David Carradine remembered
All of us here are very sad to hear about David Carradine's death. For years he had been retracing his father's steps, staying busy in films that mostly weren't worthy of him, with several notable exceptions. Like his father, he often gave performances that were the single interesting feature of some pretty awful movies. But the good films were there too: BOUND FOR GLORY, BOXCAR BERTHA, THE LONG RIDERS and others. Plus, an iconic TV series that actually holds interest today, chiefly because of Carradine's acting and presence.
I also have a personal reminiscence of David Carradine. Back during the old downtown Alamo days, Quentin Tarantino used to take over the theater on a more-or-less annual basis and show dozens of films from his personal collection. One day I got to the theater early and was jaw-jacking with some of the employees at the bottom of the stairs when the door opened and an extraordinarily luminous grey haired man walked in. He was dressed in black, as I recall, with silver buttons on his shirt. None of us recognized him right away but it felt like a wave of coolness had just come over the room. I realize it sounds silly but we all looked at each other and said, "that guy is COOL."
As it turned out of course, the man was Carradine. Tarantino invited him, screened a couple of 16mm KUNG FU episodes and revealed himself during the intro and Q&A to be a KUNG FU superfan. Carradine himself was having a hard time keeping up with the amount of KUNG FU knowledge QT had. Of course, the audience was entranced by Carradine, who was very dry and funny during the discussions. And, as it turned out, it was the night Tarantino gave him the KILL BILL script.
During one of the KUNG FU episodes I walked out to take a leak or something and saw Carradine in the lobby, having a conversation with a fan who was talking animatedly. As I walked past Carradine looked up at me with my crazy long hair and, probably, crazy red eyes and gave me a look I'll never forget. I flatter myself that he recognized me as a member of his great metaphysical tribe. He made eye contact and tipped his head slightly with a little smile. As far as I know, he was looking for someone with a joint, because it was that kind of look too. I'll never know. But for me, it's the mental picture of David Carradine I'll always remember.