MAE WEST and other vaudevillians who created a unique character — and, often, a memorable tag line and signature look — paved the way for Johnny Depp's "Jack Sparrow," notes a recent column in a Pennsylvania newspaper.
• • According to columnist Sharon Eberson, "Jack Sparrow joins a unique line of iconic characters." Eberson elaborates: From The Marx Brothers to John "Die Hard" McClane, actors have created characters who burst onto the scene, grab a foothold in pop culture and are instantly recognizable ever-after.
• • Without benefit of a book, play, TV show, or any other medium to start them on their way, these iconic characters are created with a unique look and often, a signature line. And best of all for the actor and the studio who collaborate on a popular character, along with adoration comes a sequel or two — or more.
• • About those zany Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo took their insane brand of humor to the screen from hit plays (George S. Kaufman wrote some of their vehicles). And other early film characters arrived from vaudeville stages: MAE WEST, W.C. Fields, Al Jolson, Burns & Allen, etc.
• • These vaudevillians paved the way for the iconic characters of today, who are instantly recognizable by the steely stare, a beatific smile or the slant of a three-corner hat.
• • Take, for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and the "Pirates of the Caribbean."
• • Previous summer blockbusters telling the further stories of Spider-Man(comic book) and the animated Shrek (children's book) came with ready-made backgrounds for talented actors Tobey Maguire and Mike Myers.
• • For Depp and director Gore Verbinski, there was a Disneyland ride about generic pirates, period. . . .
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• • Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
• • Byline: Sharon Eberson
• • Published: 24 May 2007
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •