TIFF’s Bell LIghtbox has offered amazing evenings this fall. On 30 October, taking advantage of the appearance of George Hamilton at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Bell Lightbox arranged for the actor to appear in conjunction with the screening of his 1978 film “Love at First Bite.” He was the major star and co-producer of the film, a spoof of vampire movies. Mr. Hamilton was warmly received and appreciated by those who attended. It was a blustery night outside the building, the audience braving the winds and rain of hurricane Sandy to participate.
Mr. Hamilton introduced the film with humorous stories and an interesting explanation of how the movie came to be filmed. He explained that no one in Hollywood wanted to be involved with the film as they did not envision him as a comedian. As a result, he raised the money on his own, and hired a writer, director and various actors. The total cost of the film was 1.4 million. The movie was a hit, and it grossed 78 million. He more than proved his worth as a comedian. Mr. Hamilton, who performed the role of Count Dracula in the movie, never over-played his Romanian accent, and his vampire costume was quite sexy. Arte Johnson, who became famous in the TV show “Laugh-in,” was excellent as Count Dracula’s assistant. All of the small roles were superbly cast and added much hilarity to the film.
The movie was delightful, full of great lines, made more humorous because of the manner in which they were delivered. Timing is everything in comedy. Very few comedian, including those popular today, can deliver lines better than Gorge Hamilton. The audience howled with laughter and clapped loudly. George Hamilton, age 73, remains the consummate entertainer.
However, the best entertainment of the evening was the question and answer period after the film ended. Mr. Hamilton was relaxed, funny, and personal. He regaled the audience with personal stories about Hollywood and his years working in the film industry. He poked fun at himself, and told stories of incidents that happened during the filming of “Love at First Bite.” He also explained the reason for his constant sun tan, and how it became a part of his identity. He mentioned that many of the jokes submitted for the film were too raunchy to be used. He even told one of them. The audience roared. I guess times have changed.
I saw George Hamilton perform in “La Cage aux Folles” the previous week. I thought he was slightly wooden in the first act, but was amazed how he came to life in the second. It took a while before I realized that he had few lines in the first act that gave him much of a chance to shine. However, in the second act, he truly came to life. His delivery and sense of timing were superb. I realize that The Star newspaper did not give the show a rave revue. This is a pity. Although it is not serious theatre, but rather light entertainment, it is an excellent show and well worth seeing.
After the evening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, I came away with the feeling that Mr. Hamilton would be a fascinating person to chat with over dinner. A true gentleman, with a keen sense of humour. He is the ultimate performer, witty and charming.
To view posts about Toronto events and its history:
Robo Cop seen on Queen Street West:
Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977
The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street
The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.
Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue
A study of Osgoode Hall
Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street
Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades
History of Trinity Bellwoods Park
A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands
Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets
To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/