Most of us are aware of the question- able beginnings that Sylvester Stallone found himself in at the start of his career. After working as an extra in 1969's Downhill Racer, the starving actor wound up playing "the lead" in a ratty softcore porno film called The Party at Kitty and Studs in 1970. The grindhouse-like mess was not released, but he got a hefty paycheck of $200.00 for his trouble... And pretty much all he had to do in it was roll around naked with several women and show off his gently-toned physique. Stallone proceeded to play bit parts in "real" movies, some of them well-known such as Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), Bananas (1971) and Klute (1971.)
After having given up completely for a brief spate, he was back at it again with 1974's The Lords of Flatbush, this time with a real role. Then he alternated supporting roles in low-budget films with bit parts in more important features. Remarkably, prior to 1975 he had not appeared on television at all! His first role on TV was a good one. He worked alongside Chuck Connors on Police Story, a prestigious anthology series that told gritty and thoughtful tales from the point of view of the police force. This party scene was the television audience's first glimpse of Stallone.
Connors' long-time partner having just retired (at said party), he was now paired with newcomer Stallone who was younger, unseasoned and unused to his veteran cohort's ways. The familiar mug, with its soon to be world-famous expressions, was shown off in close-up and with a part that was above some of the ones he'd been portraying in the movies such as, "Man in Restaurant," "Party Guest," "Subway Thug #1," "Youth in Park" or "Young Man in Crowd!" But you want to know the best and most remarkable part? His character's name was Elmore Caddo, but he insisted on being addressed by his nickname... "Rocky!"
Another surprising aspect is that, with his less than A-list standing in Tinseltown, nothing whatever was done to disguise the fact that the future star of Rocky (1976), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and other blockbuster action movies is in reality only 5' 9", a fact that was driven home when he was placed next to the eight-inches taller star of the episode, Connors. This would be obscured through camera framing, floor levels and chosen costars (Burt Young and Burgess Meredith anyone?) on later projects, unless a deliberate differential was desired.
After this 1975 installment of Police Story, Stallone portrayed another detective (this time a trigger-happy one) on an episode of Telly Savalas' Kojak that same year, then accepted a bit role in David Carradine's Cannonball! (1976) as a mafioso. Then finally his dream project Rocky, which he had written, was developed into a movie and became a box office sensation, also winning the Oscar for Best Picture. (He was nominated for Best Actor, too, but the late Peter Finch was awarded the honor for Network.) And The Party at Kitty and Studs was tweaked, re-dubbed "Italian Stallion" and dragged out on video to capitalize on its now-famous star... The rest, however, is history as Stallone starred in movie after movie, often directing them as well, until a whole string of hits (and some notable misses!) emerged. He thereafter only appeared on television if he wanted to as a lark (or to work with a particular actor, such as James Caan on Las Vegas, 2005) and it was many years later at that.
Four decades after Rocky, he was nominated for another Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in the sequel of sorts Creed (2015), and even picked up the Golden Globe, but the Academy Award went to Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies (2015.) That might make a good trivia question sometime as I doubt that too many people can remember that win! Mr. Stallone turned seventy this past summer. Can it be true?!
"To Jon-I really enjoyed your blog! Love Joan" -- Dame Joan Collins (via autographed menu supplied by a mutual friend!) Photos of Menu & Joan
"Thank you for your nice message, and for the link to your blog. I had actually seen your blog before - a friend showed it to me a year or two ago. You clearly have an intense and wonderful passion for cult and genre cinema... Thank you for joining my page, and for sharing your passion for EARTHQUAKE and other films of that remarkable era in our industry. My husband would have gotten a huge kick out of it! With love, Monica"-- Monica Lewis Tribute to Monica
"Oh, and for those who are looking for fascinating, funny, often outré online reading about vintage, sometimes obscure, movies, TV shows and stars, try the blog, “Poseidon’s Underworld.” You’ll find everything from detailed and witty biographies to posts on how stars wore their clothes — or didn’t — as each show biz decade constricted or loosened up. Heavily illustrated and highly informative". - Liz Smith - Liz Smith - newyorksocialdiary.com
"I just discovered your profile about me and my career. I was flattered and very happy with the photos (some I had never seen) and your talented style of writing. As a gesture of thanks, I would like to send you a signed copy of my book. I think you would enjoy it. So if you would like one or a signed photo, let me know with an address I can send it to. - Sincerely, Mark Goddard" (via e-mail) Tribute to Mark