Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boss, Boss The Plane!


My kids don't remember Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island.

Or even as some quasi-scary good/bad guy in some of the crummier Star Trek Movies.

Heckfire, it would be more likely that, given that we are a song and dance household, that they might know him from old, old MGM musicals made after he first came to Hollywood from Mexico in the 40's and 50's.

But I don't know that for sure.

There is one thing I do know, however.

Which is that my kids definitely know Mr. Montalban as the Grandad in the Spy Kids franchise, which is the brainchild of Mexican-American Cinema Wizard Robert Rodriquez, a guy who goes out of his way to use Latino actors as both good and bad guys in his movies.

Which is somehow fitting given the fact that, in addition to acting, Montalban also did this a long time ago:

In 1970, Montalban organized fellow Latino actors into an organization called Nosotros (“We”), and he became the first president. Their aim: to improve the image of Spanish-speaking Americans on the screen; to assure that Latin-American actors were not discriminated against; to stimulate Latino actors to study their profession.

Montalban commented in a 1970 interview:

“The Spanish-speaking American boy sees Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid wipe out a regiment of Bolivian soldiers. He sees ‘The Wild Bunch' annihilate the Mexican army. It's only natural for him to say, ‘Gee, I wish I were an Anglo.”


They do the coolest things.

Mr. Montalban passed away at the age of 88 on Wednesday.


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