The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sparky - Thinking of Don Knotts returns us to Monster Island!

This is odd - but play along ...

No Time for Sergeants

No Time for Sergeants was a 1954 best-selling novel by Mac Hyman, which was later adapted into a popular Broadway play and 1958 motion picture (plus a forgettable 1964 television series). The book chronicles the midadventures of a country bumpkin named Will Stockdale who is drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the Air Corps.

Broadway play

Ira Levin adapted Hyman's novel for a play which originally appeared as an episode on The United States Steel Hour television series in March 1955, starring Andy Griffith as Will Stockdale and Myron McCormick as his nemesis Sergeant Orville King. The play then opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on October 20, 1955, produced by Maurice Evans and directed by Morton DaCosta. Griffith and McCormick again starred, and Don Knotts made his Broadway debut as Corporal Manual Dexterity. Scenic designer Peter Larkin won a Tony Award in 1956, and Andy Griffith was nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actor. The play ran for a total of 796 performances, closing on September 14, 1957.

Motion picture

No Time for Sergeants
was released as a Warner Brothers motion picture in 1958, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Griffith, McCormick, Knotts, and most of the original Broadway cast (Nick Adams joined the cast as Stockdale's fellow draftee Benjamin B. Whitledge). The film version was a major hit and was largely responsible for launching the careers of Griffith and Knotts.

Television series

No Time for Sergeants came to the small screen as a short-lived ABC television series in the fall of 1964, starring Sammy Jackson. This series lasted only one season.

No Time for Sergeants was also the inspiration for the popular CBS television series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. which aired from 1964-1969.

Other formats

The four comics inspired by No Time For Sergeants
The four comics inspired by No Time For Sergeants

There exists the Dell Four Color Issue
914 comic book version of this story illustrated by Alex Toth published in July, 1958 which follows the movie's narrative. There were three follow up issues likely linked to the short lived TV series with Sammy Jackson. Greg Theakston's Pure Imagination released the THE ALEX TOTH READER VOLUME 2 in 2005. The art has been painstakingly reproduced from the originals by a process that has been come to be know as Theakstonization, a process by which the original comics have the color leached out, leaving only the black and white line art, which is then reproduced to appear exactly as it did at the time of orignal publication. One of the stories offered is the original movie adaption.

External links

As Sparky's neighbor is an Oscar nominated Documentarian and expert on Natalie Wood; And as his good composer friend was also around Elvis Presley in the 1960s - I call BS on the rumor of Nick being either gay or a gay hustler.

Nick Adams
Nick Adams was also the name of a Hemingway protagonist.
Nicholas Aloysius Adamschock, known during his career as Nick Adams (July 10, 1931February 7, 1968) was an American actor and screenwriter.


Early life

The son of a Lithuanian coal miner, he is said to have made money as a teenager by hustling pool games and working as a bat boy for a local baseball team. He was later offered a playing position in minor league baseball but turned it down because he was uninterested in the low pay.

Hollywood career

While trying to get a role in the play Mister Roberts in New York he had a brief encounter with Henry Fonda, who advised him to get some training as an actor. Eventually hitchhiking to Los Angeles he worked at various jobs (and was reportedly fired from one as a theater usher after putting his name on display as a publicity stunt). After serving in the US Coast Guard, following much persistence and creativity Adams appeared in the 1955 film version of Mister Roberts. In Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, Adams had a supporting role, reportedly gaining a reputation as both a prankster and a scene-stealer on the set. According to Elaine Dundy's book, Elvis and Gladys (University Press of Mississipi, 2004), he himself stated, "I was a friend of James Dean." Following the death of James Dean, Adams became one of the actors used to promote the film for the studio and for a time dated co-star Natalie Wood.

Adams made another appearance in the widely popular film adaptation of Picnic (1955) which was mostly filmed on location in Kansas. He was not perceived by casting directors as tall or handsome enough for leading roles but during the late 1950s he had supporting roles in several successful films.

Nick Adams' friendship with Elvis Presley and members of his so-called Memphis Mafia, widely publicized at the time, began in 1956. In his book Last Train to Memphis, American popular music historian Peter Guralnick says on page 328 about Elvis Presley: "On his second day of filming on the set of Love Me Tender he met twenty-five-year-old Nick Adams, a Hollywood hustler who had originally brazened his way into the cast of Mister Roberts two years before by doing impressions of the star, Jimmy Cagney, for director John Ford." Guralnick also says that at the time Nick Adams was Dennis Hopper's roommate and when Presley's filming sessions were over the three of them hung out together, and he emphasizes that Elvis "was hanging out more and more with Nick and his friends".

In her 1985 book Elvis and Gladys Elaine Dundy wrote that when Presley arrived in Hollywood to make his first film in 1956 he was encouraged by studio executives to be seen with some of the "hip" new young actors there. However, Colonel Tom Parker became concerned Elvis' new Hollywood acquaintances might influence his rising superstar and even tell Presley what they were paying for manager/agent's fees (which was usually a fraction of what Parker was getting). Dundy wrote (on p. 250) that one of the actors Presley became friends with was Nick Adams who in the author's words was a:

...brash struggling young actor whose main scheme to further his career was to hitch his wagon to a star, the first being James Dean, about whose friendship he was noisily boastful... this made it easy for Parker to suggest that Nick be invited to join Elvis' growing entourage of paid companions, and for Nick to accept... following Adams' hiring, there appeared a newspaper item stating that Nick and Parker were writing a book on Elvis together.

