Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kentucky Darby

Now don't panic too much. We aren't going to delve deep into the childhood career of freckle faced Darby Hinton, best known for his stint on Daniel Boone (1964-1970.) We simply couldn't resist the title for this post, though, which draws from his role as Israel Boone, son of the legendary Kentucky trailblazer. (As is often our goal here in The Underworld, there's a method to our madness.) Hinton, born into a bloodline of actors on August 19th, 1957 (that's my birthday, too!), was first cast in TV commercials at the tender age of six months and proceeded to work further from there!

Before he was even two, tragedy struck when he, his parents and two sisters (who also worked as child actors) were visiting Catalina Island. His father, actor Ed Hinton, was called to Utah for work on a film and boarded a small private plane to expedite his journey. However, after he asked to circle back in order to wave at his wife and kids, the plane collided with a cliff and crashed into the water, killing all on board. (Ed Hinton is second from the right in this photo from 1955's Devil Goddess.) Thus, his family was forced to watch in horror as their beloved patriarch perished before their eyes.

Darby Hinton, already a veteran of many commercials and several film and TV appear- ances at age six, was taken to audition for the highly-anticipated The Sound of Music (1965), though there wasn't even a role for a boy his age. He somehow wound up lost on the lot and, literally, stumbled into Fess Parker, who was preparing Daniel Boone and soon charmed the star into offering him the role of his young son on the upcoming series!

This photo on the set is of Hinton with his mother Marilynn. She emerged as a great Hollywood socialite, throwing many dazzling parties and maintaining a busy, active charity schedule. The godparents of her children included figures of no less fame than Jane Russell, Steve Cochran, Denise Darcel and Charlton Heston (Darby's)! Mrs. Hinton did not remarry after the 1958 death of her beloved husband.

Hinton was taken under the gentle giant Parker's wing and a fatherly relationship developed over the course of the successful series. Hinton also guest-starred on other hit shows such as Route 66, Wagon Train, The Big Valley and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. Afterwards, he attended school in Switzerland and embarked on the adventure that was World Campus Afloat (later named Semester at Sea), a shipboard educational exercise that left him with a lifelong sense of adventure.
During the mid-1970s, Hinton continued to work, occasionally on TV, but more often in low-budget flicks with sometimes gritty subject matter. As the 1980s dawned, he guest-starred on Magnum, P.I. and The Fall Guy, gigs that would put him in stead for the part that forms the, uh, meat of this post! In 1985, Daniel Boone's li'l boy was cast in a mind-boggling bit of low-budget entertainment called Malibu Express! Express sprang from the mind, pen and directorial hand of one Andy Sidaris, a former sports-programming director who turned to intentionally raunchy, but light-hearted, action films stuffed to the gills with as many Playboy Playmates as he could muster.

In my wildest dreams, I never would have even begun to watch an Andy Sidaris movie, not just because they are usually considered far from "good," but also because I have a near-zero interest in Playboy Playmates. However, a loyal friend and true of Poseidon's Underworld made it a point to tell me that these movies often served up equal or near-equal beefcake along with all the female T&A. Malibu Express was noted in particular. So when I happened upon a DVD set which included TWELVE of these movies for $5.50, I really felt I had no choice but to pick them up and at least get to see Express for the first time.

It's true. The plotlines of these movies don't merit any sort of in-depth assessment, nor is there much in the way of acting to be found, especially from the curvaceous ladies who, literally, at the drop of a hat, remove their tops and act like they're in heat. But it's also true that there is plenty of masculine charm on display as well, especially in this one with Hinton.

He plays a private investigator, very much in the mold of Tom Selleck's Thomas Magnum, complete with thick mustache, wavy hair and red sports car (in this case, a DeLorean!) Right off the bat, the spoofy nature of the film is demonstrated when Hinton heads into a shooting gallery and, firing off a ginormous gun, never once hits the target in question.

Before he enters the building, we're given a close-up of Hinton's crotch, swaddled in tight, faded jeans.
The budget for the film doesn't appear to have accounted for underwear, since Hinton looks to be going commando in most of his scenes (including this one at a race track.)
At Hinton's houseboat (called Malibu Express), he enters his kitchen to get some coffee brewing, then strips off in order to head downstairs for a shower.
Soon, we glimpse a big ol' close-up of Hinton's backside as he rinses off with the shower head attachment. Lest we be mistaken into thinking that this is a double, the camera rises without any cuts to reveal the face of our star.

All throughout the movie, Hinton and others fall into bed at the slightest provocation. It's practically along the lines of "Hmmm, it's 73 degrees. Let's get it on!" But who's complaining when it's just one more chance to see our hunky hero shirtless?

