Friday, June 29, 2007

Rediscovering Larry Hankin

The other day I had just a few minutes to investigate a little used bookstore I'd never seen.

It was going out of business. I scurried about, head cocked sideways to quickly scan shelves for whatever I might find in the limited time available to me.

I found just a couple of things, including a book I'd never seen nor knew existed, but was nevertheless very pleased to see. It was a collection of 'Sometimes Jones' stories and other writings by Larry Hankin.

You know Larry Hankin. If you think you don't, you're mistaken; at the *very* least you've seen him as a character actor in small parts in movies or on TV. Lots of sitcoms, over lots of years. Always fun to watch.

Okay, cool, I said, there's a Larry Hankin book. What else is there? I've had my own well-loved copy of his spoken-word CD for many years, but was greatly dismayed to discover that it's currently out of print.

I looked online, and yes, he has a website, good to know.

Next I was very pleased to discover that there are several Larry Hankin video shorts I hadn't seen, sitting over at YouTube.

I've wedged a couple of them in here...

Huh - - Those are Hankin's own illustrations in the 'Sometimes Jones' video?!
Learn something new every day...

Some background, from the liner notes (dated 6.18.93) to his 1995 CD:

"LARRY HANKIN was raised in Far Rockaway, Long Island, New York, graduated Syracuse University with a degree in Industrial Design, broke his arm in a barroom fight on graduation night, and, on the invitation of a friend, went to Plattsburg, New York to recuperate and design sets for a summer stock theater.

"After healing, he joined the acting company, and in the Fall migrated to Manhattan where he washed dishes during the day and did stand-up comedy in Greenwich Village coffee houses at night, eventually opening for such diverse acts as Woody Allen, Miles Davis, and The Lovin' Spoonful.

"Invited by Paui Sills, the director/founder of 'Second City', Hankin left New York to join the Chicago 'Second City' company. A few monlhs later he left Chicago and traveled further west to help found 'The Committee', the world-famous comedy improvisational theater In San Francisco - (which brought him full-circle back to New York when 'The Committee' was invited to play the St. James Theater on Broadway).

"He then traveled to Hollywood to co-star as Charlie Butz in 'Escape From Alcatraz', starring Clint Eastwood, and deciding to stay, has since appeared in more than forty T.V. sitcoms, dramas, and movies-of-the-week and over twenty theatrical features inciuding John Huston's 'Annie', 'Sting II', 'Armed & Dangerous', 'Running Scared', and three John Hughes films: 'She's Having A Baby', 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles', and 'Home Alone.'

"In 1988 Larry returned to the stage to play the lead character of 'Jacques' in the American premiere of Milan Kundera's 'Jacques & His Master' at LATC directed by Simon Callow, which won LA.'s Triple Crown: The Critic's Choice in all three of LA.'s major dailies: The LA. Times, Herald Examiner, and Daily News.

"And, in between, Hankin has contlnued to write, direct, and play his popular tall, thin, chaplin-like character, 'SOMETIMES JONES' in the many video and film shorts he produces himself, several of which have played in the United States on the HBO,Showtime, Cinemax, and A & E cable television stations - including his favorite, 'SOLLY'S DINER', which garnered an Academy Award nomination."

There's a considerably more updated bio and resume on view over at Hankin's website.
Enjoy getting to know Larry Hankin a little better.

From Larry Hankin's ''Pomes & Stories' CD (New Alliance Records, 1995), Listen to:

The Guilty Mantra
Who Wrote The Book Of Love
And So Are You
A Quicksand Hero

(click for audio)


Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea. That spoken word is really great! Do you know if he ever appeared on SCTV ? The same show that featured Bob & Doug Mackenzie . I'm almost sure I've seen him on it.

The In Crowd said...

Hey Skipper - -

Huh. Pretty sure he was never on the show, but I wouldn't swear to it.

He was a Second City Chicago alum, and he did show up opposite others of that crowd...

The only SCTV connections I can come up with off hand are movie appearances with John Candy in 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles', and with Candy and Eugene Levy in 'Armed & Dangerous'.

Maybe you're flashing on those - - ?

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