John Calvert Dies At 102; Stage Magician Was Also In Movies

Notable deaths of 2013

Its kind of a bummer. The month still features a large number of limited releases and video-on-demand horror films, such as Nothing Left to Fear (co-produced by former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash) opening Friday, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Oct. 11) and Haunter (Oct. 18), with Abigail Breslin. Theres even a spider invasion film starring Greg Grunberg as a hero exterminator called Big Ass Spiders (Oct. 18). But if youre in a small town, the multiplexes dont show these limited-run movies. So youre stuck at home watching them on VOD, says Ryan Rurek, the managing editor of horror film website ShockTillYouDrop.com. October is normally all about the communal experience of having it on the big screen and getting that energy rush in an audience. Its that time of year where everyone wants to share that. There are reasons for the October boo malaise. Horror movies have now become a year-round phenomenon, thriving even in the age of piracy and shrinking box office. In July, The Conjuring reigned as the box office champion while Insidious 2 was audacious in September.

His wife, Tammy, sometimes served as his onstage assistant. In his heyday during the ’40s and ’50s, Calvert performed regularly in Hollywood to star-filled audiences. He also brought his acts to Las Vegas and Broadway. Known for his robust physical presence, Calvert often flew his own airplanes and sailed the world aboard his yacht. Calvert managed to parlay his stage success to the big screen, appearing in a handful of movies. His most famous role was as the detective Michael Watling, better known as the Falcon, in 1948’s “Devil’s Cargo” and two more movies. He also worked as a Hollywood stuntman, and his hands stood in for Clark Gable’s in a card-playing scene in the 1941 movie “Honky Tonk.” As a technical advisor on “The Silver Chalice” in 1954, he taught Jack Palance the tricks of the trade for the role of a magician. In 1956, he produced, wrote, directed and starred in “Dark Venture,” an adventure tale about a reporter in Africa. Calvert was born in 1911 in New Trenton, Ind. When he was 8, his father took him to see magician Howard Thurston in Cincinnati. The young Calvert was smitten and started performing for friends almost immediately after. His career took off when an agent spotted him during a performance he gave while attending college.