Just when you think things can't get much better, Hinton serves up another Underworld fixation, the Speedo! While investigating a case at a luxurious mansion, he does a few laps in the pool and steps out of it wearing this number.
Sidaris' films, though healthily stuffed with boobs, butts and bombs, often contain a surprising gay element as well. This movie, for example, has a drag queen in it (as do others of his.) This fight scene below has rather obvious gay subtext as well as shirtless Hinton is held at bay by two bare-chested bodybuilders while Art Metrano threatens to "blow his dick off!"
Praise Jesus, he's back in a Speedo again, this time after a swim in the company of Sybil Danning!
Following a murder at the mansion, he continues to investigate and question suspects, all the while remaining in this skimpy swimwear. (You never caught Thomas Magnum doing that!)
The final part of the movie is more conven- tional and though Hinton has still more sex and shirtless scenes, it becomes more about race car and helicopter chases and explosions than bodies on display. This shower sequence with him in some wet pants is welcome, however.

His tan, otter-like body is shown off to great advantage time and again. Sadly, he never made another film for Andy Sidaris. Married twice and with a total of four children, he's continued to act sporadically and has been trying to launch an adventuresome reality series that explores American history, including that of Kentucky's Daniel Boone.

Still handsome at fifty-eight, he popped up in the Bill Paxton miniseries Texas Rising (2015) and just finished a docudrama based on the ill-fated Donner Party wagon train. Though his beefcake-y, Speedo years are likely behind him, we may still see more of Mr. Hinton on screen in the years to come.

Editor's Note: Due to interest in Mr. Hinton's TV commercials (in the comments section), I've added this picture from a holiday jewelry ad that's been getting airtime recently. We've probably seen him in all sorts of ads and never even realized it.



Gingerguy said...

When I saw the title I thought it was about Kim Darby. Very interesting career, and that little boy really filled out when he grew up. He reminded me of Perry King a little. Sybil Danning's presence is usually a tip off to a movie being campy. lord knows I suffered through some Shannon Tweed "films" thanks to my Dad picking the movie on family outings, so I am familiar with that genre. Nice posting, I find it so interesting that some show business careers really run the gamut.

Vince Frank C said...

Darby also popped up in Days of Our Lives in the mid 80's as a rapist whose victims included beloved Maggie Horton (Suzanne Rogers) who is still on the show till this day!

joel65913 said...

Oh Poseidon the things I learn from reading your blog!! I don't think I'm ever going to able to watch a Daniel Boone rerun quite the same way again. I saw that magnum opus Malibu Express many years ago courtesy of late night cable in its infancy and never made the connection. Fascinating bit of trivia.

Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, I have no clue why, but your comment made me flash back to one time at Kroger, of all places, I was near the video rental section (yes!) and this couch potato-y man was looking for a movie as his wife was browsing slightly away from him. I suddenly heard him exclaim, "Look, honey, they got 'SILVER!'" I had no choice but to glance over and see the box staring back at me from "Sliver," which starred a frequently-naked Sharon Stone... LOL

Vince, I am familiar with Suzanne Rogers, but had no idea she was still on DAYS! That was my show around 1984-1987-ish. And I recall her going through a heinous illness that threatened her vision and her looks, but she did keep working through a lot of that. Interesting that she's still on.

Joel, I'm so glad I can occasionally throw a curve ball to someone as vastly knowledgeable about movies & TV as yourself! I saw Mr. Hinton the other night on a jewelry commercial! I would never have known it was he except for looking at the more recent headshots of his in which he's more of a burly daddy type. The commercial is for some sort of ring with two (diamond?) stones side by side on top and a variety of couples schmoozing together.

By the way, at imdb.com you can see quite a few pictures that he has put up from his career, hobnobbing with celebs including Barbara Stanwyck, which he guest-starred on as a child.

sowhatelse said...

That's him in that diamond commercial? I noticed him at once because a) he was a really good-looking older man with a beard; and b) you mostly only see younger men who are about to pop the question on jewelry spots.

Thanks for this post, Poseidon. I always learn interesting facts from you about various actors and you never fail to come up with the shirtless shots!

Poseidon3 said...

Yes, that is indeed he! I was gobsmacked that right after I put this post up, he was grinning back at me in a TV ad. (Well, actually, he was grinning at some chick! LOL) Thank you, sowhatelse, for your compliments/remarks. I appreciate it!

KittyKisser said...

Is he doing the current KayJewlers commercial?

Poseidon3 said...

Kitty, I'm sorry I don't know if that's the one or not. This post was from last year and I recall the commercial, but not the company. (I RARELY watch commercials at all... usually flip channels or FF, but just happened to see that one at the time. Maybe someone else here will know and can verify?) Thanks.

Poseidon3 said...

Kitty (and others), I don't know if he was in an earlier commercial last year, but I did see him in one this year and took snaps of it that I'm putting in the post near the end for your perusal! Happy Holidays.