William Castle Blogathon: The Busy Body


And my William Castle Blogathon Pick is… The Busy Body

Before I start this blogathon post I just want to extend a big thank you to The Last Drive In and Goregirl’s Dungeon for hosting this event. I also want to say thanks (again) to The Last Drive In for helping me pick a William Castle film that wouldn’t scare the ‘you-know-what’ out of me. Yes, I will admit it here for all to see — I am a big ‘scaredy cat’ when it comes to horror flicks. But, after a little brainstorming, we decided that a William Castle comedy starring the legendary Sid Caesar would do the trick!

So, I settled down and watched The Busy Body for the very first time without really knowing what to expect, but at least I knew I’d be able to sleep at night :)

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The Busy Body by William Castle…..

The Music:  As soon as I heard the opening theme song, I was immediately reminded of Green Acres, and interestingly enough, I later learned that the score’s composer was Vic Mizzy who did in fact write the Green Acres theme song, as well as the Addams Family theme song and the scores for the Don Knotts films The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Reluctant Astronaut.

Composer Vic Mizzy, Green Acres, The Addams FamilyComposer Vic Mizzy wrote the Green Acres and The Addams Family Theme Songs

Vic Mizzy Green Acres Theme Song Composer with Eddie Albert and Eva GaborVic Mizzy with Green Acres’ Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor

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The Plot:  Sid Caesar plays George Norton, a mob underling-turned-board-member, who must find a million dollars that is presumably buried with a corpse. When the body and money turn up missing, George finds himself in lots of trouble with mob boss Charley Barker (Robert Ryan) and the police, headed by Detective Whittaker (Richard Pryor).

Now, in all honesty, I have to say that, although the plot sounds like a hoot, there were too many morbid scenes in this film for my taste (grave digging, more corpses and more murders). [there's my 'scaredy cat' yellow streak showing].  I was also surprised that both Caesar and Pryor played their roles so extremely ‘straight’ as I fully expected them to be funny, or even hilarious for that matter.  On the plus side however, the cast was full of familiar faces (not the least of which was the fabulous Dom Deluise) — and there were enough plot twists to ensure that I couldn’t be 100% sure of the outcome until the very end.

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The Featured Cast: LOTs of familiar faces here — from veteran TV Character Actors to Academy Award Winners…

Sid Caesar in The Busy BodySid Caesar as George Norton.  The legendary Sid Caesar is probably best known for his television series’ Your Show of Shows (1950-1954) and Caesar’s Hour (1954-1957).  He won two Primetime Emmys (1952 Best Actor; 1957 Best Comedian in Series).

Robert Ryan in The Busy BodyRobert Ryan as Mob Boss Charley Barker.  Ryan’s better known films include The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen and Bad Day at Black Rock. Ryan was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Crossfire (1947).

Richard Pryor in The Busy BodyRichard Pryor as Detective Whittaker (his debut feature film role).  Pryor won a Primetime Emmy  in 1973 (Best Comedy Writing, Lily) and a Writers Guild of America Award in 1974 for the Blazing Saddles Screenplay (shared with Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman and Alan Uger).

Kay Medford in The Busy Body Kay Medford as George’s mom, Mrs. Norton.  Medford’s very next film role would be Rose Brice (Barbara Streisand’s mother) in Funny Girl for which she would earn an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress (1968).

Bill Dana in The Busy Body

Bill Dana as Archie Brody, the cause of all the trouble.  Bill Dana is probably best known for his character José Jiménez (“My name José Jiménez”).

Arlene Golonka as Bobbi Brody

 Arlene Golonka as Bobbi Brody, the bubbly widow. Golonka is probably best known for her television role as Millie Swanson on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.

Anne Baxter in The Busy Body

Anne Baxter as Femme Fatale Margo Foster Kane. Baxter won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Razor’s Edge (1946), and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for All About Eve (1950).

Jan Murray in The Busy BodyJan Murray as Murray Foster, the Femme Fatale’s husband.  Murray was a stand-up comic and game show host (Dollar a Second 1953-1957; Treasure Hunt 1956-1959). He appeared on numerous TV shows and in films including History of the World Part I and Which Way to the Front.

Dom Deluise in The Busy BodyDom DeLuise as hairdresser-turned-assistant-mortician Kurt Brock (hate to tell you what happens to him!).  DeLuise’s best known films include Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I, The End, Smokey and the Bandit II, The Muppet Movie and The Cannonball Run.

Godfrey Cambridgge, Sid Caesar and Marty Ingels in The Busy BodyGodfrey Cambridge as Mike (left) and Marty Ingels as Willie (right), two of Mob Boss Barker’s henchmen. Cambridge and Ingels both appeared on numerous TV shows. Cambridge’s best known films include The Watermelon Man, The President’s Analyst and Cotton Comes to Harlem. Ingels is probably best known for his roles as Arch Fenster on the TV series I’m Dickens He’s Fenster (opposite John Astin as Harry Dickens) (1962-1963), and Sol Pomeroy (Rob Petrie’s army buddy) on The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Ingels has been married to Shirley Jones since 1977.

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And last but not least, the Director:

William Castle Director“I knew then what I wanted to do with my life – I wanted to scare the pants off audiences.”  -William Castle

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This post was written in conjunction with the William Castle Blogathon hosted by The Last Drive In and Goregirl’s Dungeon.  There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

This entry was posted in Blogathons, Directors, Films, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, Quotes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to William Castle Blogathon: The Busy Body

  1. Jo Gabriel says:

    Oh gosh thanks for the sweet comment. I’m so glad I didn’t scare the ‘you know what’ out of you. We need you happy and continuing to be one of the best blogs CLASSIC MOVIE HUB! You did a fantastic job covering this film. And isn’t the cast just divine. Well done and you didn’t need to run screaming after all…. Yay and thank you for being so gracious to accept the offer of joining us. It wouldn’t have been the same without you-Cheers Joey

  2. Pingback: Step Right Up! It’s The William Castle Blogathon: Day Four! | the last drive in

  3. Le says:

    I also chose a castle’s comedy, Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven. Yet I’m not easily scared, I’m happy with my choice.
    The Busy Body also seems a very entertaining movie. I’m very glad Anne Baxter is part of the cast, she is one of my favorite actresses.
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)
    Kisses!

  4. Annmarie, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only scaredy-cat here at the William Castle Blogathon! I can understand Robert Ryan as a tough guy, of course, but not Sid Caesar and Richard Pryor in straight, un-hilarious roles; must have been before they let their funny flags fly. By the way, our family loves Dom DeLuise, with FATSO being a favorite, since it reminds me of our family growing up in New York City with an Italian father and Irish mother! :-) Great post!

  5. Pingback: Step Right Up! It’s The William Castle Blogathon: The Last Gasp!!! | the last drive in

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