Going Ape with H.M. Wynant and Michael Schlesinger - Damn Dirty Geeks
The Damn Dirty Geeks geek out with the amazing character actor H.M. Wynant, star of one of the best Twilight Zone episodes plus a featured actor in CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, among his lengthy list of credits. H.M. is the first APES veteran we’ve had as a guest on our podcast, though he won’t be the last! Joining the Geeks and H.M. is a talented director/producer and film historian Michael Schlesinger, a friend of the Geeks with a steel trap mind when it comes to Hollywood history — which came in very handy during this episode as H.M. recaps his decades-long acting career and lengthy list of co-stars!
Being lifelong fans of the PLANET OF THE APES films, the Geeks were thrilled to have H.M. Wynant as a guest on our podcast as a cast member alumnus from the classic franchise films — but there’s so much more to H.M.’s acting career. Enjoy the tales of his lengthy credit list that including dozens of Hollywood legends including: Clark Gable (RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP), Errol Flynn (PLAYHOUSE 90), director Sam Fuller and actor Charles Bronson (RUN OF THE ARROW), Randolph Scott and director Budd Boetticher (DECISION AT SUNDOWN), creator Rod Serling and actor John Carradine (THE TWILIGHT ZONE), Elvis Presley (IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR), Adam West (BATMAN), Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Ricardo Montalbano and Severn Darden (CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) and many more.
We try not to fan-geek out discussing H.M.’s guest starring turn on excellent 1960 episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, “The Howling Man,” which series fans often consider among the very best produced by Serling for the landmark show. H.M. regales us with tales of how writer Charles Beaumont and episode director Douglas Heyes battled over whether or not to reveal the prisoner’s true identity, and a surprising resolution to this decision. As the delirious and eventually doomed David Ellington, H.M.’s multi-layered performance makes this tale of good versus evil immensely believable despite its simple setup. Enjoy listening to how H.M. approached this pivotal role in the episode, and speculate on why “The Howling Man” remains so highly praised after five decades of syndication.
H.M. spoils the Geeks with his tales on the set of CONQUEST, working with Don Murray (who got his first job in Hollywood via H.M.) and Severn Darden, who made an indelible impression on H.M. Then he shifts gears to play a villain with a farcical comedy touch in two episodes of the classic BATMAN series, co-starring as henchman Frosty working for Mr. Freeze (Eli Wallach) in the second season episodes “The Duo Defy” and “Ice Spy.”
Not only does our added guest Michael Schlesinger save our conversational bacon by pulling historic Hollywood names out of thin air during our chat with H.M., but you’ll learn some fascinating details about his work on Larry Blamire’s feature comedies THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN and DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, both also featuring H.M. in hilarious supporting roles. Michael also co-wrote and directed THE ADVENTURES OF BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER, a series of simulated 1940s comedy shorts starring a fictional comedy duo (Nick Santa Maria and Will Ryan), along with co-stars including H.M. plus our own Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger.
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