...

With such an expressive a mug as that, it's no wonder he was a favourite subject of Hirschfeld!

Larry Levine said...

The Producers is the most perfect comedy ever filmed, in no small part to Zero's Max Bialystock (and his cardboard belt).

Michael Sporn said...

Way back in the days, I got to watch a short bit of Zero Mostel recording the voice of "Spellbinder" for John Hubley in a Letterman session for The Electric Company. Gene Wilder was also in the booth; he was "Letterman." Mostel was a bit irritated while I was there. He wanted more articulated instructions from John. I think the improvisatory nature of the session was getting to him, and John liked to get lots of options.
I was getting something approved, so I wasn't there to sit in on the session. It's amazing how firmly those 20 minutes or so remain in my memory.
They don't make actors like him anymore.

Mike Gillett said...

Zero was EVERYTHING! Sadly all this generation has is Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller and Paulie Shore.

Thanks for posting the pics... living caricatures!

Check your email, Will - I forwarded an email from Ray McAnallen...

Mike

Kyri Kyprianou said...

nice post! these have bundles of character, very animated!

BillRiling said...

"Sadly all this generation has is Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller and Paulie Shore."

The Producers WAS the perfect comedy ever filmed...so it demands a remake!

Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder...then
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
Twenty years from now...
Adam Sandler and Dane Cook.

I can't wait for Casablanca with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughhey

RFarmiloe said...

Hey, weirdo, the film you are looking for is PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950). Incedentally, one of the very best films concerning the blacklist of the '50's is the Woody Allen film, THE FRONT (1976). Everyone in it was actually a victim of the blacklist. Mostel plays a tv comic names Hecky Brown...not far removed from Mostel himself. It's one of his very best roles. Check it out if you haven't seen it.