Monday, December 13, 2010

Fan-Boy Icon #32

Long time followers will know that the only genre I like better than WIP is blaxploitation. Today we'll look at a man who played some bit parts in blaxploitation before moving on to more mainstream films and television; Carl Weathers.

I won't rehash the Wikipedia article, just that Weathers is from Louisiana (my favorite state that is not North Carolina), played linebacker for the Oakland Raiders under John Madden and the British Columbia Lions. He went on to acting afterward. Two films that stand out for me are Friday Foster (Arthur Marks, 1975) with Pam Grier and Yaphet Koto, and of course Rocky (John Avildson, 1976).

In Friday Foster, Weathers played "Yarbro", an assassin hired to take care of some problems, initially a politician, and eventually Friday herself (Grier). While Friday Foster was a less serious film than Coffy and Foxy Brown, Weathers' role in particular made it quite interesting and an example of the finer points of blaxploitation. Yarbro was not some thug with a gun, nor some killer pimp type. He was the type assassin you were used to seeing as a white character. He was serious and efficient, despite ultimately failing in his mission (it's not like the stars get killed, come on). I don't believe Yarbro says a word in the entire film, which I always love. The silent killer who does not talk a lot of smack is the most dangerous kind. We need more of those in film.

I think we all know Weathers from the Rocky films, where he played "Apollo Creed", the champ in the first film, and Balboa's mentor in later films. Again, I feel this was a strong role for a black actor at the time. While Creed was certainly showy in the ring and at press conferences behind the scenes he was a serious business man with a good mind; not the way we think of boxers typically. Also, in many ways Creed was "The Man" in that he called the shots and was the antagonist. I think guys like Sean "Puffy" Combs and Jay-Z must have looked up to Creed in their youth. Creed had class where Balboa spends his winnings on a fancy jacket and a tiger; winding up as a leg breaker for the mob before returning to boxing.

Carl has done a lot of work since, notably Action Jackson and Predator. You can see his credits at The IMDb. Also, he is on Twitter and seems like a hell of a nice guy. Almost all of his Tweets are responses to fans. When I mentioned how much I loved Friday Foster he responded, "Man, that picture was made in the 'ice age'.:-)"

UPDATE
I rewatched Friday Foster, and Yarbro does in fact have some lines; he talks to Friday Foster's little brother.

4 comments:

Smatchimo said...

what a cool post, i really enjoy your writing. i have some questions about your blog in general. with 200- odd followers how many page visits are you getting a day? may i ask also how much adsense you do a day, ballpark? i am new to blogging

Darius Whiteplume said...

I am glad you like the blog. I get about 1500 hits per day. I don't do any advertising, so don't have any numbers on GAS.

Mickey Glitter said...

Don't forget his turn in "Arrested Development" as Tobias' acting coach. =)

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have yet to watch "Arrested Development" - I never liked George from "Seinfeld" and cannot see Larry David without thinking of him. Wanda Sykes is a fav, so I may have to knuckle down and watch it.

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