Remembering Hal Holbrook
Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week we remove our beanies for another great who is no longer with us, Hal Holbrook.
I saw Hal Holbrook decades ago in Texas, doing his Mark Twain show. My companion at the time raised a bit of a fuss and got up to leave during the performance, with me following. Holbrook saw us leaving and said from his rocking chair, “Must be Democrats.” It may have been “Must be Republicans,” but time has blurred the edges of that brush with fame. There may not, in fact, have been a rocking chair. I sincerely hope I wasn’t identified publicly as a Republican, even in Orange, Texas.
By that time, Holbrook’s appearance in 1977’s Rituals was a distant memory. The film was also known as The Creeper. Why the producers would throw away a perfectly good horror movie title like The Creeper is beyond me. Maybe they simply thought of it too late.
Whatever you call it, the movie concerns a group of doctors who go camping in Canada and realize they’re being stalked. Could the stalker have been someone from Hollywood, trying to recapture some of that runaway production from north of the border? I guess anything’s possible.
The Elyse Winery Holbrook Mitchell Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has Hal’s name on the label, however coincidentally. The wine and the vineyard have nothing to do with Hal Holbrook, Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens, but grapes have been growing there since the 1870s.
Capricorn One, in 1978, predated QAnon by decades but served up a mother of a conspiracy theory. It seems a U.S. mission to Mars was faked by the government with the help of the coerced astronauts. Holbrook plays the main guvmint cover-upper – he had a way with bad guy characters. The cast featured not only Holbrook, but also Elliot Gould, Sam Waterston and … O.J. Simpson – playing a good guy here.
Capricorns are serious people – at least that’s what my zodiac decoder ring says. So for Capricorn One, let’s choose a serious wine. The Ojai Vineyard Pinot Noir is a handful. Winemaker Adam Tolmach likes ‘em aromatic and bold enough to be conspiracy theories of their own. They sell for around $35.
1973’s Magnum Force gave Holbrook a great bad-guy role, as a bad cop on the San Francisco police force. Magnum Force was the second film in Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry series. Holbrook gets a rude surprise near the end of the film, one that makes Eastwood opine that “a man’s gotta know his limitations.” Indeed.
There is a German item called Dirty Harry Licorice Liqueur, so how could we not? The label shows a guy who looks a lot more like Dick Tracy than Dirty Harry. If that doesn’t bother you, and you like anise flavored booze, and there’s no Jagermeister around, knock yourself out. Just know your limitations.