Friday, May 20, 2005


In directing last night’s season finale, Quentin Tarantino continued to shine the spotlight on neglected actors by casting John Saxon as the villain who buries one of the team members alive in a Plexiglas coffin. In fact, Saxon is the reason why I watched.

He’s probably best known for his work in ENTER THE DRAGON and the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. When I was a kid, I thought Saxon was the greatest and most famous actor in the world, simply because I saw him guesting on one TV show or another every week. He was practically a regular on FANTASY ISLAND, usually playing some Great White Hunter type of whom Mr. Rourke intoned: “He wishes to stalk the most dangerous prey of all ... man.”

He was also memorable as a ballet teacher who believed he was a vampire on STARSKY & HUTCH. Tony Kay, with little or no prompting, will happily recreate Saxon’s distinctive swooping run from that episode.

The actor certainly delivered on CSI. He also had one hell of an exit.

Last night’s show also marked the final screen appearance of the late Frank Gorshin. He had one fun scene with Tony Curtis, both playing themselves. In a few seconds he ran through many of his greatest impersonations, tossing off his perfect Burt Lancaster laugh. The episode, dedicated to his memory, made for a fitting sendoff.