Dundy called Colonel Parker a master manipulator who used Nick Adams and others in the entourage (including Parker's own brother-in-law Bitsy Mott) to counter possible subversion against him and keep a check on Elvis' movements.

In 1959, Nick Adams starred in the television series The Rebel, playing the character Johnny Yuma, an ex-confederate, journal-keeping "trouble-shooter" in the old American west, which ran on ABC. Though credited as a co-creator of The Rebel, Adams had no role in writing the pilot or any of the series' episodes. The show's creator, Andrew J. Fenady, wrote the pilot episode after his friend, Adams, urged him to create a starring vehicle for him. Close friend Red West got his first stunt performer work on Adams television show and went on to a very successful career in Hollywood. After the series was cancelled in 1961 Adams went back to film work, along with a role in the short-lived television series Saints and Sinners.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film Twilight of Honor (1963). He campaigned heavily for the award, spending over $8,000 on ads in trade magazines but many of his strongest scenes had been cut from the movie and he lost to Melvyn Douglas.

During this period, Adams appeared as a guest panelist on the CBS-TV quiz program, What's My Line.

By 1964 his career seems to have stalled. He had high hopes his performance in Young Dillinger (with Robert Conrad) would be critically acclaimed but the project had low production values and both critics and audiences rejected the film. In 1965, Adams landed major roles in two science fiction epics from Toho Studios in Japan. The first was the sixth Godzilla film, titled Monster Zero in which he played Astronaut Glenn, journeying to the newly discovered Planet X. In Frankenstein Conquers the World Adams played the role of Dr. Bowen. Though regarded as classics by many, these movies were not considered commercial or critical successes. In both film plots his character had a love interest with characters portrayed by actress Kumi Mizuno and the two reportedly had an off-screen relationship.

Marriage, children and death

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Adams wears an off-the-shelf motorcycle
helmet in Mission Mars (1968) shortly
before his death.

His marriage to former child actor Carol Nugent, who had also appeared in an episode of The Rebel, produced two children (Allyson Lee Adams in 1960 and Jeb Stewart Adams in 1962, both of whom later pursued acting careers). Sometimes acrimonious marital problems reportedly interfered with his ability to get lucrative acting parts after 1963.

Adams' career seemed to be on the verge of an upswing when on the night of Feb 7, 1968 his lawyer and friend Erwin Roeder drove to the actor's house at 2126 El Roble Lane in Beverly Hills to check on him after a missed dinner appointment. Seeing a light on and his car in the garage Roeder broke through a window and discovered Adams in his upstairs bedroom, slumped against a wall and wearing a shirt, blue jeans and boots, his eyes open in a blank stare, dead. He was 36. During the autopsy Dr. Thomas Noguchi found enough paraldehyde, sedatives and other drugs in the body "to cause instant unconsciousness." The death certificate lists "paraldehyde and promazine intoxication" as the immediate cause of death, with the notation accident; suicide; undetermined. Note that the AMA warns never to take these two types of drugs together. In the 1960s, such warnings were not known about as they are today. His remains were buried in Berwick, Pennsylvania.


Adams' death at a young age, his claims to a friendship with James Dean (a cultural icon who also died tragically young) and reported drug consumption have made his private life the subject of various tabloid reports and rumours even decades later.

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Adams with Natalie Wood

Speculation about his death

Adams' death has been cited in articles and books on Hollywood's unsolved mysteries along with allegations that Adams was murdered, including claims that no trace of the liquid sedative paraldehyde (one of two drugs Adams died from) was ever found in his home, but a story in The Los Angeles Times reported that stoppered bottles with prescription labels were found in the medicine cabinet near the upstairs bedroom where Adams' body was discovered. Actor Robert Conrad (his best friend) has consistently maintained Adams' death was accidental.


I dreamed all my life of being a movie star. Movies were my life. You had to have an escape when you were raised in a basement. I saw all the James Cagney, Humphery Bogart and John Garfield pictures. Odds against the world... that was my meat.

I will never make a picture abroad. (1963, two years before he started doing so)


  • Adams, who had a talent for voice impersonations, overdubbed some of James Dean's lines for the film Giant after Dean died during production.
  • Following Dean's death, Adam's tried to capitalize on his friend's fame through various publicity stunts, including a claim he was being stalked by a crazed female Dean fan. He also claimed to have developed Dean's affection for fast cars, later telling a reporter, "I became a highway delinquent. I was arrested nine times in one year. They put me on probation, but I kept on racing... nowhere." However, the offers for light comedy roles continued.
  • The theme song for The Rebel was recorded by Johnny Cash, who made it a hit.
  • Adams is reported to have consulted with John Wayne for tips on how to play his role in The Rebel.
  • He is one of four actors typically named in connection with the Rebel Without a Cause Curse, a widely repeated urban legend.

Partial Filmography

External links

External images

Tomorrow we return to Monster Island - Sparks


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