Monday, June 22, 2009

How One Thing Leads To Another

Little d and I were watching Star Trek’s "The Menagerie" and she enjoyed Jeffrey Hunter’s portrayal of Captain Pike. (Sidebar: I hate to tell ‘ya, Bill, my charmer thought he was better than your Kirk) I mentioned Hunter was killed in a hit-and-run accident. But after saying that, I started thinking maybe it wasn't right, so I went to the sometimes reliable Wikipedia and learned Mr. Hunter died from a cerebral hemorrhage at age forty-two. Scanning his bio, I ran across a tv show he starred in called Temple Houston. I had never heard of it and clicked on the link. The single season show was based on Sam Houston’s son, Temple Lea Houston. Having never heard of Temple, I followed the link to this...

Temple Lea Houston (August 12, 1860 – August 15, 1905) … was considered by many to be one of the country's most brilliant trial lawyers and was noted for his flamboyant and unorthodox dress and behavior. Houston was well educated and spoke French and Spanish fluently as well as seven Indian languages.

Once a judge persuaded Houston to represent a penniless horse thief and Houston promised, "I'll provide the unfortunate gentleman the best defense I can." Houston asked the judge for a private office in which he could confer with his client. Sometime later, a court official decided to check on Houston and the horsethief. He found Houston sitting alone in the room with the window wide open. Houston smiled and remarked, "I gave him the best advice I could."

Another remark for which he is famous is "Your honor, the prosecutor is the first man that I've ever seen that can strut while sitting down."

In 1899, Houston delivered the Soiled Dove Plea on behalf of a hopelessly guilty prostitute, Minnie Stacey, in a trial in Woodward, Oklahoma. That plea is considered by many attorneys to be an example of a perfect closing argument. [Wikipedia]
I couldn't stop there, I went on to the Soiled Dove Plea, and I have to admit, it was brilliant. You owe it to yourself to read the entire passage. In an eerie coincidence, Temple, like Jeffrey Hunter, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a young age.

22 comments:

James Reasoner said...

I remember watching TEMPLE HOUSTON, but that's all I could tell you about the TV show. It must not have made too great an impression on me. On the other hand, I do remember watching it.

G said...

Nice.

I read that piece and I was seriously impressed by it.

Unlike today, where having verbal skills really don't add to much (like this sentence), back then, you really had to use what God gave you in order to get the job done.

David Cranmer said...

James, I'm usually up on my western shows but this one slipped through the cracks probably because there's so few shows for syndication.

G, And it sounds like he used generous helpings of common sense and humor in his defenses. I may have to find a bio on this remarkable character.

Corey Wilde said...

Never heard of that show; it would be interesting to see it. I always liked Hunter on screen, but I never knew what had happened to him. Thanks for this.

ARCHAVIST said...

Jeffrey Hunter is immortal because of his portrayal of Martin in The Searchers. Was his death the reason he didn't continue in Star Trek after the aborted pilot?

Barrie said...

And this is why I love the internet...

David Cranmer said...

Corey, I always thought he had a strong screen presence but only knew him from Trek and THE SEARCHERS.

Archavist, After they filmed the Trek pilot they waited too long and Hunter went on to other film roles. The network decided to film a second pilot (a first) and Bill Shatner stepped in.

Barrie, I'm with you. Getting lost for hours is fun but then you think "I should be writing!"

Barbara Martin said...

This shows the detective in you, David: going from clue to clue. I don't recall seeing this show, but not all of them make it north. The legal arguments and comments are excellent.

Randy Johnson said...

Good post. I swear that picture of Houston looks familiar, like somebody I ought to know, though I can't place who.

Anonymous said...

Ok here is my comment, "About that Star Trek"...........:)Mates

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't know Pike died of a cerebral hemorrahage. I liked him OK but I must admit to preferring Shatner.

Richard Prosch said...

Interesting! The Glenn Shirley book "Lawyer With a Gun" sounds like the ticket.

Hunter also played Jesus in KING OF KINGS (1961).

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, Don’t worry. No one down here remembers it either. I wish they would take some of these shows that didn’t last more than a season and combine them on a few DVD collections. Like Templeton Houston and Hec Ramsey.

Randy, Yeah, he’s very contemporary looking. Maybe it’s that stern look.

Mates, I know, I know. Soon. (I say most sheepishly)

Charles, Interesting to think what would have happened to Trek if Pike did all three years and then passed away. It may or may not have had the same staying power.

Richard, My Mom loves that movie. Her favorite Easter film by far.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Jeffrey Hunter had the most amazing blue eyes. I don't remember his acting--just those eyes. And he never wore a green thongy thing. I know that.

David Cranmer said...

Yeah, that green thongy thing was damn scary today! Ha.

Clare2e said...

Fascinating character, Houston. Wish they'd revive him instead of all the other media retreads.

Elaine Ash said...

I was moved to tears. Thanks for bringing this to light.

David Cranmer said...

Clare, I know what you mean. Dean, Monroe, Elvis etc gets old.

Elaine, Tears? I know my posts can be a little dull but...

Reb said...

sorry I am late. I quite enjoyed Pike, but was very enamoured of Kirk. Of course his being Canadian might have had something to do with that. (Well, and me being 8ish)

Interesting about Houston and the speech was wonderful. I go from page to page on Wikipedia all of the time, it can be really fascinating.

David Cranmer said...

Reb, Yeah I prefer James T to everyone including Pike and Picard. His overacting only came later. The first season of Trek has him right on the money.

Cloudia said...

You expert you LOL
Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

David Cranmer said...

Si!